Canada and the USA: countries with common destinies
There is a close relationship between the US and Canada, both globally and regionally. From the first point of view, the two countries have leading roles and collaborate in international organizations and conferences such as NATO, the G7, the G20 and the APEC. A partial exception to the bilateral arrangement was Operation Iraqi Freedom, launched by the White House in March 2003, in the absence of a UN mandate. On the occasion, the Canadian government decided not to send its army to Iraq and, on the other hand, intensified its presence in Afghanistan, thus freeing US troops for intervention in Iraq. However, it is at the regional level, and above all at the economic level, that the two North American countries have developed their cooperation most deeply. Around 300,000 people every day, and approximately $ 1.6 billion in commercial goods cross the border between the two states. Both Washington and Ottawa have signed the treaty for the establishment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In the energy sector, however, the relationship between the two economies is in transition. Canada has traditionally exported large quantities of oil and natural gas to the United States, but US demand for energy resources has declined as a result of the discovery of shale gas and oil underground. The decrease in need is also intertwined with some opposition in the US to buy oil obtained from Canadian tar sands due to environmental concerns generated by the extraction techniques used. Between the two governments, with Canadian Liberals in favor and American Democrats against, there is also a difference over the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. On the other hand, security cooperation for the defense of the territory remains constant: an example is provided by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) which, established in 1958, is still one of the most efficient bilateral collaboration tools. Following the attacks of 11 September 2001, Ottawa and Washington also set up, in an anti-terrorist key, the Integrated Border Control Teams (IBETs) which have the task of guaranteeing the integrity and security of shared borders and ports. Bilateral agreements have also been signed for the protection of the environment. Canada and the US share the Great Lakes region,
Québec: the French soul of Canada
According to Clothingexpress, Québec is the largest province in Canada by territorial extension and the second largest by population, after Ontario. It houses about 24% of all the residents of the Canadian federation and was a French colony for about two centuries, until 1763, when it was conquered and colonized by the British Empire. Québec still represents a separate case within Canada today, as it is the only province in which the only officially recognized language is French. The French-speaking culture is still deeply rooted and, for this reason, an internal debate is underway on the very nature of the province. In 1980, a popular referendum called to promote separation from Canada was rejected with a majority of 59.6% of the vote; in 1995 it was re-proposed and recorded the same result but with an even smaller majority: 50.6% against 49.4%. In 2000 the Clarity Act acquired the force of law, which, as established by the House of Commons, establishes a new principle: the federal government will negotiate a secession of Québec only if the question asked in the referendum is clear and if a majority of the ‘yes’ greater than 50% plus one of the votes. In 2006, however, the House of Commons passed a symbolic motion recognizing Quebecers as a ‘nation within Canada’. The victory of the separatists of the Parti Québécois (Pq), obtained in the local elections of 2012, has again fueled the secessionist tendencies, even if in 2014 they were defeated by the liberals. On the national level, however,
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta)
After four years of close negotiations, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) on October 18, 2013, a free trade agreement that could consequently make paves the way for an even more ambitious agreement between Brussels and Washington for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The proposal was presented by both actors as an incredible opportunity to consolidate economic and political relations between the two sides of the Atlantic. The agreement represents one of the most important bilateral trade arrangements since NAFTA, as well as the first treaty between a European organization and a G7 economy. The international treaty provides for the elimination of 99% of tariff barriers, harmonization of technical standards which will allow European car manufacturers to export more easily, but also to open up the market for public procurement and financial services, as well as telecommunications, energy, transport, chemicals and the pharmaceutical sector. The keystone, however, is represented by agri-food, with fewer restrictions on the export of European dairy products and the import of Canadian meats. Precisely these points have been at the basis of the slowdown in negotiations in recent years. The agreement also includes measures on procurement, investment and intellectual property issues. A free trade agreement would have tangible economic benefits on the economies of both signatories: according to a study by the European Commission, Ceta would produce an annual increase of 0.08% of the European GDP and of 0.77% of the American one, with a 23% increase in trade flows, equal to 26 billion dollars. To date, CETA is still awaiting ratification by the individual parliaments of the EU member countries.