The Canadian government’s decision not to participate in the war in Iraq stemmed from disagreement over the United States’ approach to invading Iraq and not over policy goals of disarming Saddam Hussein.
That was one of Canadian Rear Admiral Ian Mack’s main messages to an audience Tuesday at MU for the school’s first-ever Canada Days festival this week, an effort to establish a Canadian studies minor at the university.
“The prospect of going to war without an unequivocal statement by the Security Council of support was deeply unsettling to many Canadians,” Mack said in his keynote address Tuesday at Jesse Wrench Auditorium. “Canada is hard at work in the global campaign against international terrorism both at home and away, and we’re in this thing for the long haul. As we like to say, Bin Laden is in our sights, too.”
The Canada Days festival featured Mack, head of the Canadian Delegation to the Inter-American Defense Board and the Canadian Defense attache to the United States, a speaker from the University of Manitoba in Canada and two Canadian films.
This week’s two-day festival was part of MU’s effort to establish a Canadian studies minor for both graduate and undergraduate students within the college of arts and sciences.
MU political science professor Patrick James said the minor would serve the state and improve its knowledge of the United States’ relationship with Canada.
“Many people will find if they’re now in a global-based corporation that they may be asked to work in Canada for a certain period, or even if they’re working here right at home in Missouri, they may find that there is a business deal that involves either a branch operation of a Canadian company or directly a Canadian company across the border,” James said.
Mack’s lecture, “It’s our war too — Canada and the war on terrorism,” addressed Canada’s role in the war on terrorism and its cooperation with the United States.
Canada has helped finance the reconstruction of Iraq, but has not sent soldiers to fight there.
Mack also addressed Canada’s military, security and trade relationships with the United States. “In terms of continental defense, our two militaries remain joined at the hip,” Mack said. “Cooperation on our shared border has been especially close since 9/11, not only to address our mutual security concerns, but also to ensure that the flow of goods, services and people continues unabated in what is the world’s largest trading relationship.”
Canada is the United States’ biggest trading partner. Thirty-eight U.S. states trade with Canada, totaling nearly $1.2 billion in trade per day in 2003.
Trade between Missouri and Canada increased for the third consecutive year in 2003, reaching $6.1 billion.
Mack also identified several of what he called“U.S. urban myths.” Some myths include many still believe that some of the 9/11 hijackers came from Canada; some U.S. citizens think Canada is about to legalize marijuana; others characterize northerners as a bunch of “gay-loving stoner leftists;” and there’s the perception that Canada is much softer on refugees than the United States is.
“All of these are of course just that — they’re myths,” he said.
Mack concluded his speech with, “Our two nations share so many values and so many ancestral and marriage-based relationships. So much of our infrastructure is integrated, from birds and livestock to electrical grids, from the auto industry to gas pipelines.”
More information can be found at Foreign Affairs Canada’s Web site at www.canadianally.com.