A recent research survey funded and commissioned by the Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute, an institution not affiliated to the Canadian Forces, which sought to identify the major threats facing Canada found that more than 50% of the citizens considered climate change to be a real threat to the security of Canada and its interests worldwide presently and in the near future (Michael, 2010).
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Another quarter of those polled felt that terrorism was a real threat to the country security and another quarter attributed threats to the increasing numbers of immigrants in the country. Other areas that figured in the perceived threats of the country was globalization, natural and manmade disasters, disease epidemics such the recent ones of avian flu. Military invasion from hostile countries or enemies did not feature in this survey (Jeffery Michael, 2010).
Now based on the results of this survey we can obtain a pretty good picture of factors that will strengthen or weaken US-Canada relations, first let us briefly discuss the factors that will strengthen these ties. Canada being a signatory of several treaties where US is also a party means the ties for the two countries will be stronger; this is because Canada is bound to align it defense strategies and military technologies in line with the spirit of the treaties.
These treaties and conventions include but are not limited to Geneva Conventions, Cluster Munitions convention, the NATO treaty and the NORAD treaty for Northern America countries (Tilly, 2004). Recently in 2008 Canada signed a joint treaty, the North American Military Agreement with U.S that required cooperation between the two countries defense forces towards solving domestic issues in their jurisdiction.
Under the treaty Canadian Forces could be called to assist in times of crisis within U.S and vice versa (Tilly, 2004). Other factors that will strengthen these ties are the issues to do with terrorism and the need to respond to natural disasters. This is when you consider that 25% of Canadians see the need to combat terrorism which has for decades been at the top list of US priorities, so the fight for terrorism will bring the two countries together.
Now the issues that might weaken these ties are more or less the same, first there is the issue of climate change which interestingly is a top priority for Canadians and not less important for US. Indeed US has so far declined to be a signatory for Kyoto protocol and has continued to frustrate efforts to achieve the same, Canada on the other hand even though less bold in declaring so will most likely support Kyoto protocol, so this will put the two countries at logger heads.
Another factor is the issue to do with scramble for oil which US has been actively pursuing by aggressively using its military powers to amass, a case in point is the Iraq military attack that was purely motivated by the need to access and control oil reserves in Iraq. Such incidences will put Canada at odd with US especially since it is also a member state to UN forces which at the time vehemently objected to the Iraq attack.
Michael, J. (2010). Threat Perception in Canada. Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute. Web.
Tilly, C. (2004). Terror, Terrorism, Terrorists. Sociological Theory, 22(1):5-13.