USA and Canada-Best Friends Forever
By Alayna Bedwell
A Brief History
Canada and the United States have been on good terms for the past two centuries. They have a shared heritage (both started out as British colonies in the mid-1700's and gained their independence later on) and a shared border. Also, in almost every war the USA and Canada have been allies. The only exception is the War of 1812, when American forces invaded British North America and British Canadians retaliated in kind. Canada and the United States also have an extensive trading relationship, which was strengthened by the signing of NAFTA in 1994.
Totally Invested in This Relationship
Canada and the United States have a strong trading partnership. More than $2 billion dollars in goods and service cross the borders on a daily basis, and millions of Americans and Canadians alike are employed directly through this bilateral trade. The United States benefits from Canada's large oil reserves, uranium, and other chemicals and machinery. Canada benefits from the USA's banking, information and retail trade and manufacturing. When Canada, the United States and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), trading barriers were reduced greatly and the three countries agreed on certain rules for trade, which strengthened the economic relationship even more.
Mixing and Mingling of Cultures
The USA and Canada have lots of shared cultural traits. For example, Canada and the USA both have a majority of English speakers as their language (although Canada also has French as one of its official languages) and a large percentage of both of their populations practice Christianity as their religion. About 300,000 people cross the US-Canada border every day, whether for family or social reasons or for their jobs, using a wide variety of transportation methods. This is nothing new for the United States and Canada- throughout history there have been several instances of groups of people migrating across the border. After the American Revolution, some Loyalists moved to Canada. In the 1800's gold rushes caused American gold prospectors to flock to Canada in search of the precious metal. Many French Canadians immigrated to the US and created a distinct cultural community in New England in the late 1800's to early 1900's. Draft-dodgers moved to Canada during the Vietnam War to avoid the military service. The exchange of cultural traits, brought by immigrants, have drawn the cultures of the United States and Canada closer together. Many Americans esteem Canada as their favorite foreign nation. Some Canadians have a fear of the American culture overwhelming the Canadian culture, which is the reason why Canada's pop culture is gradually trying to distinguish itself from that of the USA.
Similar Governments and Shared Treaties
Historically, Canada and the United States have been allies in every war that they were both involved in, the only exception being the War of 1812. Since World War II, Canada and the USA have collaborated together to defend the North American continent from security threats. Two well-known examples are the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which deals with security commitments between the nations involved; and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors airspace over North America and defends if necessary. The mutual peace and long standing cooperation between the United States and Canada is unique and is an international example of peace and security. This alliance is strengthened by their shared democracy; although the forms of government are distinctly different, they both are considered a democratic form of government. Canada's form of government is a democratic constitutional monarchy. Their Head of State is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented by the Governor General. Canadians elect their Prime Minister and the members of the House of Commons, which is one house of the bicameral legislative branch. The other house in the legislature, the Senate, is appointed by Governor General upon the Prime Minister's recommendation. They also have a Judicial branch, like the United States' Supreme Court. The major difference is that the United States' head of the executive branch is elected by the people and is not born into a royal family. However, they are both democratic and have some form of elected leaders in their federal government.