Historical Highlights in US - Canada Relations

1776 the American Revolution. Canadians allied with Britain on the losing side. The differences and aspirations of two separate societies can be traced back to here.

The War of 1812. Canada was the site for what was basically a dispute between Britain and the US. Canadian forces turned back American forces five times. The attacks confirmed Canadian desire not to be American.

1897 the Yukon Gold Rush. 50,000 Americans came to take part in the prospecting.

1911 Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier lost the national election because of his platform proposing free trade with the U.S. The opposition won on the platform, "No truck or trade with the Yankees".

Late 1930's. William Lyon Mackenzie King. Tired of British interference, Canadaian PM King wanted to take advantage of the power and growth south of the border. President Theodore Roosevelt encouraged relations with Canada.

1936 Roosevelt visited Quebec. It's was the first time a U.S. President visited Canada.

1930's. Canada during these years was depicted by Hollywood via the symbol of the Mounties and the great outdoors.

1940. Roosevelt pledged to support Canada in the event of an attack from overseas.

1940 Prime Minister Mackenzie King went to Ogdensburg to sign a defence agreement with the U.S. that tied Canada's defence future to the US.

Post-war 1940's. Mackenzie King, wary of the U.S., abandoned talks about free trade. Time magazine published economics article calling Canada the 49th state. King wrote in his diary that he was afraid of U.S. absorption.

1950's. C.D. Howe, Canada's US-born "minister of everything," was Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent's right-hand man. The 40's and 50's saw huge foreign investment in Canada. By 1957, Americans controlled 70% of the capital of the petroleum and natural gas industry and 90% of the auto industry.

1957-1963 John Diefenbaker is Prime Minister. He fought the tide of industry and challenged extensive U.S investment in Canada. His nemesis was John F. Kennedy.

1960's John F. Kennedy visited Canada. He became angry at Canada for trading with Cuba. Conflict over the Cuban Missile crisis.

1963-8 PM Lester B. Pearson is accused by Diefenbaker of being a U.S. puppet. Pearson styled himself as a friend of the Americans.

1968-1984 Pierre Trudeau questions Canada's relations with the U.S. Trudeau went to Washington in 1971 and complained about US tariffs on Canadian exports. Richard Nixon thought he was a jerk. In 1972, Nixon returned the visit and faced anti-U.S. demonstrations in Ottawa. Trudeau later announced that Canada must diversify its relationships with other countries in an effort to avoid excessive influence by the United States. Trudeau established Petrocan and the National Energy Board because by 1972 the energy industry was 99% foreign owned. The National Energy Board lasts only four 4 years due to undermining American influence.

1984-93 Under PM Brian Mulroney, the tide turned again with a return to pro-American policies.

1987 The Free Trade Agreement is signed.

1989 January 1 The Free Trade Agreement is implemented

1992 December NAFTA is signed.




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