Conflict affects N. American relations

The United States and Canada are currently involved in a neighborly dispute.

Canada and the United States disagree on the correct way to resolve the conflict in Iraq. Canada does not support the use of force as a resolution. With the disagreement in policy, analysts wonder how this will affect the relationship between the countries.

According to Mark Kasoff, director of the University’s Canadian Studies Center, the disagreement is merely a bump in the road for the countries’ relationship.

“The relationship between Canada and the United States is so broad, strong and deep that any issues will wither away,” Kasoff said.

Unlike the backlash with France’s disapproval, the American public does not seem to care about Canada’s policy. Kasoff believes that Canada’s position is a more subtle approach. The country currently has warships already in the Middle East participating in the War on Terror. Although they may not actively participate in the conflict with Iraq they still could aid the United States.

Another reason for a lack of backlash is the attention of the American public.

“This is a classic case of the American media and the general public not taking an interest in anything from Canada,” Kasoff said.

“Canada is taken for granted.”

Whether or not this is true, the country is important to the U.S. economy. Canada and the United States account for the biggest trade between two countries at around $1.3 billion a day. Canada is also the largest source of petroleum and petroleum products for the United States.

“America imports a significant amount of petroleum for daily use from Canada,” Kasoff said.

The state of Ohio relies on Canada as well. Ohio exports $28 billion of services worldwide with roughly 50 percent of the exports going to Canada.

Specifically Northwest Ohio exports 70 percent of goods and services to Canada. Forty percent of the imports and exports come through the borders at Detroit and Port Huron, Michigan.

There are too many financial interests for either country for the disagreement to affect trade relations. Kasoff believes that despite the dispute both countries will work hard to keep the borders open. Both sides are working to make a smarter border. Canadians may soon have to carry national identity cards that would be very difficult to counterfeit.

Other conflicts between the two countries may stay unresolved because of the current disagreement, however. Disputes on U.S. tariffs imposed on Canadian softwood lumber and wheat will likely continue.

“The US is not going to be in any hurry to solve this problem,” Kasoff.