Managing Gravity: Canada-U.S. Relations in an Age of Raw Power

Published: Spring 2022    |    By: George Haynal   |   Volume 70, No. 2


Our one existential relationship, that with the United States is changing in step with the mutation of the world order. We have historically relied on managing the relationship on a form of benevolent neglect by the U.S. political system. This required little of us, except to be no trouble, and cooperative in how we manage our affairs where U.S. interests were concerned.

We can no longer rely on this uniquely favourable attitude in the U.S. system as forms of nativism, protectionism, unilateralism come to characterize the U.S. political landscape. A new, deeper Trumpian system may well be in prospect within two years. This could bring an entirely new and unaccommodating climate to the relationship, one which could involve both the threat of exclusion from the U.S. economy and insistence on a higher level of integration than is compatible with our national interests.

There is little time to prepare for such an eventuality, which will require not just intensified diplomacy, but a strengthened federation to assert it.

About the Author

George Haynal is a Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and was, until recently, Professor of Global Practice (Corporate and Diplomatic) and a member of the Director’s International Advisory Board. His principal research interest is in the role of global corporations in public space. Haynal was a career foreign service officer. His last domestic role was as Assistant Deputy Minister for the United States and the Americas. His last posting abroad was as Consul General in New York. An alumnus Fellow of the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs at Harvard University, after retirement, he joined Bombardier Inc. as vice president for international and government affairs, a position from which he retired in 2012.