Canada and the United States enjoy the world’s largest trading relationship.  The state of Georgia alone exports $6 billion worth of goods to our northern neighbor.  And you’ll always find a Canadian accent among our out-of-town visitors.  But it isn’t always maple and peaches between the two giants.

Dr. Kevin Spooner of Wilfred Laurier University spoke about the past, present and future of Canadian-American relations at the Savannah Council on World Affairs.  Spooner is a professor of North American relations at the school in Waterloo, Ontario.

“There is much talk of the ‘special relationship’ that exists between the two nations,” says Spooner.  “As with most relationships, there are ups and downs, for better, for worse.”

As an example, Spooner goes through the tough-as-nails negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Canadians wanted to protect their culture.  (“What culture?” many asked.)  But they opened the doors wide open on energy policy.

And it’s these oil and gas reserves that continue to be a driving force in cross-border relations.  Spooner talked about controversial Keystone Pipeline project.  He also spent some time explaining Canadian politics to this American audience.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the current Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, hails from Alberta, the tar sands rich province that stands to gain the most from Keystone.

His talk is about 31 minutes long.  He presented a funny video that didn’t get recorded in this audio podcast.  But I’ll summarize it for you: It’s cold in Canada!

I did leave in, however, in a four-letter word.  That’s fair warning, moms and dads.

This talk was recorded at the Coastal Georgia Center in Savannah.

Theme Music:

Open Those Bright Eyes” Kevin MacLeod ( 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0