Tomorrow President Barack Obama will travel and make the traditional first foreign trip of American Presidents as he visits our “Neighbor to the North” – Canada and its leader Prime Minister Stephan Harper.  Heritage Scholars James M. Roberts and Ray Walser, Ph. D explain why this trip is so vital for continuing America’s partnership on a number of crucial issues.

Canada is one of America’s closest friends, as “reflected in the staggering volume of bilateral trade—the equivalent of $1.5 billion a day in goods—as well as in people-to-people contact. About 300,000 people cross the shared border every day.”[1] We are connected by everything from shared democratic values to the everyday matters like integrated auto manufacturing and professional sports teams. Will the new U.S. leader seek to impose an anti-trade, environmentally extreme agenda in line with his campaign promises? Or will he embrace Canada as a partner in a renewed effort to continue the historic policies of economic and entrepreneurial freedom that has produced record prosperity for both countries?

A lot of discussion will get packed into this short one-day trip.  Issues  range from trade to military commitments in Afghanistan.  Roberts and Walser suggest to the President and Canadian Prime Minister a number of ideas to handle these pressing matters.

  • Obama should pledge to seek immediate removal of protectionist “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus law and commit to further measures to deepen and strengthen NAFTA.
  • Obama and Harper should commit both countries to seeking private sector restructuring of the U.S. and Canadian auto industries.
  • Obama and Harper should commit to sensible, private-sector-led development of the vast oil sand deposits in Alberta.
  • Obama should use the opportunity to cement a viable and sustainable security partnership with the Canadian government in Afghanistan, in the Arctic, and elsewhere.