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CANADIAN HISTORY: 1930-1940
In the twentieth century, especially from the commencement of World War 1, Canada’s relationship with the United States of America grew closer and closer in different ways. These links contributed immensely to Canada’s prosperity and their consequent sharing of the high standards of living that characterized the North American. These ties necessitated the gradual development of economic integration between the two nations. Basing on the events characterized by reactions of nationalists in English Canada, the idea of economic integration proceeded and culminated with a Free Trade Agreement in the year 1988. This article presents an argument from the perspective of economic ties between the United States of America and Canada. As much as Canada seems to have benefited from this relationship, there were also negative aspects involved. Therefore, the paper endeavors to find out on what ways the decade from 1930 to 1940 can be either considered as “lost decade” or not in the Canadian History.
To begin with, in a hurry to come up with an economic relationship with the United States of America, the Canadian policy makers significantly played down the national interests. Instead, they gave room to the policy makers from the United States to underestimate the Canadian nationalists’ concerns and its ramifications to build up the relationship. Secondly, the manner, by which the economic integration proceeded ahead side by side with closer military relationships, made it more complicated for Canada to seek foreign policies free from excessive influence from the United States. Thirdly, the Canadian case gives a dark side of the government to government agreements. In spite of the agreements that existed between these two countries, there was a strong political, sectorial, or regional lobby in the United States that sought to control and direct the general aspects of the agreement in their favor. Later revelations showed that the policy makers of Canada needed to be a little more careful, as far as the formulation of foreign policy and trade agreements were concerned. The Canadian government paid less attention on the idea of possible future amendments, a factor that gave the special interest groups in the United States to take control of the Canadian economic and political aspect.
Historically, the efforts to disengage Canada from the empire and the misleading notion that geographical contiguity meant that the United States and Canada ought to tie their economies have existed for a considerable time. For instance, by the year 1910, nationalists, such as Pepper and other experts serving in the Taft administration, seemed to express their concerns over the issue. By the years 1930-1940, these individuals had become key figures in routine remarks on the diplomatic correspondence. Unfortunately, their concerns were largely ignored by the policy makers of Canada. However, the challenges facing Canada were much greater than what the likes of Andrews and Pepper claimed. The greatest single control that United States had on this nation was by means of tariffs rather than policies proposed by Pepper and his compatriots. As though to confirm the fears of Canadians, the then Prime Minister Arthur Meighen made a conclusive statement, “Give me control of the tariff policy of the United States for a period of ten years and I can do more for the welfare of Canada." In other words, the Prime Minister noted that the U.S. control of the tariffs was main contributor to the challenges that were facing Canada within that decade.
In conclusion, I want to agree with the thesis statement that the decade spanning the years 1930-1940 can be regarded as lost decade for Canada. One of the greatest challenges that can happen to the government of any country is to lose control of the economy of the country. This is exactly what faced Canada within this that period. The policy makers seemingly were myopic in their vision. They allowed the United States to lure them into hasty trade agreements that sold their economic independence to U.S. Consequently, their economic power took a downward. Similarly, the various policies and agreements that were made implied that military control of the two nations were linked together. The United States took advantage of their economic and military prowess to influence most of the decisions of Canada. As a matter of fact, the government of Canada could hardly carry out other foreign policy engagements without the hands and influence of the United States. In other words, their hands were tied by the United Stated. As such, it is evidently clear that Canada lost control of itself in the years 1930 to 1940. There are a number of lessons that Canada must have learned from the 1930-1940 decade. First, it is unwise to rush into unthinkable relationships in so far as economic, trade, defense, and foreign policy are concerned. Second, care needs to be taken while sealing trade agreement and foreign policies as nations always endeavor to coin the policies and agreements to their favor. Finally, the call of nationalists should always be given serious consideration. The diplomatic ties between the government of Canada and that of the United States became warm until they disregarded the voices of nationalists.