Chapter 12

Unipolarity, since 1993: The United States and Canada after the Cold War


3 December 1997 More than 80 countries signed the Ottawa Convention on Landmines, prohibiting the use of anti-personnel landmines. Eventually, more than 160 countries signed and ratified the agreement, though the United States refused to take part.
26 May 1999 Canada and the United States reached an agreement to end a bitter trade dispute over magazines. In 1994, the Chrétien government imposed an 80 per cent tax on the advertising revenues of split-run magazines. The US took the issue to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which ruled against Canada in 1997. Yet Canada refused to back down, banning split-runs from accepting any advertising in Canada. Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps only agreed to compromise after the US threatened to apply retaliatory tariffs on Canadian steel, a key export from Copps’s hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.
11 September 2001 Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked commercial airliners and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington, DC. Shortly thereafter, Canada announced that it would take part in the International Campaign against Terrorism in Afghanistan.
17 March 2003 Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced Canada would not join the US in going to war in Iraq. US Ambassador Paul Cellucci reprimanded the Canadian government, but the decision was popular in Canada.
24 February 2005 Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that Canada would not participate in the US Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system. Martin had earlier suggested that Canada would take part, but changed his position after the Liberal government lost its majority in the House of Commons and as the Bush administration became increasingly unpopular in Canada.
20 October 2005 UNESCO adopted the Cultural Diversity Convention. After having lost the split-run magazine case before the World Trade Organization in 1997, Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps sought to create a new international agreement on culture. The goal was to ensure that countries could pursue their own cultural policies without worrying about retaliation from other trading partners. The United States has refused to be a party to the Cultural Diversity Convention and will not be bound by its terms. At best, the agreement was a symbolic victory for Canada.