US PRESIDENTS AND CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS: GOOD VIBES, OR NOT
By Gil Troy and L. Ian MacDonald
This month’s campus events don’t exactly buck the trend. Two events in particular will close out the month with some serious, and star-studded, discussions about U.S.-Canada relations.
The first, and decidedly more glamorous, event is a two-day conference held in the swanky Hotel Omni Mont-Royal, but flying under the McGill flag. The event, entitled ‘Canada and the United States: Conversations & Relations’, seems like old hat at first glance but a quick peek at the guest list certainly suggests otherwise. Scheduled to attend the event are Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada, the current Governor General of Canada David Johnston (a McGill head back in the 1990s), Quebec Premier Jean Charest, and acting Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, among a gaggle of other ambassadors, academics and career politicians. The format of the conferenace should please lecture-weary undergrads, as the organizers have opted for informal, moderator-led, conversations in lieu of the traditional podium and PowerPoint format. How many McGill students will actually be able to get in the doors is another question all-together. Registration has already been closed, and the majority of students that attend have probably been hand-picked from the department that is hosting the event, The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. In any case, the entire event will be web cast live here. Unfortunately, technology hasn’t advanced enough to have the cocktail portion of the event transmitted via the web. One day. For now, students can watch some major players in regional politics talk about the challenges of sharing the North American continent from the safety of their own room. Just don’t try to attend if you haven’t been invited, security will be tight.
The other event focusing on US-Canada relations will keep the red carpet in storage and is decidedly more student-friendly. Gil Troy, McGill history professor and Queens, New York native will be hosting a lunch-time conference entilted ‘Obama at the Midterm’ on March 28th in the Leacock building’s room 232. The conference promises to be a non-partisan look at the challenges, choices and expectations facing U.S. president Barack Obama as he wades into the second half of his first term with the specter of a presidential re-election campaign looming. With American unemployment hovering near %10, U.S. led strikes launched against the Libyan regime, and a country-wide budget crisis in the news, there should be plenty to talk about. Although not quite up to snuff with the President’s, Troy’s resume is impressive, with a long list of book and article publications attached to his name. Registration for the event is required, but if you can’t make it the entire event will be streamed live for free. Either way, political junkies shouldn’t miss Troy’s talk.
Canada and the United States: Conversations and Relations
March 24th, 25th
Hotel Omni Mont-Royal (1050 Sherbrooke St. West)
Lunch and Learn with Gil Troy: Obama at Midterm
March 28th: 12:30pm
Room 232, Leacock Building
AP/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, shakes hands with United States President Barack Obama after taking part in a joint press conference in February in Washington, D.C.
According to McGill University Professor Gil Troy, the U.S. is a tone setter for pop culture and political culture and Canada can get caught up in the wake of this colossus. But Americans tend to look at Canada as “the nice nation next door” with some interesting little idiosyncrasies.
David Biette, director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, says that U.S. officials pay little mind to Canada because the relationship between the two countries just “works.”
Troy and Biette will be moderating a conference this week at McGill University looking at the relationship between Canada and the United States.
Click Listen to hear Jane Lindholm’s interview with Gil Troy and David Biette.
Tuesday, 03/22/11 Noon and 7pm
Canada and the United States tend to agree on most everything. But Canada has taken a different tack on wars in Iraq and Vietnam. And there are also differences of opinion on trade and energy.
So is it a perfect marriage between the two countries separated by the 49th Parallel? A conference convenes in Montreal this week to answer the question. We hear from McGill University Professor Gil Troy and David Biette, director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, on what Canadians really think about their southern neighbors.
Let us know what you’ve observed about the relationship between these two countries and if there are any issues on the horizon that could alter it. Post your comments or questions here or email them to Vermontedition@vpr.net.
Plus, Montreal’s charter calls it “a French-speaking city,” but a recent survey conducted by the Association of Canadian Studies found that 81% of Quebecers thinks it’s bilingual. We hear from those living in Montreal about what they think.
And, VPR’s Bob Kinzel provides an update on what’s going on in the State House during this 71st biennial session of the Legislature.