maintain some room for maneuver.xxxvii Following a second review of the relationship with Latin America in 1989, Canada became a full member of the OAS in 1990. Humanitarian aid was increased throughout the region but especially in Central America, and development assistance was concentrated on Central America and the Caribbean. Trade promotion programs were focussed on Mexico and the Southern Cone Countries, Chile plus Mercosur.
Looking to the future, Mace and Goulet argue that:xxxviii
It seems there will be no turning back on gains made thus far. Furthermore, Canada’s status in the world has changed since the 1950’s and 1960’s, and the country has considerably fewer options now. Africa offers little promise, Canada is no longer a significant player in Europe, and the Canadian position in Asia remains highly uncertain. More importantly still, the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the USA has sealed our fate as a member of the Americas.
Indeed, they argue that the primary problem facing Canada is the overwhelming domination of the hemisphere by the US and Brazil. In order to exercise some control over their affairs, the authors suggest “a sort of informal concert of middle powers in the region.”
In several instances, after being rebuffed by the US congress in an initiative to achieve closer trading and investment ties with the US, bi-lateral agreements have been signed with Canada. Small compensation, to be sure, but this does enable Canada to continue to assert its independence from the US. This has been especially true in Canada’s openness to cultural, educational, investment, tourism and trade ties with Cuba. In this instance Canada has been able to position itself in alignment with the EU both in general bi-lateral relations and in more specific opposition to US initiatives such as the Helms-Burton Act, which penalizes foreign citizens and companies having contact with Cuba.