Imperialist Canada, Todd Gordon, Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2011

In: Historical Materialism
Henry Heller University of Manitoba

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In the immediate postwar period, liberal internationalism was the hallmark of Canadian foreign policy. In part this position was intended to protect Canadian sovereignty from the too-close embrace of US Cold-War imperialism. But this multilateral and peacekeeping approach was partly a veneer meant to disguise the fact that Canada was of necessity a close American ally in the fight against communism. This strategy was abandoned by the Canadian state in the late 1990s in favour of a more militaristic and aggressive approach. The dependency-school of Canadian Marxist political economy that flourished from the 1970s argued that Canadian conformity with American foreign policy resulted from the fact that American economic dominance over Canada and lack of a strong national bourgeoisie made it a willing instrument of American foreign policy. Reflecting a challenge by a new school of Marxist political economy, Todd Gordon argues convincingly that Canada is an imperialist entity with its historic roots lying in the dispossession of the indigenous peoples. It is based on its strong national bourgeoisie which is flourishing under neoliberalism. But whether imperialist Canada is independent of the United States is more contestable.

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