Differences That Matter: Canada, the United States and Environmental Policymaking

Main Article Content

Leslie R. Alm
Ross E. Burkhart


Does the way Canada, as a nation state, approach international environmental policymaking make a difference with respect to solving environmental problems in the Americas? We argue that it does, and it is a difference that matters. Canadian efforts toward multilateralism and toward inclusiveness serve as a counter balance to the growing unilateralism and ever present exceptionalism of the United States, currently the most powerful country in the world, and Canada’s southern neighbor and regional partner in developing environmental policy that affects the northern Americas directly and all of the Americas indirectly. Our argument is made first generally, and then specifically using involvement and reaction to the goals set out by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), where, along with Mexico, Canada and the United States play leading roles. The basic contention of this paper is that the vision for and goals of the CEC are much more aligned with the way Canada perceives the way international environmental policymaking should be governed, and that by fostering that vision, Canada counters the tendency of the present-day United States administration to go at it alone, and thereby provides a linkage to other countries in the Americas to position themselves for participation in regional environmental policymaking.

Article Details

How to Cite
Alm, L. R., & Burkhart, R. E. (2006). Differences That Matter: Canada, the United States and Environmental Policymaking. AmeriQuests, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.15695/amqst.v3i1.49
Author Biographies

Leslie R. Alm, Boise State University

Leslie Alm is Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Policy & Administration, Boise State University. He has conducted extensive research on United States-Canada environmental policy, especially in regard to acid rain and the politics of science. His book "Crossing Borders, Crossing Boundaries: The Role of Scientists in the U.S. Acid Rain Debate" was recently published by Praeger Press.

Ross E. Burkhart, Boise State University

Ross Burkhart is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science, Boise State University. His research on cross-national democratization patterns has been published in American Political Science Review, European Journal of Political Research, and Journal of Politics.