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Western's Canada U.S. Institute: a first in the country

by Karmen Dowling | August 31, 2010

Western's Canada U.S. Institute: a first in the country
Don Abelson

Western has launched the only “think tank” in the country devoted exclusively to studying the relationship between Canada and the United States.

The new Canada U.S. Institute will focus its teaching, research and policy development activities on the political, economic, legal, cultural and historical dimensions of the Canada-U.S. relationship. A centre for public opinion and voting behaviour will also be developed at the Institute.

The interdisciplinary initiative draws on expertise from across campus, including Arts and Humanities, Information & Media Studies, Law and Social Science as well the Richard Ivey School of Business. The institute also brings together under one umbrella three existing campus entities focused on related fields of study: the Centre for American Studies, the Canada-U.S. Law Institute, and the Lawrence National Centre for Policy Management.

It is anticipated the Canada U.S. Institute will require $17 million over ten years with $1 million coming from Western, $2.5 million from a Tri Council Research Grant, and the remaining $13.5 million from private donors.

The first study conducted by the Canada U.S. Institute was presented on April 13 in Washington, D.C. “Moving Closer or Drifting Apart? Assessing the State of Public Opinion on the U.S.-Canada Relationship” is by co-authors Cameron Anderson and Laura Stephenson who are both faculty members from Western’s Department of Political Science and researchers at the new Institute. They examined a host of key policy issues based on results from an extensive cross-border survey.

Don Abelson, Director of the Canada U.S. Institute, says the study speaks to how Canadians and Americans feel about how effectively their leaders are coping with pressing domestic and foreign policy matters.

“This report helps further our understanding of the various factors that shape one of the world’s most important and enduring economic and political relationships,” says Abelson. “In doing so, the authors have laid the foundation for additional studies intended to explore the complex nature of Canada-U.S. relations.”

For more information about supporting the Canada U.S. Institute, contact Kevin Goldthorp at 519-661-3858 or by email.

This article appeared in the Summer 2010 edition of Impact Western
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