Radio Address to the Nation on Canada-United States Relations

April 4, 1987

My fellow Americans:

President John F. Kennedy once said of Canada and the United States that: ``Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies.'' Well, tomorrow I'll be headed north to visit the people of Canada and to hold 2 days of meetings with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. As neighbors, allies, partners, and friends, we've got much to discuss.

As nearby neighbors, the environment has always been a high priority for both our countries. Since the 1909 Boundary Waters treaty, Canada and the United States have worked together to protect border lakes, rivers, and streams. We can be proud of what we've accomplished on this account, especially in protecting the Great Lakes, and this year we'll determine if more needs to be done. Air pollution, another major environmental concern, has diminished in North America since the U.S. passed the pioneering Clean Air Act of 1970.

However, Canada and the United States continue to worry about the consequences of acid rain. In March 1986 Prime Minister Mulroney and I endorsed the report of our special envoys on this problem, and last month I directed our administration to undertake three major steps to carry out the envoys' proposals.

The first is to seek the full government funding recommended by the envoys -- $2.5 billion over 5 years -- for demonstration of innovative pollution control technology. Industry will be encouraged to invest at least as much during the same period. Second, the Secretary of Energy is in the process of establishing a panel -- with participation by the Environmental Protection Agency, the State governments, the private sector, and the Government of Canada -- to advise him on pollution control projects. Third, I've also asked the Vice President to have the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief examine local, State, and Federal regulations that might inhibit the deployment of new emission control technologies and other innovative emission reduction measures. We can be grateful that on these cross-border environmental questions our two countries are working with each other, rather than against each other.

The same is certainly true when it comes to peace and security. As allies, the United States and Canadian Armed Forces are partners in NATO and in NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, as well as in peacekeeping operations around the world. The Western alliance has kept the peace these last 40 years, but it isn't without cost. The Mulroney government has pledged higher defense spending to make certain Canada is carrying its part of the load, a move which NATO and the United States Government welcome. We've also been able to count on the Mulroney government to support our efforts to reach agreements with the Soviet Union to reduce the number of nuclear weapons threatening mankind. Our consultations with Canada on this subject are thorough and frequent. Similarly, our cooperation and coordination in the fight against international terrorism stand as examples to the rest of the world.

Our record on the economic front is similarly impressive. Canada and the United States, emphasizing deregulation and invigoration of our private sectors, have recorded two of the best rates of economic growth and job creation among industrialized nations during this expansion. When it comes to economics and trade, Canada and the United States speak as partners. A full one-fifth of our foreign trade is with Canada. We are each other's largest trading partners. In fact, we have more trade with the Canadian Province of Ontario than with any other foreign nation.

Our economic relationship may already be the largest and most dynamic in the world, and we're working to make it even better. Our goal is a free trade agreement that will remove tariffs and nontariff barriers between us. Spurring U.S.-Canadian trade and investment will improve our economies and strengthen our competitive ability in world markets. Although much hard bargaining lies ahead, we are optimistic that a comprehensive plan, mutually beneficial and advantageous to both sides, can be hammered out this year.

Canada and the United States, as you see, share much more than a common border; we share a democratic tradition, and we share the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of free people. When I arrive in Canada tomorrow, I will take the best wishes of the people of the United States to our good friends the people of Canada.

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:06 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White House.