So Near Yet So Far
440 pages, 6 x 9
7 figures, 32 tables
Release Date:01 Nov 2012
Release Date:01 Jun 2012
Release Date:01 Jun 2012

So Near Yet So Far

The Public and Hidden Worlds of Canada–US Relations

UBC Press

How do politicians, diplomats, and interest groups negotiate the tangled web of Canada–US relations? So Near Yet So Far provides in-depth look at the multiple dimensions of this complex relationship, especially in the period since 9/11. It bridges the traditional gap between academic perspectives and those of diplomatic, policy, and government relations professionals to explore both the similarities and very significant differences between the two countries political systems and why both matter to anyone trying to understand or influence policy outcomes in both countries.

Based on almost 200 interviews with current and former government policy makers, opinion-shapers, and interest group leaders in both countries, the book analyzes the motives and mechanics of managing cross-border relations at several levels, including political-strategic, trade-commercial, cultural-psychological, and institutional-procedural. A concluding chapter assesses the implications of current policy trends for Canada’s foreign and international economic policies.

So Near Yet So Far will be of interest and value to practitioners, scholars, and citizens of both countries who want a better understanding of how the Canada–US relationship works – and can be made to work more effectively. Balanced and fair in its analysis, it gets to the core issues without distorting perspectives on either side of the border.

This book will appeal to students and scholars interested in Canada–US relations as well as to policy practitioners in government and in non-governmental organizations.


  • , Commended - The Hill Times List of Top 100 Best Books for 2012
So Near Yet So Far invites readers to rethink our relationship with an open mind, stripped of smugness or ‘ideological agendas. Holly Doan, Blacklock's Reporter
Hale’s book is a useful commentary on the history of the bilateral relationship, and an often insightful analysis of recent and current issues…overall, an informative study of an important relationship. G.A. McBeath, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Choice, Vol 50, No 6
Hale has…composed a thorough assessment of what he calls: ‘the three dimensions of Canada–U.S. Relations’; the political and procedural elements of the relationship; and a detailed examination of four policy fields. Highly recommended. Inside Queen’s Park Newsletter, For Your Bookshelf
Geoffrey Hale’s So Near Yet So Far offers an original look at the public and behind-the-scenes work of Canada-US relations, but it’s probably not a pool-side read for a holiday vacation. Hale’s informative work reads more like a textbook, suited for the trade, foreign policy, and energy and resource buffs…[it] is a thoughtfully-organized read, using short chapters, concise lists and tightly-written conclusions to drive Hale’s points home. Michelle Zilio, iPolitics
His research is comprehensive and his understanding of both countries impressive, his drafting crystalline and at times engagingly witty…he addresses with great sophistication, and amusingly, the political-strategic, trade-commercial and the psychological cultural dimensions of a relationship that has always risked inspiring fear and loathing in Canada and indifference and neglect in the United States…he is excellent on the challenges Canada faces in engaging key U.S. actors, including the administration of the day and Congress, and the instruments Canada has developed to promote its interests in the United States…Hale’s is a ‘must read’ for any new provincial premier in Canada (and relevant political and bureaucratic colleagues). David Malone, Literary Review of Canada
Outstanding in virtually every respect, So Near Yet So Far promises to become a mainstream text in the areas of Canada–US relations, Canadian foreign policy, and comparative Canada–US political institutions. It will also be a respected source among scholars interested in doing further research in these areas. Clear and very well written, this is a scholarly book that reads. Charles Doran, author of Why Canadian Unity Matters and Why Americans Care: Democratic Pluralism at Risk
So Near Yet So Far is both comprehensive and detailed … the concluding chapter is an excellent finale to a book which is so strong on analysis ... a marvelously researched work, based on a most impressive number of interviews. It represents an excellent manual or handbook for any scholar or practitioner desirous of working the Canada–US relationship. Michael Kergin, Former Canadian Ambassador to the United States
So Near Yet So Far provides an original and perceptive analysis of the frequently commented on, yet superficially analyzed, Canada–US relationship. In a book that brims with insider insights, Geoffrey Hale argues that relations between the two countries are as much localized (provincial to state) as federalized. It sets a new standard for publication in this field. Ross Burkhart, co-author of Turmoil in American Public Policy: Science, Democracy, and the Environment
The American political system is tough for non-Americans to navigate, even for the millions of Canadians who live right next door. With So Near Yet So Far, Geoffrey Hale, one of our foremost experts on Canada–US relations, has produced a first-rate analysis of the successes and failures of recent Canadian diplomacy in the US. This book ought to be required reading for Canadian diplomats, indeed for any reader wondering why issues such as mad cow disease, softwood lumber, or border security seem like such intractable problems. Greg Anderson, co-editor of Forgotten Partnership Redux: Canada–U.S. Relations in the 21st Century
Geoffrey Hale is a professor of political science at the University of Lethbridge.

1 Introduction: The Elephant and the Beaver – Proximity and Distance in Perspective

Part 1: Three Dimensions of Canada–US Relations

2 Guns, Globes, and Gardening: The Political–Strategic Dimension

3 Multi-Level Games: The Trade–Commercial Dimension

4 Neighbo(u)rs, Friends, and Strangers: The Psychological–Cultural Dimension

Part 2: Tactics and Strategies – Political and Procedural Dimensions

5 Governing from the Centre? Political and Policy Coordination in the Management of Canada–US Relations

6 Network Diplomacy: Engaging the Executive Branch

7 Canada and Congress

8 Canadian Public Diplomacy in the United States: Promoting Canadian Interests, Fostering Networks of Interest

9 Beyond the Beltway: Federalism, Regionalism, and Cross-Border Relations

Part 3: Specific Policy Fields

10 Smart Borders or Thicker Borders? Homeland Security and Public Safety Policies

11 Security, Facilitation, and the Border: Strategic Drift, Operational Segmentation

12 “Just a Trade Dispute?” Proximity and Distance from Different Perspectives

13 Shared Energy, Shared Energies? Engaging American Energy Policies in a North American Context

14 Conclusion: Managing Bilateral Relations in an Evolving North America




Find what you’re looking for...

Free shipping on Canadian orders over $40.

Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters
Current Catalogue
Fall 2021 catalogue cover with a gradient background
Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.