This week, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of ratification of the Treaty of Ghent. It’s probably not something you think about often.
That treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate on Feb. 17, 1815, ended the War of 1812. Since that treaty was ratified, the United States has enjoyed peaceful relations with its closest neighbor, Canada.
American-Canadian relations have been good for so long that the notion of hostility between our two nations is absurd. The idea of a barbed-wire border fence between America and Canada is farther away than the possibility of a tunnel to Russia.
Good relations didn’t come naturally. Canada and America are two different countries with different ideas on the issues. That we enjoy good relations is the product of hard work by thousands of people, diplomats and ordinary citizens alike, past and present.
Lately, this newspaper has focused on the problems Alaska is having with Canada — transboundary mines, the Prince Rupert ferry terminal — but today, we’d like to say thank you to Canada and think about all the reasons we have to be grateful for good relations.
The Canadian-American border is the longest unmilitarized border in the world. Americans and Canadians daily cross the fringes of their countries without difficulty. We might grouse about having to go through a customs check, but the process is by and large easy.
This week marked the culmination of the 2015 Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race. Mushers sped across the ice and snow from Whitehorse to Fairbanks and were acclaimed on both sides of the border.
This summer, thousands of tourists will cross the border in recreational vehicles and on the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad. Canada is Alaska’s fourth-largest trading partner, behind only China, South Korea and Japan.
One hundred years ago this week, the Dawson News telegraphed this newspaper, saying: “Greetings and congratulations on the anniversary of a hundred years peace between America and Great Britain. May it be permanent and the northern neighbors continue to prosper under the two flags.”
We don’t know what the future will bring, but we hope the next century will hold more Alaska-Canada cooperation and less discord.
As the Empire said in its response to the Dawson News telegram 100 years ago, “Let Alaska-Yukon influence be exerted constantly toward the end that the 5,000-mile American-Canadian boundary shall remain unfortified as a monument to enlightened … civilization.”
— Juneau Empire,