John Diefenbaker's Latin American policy was based on his vision of Canada's national interest, which placed a strong emphasis on the achievement of greater autonomy in foreign policy for Canada vis-a-vis the US and the expansion of Canadian exports to the region. Though Diefenbaker was often accused of being driven by anti-Americanism, instead his Latin American policy was based on his vision of Canada's national interest. For Diefenbaker, an enhanced relationship with Latin America had the potential to lessen Canada's dependency on the US, while giving Latin American countries an outlet for their trade, commercial and financial relations other than the US. This new approach implied that Canada would formulate and implement policy that focused more on Canadian political interests and goals. It was not a matter of charting a totally independent policy from the US in Latin America - true policy independence was impossible to achieve. Nor was it the case that Canada would necessarily set itself in opposition to the US when it disagreed with its policies. For Diefenbaker the goal was to pursue a foreign policy that was aligned with, but not subservient to, the US.
About the Author: Jason Zorbas is a Lecturer in Political Studies at St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He holds a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan and is the author of a number of articles concerning John G. Diefenbaker.