It is my very real pleasure, as the founder of the Canada-United States Law Institute ("CUSLI") and it's first U.S. Director, to open this 40th Anniversary Celebration on the occasion of the Institute's Annual Conference (called the "40th Anniversary Conference on Cooperation and Conflict: International Trade, Investment, & Cross Border Disputes." That pleasure in large measure stems from the fact that, after 40 years, now retired and an octogenarian, I find myself still vertical. More to the point, so is CUSLI, and in recognition of that occasion I have been asked, to paraphrase the physicist Stephen Hawkings, to reflect on those 40 years by giving "A Brief History of CUSLIs' Time." However, I have chosen instead to narrow that topic to "The Big Bang of CUSLI", that is, why and how CUSLI came to be, and note briefly what it looked like during and immediately following launch. After 40 years many people are broadly acquainted with it activities thereafter, but few remain alive who recall how this all began.
Following my remarks, I have also been asked to present an award which I am embarrassed to say has been named after me, the so-called "Sidney Picker, Jr. Award" to this year's recipient. Given who that recipient is this year, Rosemary Ann McCarney, it is my special honor to do so, particularly because, as will be clear when I introduce her, she was also a part of CUSLIs' "Big Bang."
The pre-bang beginning requires disclosure that I came to Case Western Reserve Law School ("CWRU") in 1969, hired sight unseen from Australia where I was on a one-year Fulbright Grant to research Pacific Basin Trade after having worked in the U.S. Government for what today is the United States Trade Representative on the then Kennedy Round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ("GATT") Trade Negotiations. CWRU felt compelled to add a full-time international law faculty member if it aspired to national law school status. Not all my colleagues were pleased with assigning a precious faculty position to international law, an area some called "cosmopolitan slumming" and others believed ranked right up there with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
Nevertheless, I happily slummed through the first three years teaching International Law and International Trade when in 1972 the American Society of International Law ("ASIL"), anxious to branch out from Washington-based activities and increase involvement nationwide, initiated a program of regional conferences around the country. They called and asked if I would organize one such in Cleveland. "Great," I said. "Post-Kennedy Round GATT" or "Pacific Basin Trade", areas I knew. "No," said they, "Something more relevant to your region, to Cleveland."
I recall exclaiming to my secretary, "What international could I possibly do that related to Cleveland? We're in the middle of the country; nothing foreign in sight!" "Wrong," she said, all I had to do was fly across Lake Erie to find a foreign country. "That's not a foreign country", I cried. "That's Canada!" What followed can best be termed a "lightbulb moment." Having "seen the light" I had enough sense to realize I knew nothing about Canada, and therefore nothing whatsoever regarding an appropriate conference topic. Fortunately, following a quick consultation with a local telephone directory, starting my search with the word "Canada", I discovered that there was then a Canadian Consulate here in Cleveland. I called, and to my delight the then Consul, Allen Kilpatrick, was thrilled at the idea that a local university would want to do something Canadian, and he happily agreed to meet with me. Out of that and subsequent meetings emerged not only a friendship but the topic for a conference on "North American Energy Development" which he helped me organize and obtain qualified academic and government speakers. Even more helpful and more surprising, together we packed the house; the one-day conference was a success.
So pleased was the ASIL that it asked me to repeat the performance the following year, and that same Consul encored his assistance. By then I'd learned enough to know that Canada was not only a foreign country but perhaps America's most important foreign country. It ranked as the Number One trade and investment partner of the United States (and vice versa), so I chose a topic this time closer to my international trade law professional background, "Canada-United States Trade Relations". That conference proved an even bigger success than the year before.
Organizing those two conferences made me realize that most Americans know almost nothing of Canada's culture beyond red-jacketed Mounties. By contrast most Canadians know much more about the United States, but not as much as they think they know. That knowledge is deep but selective; there are gaps. And what they know is filtered through the lens of unease a mouse might feel living next to an elephant; even the kindliest of elephants requires constant vigilance.
In more substantive terms, two years and two conferences did not make me an expert on Canada, but it did make me aware of how foreign Canada was. Notwithstanding the obvious commonality of the two countries, notwithstanding the similarity of the various regions of both countries from west to east, notwithstanding how similar the people looked and often (Quebec and "outs and abouts" aside) sounded, each was, in national terms, fundamentally different. Though complex, the difference can perhaps best be summarized by our core slogans. In the United States that is the individual-oriented "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". Canada's is the more socially focused "Peace, Order, and Good Government." In the United States the individual is made the centerpiece of society, and, being distrustful of government, the United States established both separation of power and checks and balances to assure as little interference with the individual as possible. In Canada, by contrast, social values form the centerpiece of society, and while there is deep respect for the rights of the individual there is a fundamental confidence that governance can be trusted ultimately to do the right thing, periodic interim errors notwithstanding. These differences, stemming from...