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Froma Harrop
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US and Canada: Together at Last?

Comment

What country do Americans overwhelmingly like the most? Canada.

What country do Canadians pretty much like the most? America.

What country has the natural resources America needs? Canada.

What country has the entrepreneurship, technology and defense capability Canada needs? America.

Has the time come to face the music and dance? Yes, says Diane Francis, editor-at-large at the National Post in Toronto. Her book "Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country" is both provocative and persuasive.

"The genius of both societies is that they are very good at assimilating people from all over the world," Francis told me. "So why can't they do it themselves?"

Relatively small differences are why. Canadian intellectuals have long portrayed the United States as their violent, unruly twin. Many conservatives in this country, meanwhile, deride Canada as the socialistic land of single-payer medicine, gun control and other heavy regulation.

"I don't buy the narrative of American exceptionalism or Canadian superiority," says Francis, a dual citizen (born in Chicago). "Both have good points and bad points."

Americans close to the border already think a lot like Canadians, she notes. Some northern states actually have more liberal laws and lower crime rates than Canada's. "They are more Canadian than Canadians."

But set aside these "local" considerations. There's a big, scary reason the countries should merge: to create a united front against outside aggressors, especially China and Russia. These countries' sights are set on Canada's rich and poorly defended open spaces.

"Neither nation upholds the same values as Canadians or Americans," Francis writes, "and they represent Trojan horses that are eager to partition an already weak, fragmented Canada."

She goes on: "China has targeted Canada for years because of its enormous oil sands, its undeveloped resources, its dominant Arctic position, its backdoor entry into the U.S.

market and technology sector, and its vast landmass capable of supporting millions more people."

For example, China's state-run oil company was able to buy Nexen, the Canadian oil giant, for $15 billion — despite loud public opposition and warnings by Canadian intelligence. China got a trade deal giving it special market access for 31 years, while Canadians are still banned from buying China's iconic corporations.

Meanwhile, the melting Arctic is exposing massive resources. Canadian blood pressure rose when Russian explorer Artur Chilingarov announced, "The Arctic is Russian" — and then his sub planted a Russian flag on the seabed.

Canada can hardly defend its territory in an age of resource grabbing while ranking 14th in defense spending and 74th in military manpower. Only the United States can do that, which, of course, it's been doing all along. Americans are tiring of providing free rides to other countries.

The United States and Canada could reach the altar by several paths. One would start with a single currency, move to a customs union and end at political union. Europe is already at monetary union. "The countries have different health care systems, different taxes, but there's no border."

What does each partner have to offer? "Canada's best assets include its resources, stability and banking system, its strong relationship with the United States and an educated, law-abiding people," according to Francis.

America offers a culture of risk taking and entrepreneurship. It leads the world in technology and defense.

"There's no excuse for two countries as similar as us to not get rid of the border after 26 years of free trade," Francis says.

A merged Canada and U.S. would occupy more land than Russia or all of South America. It would become an energy and economic powerhouse less subject to foreign intrigue.

And few countries would mess with either of us.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM



Comments

14 Comments | Post Comment
If I don't agree with you will I be fired?

Comment: #1
Posted by: Tom
Tue Apr 8, 2014 9:53 AM
It would be great ! "New Canada"! The Americans would soon get used to our laws and soon learn how to speak French, as they must. They will eventually succumb to our superior gun laws too! It may take a while to adjust to the no more Mr. president bit, but they will get used to it.Wow...I can't wait!
Comment: #2
Posted by: Mr. x
Tue Apr 8, 2014 1:24 PM
I would take to the ice and hide amoung the Inuits before I'd succumb this. Long Live Free and Royal Canada!
Comment: #3
Posted by: diggerjohn
Tue Apr 8, 2014 1:36 PM
Why chain ourselves to a sinking ship ? We should be friendly but distant to the states.
Comment: #4
Posted by: AKAHorace
Tue Apr 8, 2014 3:35 PM
America would have to meet a few conditions for any such merger:

- Get America's runaway spending under control. Not merely stop the yearly deficits from getting ever larger, but end them altogether. And then pay down a substantial fraction of its debt. BEFORE Canadians have to share it.

- Jail those in the previous administration who turned the country into a torture state. Jail those in the current administration who failed to jail those in the previous administration, and who have continued to keep people jailed without trial.

- If not able to jail the vast number of bankers who turned industry-wide mortgage fraud into industry-wide investment fraud - along with the Congressman who have since blocked legal reforms that would stop it from happening again - then at least prevent them from having anything to do with the financial industry or politics. Adopt stricter banking rules.

- Do away with SuperPACs and anything that smells like one. Either do away with unlimited campaign donations by the super-wealthy, or make such "investments" fully open to public scrutiny.

- Fix Congressional deadlock. Do away with supermajority and filibuster rules. Or simply state intent to adopt Canada's parliamentary system.

- Adopt Canada's gun laws, particularly bans on assault rifles and on simply carrying guns around. (We may give mixed messages on this: While we don't want assault rifles, Americans' ability to have privately owned field artillery is kind of awesome.)

- Adopt a public health care system like every other modern country.

No doubt each of these conditions is a show stopper for the US. And yet each, given the circumstances, is perfectly reasonable. Each one unmet is absolutely a show stopper for Canadians.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Roger Strong
Tue Apr 8, 2014 4:00 PM
I lived in Europe for 20 years, was in South America for 1 1/2 year, then 3 years in Australia. Had to make a move to a country closer to Europe but not Europe. Of all the places that where available to me America was on the last place and picked Canada to live . Next choice would have been New Zealand but to far away.
I hope that the marriage between Canada and the USA will never happen. If so I would seriously consider moving to New Zealand. To me having lived in Australia I consider the Australians the Yankees of the Pacific, same arrogance and black and white view on everything. To much like GW Bush, it's my way or the highway for me
Comment: #6
Posted by: Cynical175
Tue Apr 8, 2014 4:33 PM
There is not a politician of any party in Canada, who is brave enough to even mention the idea of a possible U S / Canada merger. They would not hear the wind whistle, they would be kicked out of office so quickly. Canadians have a love hate relationship with the States. We love them to stay on their side of the border and we hate reading about their thirst for a merger. On a more serious note, this idea is a complete non starter. We may be similar in some respects but the underlying cultural differences are simply too great. One side or the other would not be willing to stomach the compromises that would be necessary in any suggested union. This is not to say that aspiring Quislings such as Ms Francis would not want one
Comment: #7
Posted by: R Earl
Tue Apr 8, 2014 9:39 PM
Union is a wonderful idea in many ways. Americans are truly our first cousins and should be our brothers. Unfortunately from a Canadian perspective, their political system seems dysfunctional and log-jammed, and their imperial presidency, with head of state and executive functions combined in one person, is alien and cumbersome. However we share so much, and probably do belong together to reinforce one another in an uncertain and often threatening world.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Timothy Barnes
Wed Apr 9, 2014 1:41 AM
I t doesn't need a war when a writer is so clear of what suits herself (and her country) when the needs and requirements of the country that her country should absorb is not even considered subordinate to her own country's needs.
The head of state in Canada is Queen Elizabeth. What of Canada's much stronger ties to the UK?
Does Canada need to be drawn into the multitude of vices that affect the USA but are not inherent in Canadian society and government.
And mentioning government; the USA will be governed from Ottawa?
Does this writer get paid by the word irrespective of what tripe is spread all over her pages?
Comment: #9
Posted by: roy barrie
Wed Apr 9, 2014 6:13 AM
No chance... No way... No how!! would Canadians seriously consider merging with the United States. For a while thirty years ago - when American national politics was less insane - the idea was floating around here in Canada, but today the mere thought scares the hell out of people.
Something like twenty percent of the American population cannot not find us on a map anyway. We are simply that large empty space on national weather maps. A mysterious place where hockey, polar bears and Justin Bieber come from.
Not for a nanosecond would Americans consider switching to the metric system (even though only 3 or 4 other countries still use Imperial measurements) let alone tightening gun laws and introducing a single payer healthcare model.

Americans are hated with a burning passion by the peoples of some other nations. Canadians... not nearly so much, and we would like to keep it that way. (Not the hatred for Americans, I mean.)
Comment: #10
Posted by: DarkSkyGuy
Wed Apr 9, 2014 8:22 AM
Re: roy barrie

Yes... and something tells me that Americans would not want the Queen (or perhaps Prince William in the future) to be on their legal tender either.
Comment: #11
Posted by: DarkSkyGuy
Wed Apr 9, 2014 8:28 AM
This must be a very interesting topic. I an usually the only commenter to Froma's column, and now 10 pop up out of no where. While the idea is very complex and interesting, it will never happen. Why would Canada want to inherit a 18 trillion dollar debt and unsustainable budget?
Comment: #12
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Wed Apr 9, 2014 9:11 AM
For a moment there, I thought I was watching SUN News Network.
What has this writer been eating, smoking, or drinking?
Good April Fools Day joke, but a week too late.
Comment: #13
Posted by: G. Lee
Wed Apr 9, 2014 12:12 PM
Re: Timothy Barnes
Well said my man. It's a love-hate relationship that makes just as much sense as it pains us to say so. While we're inherently different, the day will almost inevitably come when we are united as one. I'm not sure we'll see that day in my lifetime, though it wouldn't surprise me.

Thanks for your message.
Comment: #14
Posted by: DZT
Wed Apr 9, 2014 7:50 PM
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