No, Canada combining with the United States is neither inevitable nor desirable.
So there I was, just finishing up my Tim Horton’s bagel, enjoying the first few sips of my Tim Horton’s coffee when BAM! my morning show has on the most rage-inducing guest. Usually Global’s The Morning Show is pretty good. Certainly left of center and I generally agree with most of the views of the hosts. I’ve even grown to like John Tory thanks to TMS. But this morning, they crossed the line by bringing this guest on.
Diane Francis, author of Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country, was the guest du jour and spoke with much zeal about said book and its general concept. But the whole idea and the support she has for it is mind-numbingly idiotic. Francis claims that Canada merging with the United States is inevitable and would be great for both countries.
I’m sure you’re all wondering, but what about universal healthcare, great access to abortion, decently funded public schools, decriminalization for small possessions of marijuana and other lefty policy that us Canadians enjoy so much? Won’t they be washed away as soon as this merger takes place? Francis says no, because STATS. She claims that there are enough left-leaning people in Canada and the US to overhaul the government. That all of our cushy Canadian policy would be enacted on like day two of the merger and no one would have to Walter White to keep up with cancer treatments. The reality is that stats that say who might vote for whom are useless until it’s too late. We can’t promise Canadians that the services we enjoy will still be there and then oops! Americans actually aren’t having any of that.
My next major contention is that she proposes we move seamlessly into the US’s federal republic from our federal parliamentary democracy/constitutional monarchy hybrid. No offense, southerly neighbours, but if I had to choose, I’d choose my government style over yours. Sure, you have a much more direct voting system (maybe?) but what makes our system slow is the same thing that keeps actions in check. No one party (and we currently have six sitting in parliament – the Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals, Bloc Quebecois, the Green party as well as three independent members of parliament) has the room to do crazy things like, I don’t know, shut down government. In fact, our current prime minister has actually shut down parliament several times in the Canadian way, which means prorogation. Yes, we get pissed off each time he does it (he’s a fan of using it willy-nilly) but everyone still gets paid, we can still get shit done and not all of our proposed bills even get dropped. We can also kick a ruling party or party member out of power if they are in contempt of government – basically a loss of confidence that they can do their job.
Aside from the HUGE structural problems of combining these countries, Francis was absolutely horrible to watch. Her message was dripping with PR enthusiasm. At one point, she even told one of the hosts that it was their duty as people in the public realm to continue her conversation. Umm, no it isn’t. Yes, we’d probably be smart to discuss our neighbourly relations to make sure everything is up to snuff but there is no more need for us to discuss combining with the US than there is to have Sweden to merge with Finland or have the middle east become one giant state because why not.
At any rate, her book is getting panned. The National Post’s Jonathan Kay (who I generally dislike) takes on just one point Francis makes:
to ensure continuity with our hallowed universal-health-care ideals, we Canadians would be provided with “fraud-proof health cards, valid anywhere in the 50 states, 10 provinces or three territories. Americans would not be entitled to this benefit.” (The notion that U.S.-born citizens would tolerate living in a society in which they have fewer government-given rights than their Canadian-born neighbours is just one of the many eyebrow-raising assumptions contained in this book.)
Thank the Queen this will never see fruition. But shame on Diane Francis for ruining my morning.