Canadian journalist Diane Francis believes the U.S. and Canada should merge and become a super-duper power. While this idea might be easier for some to digest coming from a Canadian, I imagine a significant number of her fellow citizens dwelling north of the 49th parallel would seriously balk at such a move.
Americans living close to the Canadian border really like Canadians. And while Canadians might not be as keen on their southern (and northern — let’s not forget Alaska) neighbors, as well as some of the harder aspects of American life (rampant gun violence, for example), a close cultural affinity and mutual admiration does exist.
More importantly, Francis worries about Canadian security. States with vastly different values willing to exploit weak points in the Great White North’s armor pose a real threat. With the Chinese government and Chinese firms investing heavily in Canada and buying up geopolitically important Canadian companies like Nexen oil and gas — combined with Russia flaunting its muscle in the Arctic by planting a flag on the North Pole’s seabed — Canada, with its relatively small population compared to its enormous land mass, is extremely vulnerable.
American security guarantees, which are already offered more or less gratis thanks to proximity and shared interests, would be cemented in perpetuity by the creation of a North American super state. The resulting nation would be the largest on Earth, with a vast array of natural resources, plus a substantial educated population, at its command.
While this idea has been around since the founding of the United States, and is not without its merits, national pride (on both sides of the border), perceived differences, as well as real differences — not to mention that pesky question of independence for Québec — make the notion of Ameri-Canada an unlikely reality.
Even so, and because I love to play the wisecracking devils’ advocate, I thought I’d make a short list of some of the pros and cons of an American (the country, not the continent, for all of those clever, politically correct word police out there) and Canadian merger. Here they are:
United North America
Undefeatable national hockey teams for the next 500 years.
Maple syrup on everything, from pancakes to hot dogs to gourmet fish tacos — or maybe this one falls under “con.”
Better names for American currency. Canadian loonies and toonies could become “looney toonies” or “lunar moonies” (not to be confused with the Holy Spirit Association For the Unification of World Christianity).
Fewer guns in the (former) USA.
No more long waits at the border.
A member of the Commonwealth? Could be negative for some people too. Just don’t ask folks in Texas to put the queen on their new money.
Americans might become a little more polite, and just a little less loud.
Moose meat for everyone.
Gracious boasting rights. “Yes, we’re the biggest, most badass nation on Earth … but we’re still very nice.”
Students would now have to take two years of French, in addition to Spanish, in high school — and still not be able to speak either language very well.
Canadian actors and entertainers, like Alanis Morissette, Bryan Adams, Ellen Page, Jim Carrey, Justin Bieber, Neil Young, Pamela Anderson, Seth Rogan, Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds (it’s a long list, I’ll stop with the “Ryans”), would no longer be able to go home and report about “making it” in America.
The term “eh” would have to be employed a lot more. “So, you’re from that newfangled North American Union, eh?”
A massive surplus of old flags.
Americans would have to learn even more geography (where in the heck is Ecum Secum?), which they’re already struggling with.
We’ll all find out that Canadian beer doesn’t actually have more alcohol than American beer. Some myths should just be left alone.
Come a hard winter, the entire population of what was once Canada will vacation in Florida — all at the same time.