A Treatise on the Peaceful Union
of Canada with the United States
|The following opinion piece was
written for this site by Todd Sutherland
of Mississauga, Ontario. It proposes a bold and courageous act
of legislation by the U.S. Congress that the Expansionist Party can
enthusiastically back. Indeed, we'd be willing to enlarge the proposal
to involve other areas as well, for instance Britain, Ireland, Australia,
and New Zealand.
It's Been Done
Throughout most of the history of the world, states seeking to enlarge themselves
typically did so at the expense of one another. Conquered areas became
colonies, slave states, or even faced murderous depopulation. Even
as civilized a state as Rome basically rolled over its neighbors one after
the other, to the very limits of its power, and often beyond. But in
one regard, the Romans were different from the other powers who came before
them, and most who followed. As Rome spread its language and civilization
to other lands, it began to extend the Roman franchise to the peoples it
had once conquered. In this way, Rome came to command the loyalties
of people far beyond the walls of that ancient city, and even beyond Italy
itself. Rome survived as an entity for most of a millenium due in part
to this policy.
The Niagara Frontier. Taken from the observation deck
of Brock's Monument in Queenston, Ontario. On the left and in the
foreground, Ontario, Canada; and across the river on the right, New York,
|In this modern age, politics, economics, and human
rights have brought us, for the most part, beyond the age of conquest.
Today, nations and peoples are coming together to bring down the barriers
that hem us in, hobble our trade, and make us strangers across frontiers.
We see in Europe the beginnings of a larger federation, a successor to the
Roman Empire, the empires of Charlemagne and Napoleon but this one
built by the will of free peoples, working in concert with one another.
A magnificent gamble that may pay off for hundreds of years to come.
In our quarter of the world, we find ourselves faced with a situation that
is at once much simpler, and yet more complicated. A unity of North
Americans is an idea simplified by geography and politics there are
only two nations, with similar languages, cultures, and government systems
involved and yet, curiously complicated by the distance of history.
The Monument to General Isaac Brock, who commanded the forces
of Canada during the War of 1812. He was killed here at Queenston Heights
in October, 1812, in an abortive US attack from just across the river in
NewYork. Historians have speculated that Ontario, largely populated
by Americans at that time, would have naturally evolved into a US state like
Texas or California, had not this needless war hardened attitudes.
The First American Civil
Isn't the One You Think It
Most US citizens don't conceive of the American Revolution as a civil war,
but that is precisely what it was. Paul Revere did not cry "The British
are coming!", because he was British. Paul Revere called
out to the Minutemen to warn them "the regulars" meaning the
army were coming. Startling as it may be to many US
citizens today, thousands of Redcoats were in fact born on American soil.
Samuel Adams once reckoned of the American Revolution that a third of the
people supported it, a third opposed it, and the other third didn't care.
As they would four score and seven years later in the Civil War, in the American
Revolution, Americans fought and killed each other. Benjamin Franklin
turned from his son William, the Loyalist governor of New Jersey, and never
spoke to him again. The war divided Americans one from another, and
at the end, those who opposed were forced to recant their opinions.
Those who would not, headed north to the recently-conquered lands of New
France, and founded Canada.
And so it remains to this day. Courteous, but apart. The children
of the same mother, who agree to disagree about the old lady's habits.
The centuries have brought a blurring, a merging of sorts, of two people
who never really were different peoples. One might be forgiven for
thinking that a complete union between these countries would be simple.
But the fact is, Canada remains to a large extent what it was; a nation founded
in opposition to a nation founded in opposition. Canadians are the
cousins and brothers and sisters of US citizens figuratively and quite
literally but with the license that can only come of consanguinity,
they look for and point out the little differences that separate them and
give them meaning as a nation, so similar, so close to another that looks
so much like home. And these are difficult habits to overcome.
|As for the people of the United States, was there ever
one born who didn't secretly wish to sprinkle a few more stars across his
flag? Was there ever a US schoolchild who looked at the map and didn't
yearn to complete the work started in 1776? Deep in their hearts, most
people in the United States think of Canadians as quirky kinsmen, people
who belong with them; and think of the United States, as a result, as a land
incomplete. Alaska, hanging off Canada into the Pacific, is the eloquent
proof of that sentiment to anyone with eyes to see.
And yet the Canadians remain quietly, oddly aloof. But if it's true
that everyone in the US dreams of more stars, then it's equally true that
Canadian children grow up wondering why they are, ever so slightly, the outsiders
in their own culture. To grow up Canadian in the 1970s was to grow
up watching Schoolhouse Rock, being stirred by the song they made of the
Preamble, and then learning that it was not yours in fact, that you
were represented by the cartoon demons in scarlet uniforms being driven into
the sea by pitchfork-wielding Patriots. Was there ever a Canadian born
who, in his secret heart of hearts, didn't think of his country slipping
away to join the US, something oh-so-obvious that somehow never came to
pass? Like virgins of old in fear of their virtue, Canadians find new
ways to fear the United States something they've grown very good at
lest they indulge themselves in the wickedness of "what if"
fantasies. They are like sailors who fear drowning in the smothering
embrace of the sea, never realizing they were mermaids all along.
How can we overcome this?
Canadians cling to their British heritage in large part
because it provides them with an important means to differentiate themselves
from the United States.
Giving the Key to the Canadian
Canadians, as things stand, will never come, cap in hand, begging to join.
Canada is a viable, modern federal state, at least as it is, and there is
simply not enough impetus to compel the bulk of Canadians to seek to join
the United States. It's too much trouble for too little gain.
Your neighbors may have a two-car garage and a swimming pool, but you'll
visit them, not come knocking on their door asking to move in.
But suppose your neighbor suddenly gave you the key?
The beautiful Niagara River valley, at peace for nearly
two hundred years (longer than the United States has been at peace with itself),
and the pride of two countries.
This is what I'm
...A magnificent gamble for the United States that, if it stays the course,
it cannot lose. In Quebec, they call separatism "le beau risque"
the beautiful risk. I have a beautiful risk of union
for the United States: give Canadians the key.
What this would require in nothing more than the United States government
publicly declaring, before the world, something to this effect:
"As of January 1, 2001, the government
and agencies of the United States, and the states thereof, shall for all
practical purposes, treat and regard the citizens of Canada as citizens of
the United States."
There is next to nothing that Canada, or the rest of the world, could do
or say about this: it would come in the form of a gift, from the US to
Canadians. After all, it's for the United States to decide who it will
and will not consider citizens (Italians born in other countries can still
be drafted into the service if they show up in Italy, for instance).
And since it would not constitute the extraterritorial application of US
laws, or the annexation of Canadian territory, no one in the UN or other
nations could object. Canada would still be Canada. But the United
States government would have succeeded in going over the heads of the Canadian
government in extending this largess to the Canadian people themselves; one
of the slickest coups in the history of the world.
A motorboat cavorting on the Niagara River, passing back
and forth between Canada and the United States as though the border did not
Happy New Year!
What would this mean? Canadians would wake up that day, in Canada,
under Canadian laws, still living in a separate country
would be different. Suddenly, they would also be US citizens
Americans, to be colloquial. Those driving to Buffalo or Detroit or
Seattle would be waved through at customs. Canadians living in the
United States would find their green cards superfluous: they would be US
citizens, and legally entitled to work (they would, of course, being resident
in the US, also be liable for the draft, and would have to leave the United
States if they strenuously objected
they would have to take the good
with the bad). Canadians in trouble abroad could expect to receive
help from US embassies. And Canadians would be legally entitled to
move to the US, take up jobs and residence there, and vote in elections once
they had lived there long enough to meet the residency requirements.
This represents a risk for the United States, because, at least initially,
it is very unlikely that the Canadian government would move to
reciprocate. To do so would basically undermine Canada to the point
that it would no longer exist, and would likely ruin the economy. And
so, while Canadians were citizens in the US, US citizens would likely remain,
for a time, welcome foreigners in Canada, as they are today. It would
mean, for a time, slightly increased competition for jobs, as thousands
of Canadians would attempt to exercise their newfound rights and try to find
work in the US market.
"American Falls", one half of the set of falls at
Niagara. Ironically, these falls can only be properly photographed
from Canada. The boat in the right foreground is The Maid of the Mist
|For perhaps five, ten, or even twenty years, this unequal
relationship would endure. The United States, the larger nation, would
have to shoulder the inequity during this time. Naturally there would
be grumbling and some resentment in the US. But as time passed, people
in the US would gradually see the change in attitude. Canadians, now
part of the US psychologically, would suddenly begin to
think as US citizens. They would come to support and
defend the US more than differ with it. They would have a vested interest
in the future and well-being of the US that they do not have today, and people
in the US would soon reap the harvest of the seeds they had sown. Rather
than picking up and moving their homes, increasingly Canadians would consider
picking up and moving their provinces, or the whole country, to the US.
They would come to use the US dollar, increasingly, because it would be
theirs. The pressure to normalize the relationship would build with
each passing year. "If you want me to stay in Winnipeg, pay me the
same dollar I'd make in Minneapolis." Or "Look how much lower the taxes
are in Iowa. Can't we do something about that?" Canada and Canadian
attitudes would melt down into the United States over the course of a generation
as surely as butter over a warm flame.
The United States Should Act, and
And Here's Why.
Some US citizens might be reluctant to offer this gift to Canadians for no
immediate return. If patriotism and generosity are insufficient to
move them, they must come to see extending US citizenship to Canadians as
an investment in the future. The US faces environmental challenges
in the next several decades that beg the peaceful annexation of Canada.
As the United States closes in on 300,000,000 people, the pressures on the
existing land and particularly water resources are becoming critical.
The US southwest is draining its aquifer at a suicidal rate, and it will
not be replenished within several human lifetimes. Already, the mighty
Colorado River never reaches the sea. [See the Expansionist Party's
discussion of creating "an interstate highway system for water" at
of millions of people will either need new water resources, or a place to
move. As we come out of the summer of 1998, the hottest on record,
the indications are it will only get worse. Temperatures in excess
of 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) will only become increasingly
commonplace. Arable land in the US Midwest is in danger of drying up
in a new dustbowl. The clement weather and growing seasons will in
all likelihood creep north, and people are going to need to follow.
While these conditions will provoke hardships on the US, they could actually
be beneficial to Canada, whose growing season and arable land area will
increase. Canada, with only 30,000,000 people, still has lots of room
for newcomers, whether from the US or elsewhere. And most crucial of
all, Canada is blessed with 14% of the world's fresh water more than
twice the resources of the United States. Canada has been deathly reluctant
to sign any deal that obliges its to share its water resources, so in order
get to them, the US will have three choices: illegal annexation at the cost
of thousands, even millions of lives and the crippling of the economy,
accompanied by the wrath of the world community an almost unthinkable
prospect; or to pay through the nose for water as they now pay for
Or: to gain the resources as their own by "purchasing" them
on the long-term lay-away plan making Canadians US citizens.
|It is, for the United States, le beau risque.
The wonderful gamble. The stakes are high, but the odds are stacked
completely in favor of the house. If the US did this, it is virtually
guaranteed that Canada, or at least most of Canada, would become part of
the United States within a generation. It would be exactly like pulling
the plug in the bathtub. There would be no turning back. The
best part is, this is a ball the US can start rolling, that requires no
cooperation from the Canadian government at all. In fact, there is
no practical course Canada's government could take in this day and age that
could seriously frustrate the plan. The United States would have spoken
to Canadians directly, and Canadians, increasingly, would respond.
There is every reason to do it. There is no reason not to do it.
The Romans got it backwards. They made war and then made citizens of
their conquests. The US can make citizens without conquest, and win
a country without firing a shot by letting Canadians discover what
they've known all along, but could never admit. They want in.
After 220 years, they want to come home.
"Canadian (or Horseshoe) Falls", just south of American
Falls. On the left is Goat Island, which is in New York; the border
begins basically at the water. For generations this unparalleled beauty
has filled the eyes of millions of young couples in what has become known
as "The Honeymoon Capital of the World". Could this one day be the
scene of the wedding of two countries?
Check out a
printable flyer with tear-off tabs for posting
on bulletin boards. If you'd like to post this flyer in your area, please
(a) fold back and forth several times on the line between the tab area
and main text so that if someone rips off a tab a chunk of the message won't
come off with it, (b) cut each tab free from the others, and (c) put
it up only in legally permissible display areas, such as bulletin boards
you are authorized to post to, public kiosks,
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