492,529 reasons to say no to merging with the U.S.

Tony Wilson
Boughton Law
The National Post’s editor-at-large Diane Francis has just written a book called Merger Of The Century: Why Canada And The United States Should Become One Country, which I just finished.

Francis is a smart and engaging writer and she’s also an entertaining speaker (I’ve seen her a few times). But to anyone who might’ve been watching the civil war in the United States over the past couple of months between the Tea Party Taliban (a term I stole from anchorman Will McAvoy in HBO’s The Newsroom) and President Barack Obama, her idea to merge the U.S. and Canada has become a bit of a dead parrot.

Don’t get me wrong. I like travelling to the U.S. and have lots of like-minded friends and clients there who can’t understand the erosion of civil society perpetrated by their ideologically motivated countrymen. For a few years of my life, I too wondered whether Canada’s destiny was so close to America’s that we should get rid of the border. So Francis’ thesis makes lots of business sense. “We’ve been dating heavily for generations,” she says, “so let’s talk about common law or even go all the way and get married.”

The price of this dowry, she calculates, is $492,529 per Canadian (with adjustments upwards made for older Canadians and downwards for younger ones).

It’s all payable as a lump sum to every Canadian to give up our sovereignty, our resources, our political institutions, our culture, our accents, the letter zed, and whatever else we own. I have some obvious problems with that.

1.    Well, we all know the name of this new merged country, don’t we. It’ll be called the United States of America. Sure we’d get Tom Cruise. But we’d also get Ted Cruz.

2.    As soon as I receive my check for $492,529 from Uncle Sam, I’m quadrupling my hourly rate to $1,600 per hour and increasing the rent I charge tenants in an apartment my wife and I own in downtown Vancouver five-fold. Why? Because now everyone can afford it. We’re all $492,529 richer. And besides, everyone else will be doing the same thing because everyone’s won the American lottery. Yay. Besides, who cares about hyperinflation anyway?

3.    Anyone who watched the government shutdown in the U.S. and the near-debt experience orchestrated by the Tea Party Taliban should convince Canadians their cheques may never be in the mail. Ever. If a country can almost default on its debts to the Chinese, who cares about 35 million Canadians, anyway? Watch that number get “negotiated down” in some pretty messy hardball. “That money we promised you Canadians,” I hear them saying, “sorry we have to re-negotiate that deal. We’ll pay you zero now. Is zero good for you?” What are we going to do about that shake down?

4.    Francis’ timing is unfortunate. One of America’s big problems is monetary in nature. In short, many of America’s money problems were caused by an unnecessary tax reduction to the uber-wealthy, and two wars; one of which was totally contrived and unnecessary. If war is God’s way of teaching Americans geography, God hasn’t taught them anything about paying for their wars. Until they figure out taxes are the price citizens have to pay for civilization, I’m not quite sure the U.S. is solvent enough to pay me my $492,529. I’d want security, like say, the State of Hawaii. And maybe in an irrevocable letter of credit. And a warship.

5.    They’d have to give up their guns, which is why it’s never going to happen. There is no reason on earth why any citizen needs a high-powered automatic rifle. Nor should any citizen have the right to walk the streets armed with a handgun. Period. The gulf is too wide.

6.    Apparently, our Constitution is better than theirs. Aharon Barak of Israel’s Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court, and others now see Canada as a constitutional superpower; our Charter of Rights serving as an inspiration for many countries around the world as to how a Constitution should be written. Canada may have surpassed or even supplanted the United States as a leading global export of constitutional law, argue two American law professors in an article called “The Declining Influence of the United States Constitution.” So why would we give up on that, anyway?

7.    Allowing for perhaps four million right-of-centre Canadians voting Republican, I can’t think the Republican Party in the U.S. could tolerate perhaps 31 more million gun-hating, slightly left-of-centre Democratic Party voters as citizens. It would destroy the GOP faster than it’s destroying itself now.

8.    There is a part of the United States that actually believes the denigrations spewed by the likes of Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other far-right-wing nut bars and nut bar news organizations that, frankly, will say anything to stop the currently elected president from accomplishing health care reform. And yes, it’s probably because he’s black. The values that are espoused by the Tea Party Taliban and others within the American right wing are so at odds with what I’ll call “Canadian sensibilities” as to be irreconcilable. Our cultures are too different.

9.    Robin Williams says Canada is the kindest country in the world: “You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab.” I don’t like meth labs.

I have a prime minister, not a president. I speak English and French, not American. I can proudly sew my country’s flag on my backpack. I believe in peacekeeping, not policing. Diversity, not assimilation. And that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal. A toque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch. And it is pronounced zed, not zee, zed. Canada is the second largest landmass, the first nation of hockey, and the best part of North America. My name is Tony, and I am Canadian!

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