Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
September 6, 1999
Engagement to Sam needs close study
This summer the government announced that it was reviewing our relationship with the U.S. An excellent idea. What is not so good is that the treview was promoted by proponents of closer economic and political ties and borderless continentalism.
Before we rush into bed with our colossal neighbour it might be prudent to check the credentials of the object of our desires.
This is not a question of Canada trying to protect its virginity - we have engaged in intimate relations with the U.S. on a number of occasions. But some caution is warranted before we tie the knot.
It is quite acceptable in the age of quantifiable rtesult management to count the ways in which Big Sam fails to pass the test as someone to pledge our troth to for better or worse.
Remember that our Fathers of Confederation intentionally built an East-West railway to prevent any hanky panky from happening. In a permissive age though, all these barriers for political, cultural and economic union are being dismantled. It is hard to tell who is seducing whom.
Here is a random list of objections I would raise before the blushing bride even dreams of applying for a licence.
1) The prospective groom has a violent streak.
The U.S. supplies around 40 per cent of the developing world's arms. It has a military budget as large as the next 10 top spending countries combined. It has a standing army of 2.4 million troops. The U.S. has used arms abroad every year for the past 200 years. It is involved in escalating numerous conflicts outside its borders.
Since 1990 the number of major U.S. army deployments abroad has been three times more often than that for the period between 1946 and 1989. It dropped twice has many bombs on Vietnam as all the countries involved in the Second World War dropped on each other.
Canada sneaked into bed and became the world's largest per capita vendor of military merchandise during the wars in Indochina. Our plutonium is used in U.S. cruise missiles.
2) Sam doesn't pay the bills: The U.S. is $1.5 billion in arrears to the UN and affiliated agencies but bullies the organization as if it owned the place.
The foreign aid budget of the richest nation has been for years the lowest of all industrialized countries at 0.2 per cent of GNP. Canada is following suit. This is a trickle compared to around one per cent of GNP for Sweden and the Netherlands.
While aid to the poor is rapidly downsized, the Pentagon's budget for Ballistic Missile Defence this year was more than $4.1 billion and the Congress recently approved another $13 billion for the Kosovo "humanitarian" war effort. Canada joined the posse.
3) Everybody's uncle makes a poor father. It is one thing to create havoc in other people's households, but the U.S. has 3.5 million of its own dependents who are homeless, unemployed, impoverished, undereducated, without health care or neglected in other ways.
It is the last Western nation which still has the death penalty for its own citizens in a number of states.
4) Sam has no respect for the law. Even a common law arrangement wouldn't count for much. The U.S. has consistently violated international treaties, ignored World Court and UN verdicts more than once and regularly vetoes UN Security Council findings to protect its own interests.
It's bad enough that we pretty much share a common culture, patriotic protests notwithstanding. As far as a common currency is concerned (the latest proposal for closer integration), the only thing going for us in this lopsided relationship is the 67 cent Canadian dollar. It makes 10 years of premarital FTA look better than it is.
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