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Continental integration on the march
July 23, 2007 8:34 AM   Subscribe

A coworker hipped me to this, and I found it quite astonishing that I'd heard nothing about it.
It's a great irony that, while the United States has probably never been less popular among Canadians than in the era of George W Bush, plans to integrate Canada more deeply into the US have been proceeding at a brisk clip. The threat of Canada being absorbed into the US has traditionally provoked strong reactions here, as the pitched electoral battles over the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the 1980s and '90s attest. But the issue seems to have largely disappeared in recent years, leaving the impression that the push for deeper integration has stopped or that Canadians no longer care about it. Neither is true.
It seems that a goodly number of politically active groups are aware, however, and are organizing protests. How effective will those protests be when they won't be able to get within several kilometers of the site? Has anyone got any thoughts about this? How will they fit 52 stars on the Star-Spangled Banner? Should I don my tinfoil hat? Is the protest even relevant, given that most of the news reports I can find are calling it a fait accompli?
posted by I, Credulous (91 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think you'd have to add more than one star. Probably a star for each province and territory.
posted by autodidact at 8:42 AM on July 23, 2007


.....what?
posted by jokeefe at 8:43 AM on July 23, 2007


But then who would we make fun of?
posted by Big_B at 8:45 AM on July 23, 2007


I'm with autodidact. Doesn't seem like Alberta or BC would acquiesce to being squooshed onto one star with Ontario. So, more like 63 stars.
posted by blucevalo at 8:47 AM on July 23, 2007


Not even the stench of GWB can keep Canadians away from the bajillion dollar market that is the USA.

Without unfettered US trade, Canada would be the economic equivalent of Honduras. Sad perhaps, but true. Besides, Presidents come and go, but trade barriers can last a long time.
posted by GuyZero at 8:49 AM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Toronto would need its own star too. For sure.
posted by chunking express at 8:49 AM on July 23, 2007


The last big Canadian protest I remember was the at the 2001 Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting in Quebec City. It didn't do much.
posted by anthill at 8:50 AM on July 23, 2007


ONAN, dude. ONAN. Just give me my flag with a sombrero-wearing eagle clutching a maple leaf, and I'm happy.
posted by COBRA! at 8:50 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Or maybe it did
posted by anthill at 8:52 AM on July 23, 2007


The first link to the "Global Research" analysis of the Security and Prosperity Partnership was very weak, and was filled with conjecture and weasel words. And the usual conspiracy theories.

If anything, the US wants to shut NAFTA down (NAFTA is good, by the way). If Canada has water, we have a bargaining chip.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:52 AM on July 23, 2007


Finally the Canadians could get shitty private health care at exorbitant cost.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:53 AM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Would we have to give them back their hockey teams?
posted by octothorpe at 8:53 AM on July 23, 2007


How will they fit 52 stars on the Star-Spangled Banner?

* * * * * * *
 * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
 * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
 * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
 * * * * * *
posted by Bonzai at 8:55 AM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have too much respect for the intelligence of my neighbors to the north to think that, for an instant, they would want to join us in the mess we are in.
posted by HuronBob at 8:56 AM on July 23, 2007


eponysterical
posted by pyramid termite at 8:58 AM on July 23, 2007 [6 favorites]


Hipped you?

Anyway, there is nothing wrong with EU-style legal harmonization and the like on the industrial level. Lou Dobbs types are screaming and moaning about more integration with Mexico, as well, but it's all B.S.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 AM on July 23, 2007


here's a thought; vote for politicians who actually listen, instead those who say 'neat stuff', but then further their own dictatorial agendas. not enough of us protest to actually make a difference, and those who do are mostly university students. and who takes them seriously anyway? the governments will never let the citizens know that the power ultimately lays in the hands of the people, because if that little tidbit of information gets out there will be hell to pay.

fuck politicians.
posted by spish at 9:05 AM on July 23, 2007


63 stars- I count 94
50 States
10 Provinces
3 Territories
31 Estados
0 for DC still

-awaiting further pedantry
posted by MtDewd at 9:09 AM on July 23, 2007


puerto rico isnt a state yet...canada is far from becoming one.
posted by goldism at 9:12 AM on July 23, 2007


You're right, MtDewd, I didn't count Mexico.

Puerto Rico and DC will never be states.
posted by blucevalo at 9:13 AM on July 23, 2007


I don't think this points to Canada becoming a state in the real sense. More likely is a tightening of economic dependency to a point where laws are synced between the nations (any bets on which nation's laws win?) and there becomes, effectively, no legal or economic difference between the two.

Hey...enjoy those US Armed Forces recruiting centers popping-up in your malls and schools, guys!
posted by Thorzdad at 9:20 AM on July 23, 2007


We are the poison pill, if you absorb us you will be so fucked:

-Democrats sweep everything at Federal level for the rest of time
-Democrats forced to the left
-Universal healthcare rammed down your throats (no fucking way we would give that up)
-Liberal drug laws rammed down your throats

Choke on our LIBERALISM, fuckers!!!11!!
posted by Meatbomb at 9:22 AM on July 23, 2007 [16 favorites]


Hey, now you all can be Americans like us!
posted by Mister_A at 9:24 AM on July 23, 2007


Without unfettered US trade, Canada would be the economic equivalent of Honduras. Sad perhaps, but true.

You couldn't be more wrong.

Oil.
posted by srboisvert at 9:24 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes, there is likely to be economic and business harmonization, just as in other areas of the world.

There is zero chance of political harmonization (despite the scaremongering by populists on both the left and the right) since a) there would be nothing to be gained by folks on either side of the border, and b) plenty to be lost. It would be a political non-starter all around.

On the Canadian side, Canadians know that in any merger they would soon be lost as an irrelevance in the union, not having even the population of California.

On the American side, no President (democrat or republican) would want to grant 2 senate seats to each of the newly minted "states" when those states are (generally) full of anti-gun, socialized health-care loving, pro-abortion, same-sex positive liberals.

The average Canadian is much more to the left of the average democrat in the U.S. It would be a political headache for all involved.

So, take a chill pill folks. We've got our two political systems, and the border isn't go to be erased any time soon.

That said, as a Canadian, I would encourage my fellow citizens to be increasingly concerned about a lack of economic sovereignty, which is what the article dealt with at its core. However, the nature of Canada as a mouse and America as an elephant means the only way to deal with this is for Canada to try and enmesh the US in a series of international, multilateral trade treaties under the auspices of the WTO, rather than a few bilateral or trilateral ones with Mexico.

Of course, Washington knows this, and is one of the reasons they so steadfastly pursue bilateral deals over any multilateral deal, especially if that multilateral deal has any kind of sanction measured attached that Washington could not directly control (see the ICC for a conspicous example).
posted by modernnomad at 9:24 AM on July 23, 2007


Let's assume that Canada does join the US? Is Canada liberal enough to tip the US into solidly blue territory? What's the breakdown of liberal/conservative in Canada?

Personally, I'd prefer to see some northern states secede from the US and join Canada. I'd move in an instant -- I'm looking at you, Washington, Oregon and Vermont.
posted by empath at 9:30 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is Canada liberal enough to tip the US into solidly blue territory?

Ah, see, up here that's "red". Clearly joining would never work.
posted by mendel at 9:34 AM on July 23, 2007


An actual merger? No.

Increasing dependency and legal ties that are impossible to untangle once entwined? You bet.

You southern folks (that means all of you) seem to forget: while your country is now beginning to rail against the excesses (polite language) of the Bush administration, the rest of the world has taken two steps to the right. Canada now has a Conservative government, and many, many people are sold on their message (they borrowed some of the Repub campaign people, incidentally) -- tough on crime, question the steps already made in same-sex marriage, nix decriminalization of marijuana, dismantle the CBC, support our troops (had our current PM been in power, wanna bet we'd be in Iraq, too?), etc, etc.

I mean, we send experts south to study with great interest what you've been doing with your health care "system" for chrissakes!

So I'm totally happy for you guys that America is starting, just starting, to wake up. But the rest of us are hoping for happy coma dreams at least...
posted by dreamsign at 9:36 AM on July 23, 2007


I'd be happy. The leftward shift of national politics would be good. 20 Canadian senators (real ones, not sports) would be Very Nice.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:36 AM on July 23, 2007


Sorry to jump back in, but this is just silly. Quebec has made serious motions toward breaking up the country on numerous occasions, because it feels that it is drowning in a sea of English culture. You figure they'd jump at the chance to be part of the American melting pot?
posted by dreamsign at 9:40 AM on July 23, 2007


Choke on our LIBERALISM, fuckers!!!11!!

Yes, please. Can I get a double?
posted by god hates math at 9:55 AM on July 23, 2007


I don't really want to read any of this -- can someone tell me if it's time to panic already?
posted by Krrrlson at 9:58 AM on July 23, 2007


Choke on our LIBERALISM, fuckers!!!11!!

I'd like a bucket of liberalism, and some poutine, please. To go? No, for here. Thanks.
posted by rtha at 10:01 AM on July 23, 2007


Sorry to bust all your yankie bubbles, but there's no chance in H-E-double-hockey-sticks that Canadians want to be part of the USA, and that includes everyone from Stephen Harper on down. Closer economic integration is another story, and that's really what this is all about, and in that case yes, there is a large enough swath of the population that wants closer integration, but there's also a larger chunk that doesn't.

Unfortunately, only a minority of the Canadian population knows what's about to go down at Montebello, but I think that much like the FTAA meeting in QC this will raise a lot of awareness and have people asking a lot more questions to our minority government.
posted by Null Pointer and the Exceptions at 10:04 AM on July 23, 2007


Not even the stench of GWB can keep Canadians away from the bajillion dollar market that is the USA.

You can only buy stuff on credit for so long before you need to stop. Canada should be focusing on the bajillion dollar markets in India and China and Europe and the rest of the globe. We've spent way too long with the success of our economy tied to one country.
posted by chunking express at 10:06 AM on July 23, 2007


We've not only got a lot of Oil, we have something like a third of the world's fresh water. And with desert cities like Scottsdale sporting the highest per-capita number of golf clubs in the U.S., it's only a matter of time before the greens turn brown and the tanks start rolling north.

Seriously though, it would be political suicide for a Canadian leader to propose a merger, or even common currency with the U.S. Canada would be giving up a much healthier economy (close to a decade of federal budget surpluses, a net energy exporter) to the U.S. economy (several years of $300 to $400 billion dollar deficits, a major energy importer). And more importantly, a less than perfect but still excellent free heathcare system.
posted by Emoskimo at 10:11 AM on July 23, 2007


Without unfettered US trade, Canada would be the economic equivalent of Honduras.

We are doing a roaring trade with China and the EU at the moment, as I recall.

Without unfettered US trade, Canada would be the economic equivalent of Honduras. Sad perhaps, but true.

You couldn't be more wrong.

Oil.

Not to mention: water.
posted by jokeefe at 10:16 AM on July 23, 2007


Is this the Canadian version of the "OMG the US is giving up all of its sovereignty by being in the United Nations and countries like Lesotho and Bhutan will be able to tell us what we have to do" nuts we have here?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:20 AM on July 23, 2007


The US is already effectively composed of 5 or so regional quasi-nations, so Canada would have no difficulty retaining its own quasi-national identity. Politically, Canada has always been a quasi-nation, first under French, then English, then American hegemony. However, Canada will always be Canada by virtue of its one intrinsic attribute: geography—gobs and gobs of geography. Whether nominally made into an American or not, a Canadian will always know who and what he is when he drives for an hour and finds himself at the edge of an inpenetrable wilderness.
posted by No Robots at 10:20 AM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


thanks for all the comments.
I was searching for many points of view, on many levels, so I apologize if the post itself is kinda wonky (I'm posting from work and should be cleaning up my inbox from my past week's vacation).
that said, I'd desperately like to find a link to a political cartoon from the early 90s published in NOW magazine, one of the weekly "alternative" rags here in Toronto: The image was a political map of N.America, with Mexico labeled "Manufacturing," the USA labeled "Retail," and Canada labeled "Parking."
That about summed up NAFTA, and this further entwining of our nations, for me, but please keep at this, I need more perspectives on this...i mean that.
posted by I, Credulous at 10:22 AM on July 23, 2007


Sheesh, why do people keep holding the EU up as some kind of all-consuming neo-empire?

It has succeeded in its stated aim to make war between European powers both materially impossible (because we're interdependent tradewise) and unthinkable. And it's worked - the idea of Britain going to war with France or Germany now is laughable.

Integration doesn't mean assimilation, so panicking that the US is going to somehow 'absorb' Canada by standardising trade laws is silly. I think the Canadian media and people are largely silent about this is because it's largely hysteria.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:24 AM on July 23, 2007


Canada now has a Conservative government, and many, many people are sold on their message


Canada currently has a minority government. People keep saying Conservatives are taking over perhaps hoping that like GW's first election that if they keep saying it, it will come true.

So to be clear - 'many, many people' must be a numerical term that means less than enough to win a majority of seats.
posted by srboisvert at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Here's the quote:

"The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible."

This was about the founding of the ECSC, predecessor to the modern EU.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:28 AM on July 23, 2007


Emoskimo: We've not only got a lot of Oil, we have something like a third of the world's fresh water.

jokeefe: Not to mention: water.


Oh no you didn't. Here's a little fun reading for you. I recommend the section on "water as a good". Money quote:

According to the government and a number of other observers, water does not become a good under the NAFTA and other international trade agreements until it is removed from its natural state and transformed into a saleable commodity, such as bottled water or water that has been used as an ingredient in manufacturing a product. However, as seen above, a number of critics disagree.

You want to know a possible ramification of water as a good under NAFTA? Facing local water shortages and being legally forced to export trade quotas or face legal/financial consequences for imposing restrictions on trade.

Water isn't going to be part of the trade picture. It's going to BE the trade picture. And the U.S. is not gonna play fair. (when does it ever?)

on preview:

Canada currently has a minority government. People keep saying Conservatives are taking over perhaps hoping that like GW's first election that if they keep saying it, it will come true.

As of today, Harper is up to a 66% approval rating in B.C.. People keep saying the Conservatives aren't really all that popular, perhaps hoping that if they keep saying Canadians are much smarter than their southern cousins will make it true.
posted by dreamsign at 10:33 AM on July 23, 2007


That is, here is a little fun reading for you.
posted by dreamsign at 10:34 AM on July 23, 2007


I'd like a bucket of liberalism, and some poutine, please. To go? No, for here. Thanks.

I'll have what rtha's having, but with the liberalism medium rare, please. And some chai.

I thought the imminent invasion of Canadia was why we were stocking up on sporks and potato guns. Don't tell me we're doing this without cartoon violence now. I can't return all those potatoes.
posted by Tehanu at 10:36 AM on July 23, 2007


Well, it's a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that there's a secret society of the five wealthiest people in the world, known as The Pentavirate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers, and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion in Colorado, known as The Meadows.
posted by rocket88 at 10:36 AM on July 23, 2007


I'm not sure exactly where it fits in this discussion, but it seems worth mentioning that the declining U.S. dollar is rapidly approaching parity with the Canadian dollar.
posted by shunpiker at 10:37 AM on July 23, 2007


If that happened, there won't be anyplace to go if it ever becomes necessary to flee this country.
posted by mike3k at 10:43 AM on July 23, 2007


Without unfettered US trade, Canada would be the economic equivalent of Honduras. Sad perhaps, but true. Besides, Presidents come and go, but trade barriers can last a long time.

At $40 oil, this is probably true, as one can't build a vibrant economy around Tim Horton's, Canadian Tire, and the carcass of Nortel. Today, not so much. And if LNG recovers, well...
posted by Kwantsar at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2007


mmm, ketchup flavored potato chips.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2007


I'm looking at you, Washington, Oregon and Vermont

Let's grab Maine too, so we can drive to Atlantic Canada without going all the way up the mouth of the St. Lawrence.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:28 AM on July 23, 2007


The image was a political map of N.America, with Mexico labeled "Manufacturing," the USA labeled "Retail," and Canada labeled "Parking."
That about summed up NAFTA,


Totally disagree. NAFTA has been a net benefit to the Canadian economy (but a disaster for the environment) since it started. Canadians always have this fucking chip on their shoulder about being an American 'parking lot' or whatever, but over the past 15 years Canada has become an integral (and efficient) part of North American trade. Canada has more per capita output of autos and auto parts than anywhere else in the world. The access to the North American market has provided many opportunities for Canadian companies. They don't like our softwood lumber? Big deal, we'll sell them oil, or provide near-shoring opportunities for the tech sector.

Canada does very well for itself, and we will continue to do well - no budget deficits, a healthy and educated population, no wars (and don't for a minute suggest that we benefit from the security of our muscular neighbour to the south) .
posted by KokuRyu at 11:48 AM on July 23, 2007


So that is why Bush is destroying the constitution - he wants the combined country to have the Canadian one....
posted by DreamerFi at 11:50 AM on July 23, 2007


I'm not sure exactly where it fits in this discussion, but it seems worth mentioning that the declining U.S. dollar is rapidly approaching parity with the Canadian dollar. --shunpiker

On the bright side, I can now look forward to accidental Canadian quarters in my change. Hooray for economic decline!
posted by Bugg at 11:53 AM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


In my time spent in Canada I was amazed at the apparent lack of two of the most stalwart pillars of American politics: political focus groups and gerrymandering. If either of these catch on up there, the social order will be upended.

Oh, and while you're at it, how about putting the coffee and the coffee filters in the same aisle at the supermarket?
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:35 PM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]



On the bright side, I can now look forward to accidental Canadian quarters in my change. Hooray for good ol US paranoia.
posted by ItsaMario at 12:36 PM on July 23, 2007


The only good thing I can see coming out of a merger would be that I would no longer have to fill out a carnet form whenever I ship anything over the borders. And quite frankly, that's good enough for me.
posted by daq at 12:36 PM on July 23, 2007


The first link (at least) is the sort of paranoid nonsense you get from the UK Independence Party across the pond:

1. Leave EU
2. ???
3. Live in an idealised 1950s England
posted by athenian at 12:39 PM on July 23, 2007


Can Maine join Canada? Please? We're right next door, and there's lots of French-speakers, and we're sort of polite.
posted by theora55 at 12:43 PM on July 23, 2007


KokuRyu: They don't like our softwood lumber? Big deal, we'll sell them oil, or provide near-shoring opportunities for the tech sector.

Rick Mercer (sort-of Canada's John Stewart) has this for perspective on the softwood dispute. (youtube link)

Seems to me Mercer hits the nail on the head. Whatever the etched-in-stone results of a North American Trade Union Agreement turn out to be, the USA will ignore what if finds inconvenient, and bind us with what it finds useful in that agreement.
$5 billion dollars is chump change to the USA (probably buys about 2 hours worth of parking for the US forces in Iraq these days), and to hear those masturbating furiously over the potential of the oil sands, it will be chump change to Canada, too...but when the USA loses in arbitration FIVE times, and still won't admit they're wrong, it shows a level of contempt I don't think we should be comfortable cozying up to.
But then, whatever's good for business will trickle down to benefit us all, won't it?
posted by I, Credulous at 12:54 PM on July 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Canada is huge, with enough potential wealth in its natural resources alone to beggar the collective avaricious dreams of all the CEOs of the Fortune 500, and it will be by far the world's biggest winner in the Global Warming Sweepstakes-- a drastically negative sum game, to be sure, yet Canada will be enriched immensely by it.

But it is very sparsely populated, it has thousands of miles of indefensible border shared with a very powerful neighbor which has ten times its population and a sense of entitlement the like of which the world has not previously seen to go along with its demonstrated lack of respect for international law (and borders!). And said neighbor is looking at some very difficult times ahead; times which may or may not include a currency collapse (such as the Soviets experienced), violent turbulence in cities, and a change in government toward the authoritarian or 'rescue' by the military.

All this in a world which will have at least hundreds of millions of refugees from the consequences of climate change not including any wars.

The sparseness of the population and US determination to suppress the rise of competing military power in this hemisphere guarantee Canada will not be able to effectively control its borders, even if its sovereignty remains otherwise relatively undiluted.

As Braudel remarked, in the long sweep of history, numbers tell. In the case of Canada, I think they are telling us that in a mere century or so, the people who call themselves Canadians may not count nearly so many of their ancestors among those who call themselves Canadians now as those Canadians now do.
posted by jamjam at 1:16 PM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Living in Saskatchewan, where it was basically decided that it would be too complicated to enter a common market type of relationship with Alberta and BC - a similar move with the US would be entirely more complicated. Considering In Western Canada we have no issues of citizenship or mobility of labour further integration of the Canadian/US market is more trouble than it is worth.

Centralizing the Bank of Canada with whatever the US National Bank is called is a bad idea - we really need to set our own policy in this regard and there is no way that the US would take on Canada as an equal partner on currency/interest rates/inflation – the current parity of the currencies aside, the US national debt and trade imbalance is out of control and I would take the loonie over the greenback in the medium term.

Our environmental policy is really about the same as the Americans (the Libs were as bad as the Cons – that said, I would say there is a good chance that Canadians begin to punish politicians for this starting next election), and health care concerns aside - our labour markets really aren't that different anymore (mind you, we don't have Mexicans doing all the blue collar work). The complicating factors include the fact that our education system is way different - every Canadian party is left of the Democrats on education (and it is not really even a discussion in Canada), Canada is more unionized, Canada has a guest worker program, Canada has an immigration policy based around job skills instead of family ties, and there is the single-payer health care thing.

If you take egos out of politics it is still hard to integrate the political systems. The US subsidizes agriculture like crazy but the concept of Royalties or Crown lands is unheard of, and to level the market would be very difficult because it is an entirely different concept of ownership and resource management. In Saskatchewan we really like our crown corporations and I can’t see US business wanting to enter an arrangement that preserves a nationalized industry and I wouldn’t expect a Texas business to understand why that in a Saskatchewan winter it is in everyone’s best interests that the natural gas is flowing freely. I would also be surprised if the US was warm to the idea that Manitoba, Saskatchewan and BC have some tendency to elect socialist governments and every region except Alberta tends to elect at least a few.

If we could get “Free Trade” or a common market among Canadian provinces I might consider a similar arrangement with the US plausible. I would also be willing to enter this arrangement with other smaller countries - minus currencies and national banks - with which we could have a more balanced relationship

With all that said, the most credible source in this post was a newspaper handed out for free to transit clients. I take this chatter to mean, that Canada/US/Mexico are going to integrate trade in the areas where it is easiest. When the Globe and Mail, the CBC, the Economist, or Maclean’s are talking about a much closer relationship than I will worry.
posted by Deep Dish at 1:18 PM on July 23, 2007


Speaking for the average U.S. Citizen, I can honestly say we don't give a fuck, aye - so put down your hockey sticks, hosers.
posted by Muddler at 1:22 PM on July 23, 2007


Speaking for the average U.S. Citizen, I can honestly say we don't give a fuck

Yes, we've seen the results of your presidential elections
posted by Deep Dish at 1:29 PM on July 23, 2007


Seems to me Mercer hits the nail on the head.

Rick Mercer is good for laughs, but not so much (or, rather, never) for economic analysis. Then again, it's hard to fuck up analyzing something as blatantly obvious as the softwood lumber dispute.

[note: I worked on a campaign for an NDP candidate running in the 2005 election. Mercer interviewed him, and it was the worst, most offensive, obnoxious ambush possible. Mercer, in my opinion, is a bombastic jerk, little better than Don Cherry]

The whole softwood lumber fiasco is a good reminder that the US is not always open to economic integration. Trade is a dynamic, almost chaotic process with lots of moving parts. GW Bush and Harper are not pulling levers behind the scenes...
posted by KokuRyu at 1:50 PM on July 23, 2007


Choke on our LIBERALISM, fuckers!!!11!!
Is this where I sign up?

Oh, sorry, didn't see the...holy crap, is that the line?
posted by scrump at 1:51 PM on July 23, 2007


Water isn't going to be part of the trade picture. It's going to BE the trade picture. And the U.S. is not gonna play fair. (when does it ever?)

I hope my comment isn't construed as approving of the situation. We all know that the US has been looking northward for water with a covetous gleam in its eye for a very long time.
posted by jokeefe at 1:55 PM on July 23, 2007


As of today, Harper is up to a 66% approval rating in B.C.

That would be a great stat if it weren't the case that the elections are usually pretty much determined before people in BC even vote.
posted by srboisvert at 3:17 PM on July 23, 2007


How will they fit 52 stars on the Star-Spangled Banner?

That's easy. Just make all the stars above 50 much smaller & shove them to the side somewhere.

oh, and:
63 stars- I count 94
50 States
10 Provinces
3 Territories
31 Estados
0 for DC still

-awaiting further pedantry

102: 6 Australian States, 2 Territories.

posted by UbuRoivas at 4:36 PM on July 23, 2007


At no time in the past have Canadians wanted less to be like Americans than they do now. At no time in the past have Canadians cared less about what Americans think than they do now.

The younguns won't remember 20 years ago when it was a big thing for Canadians to obsess about what the Americans thought of us. I don't know anyone these days who gives half a damn. We're happy to trade with you, but we are not you, and if you don't like it too damn bad.
posted by watsondog at 4:42 PM on July 23, 2007


Oh, and support of Harper out west is nothing more than a complete and total loathing of anything related to the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberals have lost the West and it'll be a cold day in hell before they win it back. The intense hatred of Trudeau and Chretien will last for decades.
posted by watsondog at 4:43 PM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


If anything we need closer ties to Europe. We are a far more European country than we are an American country.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:49 PM on July 23, 2007


Sorry to jump back in, but this is just silly. Quebec has made serious motions toward breaking up the country on numerous occasions, because it feels that it is drowning in a sea of English culture. You figure they'd jump at the chance to be part of the American melting pot?

You'd be surprised at how pro-American the Quebeckers are. I once knew a woman in Montreal who was a staunch Parti Quebecois supporter, and she thought Quebec's solution would be to join the United States. She actually told me that she saw no reason why the U.S. wouldn't let Quebec keep French as their official language.

Another woman (english-speaking, but Quebec-born) insisted that, given the choice between a bilingual Canadian and a unilingual American, the average francophone Quebec woman would rather hang out with the American. Apparently because the Canuck was considered an oppressor while the Yank was, in my friend's words, "glamourous".

Anyway, back to the thread already in progress...
posted by spoobnooble at 5:57 PM on July 23, 2007


ration-on-the-march#1773795">Let's grab Maine too, so we can drive to Atlantic Canada without going all the way up the mouth of the St. Lawrence.

Uh, this means of course you would need to grab New Hampshire, in order to have an uninterrupted land mass. And let me tell you, those bitches will fight you to the last bullet with their genuine, non-replica Revolutionary war guns which have been passed down from father to son for generations. So you're going to have to build a bridge or something.
posted by SassHat at 8:06 PM on July 23, 2007


Oh goodness. I suppose I should stock up on Fritos or something.
posted by dantsea at 8:43 PM on July 23, 2007


Canada should be focusing on the bajillion dollar markets in India and China and Europe and the rest of the globe.

Sure, I suppose. Oh, wait, except for reality.

http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/gblec02a.htm says that in 2006 we did $360 billion of exports to the US and about $95 billion to the rest of the world. That's Europe, India, China, Japan, everyone. The US is Canada's biggest trading partner and it will always be thus in our lifetime. It's easier to cross a land border than fly or take a boat. Plus the culture, the languge, historical ties, etc etc. Exports to China and India would have to increase 10x to equal what we sell to the US. That's 25 years of solid 10% growth per year. Or 77 years of 3% export growth. (And 0% growth to the US). So maybe for the wee Canadian MeFites, perhaps India and China will someday be the trade equal of the US for Canada.

Also, the US runs a huge net debt to Canada. We need free trade, as without the US we would have a net trade deficit. With the US, we run a very nice $50 billion trade surplus.

And while we do have a lot of oil, we're really just a drop in the bucket of US consumption. For oil and everything else. Canada needs the US more than the US needs Canada, at least for trade.

And as for oil, we want an economy like Iraq or Saudi Arabia? I hope not. Oil is only good as long as the price stays high and we use it to build a solid, diversified economy. But there are no guarantees that oil will stay high forever - it went up before, it went down before. Enjoy it while it lasts Alberta, 'cause it ain't forever. And the last time I checked, not many people outside of Alberta where benefiting much from the oil boom. Unless you own shares in Imperial Oil.
posted by GuyZero at 10:57 PM on July 23, 2007


102: 6 Australian States, 2 Territories.

Nah Ubu, I reckon we should go with just the one star, but make it seven-pointed. That'll stuff 'em.
posted by pompomtom at 11:07 PM on July 23, 2007


"Deep integration" isn't talked about so loudly since the Conservatives rose to power in Canada, because it remains one of their objectives which is quite unpopular. Right now the Conservatives are a minority government poised to take a majority in the next election, their success based largely on general competence combined with the Liberals' taint. They won't touch any hot button issues like gay marriage, US integration, etc. because they can only lose.

Ultimately deep integration is a desperate ambition of greedy suits and it's likely not to come to fruition, but constant vigiliance is necessary.
posted by mek at 11:33 PM on July 23, 2007


And while we do have a lot of oil, we're really just a drop in the bucket of US consumption. For oil and everything else. Canada needs the US more than the US needs Canada, at least for trade.

These kinds of arguments are largely stupid. Most countries on earth would grind to a stop if trade suddenly ceased. Canada is much more energy independent than the United States, and sells a lot of energy as well as water. Canada could potentially become oil-independent as well, a claim few countries could make. As the price of oil rises, Canada's potential oil reserves increase, as they were previously inhibited by a relatively high cost of extraction (tar sands, offshore, etc).

Dependency on a trade relationship is not sufficient to establish that free trade would enhance that relationship. The United States would suffer under actual free trade from Canada, as many of Canada's raw exports (wood, oil, water, wheat/canola, energy, ores, etc) would bankrupt American producers who can't compete. Tariffs are a significant weapon in the USA's trade arsenal and they would be evaporated by deep integration. On the flipside, Canada would be flooded with cheap corn and we'd get to enjoy having high-fructose corn syrup stuck in everything too.

If any implementation of deep integration were to occur, it would likely mimic NAFTA's pseudo-free-trade, giving the USA further permission to rape and pillage its bountiful neighbours. Goodie.
posted by mek at 11:45 PM on July 23, 2007


I reckon we should go with just the one star, but make it seven-pointed. That'll stuff 'em.

Well, it stuffs everybody here, so I'd say they've got Buckleys!
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:55 PM on July 23, 2007


Mercer, in my opinion, is a bombastic jerk, little better than Don Cherry]

That really is an uncharitable shot at Cherry. Mercer is a buffoon, and not even an incisive one. Now Cathy Jones...

eh, where was I?

As Braudel remarked, in the long sweep of history, numbers tell.

Speaking as someone from one such numbers-deficient country living in another, I think you are right on the money. (both are doomed)
posted by dreamsign at 3:21 AM on July 24, 2007


Oh and Jon Stewart, come on. We wish we had a Jon Stewart.

But anyway you need him more.
posted by dreamsign at 3:22 AM on July 24, 2007


On the flipside, Canada would be flooded with cheap corn and we'd get to enjoy having high-fructose corn syrup stuck in everything too.

You already do. It's just identified as glucose-fructose, not HFCS.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:10 AM on July 24, 2007


If they come, we know how to deal with them.
posted by No Robots at 8:04 AM on July 24, 2007


while we do have a lot of oil, we're really just a drop in the bucket of US consumption.

Nearly 20% of US petroleum imports come from Canada, and that share is probably going to increase as output declines from its second- and third-largest sources, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. Canada's production will most likely continue to slowly increase for decades to come, it's a more secure supply than just about anywhere else in the world. So it's strategically somewhat important.

I'm generally in favour of free trade, but so much of the "free trade" agreement we already have seems to instead be about ridiculous limitations on trade ("proportionality clause"? WTF were they thinking?) that it's hard to hold out much hope of this one being much better.

I wonder how they intend to sell this SPP deal, when it eventually comes around to public debate. Perhaps part of the plan is to start making it difficult for people and goods to cross the border, and then claim we need this new agreement to make it easier? They really ought to start releasing some publicity about what Canada hopes to get out of this, instead of letting all the public information come from people pointing out what Canada is likely to lose.

Also, if they're really going to try to unify the currency, they'd best come up with a better name for it.

only a minority of the Canadian population knows what's about to go down at Montebello,

...and after reading all the links here and some more beside, I'm still not one of them.
posted by sfenders at 9:46 AM on July 24, 2007


Listen, people... it's not even worth discussing. The "North American Union" is literally horseshit. It doesn't exist, it won't exist and it's just something that the nut-jobs who fear the UN ("We've abrogated our sovereignty by joining the UN!") like to trot out now because they need something new to be afraid of. Check out a quick google search of the websites that talk about it. You can do it right now; I'll still be here. *waits* Did you check it out? Were you swayed by the input from human events or "eagleforum"? Or did you check out the reporting from real organisations, like the Seattle Times or the Washington Post?

Believe you me, the friend who made you "hip" to it has been drinking a little too much cough syrup. Or "Glaucoma medicine". You might be saying "everything you just said is just what 'they' want you to think! But that's how conspiracies get started. Anyone who flies the "BS" flag has been "compromised" or is a part of the conspiracy. If you can find a reputable source to corroborate anything that has anything to do with the North American Union, I say please let me know. (and no, Lou Dobbs doesn't count. He's only reputable when it comes to being an arrogant fatass)
posted by indiebass at 9:52 AM on July 24, 2007


So far, this whole "make Canada more like the USA" thing is very disappointing: We've got the useless "no-fly list", but still haven't managed to do the infinitely more important "do not call list".

Or did you check out the reporting from real organisations, like the Seattle Times or the Washington Post?

Those articles do a fine job of pointing out what the SPP is not, but say very little about what it is. If it were really just about "DRY CLEAN ONLY" labels and the like, I suspect maybe the top political leaders would not be involved. With any luck though, they'll be unable to agree on anything too significant, and the whole project will serve the public good by keeping a huge group of well-meaning politicians, bureaucrats, and CEOs occupied where they can't do too much harm.
posted by sfenders at 11:45 AM on July 24, 2007


watsondog writes "The Liberals have lost the West and it'll be a cold day in hell before they win it back. The intense hatred of Trudeau and Chretien will last for decades."

The booming immigration to Alberta is diluting the NEP hate of the populous. Many of the Johhny come latelies figure it for ancient history.
posted by Mitheral at 10:06 PM on July 29, 2007


Both Canada and the USA have operated internment camps — I mean, work camps — during the Depression years. Got a whole lotta public works projects done during those times, too.

There've been reports of large concentration cams — I mean, civilian camps! — being built in the USA this past decade. And the US economy is going shitterroo, especially as the housing market collapses and the war costs become unbearable.

Perhaps, then, the SCC superhighway from Panama to Toronto will be built using slave — I mean, work camp! — labour next decade.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on July 30, 2007


You already do. It's just identified as glucose-fructose, not HFCS.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:10 AM on July 24 [+] [!]


HFCS' penetration into the Canadian market is limited almost completely to soft drinks, due to the extremely low price of raw sugar in Canada due to the lack of tariffs to inhibit importation. Canada also regularly squabbles about sugar tariffs with the USA, our only source of corn syrup, which ultimately means the price is generally comparable to cane sugar, sometimes higher sometimes lower. It lacks the immediate appeal that HFCS has in the USA, which is the result of their extremely strict sugar tariffs which approximately double the cost of sugar entering the country.

"Glucose-fructose" is also known as "invert sugar," and is significantly different from HFCS - most obviously it isn't high in fructose at all, and it's not made from corn syrup. All sucrose is processed in this way before use as a liquid sweetener, as it prevents crystallization.

Most soft drinks in Canada are sweetened with a combination of invert sugar and HFCS, the exact ratio of which is determined by their current market value.
posted by mek at 2:01 AM on August 1, 2007


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