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The shot not heard around the world.
February 27, 2008 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Did you know that two weeks ago - last Valentine's Day - a pact was signed in Texas allowing cross-border military activity between Canada and the US? I'd supply more links but there's not much out there.
posted by stinkycheese (56 comments total)

 
Well, gosh, I'm sure if our American friends sent troops across our border they would have our best interests at heart!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:25 AM on February 27, 2008


We need a fence up there. Damn icebacks!
posted by DU at 7:29 AM on February 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


OH NOES, OUR SOVRENTY IS GONE!!!!

Seriously though, haven't the U.S. and Canada always had very close military ties? I mean, our military built a highway to Alaska during world war II, we even ran our nuclear weapons program together, and for a while Canada was a Nuclear power.
posted by delmoi at 7:32 AM on February 27, 2008


WAKE UP SHEEPLE
posted by Skorgu at 7:39 AM on February 27, 2008


I think it's the "during an emergency" part that has people concerned, if the current administration's apparent definition of "emergency" is considered.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:41 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is alright as long as they bring beer....
posted by HuronBob at 7:44 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Winter 2066: As a sign of increasing tension between the two countries, Canada proves reluctant to allow American troops on Canadian soil or allow American planes to fly over Canadian airspace. The United States and Canadian tensions rise, but Canada eventually backs down, and US troops pass through Canada. This sets the stage for the Canadian annexation in 2076.
posted by dismas at 7:44 AM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think it's the "during an emergency" part that has people concerned, if the current administration's apparent definition of "emergency" is considered.

If Katrina serves as an example, then the Canadians just signed a pact barring American soldiers from entering their soil for any reason except an oil spill.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 7:44 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


This doesn't look like a big deal to me. It's just ratifying an option that's always been there. If they had an earthquake in Canada, wouldn't the US offer any possible assistance, including troops? Canadian civilians helped in NY after 9/11; Canadian troops are still in Afghanistan. We're not talking about anything sinister here, although it's certainly good fodder for the conspiracy theorists among us.
posted by beagle at 7:48 AM on February 27, 2008


The truth of the matter is that sometimes Canadian military and civilian emergency response teams (fire, ambulance) are the closest people to Americans who live near the border, especially in the northeast. And other times, like the ice storm, there may be American troops closer at hand to help out Canadians.

If someone really wanted to be hostile the lack of this kind of treaty wouldn't make much difference anyway.
posted by GuyZero at 7:50 AM on February 27, 2008


54-40 or fight!

Let's not go nuts. For the U.S., there are points along the borders with Canada that are more easily traversed by crossing into the neighboring country's territory (notably air space and waterways) than by following some circuitous path that is entirely within US borders.

Furthermore, in the event of some natural disaster that cuts of portions of canada from he rest of canada but not the US, it makes sense to allow the US military (national guard, whatever) to provide assistance.

Also, the "current administration" will only survive another 9 months. Again, it will be interesting to see how these kinds of agreements (which will continue under any administration) will be received when it's a democratic adminstration doing the signing.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:51 AM on February 27, 2008


canada, of course, has a hell of a lot of oil. and water. and just about everything else the military industrial complex could want.
posted by klanawa at 7:51 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


This sets the stage for the Canadian annexation in 2076.

As long as the US adopts the Canada Health Act, they're welcome to annex away. Good luck with that.
posted by GuyZero at 7:52 AM on February 27, 2008


There's a press release about this on the U.S. Northern Command's site.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:52 AM on February 27, 2008


canada, of course, has a hell of a lot of oil. and water. and just about everything else the military industrial complex could want.

Commercial trade in water is restricted under NAFTA. But the US isn't out of fresh water just yet.

As for oil, there's a reason that the CDN $ is trading at a multi-decade high against the US $. It's not like we use all that oil ourselves. At $100 a barrel, help yourselves.

There's no need to steal what can be had for the asking.
posted by GuyZero at 8:01 AM on February 27, 2008


This sets the stage for the Canadian annexation in 2076.


...which ultimately results in the well-documented events of 2112.
posted by rocket88 at 8:04 AM on February 27, 2008 [13 favorites]


Invading canada is like kissing a girl with herpes. It's fun but later you're stuck with civil politics, non-partisan administration, health care, manners, and a good international reputation. It's like when the British defeated the French. Now look who runs the entire government. Canada is where losers win.
posted by srboisvert at 8:08 AM on February 27, 2008 [9 favorites]


Enjoy your poutine while it lasts, Cannucks!
posted by klangklangston at 8:13 AM on February 27, 2008


Is this something I would need a tinfoil hat to understand?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:15 AM on February 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Dear Canadians, we've noticed that you're in the middle of a crisis. What crisis? Well, you may have noticed our troops invading your country in order to conquer you. Fortunately, under the terms of our agreement, this invasion authorizes us to send more troops to "help" you.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:31 AM on February 27, 2008


Look--Canada's military isn't big enough to defend the country. If it weren't for America protecting our freedoms, we'd be like Iraq.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:32 AM on February 27, 2008


I think not pissing people off is a big part of the reason no one's attacking us. I hardly think the US is protecting us, especially considering the current US administration's disdain for us.
posted by loiseau at 8:39 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


We've dealt with les Bostonais before:
1755 – Braddock's defeat

1758 – Ticonderoga

1775 – Québec

1814 – The Sack of Washington
posted by No Robots at 8:50 AM on February 27, 2008


Is it normal for such an important agreement between countries to NOT be released? As soon as my government starts signing secret agreements without press releases my nose starts twitching. As a Canadian, I have to wonder why I am getting Canadian news only from American sources. Can the actual agreement not hold up to public scrutiny? And the fact that is is pissing off the left in Canada and the right in the US tells me that sonething is rotten.

GuyZero, The Council of Canadians has a leaked document "North American Future 2025" about deep intergration specifically mentioning bulk water exports. If you are in the Northeast it may seem like the US has a lot of fresh water but the writing is certainly on the wall for States like California (whose population is roughly equal to Canada). Somehow, I think they may try to find a way around NAFTA.
posted by saucysault at 8:51 AM on February 27, 2008


I'm really hoping that's supposed to be ironic, weapons-grade.

I think that the more Canada allies itself with the US militarily, the more we destroy our good reputation internationally. I doubt that this agreement will have any practical effects (after all, if the Americans decide they want to take over, we aren't going to be able to defend ourselves), but for both moral and reputational reasons, surely it would be better for us to avoid closer ties with the US military.
posted by ssg at 8:56 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


;^)
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:00 AM on February 27, 2008


While the tinfoil-hat brigade may have a point, this is really just a codification and putting into law of something that's been needed at an operational level for a very long time.

Here's a perhaps fictional example: during a bad weather event in a rainy winter in the late 90's, there was a woman in, say, Quebec very near the US border who might have been effectively isolated by the inclement weather. She was alone with her kids, one of whom had a severe medical condition and who was running out of medication. Because the roads were so bad, an ambulance would not be able to reach her house. Say the Canadian Forces in the area were likewise overtaxed and not able to deploy a helicopter fast enough to not put the child at serious risk.

Imagine perhaps, as the emergency personnel were discussing this over the radio, a voice broke in on the channel, advising them that the situation would be taken care of. Further, they should notify the woman that she would soon be receiving visitors and to not be alarmed by who they were. The story has a happy ending: the child was shortly delivered to the local hospital in a black helicopter with foreign markings.

The complication in this little fiction is that there would not be time to clear such an operation through either the Canadian or the US chains of command. In effect, if this happened, the US would have invaded Canada that day, to rescue a sick child. Such an incident, however, had never been reported.

Anyway, that sort of hypothetical situation is what this agreement was supposed to cover.
posted by bonehead at 9:02 AM on February 27, 2008


I see it as NAFTA for cross border martial law once people start protesting the Amero and North American unification. Next G8 summit in Canada, I'll bet my frozen yarbles that there will be a joint taskforce of CDN & US uniformed soldiers to merrily crack the skulls of protesters who don't cotton to the ways of hegemonic rule.

Oops. I think I just committed a thoughtcrime.
posted by isopraxis at 9:11 AM on February 27, 2008


The Council of Canadians has a leaked document...

I just saw Maude the other day! I said Maude, nice hat! Is that aluminium or tinfoil? It goes so nicely with that silver lame purse you have.

Personally I think Alberta water entrepreneurs are more dangerous that Americans when it comes to eventually breaking the NAFTA water export rules. There's liquid gold in them thar lakes.
posted by GuyZero at 9:15 AM on February 27, 2008


I agree, GuyZero. That's a far greater risk to our national sovereignty that this agreement is.
posted by bonehead at 9:26 AM on February 27, 2008


See, this is what happens when you let hockey players go on strike.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:38 AM on February 27, 2008


But the US isn't out of fresh water just yet.

yah, it's gonna take Nestle, oh, ten to fifteen years yet to suck the Great Lakes dry and sell it to y'all in plastic bottles. Ice Mountain my ass.
posted by quonsar at 9:42 AM on February 27, 2008


Hey, since there's discussion of "leaked" and "secret" documents on the Canadian side, I was just wondering what the Canadian equivalents to the Freedom of Information Act look like. Is there the same formal system? Is it federal or provincial? How hard is it to get access to Canadian governmental and public documents?
posted by klangklangston at 9:44 AM on February 27, 2008


Don't you people see? This is just the first step to socializing our military! Sweet Jesus, the next thing you know we'll be setting up some kind of aerospace defense with them damn Canadians.

They will use the term "Command" center or something, but make no mistake! It's just a ploy to bring all of North America's skies under their clever control.

They'll probably call it the North American Air Defenders Command or NAADC or something awful like that.
posted by quin at 9:46 AM on February 27, 2008


Canada's Access to Information Act.
posted by GuyZero at 9:47 AM on February 27, 2008


it's gonna take Nestle, oh, ten to fifteen years yet to suck the Great Lakes dry

If they could do just Lake Erie and leave the other lakes alone I would send then a thank-you card.
posted by GuyZero at 9:48 AM on February 27, 2008


The Council of Canadians has a leaked document "North American Future 2025" about deep intergration specifically mentioning bulk water exports.
Well, yeah, they do, but big deal. They have a document produced by a private organization proposing a series of meetings about US/Canada relations, one topic of discussion being bulk water exports. It's not a government group, they don't have any real authority, or, as far as I can tell, government buy-in, and it's not clear if the series of meetings ever even occurred.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:53 AM on February 27, 2008


*sniff* Those brave Canadians used to join our battle-groups in the good old days when we all used to do fun things together like Chase Rommel out of Tunisia and crawl up the Italian peninsula shooting fascists.
posted by Abiezer at 10:05 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now that we're talking about bulk water exports, now seems as good a time as any to bring up this CBC miniseries. The basic gist: the Canadian Prime Minister dies, and his son takes his place. The new PM begins exporting fresh water to the States, which raises the ire of an MP and an RCMP officer. As they investigate further, the two discover the water deal is part of the new PM's plan to fully integrate the United States into Canada and take control of a unified North America.

By the end of the miniseries, Canada is wracked by bouts of violent dissent and the Prime Minister manages to dissolve the government, paving the way for a re-election with no obvious rivals—but the United States decides it's had enough of the rebellion brewing to the north, and inform the PM in no uncertain terms that it's absorbing Canada into the United States instead.

We all thought it was pretty far-fetched at the time.
posted by chrominance at 10:21 AM on February 27, 2008


Abiezer: Don't worry, we're still with ya, buddy.
posted by No Robots at 10:25 AM on February 27, 2008


P.S. I just watched a clip of H2O on Youtube and I'd forgotten just how horrifically cheesy this miniseries was. Now I feel bad for bringing it up, even as a joke.
posted by chrominance at 10:31 AM on February 27, 2008


I just want to know why they went all the way to Texas to sign this.
posted by gohlkus at 10:33 AM on February 27, 2008


MacKay Questioned On Secrecy Of Canada-U.S. Military Deal
posted by mlis at 10:47 AM on February 27, 2008


Oh, I know we're in the same theatres, No Robots, but it's all separate sectors. We'll be splitting the CD collection and trying to fob visiting rights from the royals off on each other next :(
In seriousness, something I was reading the other day about my grandad's service lead me to a list of WWII VCs. Despite my self-professed anti-nationalism there was something about reading about those Gurkhas, Pushtun, ANZACs, Jocks and the rest doing madly brave things side by side far from home for the old Imperial farce that I find deeply moving. I probably need a political re-education.
posted by Abiezer at 11:32 AM on February 27, 2008


I, for one, will welcome our new Canadian overlords. At least then I won't have to go through Customs and Homeland Security just to go to the damn supermarket...
posted by paddbear at 1:15 PM on February 27, 2008


I don't quite get what the fuss is about. As the second article asserts, this has been going on for quite a while now. The U.S. and Canadian armed forces train together fairly regularly: what, exactly, would they be training together for, if not working together? I see the concerns about sovereignty, yes, but, well, in matters military, there's always got to be somebody in charge, in joint training exercises as in real-world deployments.

Am I missing something?
posted by vitia at 1:36 PM on February 27, 2008


vitia: Am I missing something?

Vitia, quite possibly yes, in that you're (according to your profile) not Canadian. We Canadians are pretty sensitive about our sovereignty as a nation. Any sense that the US is walking on us, or in this case, being given greater license to walk on us, is taken pretty seriously and defensively by our citizens. That's probably why the US commentators in this thread are mostly blasé while the Canadians' ears are somewhat tweaked.
posted by loiseau at 3:20 PM on February 27, 2008


Considering the way inter-governmental cooperations has worked previously, I don't think there is too much to worry about.
posted by bystander at 3:29 PM on February 27, 2008


Any sense that the US is walking on us, or in this case, being given greater license to walk on us, is taken pretty seriously and defensively by our citizens.

Why aren't we pre-emptively attacking the states now?
posted by chugg at 3:30 PM on February 27, 2008


Because we're not the states, chugg?
posted by Phire at 4:22 PM on February 27, 2008


GuyZero writes "As long as the US adopts the Canada Health Act, they're welcome to annex away. Good luck with that."

Forget that, I don't want their weak ass dollar bring our money down.
posted by Mitheral at 4:28 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Loiseau, thank you for the clarification. I hear you about the sovereignty concern, and so I wonder: does it change matters any to know that the US's Maine and New York Army National Guard troops regularly engage in training exercises on Canadian soil, and that Canadian soldiers train with American troops here in New York and all over the US?

As a broader query, I'm wondering if Benedict Anderson's concerns in Imagined Communities might be relevant here: a nation is an imagined, limited, sovereign, community. Compare to Ernest Renan's late 19th-century speech on "What Is a Nation?"
posted by vitia at 7:25 PM on February 27, 2008


I appear to be the only one to have read this as Texas and Canada signing a treaty allowing cross-border military activity...
which, of course, doesn't make the slightest bit of sense.
posted by eye of newt at 11:38 PM on February 27, 2008


It would make more sense to me to ease cross-border access of emergency response teams for more common occurrences, like fires or medical emergencies.
posted by A-Train at 6:17 AM on February 28, 2008


GuyZero, you haven't been paying attention, have you.

so the commercial trade in water is restricted under nafta. have americans historically played nice with trade agreements with canada?

do the droughts in california and georgia not signal an approaching crisis in the water supply?

might the rising cost of oil not encourage our friends to the south to find more "creative" ways of acquiring it? you know, there is a war on and some folks seem to think it has a lot to do with energy.

when have americans (not that they're alone in this regard) ever shied away from taking what they suppose to be rightfully theirs? the monroe doctrine is taken pretty seriously by pretty much every country in the americas.

this past week, a conference took place in saskatchewan (attended by a measly 100 people) to discuss the advantages of damming the saskatchewan river from the alberta border all the way across. 1) for irrigation, and 2) for possible trade to the US. for every thirsty american, there's a greedy canadian waiting to take a profit. a few of them are in government.
posted by klanawa at 2:29 AM on March 3, 2008


I've been paying attention as much as anybody, though I am certainly no expert in the field.

Yes, the water trade will eventually come. Everyone knows this. Of course, given that both Hillary and Obama have indicated they'd like to renegotiate NAFTA, Harper has made his own trade noises. But per my other comments, I doubt the US would invade for it when there are plenty of Canadians willing to sell it to them.
posted by GuyZero at 8:37 AM on March 3, 2008


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