|It is hard to imagine that the US doesn’t have a plan to annex Canada. A nation that has no hesitation in trumping up charges against a country half a world away when it is perceived to threaten its energy security, and then bombing the hell out of it, killing and injuring hundreds of thousands of civilians and utterly destroying its infrastructure and social fabric, would not think twice about seizing control of a nation that offers it even more (and whose animosity would severely threaten its national interest).
There was a plan, in the years between the two world wars, to do just that. It was declassified decades ago and now makes rather quaint reading. But there is no question that there is an American “contingency plan” to annex Canada if need be, just as surely as there is one to bomb Iran as the next stage to secure the oil on which the entire American economy utterly depends.
There are reasons to believe that the US doesn’t expect it will have to do this. More than half of all Canadian business, by revenue, is foreign-owned, and the vast majority of that is American. The employment picture is probably comparable, although it’s hard to compute when franchisees of foreign companies are considered Canadian companies. Likewise, there are no records of citizenship or residence of land-holders in Canada, so determining how much land is in foreign hands is impossible to determine. But it is pretty evident that the Canadian economy is substantially foreign-owned and foreign-controlled. If we did something to displease our American owners, they could shut down our economy pretty effectively.
This sell-out has occurred over decades, with both Liberal and Conservative regimes dismantling Canadian ownership regulations consistently. Then we signed NAFTA, effectively ceding authority to write social or environmental laws any stronger than those of the weakest laws anywhere in the three countries. When you can’t write laws to protect your own people, you really have no sovereignty left. The right-wing Harper minority government has made no secret of its desire for full political and economic integration with the US, and the reaction of the Canadian people has been astonishingly blasÈ. Our economy is so dependent on the US already that the value of the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar moves in lockstep with the Dow.
There is reason to believe that this control will not be enough to placate those in the US concerned with trying to sustain that country’s unsustainable economy, however:
None of this bodes well for the future of Canada-US relations, and as the US starts to run out of land, the hunger for more land will make the situation even more volatile.
This could all come to a head if Canada were to do (or try to do) any of the following:
These are not especially grievous things for a country to do — most countries believe it is their right to do these things in areas of their own jurisdiction.
But not Canada. If we were to try to do any of these things, the US would simply say “no”. They would start by protesting, and suing us under NAFTA and other extraterritorial laws. And if that wasn’t enough they would do whatever it took to get the restrictions on their untrammeled access to our resources, land and waters removed. Whatever it took.
Harper rolled over on NAFTA already, settling for a fraction (still unpaid) of what the NAFTA courts said the US stole from us illegally. He has no intention of doing anything to impede Canada-US integration.
But at some point Canadians will have had enough of Harper’s arrogance, just as they did with the previous Conservative administration of Mulroney, and turf him out of office. He is in power now only because his right-wing party competes with four left-of-centre parties who split the vote in our absurd first-past-the-post voting system. Most Canadians would be glad to see the end of him, and sooner or later they will get their way, and a party or coalition amenable to the majority will be elected. And that new government will almost certainly do one or more of the four things above. The US will then say “no” and do whatever it takes to have the restrictions blocked or removed.
What will we do then? I suspect we will do nothing. Four in ten Americans want to annex Canada anyway, according to a recent poll. In another poll, only 57% of British citizens would support action to defend Canada from US annexation.
Canadians are pacifists at heart. Most of us no longer believe the war in Afghanistan is worth continuing, and most of us always opposed the war in Iraq. We have among the most liberal immigration laws in the world, taking in far more than our share of refugees and immigrants (though now, under Harper, American war objectors are no longer accepted, but that will be a short-lived anomaly). We acknowledge, I guess, that our natural wealth was a fortune of birth, not something we really earned. It belongs to the world, to all of us, and if someone wants to steal it from us, we’ll just shrug and say “too bad, it was nice while it lasted”.
Americans, believers in manifest destiny, the private ownership of everything, might makes right, and the end justifies the means, can’t really understand this. They see it as cowardice, or complacency, tacit approval for their takeover of everything Canadian, and for their American worldview. They will turn the rest of Western Canada into a deforested and toxic wasteland, and Northern Canada into a melting, oil-slicked military stronghold. And we will let them, while convincing ourselves that It’s not really that bad, There is no other real choice, I don’tknow anything about that, or There’s nothing we can do about that.
That’s what empires do to colonies. And that’s what colonies do when they do it.
Category: Canadian Politics
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