Why should Canada be independent of the US?

A number of English-speaking Canadians have recently upbraided me for alowing emotion to enter into my postings regarding French-Canadians and their relations with the rest of Canada. Which is strange when you think about it, since all forms of attachment, patriotism or nationalism to a language or ethnic group, nation, nation-state or other grouping are necessarily based on emotion. Love of country: Is love not an emotion?

Then I remembered the quote of a European commentator whose name escapes me, but who said that “The English (read also Americans and English Canadians) are among the most nationalistic people on Earth. But they somehow manage to make the nationalism of other groups sound like some form of menal illness.”

So let’s try the nationalism shoe on the other foot.

It was over 200 years ago that Ben Franklin said that the division of North America between the US and Canada was artificial and should eventually end.

Maybe he was right. The majority of Canadians speak the same language as the US, watch almost all the same TV shows, almost all the same movies, etc. etc. English Canadians are so concerned about preserving their identity (there is that horrible emotionalism and paranoia again) against the US colosus that they pass laws restricting freedom of expression to “protect” their culture. For example, what right does the Government of Canada have to tell TV and radio stations that they must have a certain percentage of Canadian content? Should the free market not decide that. As one of my posters on another thread pointed out, money talks!

What right does the governement have to use my tax money (which is what tax breaks amounts to) to support borefests like Macleans Magazine so they can compete against Time and Newsweek.

As a francophone Canadian whose TV, radio, movies and literature survive fine against the US onslaught, I am sick and tired of my tax money being used to protect anglophone Canada’s weakling culture against the American tide.

Canada is a pathetic little brother of the US. Like an ignored little brother, it craves attention. Prime Ministers like “Steve” Harper, Brian Muldoon, John Diefenbokker (all three misnomers have actually been used by US administrations over the years) go to Washington hat in hand to get them to lift restrictions on lumber even though Canada has repeatedly won its case in front of the NAFTA panel.

If we were part of the US, they could not restrict trade with a part of their own country. Quebec would lose its language, but that would hardly be any concern for the English-speaking majority.

The US wold form an Empire stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Pole, with over 330 million people!

This ridiculous division along an artificial border has got to end.

If Canada joined the US, each of the 10 Provinces could become a State. Better yet, we could split up some of the more populous provinces into three or four states, and join as say, 18 States. This would give us 36 seats in an 86-seat Senate.

The former Canada would now be 26% of the States and of the US Senate. Since (I stand to be corrected here) you need 75% of the states to pass a constitutional amendment, the former Canada would actually have the power to do that. In other words, a veto over constitutional change (you know, the kind it would be unfair for Quebec to have as part of Canada).

I would be interested to hear the opinions of Anglo-Canadian nationalists on this. But remember, it must be pure reason. No emotion allowed in the defense of your country, your pride and your identity. Just pure facts and logic.

When this has come up before, some Canadians have objected that they would rather have all the votes in Ottawa than ~10% of the votes in Washington. They don’t want their political autonomy overwhelmed by being subsumed in a larger union, even if they get a fair voice in it and even if that gives them rather more influence in global affairs than they have now.

But I wonder if any in Canada’s various provinces raised that objection when the Confederation was formed in 1867? :wink:

It is my belief that the recent trend toward coloring the US currency is a covert step toward assimilating Canada.

Next step: Metric system! :slight_smile:

Why? Nothing in the Constitution says every U.S. state has to have English as its official language. (Yet.)

Well for starters, despite the fact that our cultures are similar, our politics are radically different. The countries differ on so many domestic issues: gay marriage, healthcare, crime, the environment, gun control, the role of government, etc. So Canada would be losing control on many of this issues. (Don’t try to make a parallel to Quebec vs. Canada; Quebec’s politics are very much in line with much of Canada, especially Ontario and the Maritimes).

Second, it doesn’t make any sense economically. The US is facing huge budget deficits and trade deficits. They’re a net importer of oil. Canada is the opposite. We have budget and trade surpluses, and have had them for years. We’re a net exporter of oil, and that only figures to continue. We already have access to the US market through NAFTA.

There just wouldn’t be any benefits to Canada, and in a lot of ways we’d be worse off.


Do you honestly think that the existing 50 states are going to give 36 Senators to 30 million Canadians? We’d be lucky to get 10.

If Canada did get 36 senators, I’d bet anything that Texas would use that clause that would allow it to break up into 5 states just to counterbalance it.

From my (left-leaning) POV, that’s what makes the whole idea so attractive! :wink:

Why should the U.S. be independent of Canada? We’re better and nicer and generally less nuts.

I’ve always thought this analogy was one of the best ways for explaining the emotional reasons for why Quebeckers might want independence from Canada, but I think it fails miserably if we move to the “no emotion, just pure facts and logic” side of the equation.

So what’s the question, exactly? Why should Canada remain independent at the current time? Well, because a vast, vast majority of Canadians want to (where only a large minority of Quebeckers want independence). Why do Canadians want to be independent of the US? Well, to some extent it certainly is just emotional attachment, but there are any number of other reasons as well. The very significant political differences have been mentioned. At the current moment there are sound economic reasons for preferring Canada seperate from the US. And there are two centuries worth of small cultural differences. Of these reasons, only the last applies to Quebec, though I’d think actually the cultural differences in Quebec’s case are more pronounced. The politics are similar, though (assuming we take Alberta to be an outlier, but it is, so that’s not a problem). Economic reasons weigh against Quebec independence, not for it, and have for decades.

Or maybe the question is supposed to be different. Is the question rather, if the US had conquered and annexed Canada, say during the War of 1812, would then Canadians still not want independence, and wouldn’t it be just based on emotional arguments? Well, to be honest, I don’t think this will work either. I for one would have absolutely no attachment to the idea of Canada. My family didn’t come here till the 1890s, and the part of the country they came to would have had no history of being part of Canada, unless you count the Hudson Bay Company’s control over Rupert’s Land. Most Canadians would be in a similar situation. Outside minorities in Quebec and Ontario, and probably a majority in the Maritimes, “Canadians” would have no personal history with Canada, would feel no connection to the idea of Canada, and would most likely oppose independence from the US. And most anglo-Canadians who’d have been in Canada long enough to have a connection to it would have assimilated into US culture far more thoroughly than Quebec has into Canada without any language barrier to slow things down, so they’d most likely oppose independence as well.

Umm…what was the question again?

Because it’s a lot more fun to take a minute walk from my house to see another country across the river as opposed to another state.

Nice diplomatic statement, that. But at least you stated bluntly what one senses a lot of Canadians feel.

Bring us in under your constitution? Sure, I’d go for that – provided we can get single-payer health care out of the deal! :slight_smile:

Better still, all FBI agents would now be Mounties and would have to attend public ceremonies dressed up like Dudley Do-Right! Betcha Hoover woulda got off on that! :smiley:

From my (centrist-leaning) POV, a good reason to give them the 10 senators instead of 36. :dubious:

Meh. The Senate should be abolished anyway. (And I understand a lot of Canucks feel that way about their Senate.)

Maybe this is just my ignorance of history showing, but is there any historical precedent of two such large, powerful, prosperous nations (I think it goes rather without saying that despite whatever Canada jokes might be in season at the moment, all three of these adjectives apply) merging in such a manner? I doubt it.

Well, not really in the current era of nation-states (not without genocide or resettlement, anyway) but back in pre-19th century Europe border-trading happened all the time: princes would trade nations like Top Trumps. An example might be the merging of Italy, Spain and Austria into the Hapsburg Empire following a royal marriage.

The realities of the US Constitution take precedence over the Texans’ myths about their state.

There are many instances, but they mostly involve dynastic unions. “While others war, you, fortunate Austria, marry!” Then there’s the union of Poland and Lithuania. Purely dynastic to start with, but deeper ties eventually developed.

Those were unions of culturally dissimilar peoples. The U.S. and Canada are not culturally dissimilar (much).