Skip to comments.North American Union: US & Canada in play?
Posted on 05/07/2014 6:35:37 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Diane Francis, National Post Editor-at-Large and Bestselling Author of Merger of the Century, toyed with the idea of merging the US and Canada. In fact, Ms. Francis states that a merger between the two countries isnt just desirable but inevitable. She goes on to say that the US and Canada are culturally compatible on all fronts from lifestyles, to values, and aspirations.
According to Ms. Francis, over the last several decades, Canada has become more like America and America more like Canada. For instance, the US has become more progressive on civil, gay, and womens rights; and even recently universal health care. On the Canadian side, we have contemplated a hybrid health care system with more private sector elements.
If the idea seems a bit farfetched, consider the following. After the birth of NAFTA and the EU (created by the Maastricht Treaty) there was speculation about the formation of a North American Union between (Canada-US). By 2005 discussions were already on their way by US officials regarding the best approach to North American integration between the US and Canada. It was noted that many Canadian economists supported the ambitious goals of a single market like that of the EU.
As of March 05, North American leaders founded the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). Set up to provide greater cooperation on security and economic issue. In May, the Task Force published a report praising the SPP initiative and pushing for greater economic integration by 2010.
The report also stipulated that the so-called merger initiative should not target a grand scheme of confederation or union; and most importantly did not suggest a supranational government or a common currency/monetary policy. The focus was mainly on developing a North American common market and security perimeter (SPP initiative ended in 09; however most of the working groups set up under SPP remain active).
Touching upon fiscal and monetary policy, governing power should remain in each respective country. Likewise, the Canadian Department of Finance strongly opposes the creation of a common currency with the US, as did Jim Flaherty. Some reasons revolve around autonomy loss in the US and Canada respectively, over the likes of setting interest rates and managing the currency itself, among others.
Lending from the EU, what began as a pure economic union in 1958 has evolved into an organization spanning across a multitude of policy areas, from development aid to the environment. As a result, the EU has delivered half a century of peace, stability and prosperity.
With the abolishment of borders, EU members can travel freely throughout most of the continent; not to mention enhanced labour mobility. Another by-product is the development of huge resources ensuring Europeans may draw maximum benefits and influence.
Moreover, the EUs main goal is to promote human rights both internally and around the world. For example, human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, which are core values of the EU and North America alike.
The idea of a Canada-US integration may be gaining steam. From the humble beginnings of NAFTA led by Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan, to recently where Harper and Obama announced the Canada-US Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) designed to increase regulatory transparency and coordination which translates into a shared vision for perimeter security and economic trade.
Turning to defence arrangements, America and Canada are more intertwined than any other country. In 1958, both American and Canadian forces had cooperated on continental air defence within the framework of North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD). Canadians also supported the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, despite not directly supporting Iraq in 03.
At the same time, Canada and the US have the worlds largest trade relationship, with enormous goods and people flowing across the border. Since the 1987 Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, there are no tariffs on most goods passed between the two countries.
Testimonies on the idea are numerous. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a statement congratulating Barack Obama on his inauguration, stated that The United States remains Canadas most important ally, closest friend and largest trading partner and I look forward to working with President Obama and his administration as we build on this special relationship. Whereas, President Barack Obama, speaking in Ottawa, Ontario at his first official international visit in February 19, 2009, said, I love this country, we could not have a better friend and ally.
In my view, as a number of think tanks such as the Wilson Center and C.D. Howe Institute contemplate the idea and, might I add, show support towards some form of union, it is important to note that the issue has been gaining more momentum south of the border where Hilary Clinton and Jeb Bush have sent Diane Francis complimentary letters thus far.
I am outright for a North American Union between Canada and the US, with some exceptions. I believe the North American Union should be executed in increments and should refrain from achieving any form of political/monetary union from the get go, and furthermore if ever. With that being said, economic and national security union is a must, here is why.
Firstly, by 2030, the BRICs may overtake G7 nations in economic size. The G7 might not catch up because of debt constraints, demographics, and most disturbing is our resistance to change which results in an inability to recognize and counteract the strategies of rivals like China and Russia.
Secondly, on the resource front, the US would be born-again, acquiring a well-educated, relatively law-abiding addition of 35M people, not to mention the immense/untapped natural resources Canada possesses. The synergy potential is huge, and likewise if Canada and the US were corporations they would of merged (at least in economic/border terms) a long time ago. Therefore, in brief, the US brings enormous capital and the worlds strongest military; whereas Canada has vast reserves of undeveloped resources. Remember I am not proposing that Canada become the 51st state.
Lastly, as Canadians we must remember that in order to have a future say and weight on worldwide issues, we must remain and become more dynamic. This means, we must adapt as a nation to the prevailing environment and outsmart our rivals. We must not adopt the status quo in light of China and Russias rise to power otherwise we risk getting left behind to the tune of Portugal and Greece.
Challenges in detail, first with Canada: our small, aging population and relatively small economy, lacks resources to develop and defend its enormous real estate. Recently, in a series of buyout attempts and transactions, China has targeted Canadas resources and empty landmass. Moreover, in 2007, Russia used a small submarine to symbolically plant its flag on the ocean floor beneath the North Pole and underscore its claim to a large swath of the resource-rich Arctic. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been pushing the UN to affirm his claims to the region. This squeezes North Americas control over resources/economic development and puts us on our knees to Russia like Eastern Europe and Germany with over 60% reliance on Russian oil & gas.
On the US side, challenges in creating jobs for its relatively young population, compete for markets, resources and Arctic access with the aggressive rivals like China and Russia. IMF forecasted that by 2018, Chinas economy will be larger than the US. The US needs a catalyst to counteract such large and emerging rivals. In my opinion, Canada is definitely it. Canadians and Americans must remember that the Europeans pulled off something far more dramatic, uniting populations that shared no language and had slaughtered one another for centuries.
According to polls; In 2011, a poll by Harris/Decima showed that 65% of Canadians backed greater integration with the U.S. and supported a plan to eliminate the border by blending US and Canadian customs, immigration, security and law enforcement efforts. Those who oppose such integration are on the wrong side of history. Therefore, serious discussion of integration should be a top priority for both the US and Canada alike.
How all of this could play out is an interesting question. If Canada and the US join forces, the North American Union economy would be larger than the EU with a land mass that triumphs South America. The union would be at the forefront in energy, minerals, water, land, and technology; all of it protected by joint US-Canadian military. Size matters and will even more so going forward.
Canadians burned it, of course they were British subjects at the time.
ON THE OTHERHAND;
Alaska should invade and annex British Columbia..
Great point. Drinkable water will be a major issue sometime in the future I understand.
Is this why GWB was intent on signing the NAU back in the mid 90’s I wonder. If so, why was water and energy not cited as potential benefits for us?
I think Canadians would balk at Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution: “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government . . . .”
My mother’s family is from Canada and I love both the U.S. and Canada.
That said, I want the countries to remain separate for many reasons.
Cal will eventually have to build desalination plants.
However, you all are missing the point of this article. No one is proposing a joint US, Canadian country. What they are proposing is an expansion of NAFTA. This would mean that you would not need a passport to travel between our two countries. They would also change interstate commerce laws so that trucks could operate in both countries like they do between US states. It would eliminate many of the customs requirements between shipping goods across the border. There are still duties on some items like lumber. No one is proposing making the provinces into states. No one is proposing eliminating the Loonie. A free trade, no international border crossing zone is what the article is proposing.
I was responding to what post #12 was saying, not the article.
9-11 hijackers first traveled by ferry from Canada to Maine = urban myth .
The NAU lives! This is the game they have in mind. Mexico is also included.
Because Canadians get to see such gems as Detroit and Buffalo up close, they have a lot of incentive to reject this idea. However, if they don’t do something, they’ll simply end up unified with India.
Understood, I do not necessarily agree with the proposal on an open border. However, I do think there are many regulations on commerce between US/Canada that could be relaxed to make international trade less expensive.
There is one big consideration, which needs to be focused on now and always.
The second amendment.
Canada needs to accept America’s rights.
I was addressing the group generally, nothing personal.
However, like always so many of us FReepers read the headline and make a comment prior to reading the entire article. Myself included. The article does not promote the idea of making the provinces of Canada US states # 51-63. Just like the EU does not alter the independence of Germany and France.
If I was one of 35 million Canadians, I certainly would not want any part of our 16 TRILLION dollar debt.
As far as water in the SW US, the day is coming when San Diego, LA, etc, will need to build desalination plants along their Pacific coast. There just is not enough water in the Colorado River to supply drinking water and water for the agriculture in the central valley. Therefore, just like Saudi Arabia, California will need to build plants to take the salt out of the sea water. The only companies that will not like that are the rock salt mines in NM and UT.
FYI, Saudi Arabia basically gives away the sea salt they extract from the water because they produce so much. Our state of NH highway department buys it by the boatload delivered to Portsmouth, NH for winter road salt. They literally ship it half way around the world and it is still cheaper than the rock salt dug out of the ground in NY State 300 miles away.
Actually, they flew into Portland, ME international airport and then flew into Logan. They were cleared by US Customs in ME.
The fact is they could have flown into Canada and easily WALKED across the VT, NH or ME border if they really wanted to. The VT, NH, Canada border is a 100 yard open strip of land where they have removed the trees. There are no guard shacks that can see every place on the border. Also, there are several lakes, rivers that are on the border. There are 1000’s of places to easily cross undetected.
The show “Homeland” had an episode where an Iranian flew into Montreal and rented a car. He left his rental car in Canada walked across and was picked up in one of the small VT border towns by a friend. This would be very easy to accomplish and not far fetched at all.
While the Canadian border does not have the illegal immigrant and drug trafficking issues the Mexican border has, it sounds like better surveillance is needed, perhaps the "virtual fence" that Homeland Security has mentioned for the U.S.-Mexican border.
I wonder about Glacier National Park. There is a Canadian park just across the border--do they check people on the trail at the border?
“I’ve been in the Logan airport but wouldn’t think there were direct flights from Maine to a small town in Utah.”
Maine to Utah? What are you talking about?
Mohamed Atta and some other guy started out in Portland, ME.
They may have already been in the country. However, they definitely went through security at the Portland Airport before they flew to Boston Logan.
There are hundreds of lakes, rivers on the US/Canadian border. It is impossible to monitor all of them. Just the Lake of the Woods to Lake Superior on the MN/ONT border has millions of acres of woods, lakes and rivers/streams. Take a look at a map.
The only security points are at road crossings. They actually direct the snowmobilers to these road/border customs crossings.
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