Desperate times call for desperate measures, and such is the predicament faced by north American neighbours the United States and Canada, journalist Diane Francis has an ambitious remedy: unite them into one nation.
The global appetite for resources from China and Russia sees them eyeing up Canada’s oil and gas reserves, writes the editor-at-large of Canada’s National Post in Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country.
With the “wolves at the door”, her prescription is startling.
The National Post has an excerpt from Francis’s book. The crux of the idea:
Nations in distress, and facing uncertainty, must behave like businesses and weigh all options; they must also think laterally and outside the box. The problem for Americans as well as Canadians is that foreign governments, and their vassal corporate entities, have established themselves in Canada and are nibbling away at resource assets or using Canada as a backdoor entry to make direct foreign investments in the United States, sometimes without detection. Their targets include resources, farmland, market access and iconic corporations, assets that they do not allow Canadian or American individuals, corporations or governments to acquire in their own countries. This non-reciprocal and sly strategy is aimed at acquiring assets, undermining competitors and gaining political influence in host countries.
The best option for the US and Canada to survive the new economic reality would be to alter course by devising protective policies and to merge into one gigantic nation. This book, a thought experiment, details the economic benefits of joining forces, the way a deal could be structured in fairness to both nations, the political obstacles littering its path and, lastly, strategies if a merger is impossible. This book is written from my viewpoint, as a dual citizen and business writer, that the interests and values of the two nations are aligned and that a merger makes good business sense.
What would the new nation-state –Can-America (“reads too much like a question”), or Ameri-Canada, or something, gain?
Foreign Policy’s J Dana Stuster writes:
By erasing the border, Canada would gain a military with a stake in protecting its resources from foreign incursions, and the investment capital and people to develop oil, natural gas, and other mining projects in the country’s undeveloped north. The United States, for its part, would have access to an estimated 13 percent of the world’s remaining undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas. “The most obvious synergy,” she writes, “would be matching Canada’s undeveloped resource potential with America’s money, markets, and workers.”
And what would it look like?
In terms of acreage, it would be the largest country in world — surpassing Russia, even all of South America, in size. Its economy would be larger than the European Union’s. Since each country is the other’s largest trading partner, trade deficits would shrink. Canadian oversight at the Fed would bring stability to American banking. With all its energy needs met domestically, Ameri-Canada would be a lucrative petrostate, exporting oil to the developing world.
The concept – which has been mooted before – has its drawbacks. The integration of US , Canadian and Quebecois laws, for a start.
Would Washington ever want to inherit First Nations land disputes, Quebec separatists, or Justin Bieber? And would Canadians want Washington, especially after such a case study in dysfunction this week?
Still, as Stuster notes, the chances of such a thing happening are toothpick-thin. The US Republicans would never let it happen, given that it would probably mean they’d never win another election.
And the response to Francis’s proposal has been unmistakable – “something between knee-jerk reactionism and hand-waving dismissiveness”.