It's time for Canada to merge with the United States.
That's the argument from pundit, author, HuffPost blogger and American-born dual citizen Diane Francis in her new book "Merger of the Century," and it's already starting plenty of conversation about the future of a North American union.
Francis' argument centres around what she sees as the threat posed by state-run economies such as China and Russia to Western prosperity. In her view, these nations are using a variety of nefarious means to buy up Western resources and corporations while barring such purchases in their own nations.
These "giant holding company" nations are "wolves at the door," Francis told CBC.
In an excerpt from the book published by the National Post, Francis argues that the antidote to this Eastern encroachment is for Canada and the U.S. to become one giant nation.
She lists a number of potential benefits, among them:
- The U.S. will more easily gain energy self-sufficiency, and thus lower trade deficits, through easier access to Canadian oil.
- Canada is "basically empty" and presents massive development opportunities which would be kickstarted by a merger.
- Even with high levels of immigration, Canada is getting older. A merger with the U.S., which has more healthy demographics, would solve this problem.
- Nation states are basically obsolete in an age of globalization. A single Canada-U.S. nation would be a mega-nation controlling 12.25% of the world's landmass with the potential to dominate the global economy for decades to come.
Story continues after slideshow
We Speak English And French, Not Canadian
But We Don't All Speak French
We Didn't Make Celine Dion, Nickelback And Justin Bieber Famous. You Did
We Don't Know Your Cousin Mike From Vancouver
British Columbia Is Not In Britain. Or South America. (Google it)
We Know More About America Than You Do About Canada
Sofa, Not Couch
Pop, Not Soda
Bathroom, Not Washroom
We Don't All Know How To Ski/Skate/Dogsled
It's Pronounced 'ZED'
Not All Of Us Like Hockey
We Don't All Want To Move To America
Our Mayors, For The Most Part, Don't (Allegedly) Smoke Crack
We're Sick Of Emailing Fox News About This, So For The Last Bloody Time, The 9/11 Bombers Did NOT Cross Over From Canada!
Next: The Most Canadian Words
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A toonie is a $2 Canadian coin, which followed the cue of the loonie (named after the image of the aquatic bird that graces the $1 coin). <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Hey buddy, can I borrow a toonie? I need to get a Double Double (see the next slide)."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A Double Double refers to a coffee (often from Tim Hortons) with two creams and two sugars. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Yes, hi, I'd like to order a Double Double."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> When food, however unappealing it is, is all you <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/10/newfoundland-tourism-video-gutfoundered_n_3254578.html" target="_blank">crave at the end of the day. Or, you're just very hungry.</a> <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> “Your mind wanders when it’s gut-foundered. Is it going to be take-out? Is it going to be pizza?”
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong>Shit-Kickers are nicknames for cowboy boots. Hee Haw! <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I can't go to the Calgary Stampede without my shit-kickers."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Something that is in a diagonal direction from something else. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "The grocery store is kitty-corner to the school."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A warm wind that blows east over the Canadian Rockies, warming up Calgary in the winter. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "This chinook is giving me a headache."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A slang term for cigarettes <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Get your darts out."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Stagette is another name for bachelorette party. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Are you heading out to that stagette this weekend? There's going to be a stripper."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Cowtown is a nickname for Calgary. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I've been living in Cowtown my entire life."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Another name for underwear used mainly in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and often referring to men's or boys' briefs. A gotch refers to women's underwear. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Pull your pants up, I can see your gitch."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> According to the Dictionary of Newfoundland, a bedlamer is a <a href="http://www.heritage.nf.ca/dictionary/azindex/pages/291.html" target="_blank">seal that is not yet mature.</a> <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "This harp seal is giving me a hard time, it's such a bedlamer."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A toque is a hat most people wear during winter months. And sometimes, you will see this hat reappear in the summer. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Listen son, don't go out into this weather without your toque."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> No, no one is getting married. In Western Canada, a matrimonial cake is another term for a date square or tart. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I wish this coffee shop had matrimonial cakes."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Someone who loves spending time on an ice rink. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I can't get any ice time, I have to deal with all these rink rats."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Slang for homogenized whole milk, but shockingly, this term is actually used on milk packaging. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "When you go to the grocery store, don't forget to pick up the homo milk."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Common slang for a case of 24 beers. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Are you heading to the beer store? Pick me up a 2-4 of Molson."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> The Canadian way of saying coloured pencil. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Do you have a pencil crayon in that pencil case?"
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Another word for soda. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "That can of pop has 200 calories."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Another word for bathroom or restroom. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "This washroom doesn't have any toilet paper."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Slang for "what are you doing" in Newfoundland. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Did you just get in? Whaddya at?"
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> For the most part, a mickey is a flask-sized (or 375 ml) bottle of hard liqueur, but on the East Coast, a mickey is an airplane-sized bottle. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "We're going out tonight, can someone grab a mickey."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Not a slang term, but this is how Canadians pronounce the letter "Z". Not zee.
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A hockey (surprise, surprise) technique when a player gets past their opponent by "faking it." It can also be used to replace the world detour. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I am going to deke into the store after work."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Hydro refers to electricity, particularly on your energy bill. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "My hydro bill went up $10 this month."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A mountie is a nickname for a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Stop speeding, a mountie will catch you."
NEXT: 50 Of the Best Canadian Foods
Poutine — French fries generously slathered in gravy and cheese curds — is a classic Canadian treat that is said to have originated in Quebec in the 1950s. Since then, it has been adapted in many weird and wonderful ways from <a href="http://crownsalts.com/gardemanger/" target="_blank">gourmet versions with lobster</a> and <a href="http://www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca/menu.html" target="_blank">foie gras</a> to —believe it or not — a doughnut version. It's also inspired <a href="http://smokespoutinerie.com/" target="_blank">a crop of trendy "poutineries"</a> and a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/14/doughnut-poutine-psycho-donuts_n_2875921.html" target="_blank">"poutition"</a> to make it Canada's official national dish.
There are some snacks that define a nation, but not many that taste good to only those who live there. What do we love? The fact they leave our fingers dyed red after we've had a whole bag. Ketchup has never tasted so salty, non-tomatoey and outright good. Our U.S. friends may go nutty over Doritos, but we love our ketchup chips. Did you know that <a href="http://www.thestar.com/business/2013/02/28/heres_why_you_cant_buy_chicken_and_waffle_chips_in_canada.html" target="_hplink"> Lay's dill pickle and Munchies snack mix are also exclusively Canadian?</a>
What could be more Canadian than syrup that comes from the maple tree, whose iconic leaf has come to symbolize Canada and its national pride? Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup in the world, accounting for about 75 to 80 percent of the supply. Maple syrup — <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1372549/Maple-syrup-joins-ranks-broccoli-blueberries-new-stop-shop-superfood.html" target="_blank">recently elevated to "superfood" status</a> — is a classic sweet topping on pancakes and waffles. Still, that hasn't stopped some people from thinking of surprising savoury pairings such as <a href="http://www.toromagazine.com/lifestyle/food/toro-tv/c3df4a2e-74ba-c154-9172-99d497567a76/Caplanskys-Maple-Bacon-Donuts/" target="_blank">maple-bacon doughnuts</a>.
It's no secret that Canadians are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/15/tim-hortons-new-bacon-taste-test_n_2884834.html" target="_blank">obsessed with bacon</a>. The delicious cured pork product can be made oh so many ways, including ever popular strip bacon and peameal bacon, often referred to as "Canadian bacon" abroad. In fact, Canadians are so passionate about their favourite food that <a href="http://bacontoday.com/the-people-of-canada-choose-bacon-over-sex/" target="_blank">many would probably choose it over sex.</a>
A butter tart is a classic Canadian dessert made with butter, sugar, syrup and eggs — filled in a buttery (yes, more grease) pastry shell, and often includes either raisins or nuts. They can be runny or firm — so it's hard to mess them up when you're baking. <a href="http://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking_and_desserts/best_butter_tarts.php" target="_blank">Also, they never seem to go out of style.</a>
BeaverTails, or <em>Queues de Castor</em> in French, is a famous trademarked treat made by a <a href="http://www.beavertailsinc.com/" target="_blank">Canadian-based chain of pastry stands</a>. The fried-dough treats are shaped to resemble real beaver tails and are often topped with chocolate, candy, and fruit. These Canadian delicacies go hand in hand with skiing, and even <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/17/beavertail-at-inauguration_n_2495957.html" target="_blank">gained White House recognition during U.S. President Barack Obama's 2009 trip to Ottawa.</a>
These legendary Canadian no-bake treats originated in (surprise!) <a href="http://www.nanaimo.ca/EN/main/visitors/NanaimoBars.html" target="_blank">Nanaimo, B.C.,</a> and are typically made with graham-cracker crumbs, coconut, walnuts, vanilla custard and chocolate. Need we say more? Common variations include peanut butter and mint chocolate.
No one likes to think of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as dinner, but game meat is abundant in Canada and can be found in butchers, restaurants and homes across the country. Among other popular Canadian game is boar, bison, venison, caribou and rabbit.
Suffice to say, there are some issues with Francis' plan.
The National Post's Jonathan Kay has already outlined some of the principle problems.
- Francis says Canadians in the new nation would get a special health card that would entitle them to free care that Americans would not be granted. In what world would Americans accept this?
- Under Francis' plan, the U.S. would also pay Canada $17-trillion in debt bond in exchange for Canada's abundant resources and wealth. This would roughly double America's already massive debt load. Francis suggests it could be paid for with a gas tax, a deeply unpopular idea that has been repeatedly rejected by Republicans and Democrats alike.
- America can't even pass a budget and Canada can't even reform the Senate. Why should we expect politicians to be capable of engineering a deal that's about a bajillion times more complicated?
- Francis argues Republican would embrace the deal because of the economic and security benefits. Democrats would be in favour because an influx of liberal Canadian voters would ensure there "would never be another Republican president again." Why would the Republicans ever accept a deal that would lead to their extinction?
- Quebec. Ya, Quebec is not going to like this.
- And, in no particular order: guns, the drug war, religion in U.S. politics, profoundly different legal codes and three downs in the CFL.
To be fair, Francis told CBC that she views her book as a "thought experiment" and is well aware how difficult a merger would be to achieve. She said she also favours more modest moves toward union, such as a fourth level of intra-national government similar to the EU or deeper economic integration, such as the adoption of a single currency.
Then again, Canada may not need to agree to a merger in order for it to take place. While Canadians are strongly against closer security ties with the U.S., an NSA map displayed recently at a Congressional hearing labelled Canada part of the American "Homeland."
All of a sudden, the Tories' focus on promoting the War of 1812 make a lot more sense.
Do you think Canada and the U.S. should merge? Is it inevitable? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Related on HuffPost: