We are not America's slaves; we're their independent partners. Look how Paul Martin told George W. that we weren't going to join the U.S. ballistic missile defence program, designed to defend against unmanned missiles that rogue states like North Korea or Iran may decide to fire at western countries. But are we shirkers or independent thinkers? Turning down Iraq was independent thinking, and good thinking at that. Refusing to share in ballistic missile defence smacks is starting to look more and more like shirking.