Finding a new friend is one of life's great joys. The discovery of another human being with whom you share some combination of common cause, background, interests, ideals and beliefs is a special moment with obvious benefits -- now you can ditch your old pals, with whom you've exhausted all possibility of meaningful dialogue, in favour of a brand new model. All of a sudden, your social life just got a little less boring.
This, I imagine, is what Stephen Harper experienced this week in China. His trip to the Middle Kingdom was all about fostering a new friendship -- and it seems to have worked. Now it's official: Canada and China are friends.
We've got oil, and China wants it. They're fake-communists and we're fake-socialists. It's a near-perfect match. Well, except for the human rights thing -- but just because we treat each other like human beings and the Chinese leaders treat their citizens like lowly serfs doesn't mean we can't get along. Hey, nobody's perfect.
When you think about it, Canada's getting a pretty good new ally. China's super-rich and with its billion-person army will probably rule the world someday soon. As its newest, bestest friend, maybe they'll let us be be vice-overlords or something.
Plus they're loaning us a bunch of their pandas, which is super-nice of them.
Is it petty to compare our newest friend to the rest of our crew? Maybe. But if our other friends won't accept us for who we are, maybe they're not such good friends after all.
Let's start with the kid next door, America. He likes to party, is into sports -- even if he claims to not "get" hockey (if you don't like our national sport, just tell us) -- and generally shares our belief in free speech and not tolerating the world's weirdos and tyrants. Also, he has access to tons of cool stuff that we can't get yet: It's awesome when he invites us over to check out his new iPhone -- sometimes he even lets us play with it for a few minutes. He's big and strong, which is a good thing since Canada is basically defenceless if anybody ever decided to pick a fight with us.
But on the other hand, he does tend to get a bit bossy and preachy. Also, he's very self-centred -- it's as if he doesn't know anything about us beyond what he's gleaned from SCTV reruns and Justin Bieber songs. And he's always thinking about himself first -- when we needed an oil pipeline from him, he wigged out because he was worried about his own image. If he thinks he's so much better than us just because he's bigger and richer and loser countries look up to him, whatever.
Then there's Europe: It's the epicentre of culture and beauty -- the hub of fashion and art. It's glitzy and glamourous. It's the best place to go to admire human achievement. Europe is a good time.
To be honest, though, the Euro gang has been really annoying lately. All they talk about now is how poor they are. It's a major downer -- hey, man, we're all getting hit by the recession. You Europeans really need to get your life sorted out -- you're supposed to be a close-knit clique, instead all we hear is constant bickering over who's paying for what, who's bailing out who.
Guys, it all works out in the end, right? And, really, given the option between bailing out your buddies and busting up the crew, which based on pretty much all of European history will lead to another big, ugly war, is there really a choice? Took me two minutes to figure it out, why's it taking you so long?
Let's see, who else we got?
Australia! Man, we are so much alike -- big landmass, nice people, funny accent. We both pretend to care about the Queen, even though we snicker behind her back. It's a perfect match.
Except you live so far away, and we're not that good at maintaining long-distance relationships. Yes, we could make time to Skype, but it's just so impersonal. And what with work and family, who has the time?
So, America's narcissistic, Europe's clueless, and Australia might as well be on another planet. China, on the other hand, likes us for who we are and wants to get to know us better -- plus, he seems to be very courteous and well-mannered.
Yes, like the Prime Minister said, we'll definitely have to sit down and talk about the disgusting way he treats his own citizens -- but for right now let's just enjoy each other's good company.
This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.