Crawl Across the Ocean

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Wait Till Your Father Gets Home

So Bush came to town and tried to sell us on joining up with the States' wacky "lasers from space", a.k.a. "missile defence" plan.

The thing I find odd about Canada-U.S. relations is how many people (mostly, but not entirely from the 'right wing') believe that Canada should do things we don't like because if we don't we will be punished by the U.S.

Now admittedly, there are situations where this is a prudent course of action. For example, if someone has kidnapped a family member and is demanding a $100 ransom for their release, it seems logical to pay them, as distasteful as that may seem. But if you keep getting hostages taken time and time again, any normal person would look for a way to change the dynamics of the situation.

So, the part that really puzzles me, is that a number of commentators don't seem to really mind this state of affairs where Canadians are forced into policies we don't like (appeasement on trade issues, unnecessarily tough stance on pot use, etc.) because of our fear of retribution from the U.S. In fact you never hear them say something like, "Well, we have to go along in this case, but we need to take steps so that we can do what we want without fear of retribution in the future" or even less likely, "we may be punished for doing this, but it's worth paying the price in order for us to maintain our independence and do what we think is right."

I can't help wondering if the people who take this approach view the Canadian public as an unruly child which stubbornly won't go along with what they (the nagging mother) think they should do. As a result, they resort to telling the public to wait until their father (the U.S.) gets home, and then they'll be sorry they didn't change their ways sooner.

Unfortunately, I don't have any good examples of this type of reasoning on hand at that moment, but I'll keep an eye out and post them if I do. I'm guessing that if you read the news regularly, you know what I'm talking about.

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  • There are those who eagerly say, "we better do it or the Americans will be mad". I think this is just a case of using any argument you can to support the policy you're actually in favour of -- whether it be invading Iraq, tightening up immigration rules, keeping marijuana a criminal offense, or whatever.

    Well, it's mostly a case of that -- plus a little bit of annoyance that they are living in a country with policies like Canada when they really prefer what the read about the USA.

    I really wish people would think twice about making such an argument, even when it supports their point of view. I'd like to think that right wingers care about Canadian sovereignty more than that.

    By Blogger Andrew Spicer, at 7:13 PM  

  • That's really the question isn't it, to what extent do people making that sort of argument support our sovereignty?

    The same question comes up when people seem overly eager for us to adopt the U.S. dollar, or talk about the need for greater 'integration' with the U.S. (in customs or defence or trade or whatever). It's a fine line between pragmatism, and a denial of our national identity.

    I can't help wondeing if there's a word for someone who wants their country to be controlled by/ subsumed under a neighbouring country?

    Hmm, I tried searching in a web-based reverse dictionary ( and it came up with quite a remarkable list of possibilities including Europhile [Amerophile?], romantic, colony, native, doges of Venice, devil, ally, faction, fedayeen, slave, enemy, irredentist [anti-irredentist?], peasant, hack, peace, suggestibility, mercenary, servitude, fool, betray, immigrant, foreign service and of course the obvious candidates: eyepatch and toast.

    None of those words seem quite right, but taken together they add up to a generally appropriate sense of what I'm getting at. Fascinating.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:07 PM  

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