EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

November 22, 2013

Blame Canada? Or should we merge instead?

In the 1995 movie “Canadian Bacon,” the U.S. president (Alan Alda), distressed by low opinion polls, starts a war with Canada on the theory that the public rallies around war-time presidents.

Recently we have seen that theory isn’t necessarily true, but the movie was funny because comedian John Candy was in it and the idea that America would care enough about Canada to go to war seemed ludicrous.

But now there is a new idea floating around that President Barack Obama, fighting plummeting opinion polls, might consider: a new country containing both the United States and Canada. It would be bigger than Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase! It would relegate Obamacare to yesterday’s news!

Of course, the first obstacle to reflect on is what to do with Toronto’s bad-boy mayor, Rob Ford, the man with the unfortunate proclivities for crack cocaine and strip clubs while being incredibly inebriated, according to his explanation.

But assuming that Canada’s richest city can be put out of its misery by the eventual departure of the bawdy Ford, the idea of merging the two countries is intriguing to many.

Diane Francis, a respected journalist and author who lives in Toronto and New York City, has laid out serious arguments for a mutual union in a new book, “Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country.”

She argues, “A merger will provide millions of Canadians and Americans with new jobs, exponential resources, enormous capital increases, and protection against conflict with countries including China and Russia, among others.”

Presumably, good-natured Canadians would keep hot-tempered Americans from starting new wars and possibly help end current ones, such as the 12-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Referring to forecasts that China’s economy will be larger than the U.S. economy by 2018, Francis suggests a U.S.-Canadian merger would make the new country the world’s undisputed economic superpower. In exchange for its huge, untapped natural resources, Canada would get the protection of a larger military.

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