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It's High Time for Canadian Annexation

Column by Anders Hove
Opinion Editor

It must have been a little galling for Canadians to read major American newspaper editorial pages over the last few weeks. Yankee Op-Ed writers have gone bonkers writing flippant columns about how great it will be when the United States finally breaks down and annexes Canada. These egotistical pontificators have been storing up years of condescension, just waiting to dump it all on our unwitting neighbors to the north. They seem to think our annexing Canada would some sort of magnanimous favor on our part.

As the descendant of people who accidentally immigrated to this country from Canada, I'd like to think I bring some perspective to the issue. From my uniquely unbiased position, I would offer the Canadian government the following advice: Ditch those pesky, ungrateful Quebecois and annex the United States instead.

The sheer numbers in favor of the idea are overwhelming. If Quebec goes its own way, that leaves Canada with about 3.3 million square miles of land. That's 300,000 square miles shy of the United States' current 3.6 million. Canada then drops to number four in the land area ranking. Without Quebec, Canada has only 20 million people to that vast land area, giving it just a half-person more per square mile than my home state, Montana.

Throw in the United States, however, and Canada rips into first place on the land area ranking. That's even ahead of Russia, which currently weighs in at 6.6 million square miles. Throw in nearly 250 million people and add $6 trillion to the GDP, and suddenly Canada starts looking like a real country.

But we haven't even considered the fringe benefits yet. Without America, Canada makes for a pretty wimpy world power, doomed to send its air squadrons and ground battalions to United Nations hot spots under foreign command. After annexing the U.S., though, suddenly Canada becomes the world's greatest superpower, with a military budget of over $270 billion every year. Combine that with U.S. borrowing power (amply demonstrated over the past fifteen years) and you get the greatest debtor nation in the world's history.

One of the most critical reasons for annexing the States, however, has nothing to do with numbers. The fact is, without Quebec, Canada has no culture. True, Canada has a rich frontier history, and some colorful ties to the British Isles. I should mention Canada's rich Native American population (which subsists in spite of Canadian nationhood). In general, though, Canada is still the blandest nation in the world. By comparison, the United States is a cultural melting pot. True, many Americans are provincial unilingual white males who eat pizza five nights a week. But the percentage of those who buck this stereotype is higher here than in Canada, so annexing the United States will amount to a net cultural increase tundra-side.

Sports is another hot issue. By annexing America, Canada would establish its permanent domination of hockey and baseball. Nothing is more important to Canadian identity than the Stanley Cup; this way Canada would win it every year for sure. So much for national security issues.

But while it thus seems fairly obvious that Canada should ditch Quebec and annex the United States, the actual process of annexation will be difficult. As in all matters political and diplomatic, compromise will be necessary. Luckily, Canada's negotiating position is fairly fluid, and allows for considerable movement.

Take the problem of the national capital. Once it jettisons Quebec, Canada doesn't have one. America will have to continue to house the capital in Washington, D.C. (as onerous as that may seem to most Americans).

The issue of a constitution will undoubtedly also come up in any merger negotiation. Once again, Canada comes up a little short: It doesn't have one. So it won't matter how much Yanks demand Canada supply the constitution; it will be the Yankee constitution, or no constitution.

But if America has to supply the capital and constitution, what concessions will Canada offer? First, of course, Canada will offer to ditch its centralized health insurance and agree to fund Medicare cost-of-living increases with their grindingly high taxes. Canada will have to concede its right to log its primeval forests. (It otherwise stands poised to drive the U.S. forestry industry into the dirt faster than all the spotted owls in the world.) If bargaining gets tough, Canada could throw in some free skiing passes to sweeten the deal.

The most contentious point between the two countries is the question of the national anthem. Americans can't sing their anthem, and Canadians won't sing theirs. The obvious solution will be to find some suitably unknown British drinking song and clap on some references to the "red glare" of sunlight reflected off maple leaves. The song would then be such an embarrassment that nobody in either country would admit to having an anthem. Problem solved.

Of the remaining points, few have any substance. Even the monetary issues are fairly simple: To stabilize interest rates ("freeze" is the technical term), the Federal Reserve Board would move to Toronto. Furthermore, Americans will have no problems dumping that silly pyramid on the dollar in favor of Queen Elizabeth II.

In general, it seems the points in favor of annexing the United States far outweigh any possible objection to the scheme. I think most Yanks would even agree that the word "Canadian" has a neat ring to it. Failing that, we could at least call ourselves "Americans" with a little more accuracy.