August 10, 2001
Apparently having our own country is
standing in the way of someone making a buck. The complaint is
that the billion or so dollars worth of trade that passes between
Canada and the US each day is forced to stop for that inconvenient
speed bump known as the Canadian border.
It started with US Ambassador Paul Cellucci.
He said in an interview that the US, Canada and Mexico should
work towards what he calls "NAFTA-Plus". This, he said,
could include a common energy policy, the "harmonization"
of immigration policies and a security perimeter around North
America rather than having those pesky national borders.
While Cellucci was quick to point out
that the US respects our sovereignty, he could see eventually
replacing the Canada-US border with a North American "Main
Before we get rid of the longest unprotected
border in the world maybe we should think about testing it on
a much smaller scale first.
For example, suppose you lived in a duplex,
or semi-detached house. The people on the other side of the wall
seem nice enough. They have a big family packed into their house
almost ten times the size of your own family. And that's
why they've suggested knocking down the wall between your homes
and making it into one big house.
You can see some benefits. Even though
you're sharing it with more people, you're going to get a bigger
house once the dividing wall comes down. And you'll be able to
move freely between the two halves of the house without having
to worry about knocking on the front door.
But we all know there are always problems
First you find out that what they called
"harmonizing" immigration policies really means that
they now decide who you can and cannot invite into your newly
shared area. And they have some pretty funny ideas about who
makes a good guest. Then they won't let you go shopping at that
Cuban corner grocery store because they don't like the owner's
Next you find out they like long showers
and run the sprinklers all day. Pretty soon they're running short
of water on their side of the house and want to know if they
can attach their garden hose to your faucet. After all, you have
all this clean, sparkling water just lying around and their SUV
desperately needs washing.
Plus they never turn off the lights when
they leave a room and leave the furnace on all day even when
there's no one home. Everything is so overloaded on their side
that they're constantly blowing fuses. Even so, they want to
work out a "common energy policy". Isn't a "common
energy policy" really just another way of saying they want
to get their mitts on our hydro and then split the bill with
Next they'd be asking us if we'd mind
letting them store their missile defense shield in our half of
the garage. "Just for a couple of weeks," they'd promise.
"Just till we clear some space in the attic."
Amazingly enough, there are some people
in Canada who think replacing our border within a greater North
American "perimeter" is a good idea. These are obviously
people who never had a roommate.
After all, it was an American Robert
Frost who said good fences make good neighbours.