Audacities
Canada to the Rescue!

Most proposals about unifying the United States and Canada are based on economic complementarity and cultural affinity. Here’s one based on institutional necessity.

Appeared in: Volume 10, Number 1 | Published on: August 18, 2014
Diane Francis is a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, editor-at-large of the National Post, and has been a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center.
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  • timothywilliamson

    Here’s another supporter of creating a union of states in North America. The author doesn’t go far enough with her analysis, but it is strong. Any North American union of states should extend from Panama to the north pole, and the reasons are more than just institutional – we need the large economic base to compete cooperatively with the growing strength of the EU, the AU, the potential rise of the EEU, and particularly with China as their huge economic base matures and reaches middle class status. We must do this so that ordinary people will not feel the pressure of increased costs at their kitchen tables and because it will impact the cost of money, raw materials, products and services globally. At this point, it is a necessity, and we should not have our heads stuck in the sand pretending it will go away. We must begin now to address this or north american’s will pay the price.

    • ShadrachSmith

      Re: “we need the large economic base to compete cooperatively”

      We are pretty big already. What we need is more people who cooperate productively. You don’t compete better by just getting bigger.

      • timothywilliamson

        We’re not big enough though. China will have 730,000,000 middle class people soon. That’s an economic base that we can not compete against. It is true that being more productive is important, but if one looks at the numbers the US is currently one of the most productive nations on earth now.

        The only way to come close to competing cooperatively is to increase the number of people in your economic base. It is for this reason that the EU must grow stronger, and that the AU must also increase in strength and unity. These regional federations were designed to compete fairly with the US primarily, but they are realizing that China will be much stronger than the US economically simply because of the size of their economic base. They also know that as the Chinese economy matures, the influence of China on the world stage will grow to that of hegemon regardless of whether Xi Jinping pursues hegemony or not – money not only buys you materials products and services, it buys influence and followers.

        So how then should north America prepare to compete with Europe, Africa and South America as they pursue stronger federal systems? And, of course there is the issue of China which already has the needed numbers to overrun all of us as long as we neglect the numbers.

  • Stephen

    I think Ms. Francis would favor an Article V convention. But why look to Parliament in the UK and Canada as models if efficiency is the goal: Rome found a way to streamline things. The Founders were rather fond of Rome: Well, perhaps the less efficient part of its political history, but we can correct that.

    • Monte

      Rome did indeed find a way: Ave Caesar!

  • Arkeygeezer

    The opinion that the U.S. form of government is dysfunctional seems to be the basis of the desire to make a “United States of North America’ because it would be more “efficient”.The existing models for these types of super states is the European Union and the United Nations. Both of course are models of efficiency.

    Past models for these types of super states include the Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics, and the fascist governments of Germany and Italy. They were very efficient in their day. The most efficient super state was the Britannic Empire in the 18th century. Thats the one from which we rebelled.

    No thanks.

    • Monte

      “It has withstood one civil war, two world wars, and numerous economic slow-downs and recessions.”

      The constitutional structure we live under arguably caused that civil war and contributed in significant ways to the origins of the second of those world wars.

      I’ll leave it to the economists to debate complicated question of the full economic cost of gridlock, but the point lies in this question: is something similar to Osborne’s series of austerity budgets remotely conceivable in contemporary America?

    • timothywilliamson

      Here’s why we must have a north american union.

      “The US is not big enough. China will have 730,000,000 middle class people in the coming years. That’s an economic base that neither the US nor the west can compete against, so we must compete cooperatively all around the planet and on a much larger scale if we are to ensure that our people do not pay higher prices for money, products, services and raw materials.

      The only way to come close to competing cooperatively is to increase the number of people in your economic. Alexander Hamilton understood this principle and sought to bring to the US more people, manufacturing from Europe, and promoting strong, balanced federal system, and so forth during the 1790’s. Hamilton understood the relationship between a large economic base of consumers and producers and economic competitiveness. The rest of the world is beginning to see it too, now that our economies are so intertwined, hyperconnected, co-dependent, and achieving (slowly) parity and maturity.

      It is for this reason that the EU must grow stronger, more united and more representative, and that the AU must also increase in strength and unity. These regional federations were designed to compete fairly with the US primarily, but they are realizing that China will be much stronger than the US economically simply because of the size of their economic base. They also know that as the Chinese economy matures, the influence of China on the world stage will grow to that of hegemon regardless of whether Xi Jinping pursues hegemony or not – money not only buys you materials products and services, it buys influence, expectations and followers.

      So how then should north America prepare to compete with Europe, Africa and South America as they pursue stronger federal systems? And, of course there is the issue of China which already has the needed numbers to overrun all of us as long as we neglect the numbers.”

      © Timothy Williamson, 19 Aug 2014, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

  • wigwag

    Has it occurred to Professor Francis that efficient government is simply not what Americans want?

    Europe is replete with Parliamentary democracies but with all of the efficiencies that parliamentary systems provide, is Europe doing better than the United States? Is it freer? Does it have more robust economic growth? Are its future prospects better? Is it demographically more or less fecund than the United States? Does Europe incorporate minorities into its national “melting pot” as successfully as the United States does? Are Europeans more or less bigoted? We’ve seen a rash of hate crimes in Europe over the past several months including the firebombing and pillaging of places of worship; have we experienced that in the United States? Is Europe, with all of its great parliamentary systems equipped to save the lives of a brutally oppressed Yazidi minority cowering on a mountain top in Northern Iraq? Is Europe capable of exercising military force for a good cause anywhere in the world?

    If Parliamentary systems made for better government, Europe would not be such an abject failure compared to the United States. As far as Canada goes, Professor Francis can tout the elegance of its budgeting process all she wants, but exactly how robust an economy does she suppose Canada would have but for its proximity to the economic titan to its South?

    And then there’s the issue of whether Professor Francis exaggerates the importance of the budgeting process itself? Does it matter one iota that the budgeting process in the United States is a politicized mess? Yes, the Moody’s and brethren may have downgraded U.S. debt, but what happened in the months after they did that? Despite record low interest rates, money poured into to U.S. debt instruments from all over the world. Foreigners couldn’t buy enough treasuries, so passionate were they to obtain U.S. debt instruments that they bid the interest rates these instruments paid to near zero.
    Did we see any similar clamoring for loonies? Did we see a similar passion for Euros? The Canadian currency trades near where its traded against the dollar for more than a decade; the Euro trades at the lowest level seen in many years against the dollar. If efficiencies in the budgeting process were so important, how does Professor Francis explain this conundrum?

    For all the warts apparent in the U.S. budgeting process, is U.S. sovereign debt as a percentage of GDP out of line with what we see in the parliamentary democracies in Europe? Are our deficits larger as a percentage of GDP? Where are deficits falling faster, in the European parliamentary democracies or in the United States?

    By almost any measure, the U.S. system that Americans love to hate, is doing better, and in many cases much better, than the parliamentary systems adopted by our democratic cousins in much of the rest of the world. The interesting comparison is not with Canada or with the European parliamentary systems but with the hierarchical systems in Asia influenced by the history of Confucianism.

    Whether these systems work better over the long run than the American system is an open question, but it really doesn’t matter, Americans are no more likely to endorse these systems, even if they produce incremental gains than Americans and Canadians are to merge.

    • Nevis07

      I understand some of your criticisms of the European comparison, but they’re not all reasonable to make. Yes, they are countries that have parliamentary governments, but those governments only more recently came under the EU umbrella. The EU is a very defunct institution and only remotely democratic in my view. So those democracies have to operate without complete sovereignty, which leads to a host of many many problems, not lease of which is demographic and economic. Unless you’re suggesting a EU system for US-Canada, what we’re talking about here is the creation of a single North American country. Two completely different concepts unless, which changes the narrative and comparison.

  • Nevis07

    Interesting piece Professor Francis! The concept of a Canadian – US Union never quite seems to gain much traction, but it never seems to go away. The potential prospects of gain for both are too difficult to ignore. Of course, it’s incredibly unlikely in any of our lifetimes.

    I agree that for it to occur, the US would have to be the one to reform it’s system of governance and on the whole a parliamentary system of governance is a more sustainable form of rule if only because of it’s flexibility. However, there are some downsides to it as well – I would argue that the lack of checks and balances and the indirect nature of the election of leadership are the biggest issues. To an American like myself, those are of concern. Having said that, I suspect there may be a middle road hybrid model that could be created, despite you warning to do so.

    As I was reading, it occurred to me that as you said, a new union would naturally skew towards a liberal electorate. The only way the Republicans would allow this is if they could build in a balancing measure (in our current system, that would mean breaking existing states into further parts to even out the electorate – for example North Colorado and Jefferson California…)

    Also, what would the consequences be to the world of such a union. American, begrudgingly police the world and are increasingly tired of doing so. A new union might inject some energy in that regard, however, are the Canadian electorate willing to join more directly in that role? Another question hat occurred to me while reading was if the US reformed to a parliamentary system, what about the 50 states? Would they be allowed to keep their current constitutions and systems of governance?

  • Hamiltonian

    The author takes 13 years of political and budgetary failure and proceeds as if the failure’s covered a period of 226 years. Would need more pre-2010 examples of federal buffoonery for this to be convincing.

    And if the U.S. government is by nature weak, incompetent, unwieldy, and inefficient, how to explain national success? How has an inferior political system to every other democracy in the world produced unseen economic, technological, geopolitical and military superiority? The author conspicuously doesn’t even try to touch this.

    Take the point about how the U.S. government is unsuited to act in a crisis or emergency. Over the last century has Britain fared better and America worse during such times?

    • Monte

      “If the U.S. government is by nature weak, incompetent, unwieldy, and inefficient, how to explain national success?”

      This is a good question. The good question, perhaps, because any comprehensive critique of the Madisonian structure has to address it. The first point to be made is that the 1787 constitution has not been uniformly successful; like Dunkirk, the American Civil War has been mythologized into something looking like a victory for the American system, but by any objective measure it was a total and catastrophic failure of that system, resulting among other consequences in a the most sever crisis of relations between executive and legislative branches to that date.

      That system’s greatest period of success, the century between the impeachment of Johnson and the resignation of Nixon, 1868-1974, is explicable in part by economic growth of a sort and for reasons similar to that experienced by China in the last several decades. Immunity and isolation from Great Power rivalry until 1945 helped while, after the end of the Second World War, expansive imperial power in the void left by European collapse, combined with rivalry with the Soviets over the global spoils, helped preserve cooperation between the two active branches.

      Since Nixon’s resignation, those conditions have, one by one, ceased to function, and the American system which failed prior to that era has steadily drifted again toward failure.

  • stefanstackhouse

    Out constitution looks good on paper, and worked well enough for a loose federation of a few mostly rural and underdeveloped states isolated from most of the rest of the world. For the quasi-empire that we have become, it simply does not work. If we could create something new today, does anyone doubt that we would come up with something that looks considerably different?

    By the way, it actually IS possible to do a complete replace. The provisions of Article V allow two-thirds of the state legislatures to call a constitutional convention for the proposing of amendments; these become part of the constitution when ratified by three-fourths of the states. There is nothing preventing a constitutional convention from proposing an “amendment” that effectively results in the complete revocation of the existing constitution and its replacement with something totally new. This would all be entirely up to the states; neither the congress, nor the president, nor the supreme court could have any say in it. While it is doubtful that this ever would happen, it is incorrect to say that it is impossible. The original constitutional convention operated pretty much the same way in replacing the Articles of Confederation with an entirely new constitution, and they undoubtedly wanted to leave a back door open so that it would be possible to do such a thing again if the need ever arose.

  • Dan

    I made it to the 3rd paragraph. Then the author started to complain about ‘gridlock’ and that was enough for me. Maybe in management school they don’t teach Constitutional law, but our government is designed to be ‘gridlocked’ and to require consensus for large scale things which frankly, are the only ones supposed to be done on a federal level. They are not meant to be rammed through on party line votes which the author would seem to prefer in the 3 paragraphs I made it through We can see clearly how well that has worked out so far.

    Anyone who complains about gridlock is really complaining that people who disagree with their preferred idea should sit down and shut up.

    No thank you.

    • JayfromBrooklyn

      Also, a hung parliament is a much worse kind of gridlock.

      • Monte

        No, it’s not. In the first place, both the Harper and Cameron governments are living proof that effective and responsive government can and does continue despite an absolute majority in the Commons. In the second place, dissolution provides the Westminster system with a safety valve which the American constitution lacks. It is simply unreasonable to say that a hung parliament is worse than gridlock.

        • JayfromBrooklyn

          Problem with an uneasy coalition or a minority government is that on any major decision the government can fall.

          • Monte

            Yes, that’s true. In which case, the Head of State either asks another party leader to form a gov’t or else grants a dissolution, in either case a process generally lasting only a matter of weeks in Westminster parliaments (but not all parliamentary systems, e.g. Belgium) from no-confidence vote to new election. In the meantime, government continues, if necessary under a caretaker PM.

            Contrast this to American-style gridlock. Without the dual instruments of confidence and dissolution nothing can break the lock: even impeachment of the president results in the executive in the same party’s hands as before. Instead, the country must wait at least two years for effective government (which I stipulate means some reasonable degree of cooperation between legislative and executive powers). Even then (as will soon be demonstrated), the general election of the Representatives is likely to change nothing.

            Lacking the safety valves of confidence and dissolution, the American system cannot resolve gridlock. Even the French Fifth Republic has analogous mechanisms, despite a formal separation of powers between Head of State and legislature.

  • Honk

    Idiotic. America is dysfunctional because otherwise we would have dictatorship.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Nationalism is a fundamental organizing principle. Nationalism gives birth to political organizations. Political organizations don’t create Nations, except in Science Fiction novels. The Singularity is a more likely game changer.

    Homo Sapiens is hard wired for tribal affiliations (See Islam). America is what it is. Canada isn’t anything particularly different, except that it has no intentions to share the cost of policing the world.

    South of the Rio Grande a series of interlocking and deeply brutal cultures with order based on the Colombian model, introduced by the Aztecs, formalized by Simon Bolivar and currently maintained by drug cartels.

    • NoPasaran

      We’re also overlooking the fact that this in not of the people. There is no great clamoring for a Greater Usonia. This is a fantasy of academic loons and elitists.

      • ShadrachSmith

        That is what I was trying to say, but you said it better 🙂

        • NoPasaran

          Thanks. We have enough top-down bullying in our lives to begin with. Hey, if society is urged to devolve into the role of citizen-serf, why can’t governments devolve too?

  • Anthony

    The author is right as presently constituted “none of the above” will remain conformist/layered default position indefinitely. Nevertheless, author provides ideas via institutional an political approach (with efficiency, accountability, transparency, alignment with public interest as important components) whereby anyone serious about America’s political system ought not cavalierly dismiss. Equally, essay’s exposition is appropriately complemented by Episode 28 podcast between Diane Francis and Richard Aldous.

  • Gene

    Anyone who looks at a gigantic, wealthy, complicated nation like the USA and then concludes that its political dysfunctions can best be fixed by BECOMING BIGGER and implementing a wrenching, complicated change to a very different form of political organization, tells us much more about herself than she does about how to actually fix our “problems.”

    Give me solutions that de-centralize and push power downward, or just head back to campus to prepare for fall classes.

  • JayfromBrooklyn

    Who did your fact checking? In the British election of 2010, the Conservatives received 36%, not 32%.

  • U Nderwater Glockenspiel

    Wow an intelligent articulate woman, rarity.

  • NoPasaran

    One of the many wonders of being Canadian, is that they avoid the complexities of the tides and turns in US society, and for that matter, the world. They generally like the idea of seeing the world 1) as a client, and 2) something with which dealing-with is completely optional when the political will isn’t there.

    Economically, we are already unified for all intents and purposes. People relocate back and forth quite freely, with little cost to their lifetime economic well being.

    But the largest reason that this fantasy is silly, (and that I sincerely hope you wrote it as a kind of subtle satire,) is that the larger ones’ population is, along with the global trend of the centralization of political power, the less leverage you have over government.

    We no longer have a taste for the separation and limiting of government power, so why would Canadians living with an already top-centric beast of governance want an even bigger one.
    Moreover, why would Americans want to deal with even more people with the sick socialist impluse?

  • Monte

    Francis’ critique of the Madisonian constitution, her observation of its flaws, is entirely correct. Her contention of the superiority of the Westminster system, parliamentary democracy wedded to constitutional monarchy, is indisputable. In this sense the revolution failed: it has never been more clear that the Loyalists (who, failing to hold back the radical tide at home, founded modern Canada in exile) were right all along.

    However, there’s no going back. Union with Canada on terms of adoption of a Westminster system would amount to a belated concession to the Loyalists which the heirs of the radical revolutionaries will never be prepared to make. The revolution and its Madisonian outcome, misguided or not, is too deeply embedded in American civic mythology and theology.

    What is clear is that the U.S. faces a stark choice between constitutional surgery or inevitable decline. Surgery, if possible at all, will necessarily result in a parliamentary system of some sort. But an American Third Republic, compromising the now-vitiated separation of powers in the interests of responsible and efficient government, is far more likely, and far more desirable on both sides of the Great Lakes, than a North American union.

  • DMH

    This is an argument only a progressive would love. I’ll take the 17th century idea of individual liberty over the 20th century idea of statism, whether is be promoted by the socialists. the communists, the fascists or what we now call “progressives”.

    Her complaints about “dysfunction” are silly. It is not a sign that our system is “broken” and needs to be “fixed”. It is a sign that Americans are divided and fortunately, our system of government requires something more than a majority to impose its will on the minority.

    I will take my Bill of Rights over Canada’s Charter of Rights any day, thank you very much.

  • timothywilliamson

    “The US is not big enough. China will have 730,000,000 middle class people in the coming years. That’s an economic base that neither the US nor the west can compete against, so we must compete cooperatively all around the planet and on a much larger scale if we are to ensure that our people do not pay higher prices for money, products, services and raw materials.

    The only way to come close to competing cooperatively is to increase the number of people in your economic. Alexander Hamilton understood this principle and sought to bring to the US more people, manufacturing from Europe, and promoting strong, balanced federal system, and so forth during the 1790’s. Hamilton understood the relationship between a large economic base of consumers and producers and economic competitiveness. The rest of the world is beginning to see it too, now that our economies are so intertwined, hyperconnected, co-dependent, and achieving (slowly) parity and maturity.

    It is for this reason that the EU must grow stronger, more united and more representative, and that the AU must also increase in strength and unity. These regional federations were designed to compete fairly with the US primarily, but they are realizing that China will be much stronger than the US economically simply because of the size of their economic base. They also know that as the Chinese economy matures, the influence of China on the world stage will grow to that of hegemon regardless of whether Xi Jinping pursues hegemony or not – money not only buys you materials products and services, it buys influence, expectations and followers.

    So how then should north America prepare to compete with Europe, Africa and South America as they pursue stronger federal systems? And, of course there is the issue of China which already has the needed numbers to overrun all of us as long as we neglect the numbers.”

    © Timothy Williamson, 19 Aug 2014, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

  • John Hutchinson

    Ms. Francis:

    I am aware that you unfortunately have Canadian citizenship. However, you, as a typical American, have little understanding of the people to whom you would wish to incorporate in this wet dream of yours.

    I am quite familiar with American cultural and political heritage as well as its history; probably more so than 98% of Americans. (Not so hard when even U.S. college undergraduates cannot even accurately determine which half of the 19th Century their civil war occurred.) And indeed, I respect a great deal. There was a time when American exceptionalism had merit. However, Americans have largely betrayed their heritage; both left and right.

    My country has changed, moving closer to what I preferred in my youth. Your country has changed to something much worse and abhorrent. I lament for your people, even as its barbaric government is despised; members from both left and right.

    There is scant desire for a marriage between our countries in my country. You are a comic relief oddity; the best that we can find unfortunately, although we would prefer your court jesters (Stewart, Oliver and Colbert).

    Personally, I would prefer that we follow a more independent economic, political and military policy, before the oncoming American civil war takes us down with them, because of our close economic ties. And I say that as a cultural conservative who has never voted for a federal or provincial left wing party.

    You must have good connections in order for you to spew out your nonsense on news media, both north and south of the border. And it might pamper your American audience to hear that other nationals still want to join your confederacy. However, you do not represent my country. You have no constituency there.

  • JayfromBrooklyn

    Funny how Americans always want to annex Canada, but the Canadians have zero interest.

    • hooharhar

      Is Diane Francis not a real Canadian? It’s not that I’m poo-pooing that assertion. I gather Canadians love their government-run health care, but they aren’t all space aliens.

      • JayfromBrooklyn

        Diane Francis was born in Chicago…

        More to your point- it’s not about government policy, but most Americans seem to think that Canada is only accidentally not the 51st state. While Canadians have a clear identity.

        • hooharhar

          I’m quite conscious of the fact that what has always made Canadians Canadians is above all they’re definitely not Americans, even though they own a sizeable chunk of Hollywood and the country music charts, the hosers.

          • JayfromBrooklyn

            Yet Americans generally see them as just other Americans

          • hooharhar

            Except in certain aspects where they’re not Americans. But Americans aren’t all the same, are they? Canadians and Americans are two countries divided by a common language and yes, a common history, particularly if you see a country as the sum of its parts. But people who argue endlessly over how to spell “defence” probably don’t have better things to do.

        • hooharhar

          Everything is an accident of history if someone recorded it. If not, then it’s just an accident.

        • hooharhar

          Chicagoans didn’t want her.

  • FedUpWithWelfareStates

    How about we make it a Threesome? Create a real North America with Canada, USA & Mexico (Hell, they are already here anyway) & we will only have one collective border to secure down South, we can finally go after the drug cartels, all of that $$$ being sent down South will stay in North America & we will have a bigger tax base…just saying. The Sea of Cortez will be the new Miami for Sure!

  • FancyLad

    “My rejoinder was that if Canadians agreed to join the U.S. political system they would vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats, ensuring control of the White House and Congress”

    Those neo-fascists in liberal clothing? I hardly think so. We have more common sense than that.
    The way Obama has treated Canada the past few years and because of the obvious amateurishness of his administration; only zealous media ideologues, indoctrinated academics and the progressive aristocracy in Canada would support that clown show.
    Canadians would continue to vote Grit and Tory even in a United North America.

  • General_Chaos

    The author’s analysis is only germane to those that see centralized and efficient government as the goal. Believe it or not there is still a large number of citizens that would like to see a more limited federal government. Big government folks like Parliamentary systems and small government folks like the separation of powers.

    Since the US has one state that is more populous than all of Canada and several more states not far behind, why is it that so much decision-making needs to occur at the federal level.

    By ignoring the statist v. limited government issue this article is of limited utility.

  • werehosed

    The writer here misses a key point: Canada actually is much closer to the “weak Confederation” model that the USA founders wanted than the United States is. By far the biggest problem is the amount of power that has been consolidated to Washington. One benefit of Canada having Quebec is that Quebec, despite all of its own faults and flaws, has insisted on retaining significant autonomy, as have several of the other provinces. Uniting Canada and the US would make far more sense if much more power was devolved from Washington back to the states, but there is zero indication that will happen anytime soon.

  • Monte

    As a note to readers of this column, Francis Fukuyama has recently published a critique of the American political system and its present condition which echoes much of what Dr. Francis had to say in this essay (though minus her quixotic proposal for North American union):

    Francis Fukuyama, “America in Decay”, Foreign Affairs (Sept/Oct 2014):

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141729/francis-fukuyama/america-in-decay

  • RealityCrashesIn

    Francis continues to beat on her US-Canada Union drum. Her
    approach is academically-driven, not real-world driven. Until she learns
    a lot more about the true breadth and scope of the operations of America and
    all its overt and covert organs, I doubt she can form any useful opinions.
    Power in America no longer resides in Congress or the White House –
    “Government” as presented to the people is a mass media propaganda
    show which is meant to conceal the real operations of power and influence, both
    domestically and internationally. The USA is no longer run in accordance
    with its Constitution and Bill of Rights, it is run by a cabal of: (1) security
    and intelligence organs, both official and unofficial, with the unofficial
    having budgetary and policy independence from government; (2) Financial
    interests, both national and international, including the Federal Reserve (a
    private organization, beyond the control of the USA), Wall Street (Too Big To
    Fail), and the 1%; (3) Business and military interests which have co-opted the
    Congress, Administration, government departments and secretariats that are
    supposed to regulate them; (4) The Military-Industrial Complex; (5) Groups of
    the rich, influential, and connected. like the Bilderberg Group and the Council
    on Foreign Relations; and (6) Foreign lobbying groups such as AIPAC. The
    Mass Media are overwhelmingly controlled by 6 corporations, and their message
    is uniformly non-inquiring and conforms to government press releases.
    Investigative journalism has ceased to exist in the Mass Media.

    Locally, the political and governmental processes are more often than not run by
    Mafia-like combines of business, wealthy, and political cronies, with elections
    being a form of soma for the duped electorate.

    The Post-9/11 security apparatus in the form of the Patriot Act, the NDAA and Freedom Act have effectively removed all the Constitutional and Bill of Rights constraints on government and police actions against individual Americans, American citizens, whether on US soil or abroad, can be detained, imprisoned, and executed in secret, with no right to any form of appeal or due process. The assets of any American can be seized and confiscated without any warrant or court order. America is now a police state in which individuals have very limited rights against government power.

    Economically, the USA is in dire straits, having run multi – $Billion monthly current-account
    deficits for decades, and continuing to survive only on fiat money provided by
    the Federal Reserve. Official government propaganda touts “recovery”
    and unemployment figures in the range of 6.2%, while elementary research shows
    that there has been no recovery since 2008 in the USA or in Europe, and
    unemployment in the USA is actually in the range of 24% to 27%. Wage
    levels have stagnated, or fallen, over the last 30 years. The Middle
    Class has been hollowed out, and has maintained its appearance of prosperity
    only by taking on more debt. More and more “Middle Class” Americans
    are finding themselves living in trailer parks or in rented accommodation.
    Government and personal debt levels are unprecedented, and unsustainable.
    In a word, the USA is bankrupt, living on money invented out of thin air.
    International faith in the Dollar is crumbling, as is the Petrodollar
    system which has sustained the Dollar since the 1970s.

    Why any nation would want to join the USA now is a mystery. Those who propose
    such a union are delusional, in my humble opinion.

    • hooharhar

      The real power in the US is in the federal bureaucracies and the federal reserve. Everything else is an unchanging formless cloud of political patronage.

  • William Price

    The Parliamentary system is as easily perverted as the set of checks and balances American federalism uses to make decisions. In Canada, the PM’s decision to “prorougue” Parliament four times since his election in 2006 shows executive self-assertion is certainly possible in such systems. Australia and Israel similarly demonstrate wide variation in stability of governments and responsibility of decisionmakers. The national character, as expressed in a political process, and in the people who participate in it, is more important than the form of government. With George Washington as Commander in Chief, and the other founding fathers in his cabinet, the American system worked well. With men and women of less virtue, the system has to manage self-imposed stress. We are as unlikely to learn from Canada as we are to annex that very self-confident (if formally apologetic) country.

  • Brett Champion

    American political institutions aren’t the problem. American voters and, to a lesser extent, American politicians are the problem.

  • hooharhar

    Gee, sounds like the masturbatory rantings of a left-wing Canadian academic.

  • Eightman

    America is “oh for two” on schemes to merge Canada with the United States. Or maybe it’s “oh for three” if you count the Scottie rebellion.

  • LarrySiegel

    Paul Ryan a rogue politician? No, he’s about as mainstream a conservative as it’s possible to get. Check your biases…

  • boborden

    I am guessing this piece was published because it points out (yet again) the flaws in the US system. Otherwise this is a ridiculous piece of fantasy. Why would a nation of 300 million change its political system to accommodate around 40 million people many of whom wouldn’t want to join the US? Why would Republicans ever want to have pre-dominantly (70%) Democratic leaning voters let into the country? What do you about Quebec’s alleged uniqueness? Wouldn’t every state and province in both countries need to buy into the proposition for it to work? Whose legal system would prevail? Would we have 3 different ones (US, Canadian Anglo common law and the US version? Is Diane Francis touring America so she needs to say something dumb out loud to attract attention?Is she hoping her book would sell better than its abysmal sales in Canada?

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