Americanada? No Thanks

“The way to get the Americans to trust the border is to give them confidence that both countries have the will and ability to protect it.

“The security leg of this agreement, then, would include common rules for accepting refugees, joint inspection of containers leaving international destinations en route to either country, and an integrated terrorist watch list. Most important, it would expand NORAD, the joint command that protects the continent’s airspace, to include land and water. This would lead to the presence of American forces on Canadian soil and within Canadian coastal waters. It would also lead to the presence of our forces on their territory.”
– John Ibbitson, "Welcome to Americanada," The Globe and Mail, May 2, 2009

“[T]he Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), [is] an executive-level pact between the governments and corporate sectors of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, which has never been debated publicly or voted on in any of the three countries. There are over 300 initiatives in the SPP aimed at harmonizing North American policies on food, drugs, security, immigration, manufacturing, the environment, and public health.”
Integrate This! (The Council of Canadians Web site)

The smell of rat is becoming unmistakable.  The reasons for more “integration” and “harmonization" of North America always seemed contrived and ephemeral, particularly after the group hysteria known as the “War on Terror," and they seemed – always – to lead to more secrecy and less accountability, particularly in the murky worlds of the military and security services and their corporate Significant Others (like CAE, for an obvious Canadian example).

Then there’s the Canada-U.S. Civil Assistance Plan [.pdf] of February 2008, little discussed but allowing for, among other things, military "assistance" independent of civil authority. Also, we have the North American Forum, a public/private meeting of “actors" who enjoy the privileges of private-sector privacy and public-sector finance, used, of course, with discretion.  Guys like Reid Morden, former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, show up.

Meanwhile, back in Americanada, who is John Ibbitson? I mean, who is he apart from some guy flogging his book free of charge in "Canada’s National Newspaper"? Whoever he is, he’s got a bad case of the Canadian Cargo Cult Disorder (CCCD), a putative DSM-V Axis II diagnosis, the case definition of which is four of the five major criteria:

  1. Lack of residence outside North America.
  2. Magical thinking.
  3. Fixed delusion that any original thought occurs outside Canada.
  4. Absence of original thought.
  5. Watches at least two hours of American television per day.

Ibbitson’s thesis cannot be deconstructed here in adequate detail – that would require a reasoned rant some pages in length detailing his years of sycophantic adoration for all things American, even as the American Constitution was being systematically undermined – but I propose instead a summary of very good reasons why the Canadian-American border should remain intact.

First, and perhaps most important, is the quality of American beer. The inadequacy of American beer has been appreciated here for generations. If there was any lingering doubt about the "harmonization" of North American standards, the congealing of Molson Canadian and Coors Lite into an insipidly bland blend of completely undefined taste and even lower alcohol content should strike fear into the heart of any Canadian. If there was any argument for a stronger border, defense against American beer has to clinch it.

Second is the Guantánamo disaster. There is no possible way of describing the prison at Guantánamo without using the term "war crime." The evidence is unambiguous. The FBI saw it [.pdf], the ACLU published it [.pdf], and the ICRC verified it [.pdf]. Worse, Canada already has a dirty hand in it. Interested readers are referred to the entire judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada (2008 SCC 28) which stated, unanimously:

“The principles of international law and comity of nations, which normally require that Canadian officials operating abroad comply with local law and which might otherwise preclude application of the Charter to Canadian officials acting abroad, do not extend to participation in processes that violate Canada’s binding international human rights obligations. “

You wouldn’t think we’d have to be going over this again, what with Nuremberg and everything, but for the record, here’s Winston Churchill on habeas corpus:

"I expect you will be questioned about the release of the Mosleys. No doubt the pith of your case is health and humanity. You might however consider whether you should not unfold as a background the great principle of habeas corpus and trial by jury, which are the supreme protection invented by the British people for ordinary individuals against the state. The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without judgment by his peers for an indefinite period, is in the highest degree odious, and is the foundation of all totalitarian governments, whether Nazi or Communist. … Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization." (From The Second World War, Closing the Ring)

Canada, as America’s best friend, should be unequivocally opposed to the blatant disregard for international humanitarian law that has been the hallmark of the last decade in Washington and – in the manner of best friends – say so bluntly. We have no wish to be part of an "integration" that includes a return to the Orwellian rule of power politics, which is to say that there are no rules.

Third is Afghanistan. This is an obvious, unmitigated disaster that Canada slid into in some unfathomable and uncharacteristic way. Now we should have the guts to call a spade a spade and get out of it. Canada’s honorable history calls for an independent assessment of reality in south Asia, a reality not reflected in the MACV-like fantasies of NATO and, in particular, the so-called International Stabilization Assistance Force. This would require a level of honesty not now seen in either Ottawa or Washington.

Canada and America should be good friends, not a folie à deux. Doorknobs, ignorant of history, should be shown the door.

Author: Neil Kitson

Neil Kitson is a dermatologist and garment manufacturer in Vancouver.