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A Canada/US merger?


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Can we pretty much apply the same arguments about why Quebec shoud not remain merged with the rest of Canada? If not, why not?

The status quo matters. Quebec is already intertwined with Canada in ways that cannot be easily ripped apart (e.g. the national debt/pensions/citizenship). The economic uncertainty created by a split would hurt people across the country for very little gain since Quebec already has considerable autonomy within the Canadian system.

Of course, there are people who think such complex issues can be resolved by good faith negotiations but I think that good faith negotiations are not remotely plausible given the gap between the beliefs of federalists in Canada and separatists in Quebec. It is simply not a Pandora's box worth opening.

Edited by TimG
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The status quo matters. Quebec is already intertwined with Canada in ways that cannot be easily ripped apart (e.g. the national debt/pensions/citizenship). The economic uncertainty created by a split would hurt people across the country for very little gain since Quebec already has considerable autonomy within the Canadian system.

Of course, there are people who think such complex issues can be resolved by good faith negotiations but I think that good faith negotiations are not remotely plausible given the gap between the beliefs of federalists in Canada and separatists in Quebec. It is simply not a Pandora's box worth opening.

If I was a Quebec separatist I would find your arguments pretty weak.

a) status quo? It does not matter to me!

b.) Quebeckers are too different from other Canadians to negotiate in good faith, duh, that's why we need to separate

c) there are more cultural differences between Quebec and the rest of Canada compared to the USA and English Canada

Edited by carepov
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a) status quo? It does not matter to me!

So what? The real question is what the majority Quebequers think and the polls suggest that a clear majority of Quebequers have no interest in disrupting the status quo even if it is for no reason other than the status quo is not that bad.

Quebeckers are too different from other Canadians to negotiate in good faith, duh, that's why we need to separate

That is a silly argument. Separatists can't negotiate in good faith because they have been feeding Quebequers lies for decades and can't turn around and admit they were lies once they are at the negotiating table (for example, Quebequers will lose their Canadian citizenship because is irrational for Canada to take any other position).

What exists exists and does not need to be justified. If you want to change the status quo then you need a damn good reason to do so and complaints about national identity and culture is are not a good reason given the considerable autonomy that Quebec already has.

Edited by TimG
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Well, regionalism is on the rise though. You already have regional patriots and people who disavow their connection to far-away centres of power as described on this thread.

North American unification may be a long way off, but it's not a "never going to happen" thing. Why can't we talk about it ? People seem to have a real aversion to using their imaginations, sometimes.

Yes, we have talked about the North American Union, coupled with many free trade and the SPP agreement.

Some here tried to talk about this last year and the year before. Those who talked about it were treated like conspiracy nut cases.

I would guess it's much closer than you think.

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Yes, we have talked about the North American Union, coupled with many free trade and the SPP agreement.

Some here tried to talk about this last year and the year before. Those who talked about it were treated like conspiracy nut cases.

I doubt that people were treated like nut cases for talking about free trade, SPP per se but perhaps for other aspects of those discussions.

Security and economic concerns are two rationales for having a country and we're in the process of blending those with our American partner. The border doesn't exist on continental Europe, and we're on the verge of signing trade agreements with both them and China.

National laws may soon become as quaint as local laws such as parking, liquor/beer sales hours and so on.

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I had checked out the threads, and we had posters like M. Dancer posting Alcan stock quotes. It does seem you are in support of a merger between the two, and I say whoaaaaaaaaaa ... Check the EU and see how well that seems to be working. And with the current economic condition the USA is in, you think a merger and closer ties will help? What happens when a large problematic failing business with a smaller problematic failing business?

If national laws are to become quaint, then your notion of being a 'Canadian' is quite quaint as well.

What I see this as, is centralization on super steroids. Look to the UN as the end state being the one world government.

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"they ... they ... they" !!!

What a lot of broadbrush stereotyped generalizations!

I'm embarrassed to hear a Canadian foam at the mouth like that!

We're very reserved and polite people who say "Sorry" a lot ... and you should!

How do you talk about a country without using broad brush strokes? Nor am I 'foaming at the mouth" (wtf?). I'm simply pointing out ways in which they are different. If you disagree you might actually try and point out in what ways in an intelligent fashion - presuming that's something you're capable of.

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Guest American Woman

How do you talk about a country without using broad brush strokes? Nor am I 'foaming at the mouth" (wtf?). I'm simply pointing out ways in which they are different. If you disagree you might actually try and point out in what ways in an intelligent fashion - presuming that's something you're capable of.

So you believe ignorance should be countered with intelligence? You aren't "simply pointing out the way in which [Americans] are different;" you're ignorantly making false claims - starting with your outright lie, using quotes no less, about what our nations' motto is.

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Check the EU and see how well that seems to be working. And with the current economic condition the USA is in, you think a merger and closer ties will help?

If national laws are to become quaint, then your notion of being a 'Canadian' is quite quaint as well.

What I see this as, is centralization on super steroids. Look to the UN as the end state being the one world government.

1. We can learn from the EU's mistakes, as they seem to have done.

2. Everbody's identity is different. My idea of being a Canadian, an Ontarian, a Torontonian is about where I live and nothing more. I am a person who lives inside those jurisdictions.

3. The idea of one world government can be discussed in terms of its merits just like any other.

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1. We can learn from the EU's mistakes, as they seem to have done.

2. Everbody's identity is different. My idea of being a Canadian, an Ontarian, a Torontonian is about where I live and nothing more. I am a person who lives inside those jurisdictions.

3. The idea of one world government can be discussed in terms of its merits just like any other.

The EU's mistake was having the goals that you have promoted here in the first place. It should have been an international treaty on trade, the treatment of workers, the treatment of the environment, and maybe security. That would have had great value. Instead they set their sites on making domestic laws for member states, on things like customs and immigration, and setting up a common currency.

And it did so without public support. If the peoples of Europe were allowed to vote on the project right now, it would be over by the end of today.

And that is the real problem with your idea. People do not want it, and they never will. So the international political class that fancies themselves being in control. would have to trick us. I have a friend whos a proffesor of political science at the University of Ottawa. She was tasked with monitoring and consulting on the most recent effort to partially de-nationalize North America, known now as the SPP. She told me she was alarmed not only at the almost total lack of public transparency, but open commentary by members of the working group (premiers, govenors, etc) that they would have to basically speak in code or people would never accept it.

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The EU's mistake was having the goals that you have promoted here in the first place. It should have been an international treaty on trade, the treatment of workers, the treatment of the environment, and maybe security. That would have had great value. Instead they set their sites on making domestic laws for member states, on things like customs and immigration, and setting up a common currency.

It seems a lot easier to manage trade and maybe security if you get rid of customs between the countries.

Then again, most acknowledge the problems with separate national banks and a common currency.

And it did so without public support. If the peoples of Europe were allowed to vote on the project right now, it would be over by the end of today.

I think that there is a dilemma here in that governments play the nationalism card so often that they make it impossible to convince people of the advantages of joining together for trade, security and what have you.

And that is the real problem with your idea. People do not want it, and they never will.

I would never want to be someone who uses the term never. :huh:

I'm sorry but 'never' is such a long way away. Only a few hundred years ago, North America was the battleground for Spain, France, England, and several strong First Nations groups. Only thirty years ago the international communities were vastly different than today.

So the international political class that fancies themselves being in control. would have to trick us. I have a friend whos a proffesor of political science at the University of Ottawa. She was tasked with monitoring and consulting on the most recent effort to partially de-nationalize North America, known now as the SPP. She told me she was alarmed not only at the almost total lack of public transparency, but open commentary by members of the working group (premiers, govenors, etc) that they would have to basically speak in code or people would never accept it.

Is that because these things are bad ideas, or because the public is 'bad' ? You might think getting rid of countries is a bad idea, but somebody thinks is a good idea, clearly. Maybe it's better to speak about the relationship between the public and the elected people.

The idea that a 'political class' can 'trick us' is held by you, and as such why would you ever trust in elected leaders at all ? Why would anybody ?

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I'm sorry but 'never' is such a long way away. Only a few hundred years ago, North America was the battleground for Spain, France, England, and several strong First Nations groups. Only thirty years ago the international communities were vastly different than today.

OK, that's a very strong point. Maybe we have a tendency to see things as more permanent than they really are.

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OK, that's a very strong point. Maybe we have a tendency to see things as more permanent than they really are.

Exactly. Can we imagine what the world will be like in 100 years ? We can't.

The 60s were a time of great cultural change and enlightenment, but by today's standards they are a socially backward era of economic boon times - like the Eisenhower era but with more colour.

We are entering times of great strife right now - such as should be expected when large forces such as technology and economy reshape our relationships to each other. But imagine what it will be like on the other side of this.

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I'm sorry but 'never' is such a long way away. Only a few hundred years ago, North America was the battleground for Spain, France, England, and several strong First Nations groups. Only thirty years ago the international communities were vastly different than today.

Never mind a few hundred years ago, try many of thousands of years. This concept is as old as human civilization. Regional groups form because of culture, language, ethnicity, religion, economy, and a host of other factors. People who live in a given area want sovereignty, and self determination. This is the reason why you now have commonwealth countries instead of British colonies, and politic decisions for polish and georgian people are no longer made in moscow.

Sure... its true I guess that you should never say never. Maybe there will be a global monarchy, or maybe we'll all end up being ruled by Chinese communists. But the trend is going in the opposite direction, and I see no indication at all that suddenly we are going to that we are going to see the kind of sea change in human nature that would be required for us to accept this.

Like I said... I think we are going to see the exact opposite. Its not only innefective to govern from afar its extremely expensive and most big central authorities are having to perpetually borrow money to keep operating.

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May I contribute to this topic?

It's not so much a question of if a merger will take place, but when.

Most would oppose a merger that takes place tomorrow, but would many oppose a merger that occurs slowly over several decades with the democratic support of the peoples of both countries? A merger isn't feasible today, but why not in 20 years? 50 years? 100 years?

Many who would oppose a merger will cite differences in culture, history, politics and policy as reasons against merger. But many of these reasons are only applicable in the near future; for example, some may site the fact that the US is very conservative, religious, loves guns, is against gay marriage and has a poor health care system are reasons against a merger, but given the demographic trends in the US and the fact that younger Americans have more a more liberal perspective on politics, this is likely to change within a few decades. The internet is playing a large role in bringing our cultures and are peoples closer together; how many here do not commonly converse with Americans on the internet, play online games with Americans, buy and sell products with Americans or watch American media on the internet? In addition, how many of the reasons people give for not merging cannot also be used to justify Quebec separatism or California separatism (If Canada should be separate from the US, then should California also be separate given it's similar population and economy)? Ultimately, I think that some people just have an irrational attachment to status quo (probably due to the irrational idea of patriotism/nationalism). There isn't much long-run reason not to merge (except transition costs, which can be small if the merger is done slowly and properly and be outweighed by the potential benefits).

Indeed there are many benefits for merging including:

- Using economies of scale to have a smaller and more cost effective national government. We will not have to duplicate various government departments by having 2 countries instead of 1.

- Merging of countries will significantly remove most regulatory trade barriers. While we have had a free trade agreement for decades, there are still many trade barriers that cannot be entirely removed simply due different regulations and the fact that we are different countries. Indeed price differences for various items are still quite high across the border (cross border shopping remains popular) and a lot of it has to do with retailers setting 1 price for Canada and 1 price for the USA. Also, how many times have you tried to watch an online video, only to be told you cannot watch it due to being in Canada? (ComedyCentral, HBO, Hulu, etc.)

- Taking advantage of economies of scale should lead to a more cost effective military and better security. Admittedly though, the Americans really need to reduce their military expenditures if they want to get serious about the deficit. Also, i'm sick of how difficult it has become to cross the Canada-US border due to all the security checks.

- Single currency will make transactions much easier. No longer will you have to go to a bank and exchange your currency when going to the other part of North America.

- Single North American Citizenship should greatly increase labour mobility. This increased Labour mobility will allow people in low employment areas to move to high employment areas, therefore increasing North America's employment rate and GDP.

In the immediate future, those that advocate eventual merger should focus primarily on obtaining a single North American Dollar. The benefits for a North American Dollar relative to the cost of implementation are very high and one can justify merging currencies without having to talk about political merger (which will be much harder to do). Indeed in Europe we have many countries with a single currency so it has been done before, and given that we have had free trade with the US for decades, a deal which so positively affects cross border trade isn't unprecedented. Furthermore, merger of the Canadian and American Dollars should be far easier to implement than what has happened in Europe. Canada and US are very similar culturally & economically (unlike say Greece and Germany) and if you compare Bank of Canada policy with Federal Reserve Fiscal policy, they have been almost identical for 2 decades (since the '93 recession in Canada).

Finally, the fact that the Canadian Dollar and US Dollar are nearly at parity means that implementation of a single currency can be done quite easily: simply have the Bank of Canada and US Dollar control interest rates for a few years in such a way that 1 Canadian Dollar = 1 American Dollar. Next, peg these currencies to one another to boost market confidence such that 1 Canadian Dollar = 1 American Dollar. Then, pass laws in both countries such that they recognize the other country's currency as legal tender. Finally, replace the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve with the Central Bank of North America, and have the new central bank control monetary policy for the government. This method has very low implementation costs as one does not need to replace any pre-existing currency nor do people have to adapt to new prices. As for what will be on the new currency, we could have different provinces/states create different designs (to appease regionalism), and the central bank will determine what quantity of each design will be printed. Hopefully the new money would be more similar to what we have in Canada or Europe (braile and different sizes for blind people, different colours for easy recognition, multiple languages printed on money, polymer based notes, etc.). US also needs to give up the penny.

Most difficult aspect of merger will be the political merger, especially given how messed up both government systems are. A new political system will need to be adopted (cause face it, the US electoral college system and the Canadian First past the post system + senate are pretty messed up); perhaps we can adopt the German system? North American wide parties will need to be established (Conservative Party of North America, Liberal Party of North America, Freedom Party of North America) maybe by merger of pre-existing parties (ex. CPC with republicans). Before a Fiscal merger can take place, both countries will definitely need to address their debt issues and some of their unsustainable policies (ex. social security in the US). Political will is unlikely to be sufficient in the US until a 3rd party manages to take power, since right now both the Democrats and Republicans are satisfied with their eternal duopoly on political power to make bad decisions. On the other hand, Canada will have to give up the monarchy and become a republic long before a merger takes place given the US's aversion to the British monarchy for historical reasons.

As for what a United States of North America could look like... Official languages could be English, French and Spanish, with English having a status slightly higher than the other two official languages (no way you will be able to appease many Americans if English has same status as French and Spanish). The flag could be the current US flag with a maple leaf on the bottom right corner with a size equal to 1/10th the flag area (to represent the relative size of the Canadian Population). Capital will probably be Washington, but in the digital age, does a country even need a capital anymore? The government could be highly decentralized.

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If it does happen it will probably be a result of climate change with populations moving north, not because of some negotiated deal.

You do realize that this study is based on projections of computer models which 10 years ago grossly over estimated the warming over that last 10 years?

The current crop of models provide no useful information about the future no matter how many scientists depend on them as way to attract government money for their research.

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You do realize that this study is based on projections of computer models which 10 years ago grossly over estimated the warming over that last 10 years?

The current crop of models provide no useful information about the future no matter how many scientists depend on them as way to attract government money for their research.

Well, for the first time they have put actual dates on it and most of us will be around to see if they are right. My own thought is, it's a bit naive to think we can dump over 31 billion tons of previously trapped carbon into the atmosphere every year while simultaneously decreasing the earths carbon sinks through deforestation and not expect anything to happen.

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Well, for the first time they have put actual dates on it and most of us will be around to see if they are right.

They have been putting dates on predictions for 20 years but they keep moving them back because their predictions are invariably wrong (e.g. arctic summer ice will be gone by 2013). This is just another attempt to keep the panic going. When the time arrives and the world does not end they will come up new predictions of the end of the world in 20 years.

My own thought is, it's a bit naive to think we can dump over 31 billion tons of previously trapped carbon into the atmosphere every year while simultaneously decreasing the earths carbon sinks through deforestation and not expect anything to happen.

Sure - change will happen. But the real question is whether this change is manageable given all the technology we already deploy to deal with normal variations in weather. I have more faith in the ability of humans to adapt to what change comes than in the ability of governments to prevent it from happening in the first place. Edited by TimG
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Sure - change will happen. But the real question is whether this change is manageable given all the technology we already deploy to deal with normal variations in weather. I have more faith in the ability of humans to adapt to what change comes than in the ability of governments to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Sounds so benign when you put it that way. No big deal.

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