Headed For a Canadian Crack Up?
specter haunts North America -- the specter of the world's next
We can still
call it Canada, at least for a couple years. And who knows, like
news of Mark Twain's demise, my cheeky pessimism may be greatly
exaggerated. Our northern neighbor's polyglot populace of beer
drinkers, peaceniks, Mounties and socialists may yet dump their
crooked politicians and craft a new, more robust deal with Quebecois
If you don't
know about Canada's crooked politicians, you're not alone. Democracy
and free speech are breaking out in Beirut, but they're both taking
a beating in Ontario. The Canadian government has a press clamp
on an investigation into the ruling Liberal Party's "Adscam"
kickback scheme. A "judicial publication ban" is the
term. It may soon rank with the Watergate rhetoric like "modified
limited hang-out." Canadian Prime Minister and Liberal Party
leader Paul Martin is implicated in the Adscam fiasco, and he's
starting to look like the northland's Richard Nixon.
In the Internet
Age, clamps and bans crack quickly, and the Liberals have seen
their popular support go poof. A U.S. Web site (www.captainsquartersblog.com),
run by Minnesotan Ed Morrissey, started posting leaked statements
from the judicial hearings. The Web site instantly became Radio
Free Canada and Deep Throat combined, with hundreds of thousands
of Canadians going online to read the damning evidence. Now Canadian
newspapers are on the story, but it's another case of major media
following the Internet's lead. On his Web site, Morrisey sums
up Canada's Adscam as "... transfers of cash to the Liberal
Party as part of the money-laundering effort ..."
of the Rocky Mountain News, in a column about Morrissey's coda
of Watergate's Woodward and Bernstein, observed that there's "hardly
any coverage of what the Canadians call 'AdScam' in the U.S. press,
although something that could cause the Canadian government to
fall ought to be of interest to that country's southern neighbor
Canada remains an iffy proposition, and becomes iffier as the
separatist Parti Quebcois (PQ) gains political clout at the expense
of the corrupt Liberals.
by a Never Land notion of a francophone French Quebec freed from
the yoke of "English-speaking" Canada, the PQ radicals
regard themselves as culturally unique, prime ethnic candidates
for their own nation state and United Nations seat. It's not a
new concept. Charles De Gaulle, in a 1967 act of French unilateralism,
gave Canadians the jitters when he quipped, "Vive Quebec
to Canada if Quebec secedes? Canadians are once again pondering
this question -- live on the CBC -- and given Canada's status
as America's number one trading partner and continental neighbor,
U.S. citizens should consider the ramifications.
in the western and maritime provinces already dread the political
power of populous Ontario. (Quebec serves as a political balance
to Ontario.) If Quebec bids adieu, "remnant" Canada's
political rules will be subject to revision. Subsequent regional
bickering could lead to further fragmentation.
a grand Canadian breakup look like? Jim Dunnigan and I, in the
1991 edition of "A
Quick and Dirty Guide to War," played speculative cartographer
and redrew Canada's political map.
thumbnail sketch of that analysis: Say Quebec does become a separate
European-style nation-state -- a "people" with cultural,
linguistic, religious and historical identity (never mind the
objections of Mohawk and Cree Indians living in Quebec). Quebec
has the people and resources to make a go of it, though the economic
price for its egotism will be stiff. British Columbia also has
"nation-state" assets: Access to the sea, strong industrial
base, raw materials and an educated population.
Alberta might join the United States and instantly find common
political ground with Alaska, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. Canada's
struggling Atlantic provinces might find statehood economically
attractive and extend the New England coastline. A rump Canada
consisting of "Greater Ontario" -- with remaining provinces
as appendages -- might keep the maple-leaf flag aloft. As for
poor, isolated Newfoundland: Would Great Britain like to reacquire
a North American colony?
2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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