Get Real About Our Yankee Relationship
Since assuming office on the 20th of January 2017, President Donald J. Trump has caused a good many people to wonder about the general state of the world, especially the state of American democracy. Canada, no stranger to American political upheaval, has been particularly struck by the reactionary moves of the Republican government. There’s nothing like a dash of dog whistle politics and sprinkle of alt-right affiliation in an administration headlining enough high-ranking generals to make you wonder if Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex was a statement of fact. This has rightfully left us wondering about our tenuous relationship with the Republic.
"..the President made it very clear that any deal with Canada will be “totally on our terms.”" - Toronto Star
Alas, Bonnie Prince Justin has found himself at the mercy of a President forcing the renegotiation of NAFTA with a bargaining position of take what we give you or we will destroy what remains on Ontario’s industrial base not with weapons of war, but a haunting image of a Chevy Impala. In leaked statements from the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale, the President made it very clear that any deal with Canada will be “totally on our terms.” In addition, the President also stated off-the-record that he could not say he was doing this publicly because the Canadian government would be so insulted that “they’re not going to be able to make a deal... I can’t kill these people.” I know what we are all thinking, this is just Donald saying inflammatory things and is unique to his administration but it’s time to get real: it’s not. The sad truth many of us are coming to terms with, and what our history (if we still learned it) shows is that our relationship with the Americans is one out of convenience, not friendship or geo-political romance.
Historically we need only take a small trip down memory lane to remember open hostilities and antagonism. They attempted to “liberate” us when they were fighting for their own independence and they did it again when they invaded while Britain was occupied fighting Napoleon (but that totally had nothing to do with conquest, it was about “protecting American sailors.”) Fun fact, the last time the Americans freshened up War Plan Red (that’s the American military plan to invade Canada) was 1935, and it was only in 1939 that the American government decided it had no need to freshen up the plan. To make matters worse it was only declassified in 1974. Nonetheless, with the end of the British Empire and Britain’s brief fall into economic decline until the early 1980s who else did we have to curl up with (insert Papa Trudeau’s mouse-on-elephant quote here)?. Antagonism between our leaders is also a recurring theme: Harper and Obama had a relationship as warm as Calgary last winter, Chrétien and Bush ushered in a freezing after Mulroney and Reagan, Diefenbaker and Kennedy despised one another, and perhaps the most publicized: Trudeau Sr. and Nixon couldn’t even sit in the same room. To put it concisely, these things have happened before.
The big question is when do we learn from our political experiences and history? Now. It is time we look to alliances in our family of nations in the Commonwealth (CANZUK is now a CPC platform), while securing our place on the world stage through peacekeeping and intervention. We need to push for resource transport to European and Asian markets in safe and sustainable ways that break our sole reliance on American trade. We need to be honest with ourselves, if nothing changes and if the Canadian government concedes on NAFTA then in the future we cannot be surprised if we become nothing more than a client state taking deals on their terms with only some harsh words on CBC to mark our defiance.
By Joey Bogle