When Canada crumbles, we'll annex it


TWO recent events, one unfortunate and one exciting, seemingly unrelated.

But maybe not.

For through the second, exciting event comes the potential for neutralizing the unfortunateness of the first, and also for correcting one of America's great mistakes.

The first event was the regrettable success of the Toronto Blue Jays against the Philadelphia Phillies. And why did so many find this regrettable? Let's be honest. It isn't just that the Blue Jays are bland. Nor is it just that they play in a carpeted mausoleum.

It's that the mausoleum is in another country. One World Series victory by foreigners was kind of fun. Two straight is a drag.

Which is why everyone should welcome the second event. This was the Canadian election, the one with results so bizarre that they threaten to tear the country apart.

Good. Because if Canada disintegrates, few of its provinces could long thrive on their own, or even in mini-confederation. So one by one, or two by two, the nine English-speaking provinces would seek to become United States of America. Quebec would follow en suite.

This is just what we need. That big mistake America made years ago was to confine its imperialism to the east-west axis.

Imperialism gets a bad rap these days, some of it deserved. But it can serve as a unifying and pacifying force. Yugoslavia might be in better shape were it still Illyricum and Moesia, provinces of the Roman Empire.

Yes, some imperialism was inspired by plutocrats seeking to exploit cheap labor, by rapacious kings seeking territory or by busybodies seeking to force enlightenment on lesser breeds.

None of this any longer applies. There are neither kings nor lesser breeds, and the plutocrats have created the global economy, eliminating the need for conquest.

Besides, American imperialism on the American continent was inevitable. Americans knew, in Bernard DeVoto's words, that "they must become what they have become, a single society occupying the continental unit." Granted, they did not have to occupy it with quite as much slaughter, but in retrospect it's clear that the nation had to extend from sea to sea.

But why only below the 49th parallel? Well, there were a couple of tries to go north, but they ran into what was then a formidable force -- the British Army. This was followed by hints to leave the place alone by those other formidable forces -- the British Navy and British commerce.

None of that applies, either. It would be absurd to call the second-ranked party in Canada's new parliament "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition," even were it not made up of French-speaking Quebeckers who want to secede. Her Majesty no longer has anything to do with Canada, save as an irrelevant symbol. No longer British, Canada should become truly American by uniting with America.

Sure, there would be complications. An ironclad guarantee would be needed to prevent some dunderheaded U.S. entrepreneur (a Texan, probably) from building a bridge to Prince Edward Island, one of the jewels of the world precisely because it is hard to reach.

More difficult would be the language problem if and when Quebec wanted to join. Sticking with French is Quebec's raison d'etre. As others have learned, the only way to be an American is to know English, though as Cajuns could attest, that doesn't mean abandoning French and other joys.

Perhaps absorbing Canada is not necessary. But neither is Canada. It need not be there as a separate entity. Were the provinces to become states of the Union they would not fulfill their purpose. They would get a purpose to fulfill.

As to the rest of us, in addition to getting a link between the Lower 48 and Alaska, we would get new territory, territory which is exciting, sparsely populated, and, best of all, North. As the Canadian historian Barry Gough put it, Canada has "a Northern way of life. It has a Northern destiny."

How wonderful! Nothing has more ailed American life these past 20 years or so than the infernal growth of Southern influence in politics, culture and the economy. So pervasive has it grown that millions believe they have to be warm all the time. What this country needs is several million more square miles of beautiful, frozen North.

So let's hope that the Canadians agree soon to an amicable parting so that we can look forward to cherishing our union of 60 states (or 61 -- power to the Yukon) from sea to sea to sea. Then at least if the bland Blue Jays win another World Series, they'll be Americans.

Jon Margolis is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

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