Friday, June 10, 2005

Er, Mr. Lawrence Martin...

A columnist for Canada's Globe and Mail (or is it Chained and Nailed to Libranoism) wrote on Thursday (it's behind a firewall) that Canada's "U.S. Security Blanket Is Unravelling."
Mr. Lawrence Martin offers a set of points in support of his theory. For each, I intend to offer a rebuttal.
The rise of China: U.S. dominance is threatened by an economic superpower that has four times its population. Through the last century, Canada lived next door to No. 1, and all the eggs naturally fell into the one basket. This is likely to change. Our trade volumes will diminish south of the border and move to the new economic magnets -- China and, perhaps, India.
That trend has already begun, thanks to your Desmarais-Strong-Martin axis of power. But what does Canada have to offer, other than the oil sands, that the U.S. can't provide for itself? I'd venture to say that Canada depends a hell of a lot more on the U.S. than we do on Canada.
U.S. fiscal and trade deficits: They are deplorable, the dollar is in decline, and the social security net is headed for crisis. Most experts will tell you that the long-range 20-year fiscal U.S. picture has seldom been so bleak. In these circumstances, Canada would have to start offloading some of its cross-border trade dependence. It's already happening, due to the declining American dollar.
The Canadian dollar hasn't exactly been tearing up the fiscal charts, lately, either. I would also note, per David Frum's latest article in the National Review, that Canadian workers are making less per hour when compared to their American counterparts than they were 12 years ago, when the Librano dictatorship began... and that the typical Canadian family, according to Frum, had a flat income through most of that time, while inflation ate away at the loonie.
Globalization: It may not be dying, but it's hardly the big wave any more. The anti-unification votes in Europe, the rise of American nationalism and the signs of a return to nationalism elsewhere will have an impact on Canada. Pressure for more market consolidation in North America is petering out. Quebec, formerly a leader in the free-trade drive, has soured on the United States.
Mr. Martin, what evidence do you have to support your Quebec analysis? I've not seen anything to back up that theory. Yes, globalization may well be on the downswing, but that is probably a good thing for freedom in the long haul.
Values: Most studies, including one on religion this week, show that Canadians and Americans are no longer converging. They are, in fact, diverging. If anything, conservative forces are in the ascendancy in the United States, while Canada remains on its soft-centrist liberal track.
As if conservatives are some sort of evil force. Of course, that's how outlets like the CBC and the Chained and Nailed see them because conservatism doesn't believe in rights without responsibilities, a hallmark of contemporary liberalism. Soft-centrist liberal? What kind of hoi polloi is that? It implies to me that there is no core belief system there. Hell, even our U.S. liberals have a belief system, misguided and wrongheaded as it may be.
The American model: This no longer has the appeal north of the border that it once had. Canadians like the American people and admire American ideals. But they see a society moving further away from those ideals. The laundry list includes egregious human-rights abuses, a war brought on by the peddling of false information, treaty-breaking unilateralism, arms spending at fiscally ruinous levels, and a fraying democracy that sees a 99-per-cent rate of return for incumbents in the House of Representatives.
Egregious human-rights abuses, Mr. Martin? Abu Ghraib? Gitmo? Come on. Let's talk about the Iraqi regime that Canada helped to prop up with its Desmarais-Strong-Martin connections popping up repeatedly in Oil-For-Food. People were killed there, sir. Thousands of people. And there can be no more egregious human-rights abuses than killing (unless, of course, it's trying to flush the Islamic holy book down a toilet, right?) What about China, a Desmarais-Strong-Martin favorite? Human rights don't exist there, but that's OK with you? As far as going in to topple Hussein, even Jean-Francois Kerry was on board with the evidence that was available at the time. Treaty-breaking unilaterism? Examples, please. (And don't talk to me about softwood dumping.) Arms spending at fiscally ruinous levels? Ask the Poles, the Czechs, the Slovaks, the Hungarians, the Ukrainians if our arms spending didn't push the Soviet Union over the edge into oblivion. Ask them if the spending didn't help bring along their freedom after decades of serfdom to Communism. And since your Canadian government doesn't even want to go along with plans for the defense of its own land, you are basically telling America that only American tax dollars are good enough to defend Canada. A fraying democracy? At least we have it; your current government thought nothing of trashing almost 140 years of parliamentary precedent to hang on to power long enough to "induce" a key opposition member to switch parties and barely save their bacon in a confidence vote.
Yeah, maybe the security blanket is fraying. But take a look in the mirror, too, Mr. Martin. The direction Canada appears to be headed certainly has a lot to do with it.