I perked up a bit when I read Today's Question from MPR News — Should the U.S. and Canada merge?

One of the earliest pieces I wrote on this site back in 1999 was a satirical editorial called Why America Should Conquer Canada. I still get occasional hate mail from Canadians who don’t realize it was satire.1

I probably wouldn’t write such a thing again today, even as satire. It’s not because the Canadian and US dollars have been at par for a couple of years now, nor because 32-year old me understands better than 18-year old me how a weak dollar can actually by good for an economy. And — you’ll have to trust me on this — it’s not even because I’m married to a Canadian.

Rather, my sense is that America is already such a thinly held-together coalition of such wildly different economies, values, and legal cultures that I’m not sure it can be governed fairly or effectively using our current federal system, nor even by a parliamentary replacement.

Would a merged Americanada be a stronger economic power? It depends on your frame of reference. For perhaps a decade we would be weakened by the instability and inefficiencies of the merger. It might pay off after that. Or the whole thing could accelerate a devolution into ten or eleven different countries that may have been happening in slow motion for several decades now. It’s an interesting parlour-table game to play. 32 year old me hopes it stays that way.

  1. And I don’t fault them. Good satire starts from a basically sound position, with good points to make; this wasn’t very good satire.

Apparently there was a brief period in the 1920s when America and Canada were both secretly drafting plans to invade each other. Tracy Mumford, reporting for Minnesota Public Radio:

In 1921, a Canadian lieutenant by the name of Buster Brown drafted “Defence Scheme No. 1.” Despite “defense” in the title, it was “a full-on invasion plan,” according to Kevin Lippert, the author of War Plan Red… In the end, he proposed a five-pronged attack. In the west, Canadian troops would take Seattle and Portland. In the east, the Quebecois would occupy Albany. Maine would be reclaimed, as would the Great Lakes. In the Midwest, Brown’s plan called for “Prairie Command” to swing through Fargo and then head south to invade Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“Defence Scheme No. 1” from War Plan Red By Kevin Lippert
“Defence Scheme No. 1” from War Plan Red By Kevin Lippert

Joel (Author) ·