United North America - Helping Canada's Provinces Join The USA
 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

"It has been said that unsettled questions have no pity for the repose of nations." - James A. Garfield

 

1. Isn't this just an American plan to annex Canada?

No. United North America is a Canadian organization. Both Americans as well as Canadians are involved in the effort, not to forcefully annex Canada, but to re-unite the peoples of the former British American colonies under the democratic principles that shaped this continent.

2. Is this organization affiliated with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Independent Task Force on North America, or the proposed North American Union (NAU)?

No. This is a non-government organization based on grassroots efforts. We fundamentally oppose a European Union-like government in North America and receive no funding or support from the CFR, or any groups that may support such causes. Furthermore, we see United North America as an alternative to the proposed NAU, and do not support Mexico's inclusion in this union due to its substandard economic and social conditions. A mature North American Union already exists, and its name is the United States of America. There need not be a supranational institution in North America working between three different federal governments, when there is already a successful and democratic union of 50 states that Canada's provinces have already been given an open invitation to join.

3. Why isn't Mexico included?

While Mexico is clearly geographically a part of North America, from a social and political perspective it more closely matches Central American nations. Canada and the United States share a great deal because of their common beginnings, common language and culture that were built within multi-ethnic, free and democratic societies. Mexico does share some similarities with Canada and the US, but the differences are still far larger. And from a practical perspective, the enormous cost of Mexico's inclusion would heavily drain the Canadian and US economies.

4. Why should we use the US model?

Although the Canadian Constitution has many great components, it is missing some very valuable ingredients that were crafted long before it. This includes: an elected Head of State, an elected Senate, equal representation in the legislature, separate and equal branches of government, and the separation of church and state. Just as importantly, the US Constitution, unlike its Canadian counterpart, contains no special or extra rights for certain ethnicities, linguistic or religious groups, and lives true to the ideal that all men are created equal. While modern Canada is independent and free, it was not created that way. And so while the founders of the United States declared inalienable rights and a government of the people, by the people and for the people, the same cannot be found within the supreme laws that defines the Canadian system. Some might suggest a new Constitution, but the unique set of circumstances that gave birth to the original US Constitution is not so easily reproduced by modern politicians with the powerful political action groups and lobbies that exist today.

5. Why should the Canadian people give up their sovereignty?

For the same reason that the people of Newfoundland and Texas did; to create something greater than themselves. The simple fact is that true independence cannot be found for anyone who lives in a nation populated by more than one person. While it cannot be denied that sovereignty will be lost through this proposal, it cannot be questioned that another greater one will be created. There is no need to have a line dividing Canada and the United States to ensure Canada's self-determination, anymore than there needs to be a border checkpoint between Alberta and British Columbia to ensure Alberta's self-determination. For the same reason that Canada is more prosperous, free and strong as one nation instead of ten nations, Canada and the United States, combined, will be as well.

6. Why should Canada give up its natural resources including the world's largest fresh water supply?

According to the US Department of Energy, the US imported over 912 million barrels of oil from Western Canada in 2008. Currently, the provinces that hold the oil, receive royalties on all oil extracted and sold on the market. As US states, this situation would not change.

Unlike oil, water is a renewable resource, but due to growing demand it is becoming a more valuable resource. While certain regions of the United States, particularly the southwest, are suffering from water shortages, other regions in the US have an abundance. According to the Program on Water Governance, overall Canada and the United States have roughly the same water availability: Canada 6.5%, US 6.4%.

In fact, if the US was desperate to extract bulk amounts of fresh water, the largest single source of fresh water in North America are the Great Lakes, which contain nearly six quadrillion gallons of water. The majority of this water lies within US territory, but no water diversions to the southwest are occurring nor planned. Indeed, just as in the case of oil, if water were ever exported, it could only be done if the local governments that control the territory approved it.

7. What about people who are proud Canadians?

People who are proud Canadians would continue to be proud Canadians within a United North America. In the United States, Texans are proud Texans, Southerners are proud Southerners, etc. Cultures and identities are not swallowed up or obliterated in the United States of America. Quite to the contrary, it could be argued that people throughout the American Union have a deeper sense of their own regional identity than most do in other places. Texas and Massachusetts have been part of the Union for over 150 years and 210 years respectively, yet these two states could never be confused with one another. Indeed, Ontario, Quebec et al will never be confused for other states within the Union after an amalgamation.

8. What about Canadian culture?

Canadian culture, colloquialisms and regional differences would not suddenly disappear with the emergence of a United North America. Billions of dollars have gone into "Canadian heritage", because of the fear that Canadians might lose their identity and be assimilated by American movies and television. However, history has shown that culture is not a static thing that can be defined, shaped or preserved by any government. People are the masters of their own cultural identity; it is they who make up their own ever-changing culture. Canadians will still be Canadians within a United North America, they will merely be able to call themselves American as well.

9. Wouldn't a new flag be more appropriate?

Perhaps. Peoples' well being, freedom and opportunity are far more important than the symbol of their nation. However, to some this reaches the heart of the issue. Humans are not always the most logical creatures, and symbolism does have some importance. Whatever the flag, the Union would have to respect the fact that the United States, as it exists today, is almost nine times larger in population and over eleven times larger economic terms. To imagine this another way, if California, a state which has roughly the same population as Canada, even larger economy and arguably more dissimilar culture, had waited an extra 150 years to join the US, would we now be proposing a new flag? The flag of the United States of America was created in the late 1700s at the birth of the nation, while the present-day Canadian flag was created in the 1960s. Yet, if the majority of North Americans saw fit to change it, there is no reason why that could not occur.

10. What would the name of the country officially be?

Unlike Canada, Germany, France and many other countries the United States of America is merely a generic description of itself. It is after all, a collection of united States that exists within the American hemisphere. The United States of America began as a mere 13 colonies on the east coast of the new world, and have now expanded to over 3 million square miles and contain over 300 million people. Each time the Union expanded, it changed, yet, each time it retained the same name. The United States of America would still be an apt description of the country with the addition of Canadian regions. However, renaming this Union would not be out of the question. The United States of America could change its name to the United States of North America, United North America or even something completely different altogether. It would be up to the democratic will of the people.

11. What would happen to the monarchy and Canada's ties to the United Kingdom?

The entire reason there is a separation between Canada and the United States can be traced back to divisions over the monarchy in the 1770s. While the Patriots of the American Revolution fought for independence and self-rule, the Loyalists fought against their ideas because of a God-like devotion to the Crown. As such, a single path divided into two, and the result ultimately created two countries instead of one. Through the fullness of time these divisions have been washed away, and Canadians have embraced all the main ideals of the American Revolution. Today, Canada, like the US, has a Constitution with enumerated rights, similar to the Bill of Rights, a Prime Minister that acts like a President, and a population that strongly believes in freedom, justice and independence. Rationally, the natural completion of this journey for Canadians is to cut the only remaining vestige of Canada's former subservient state, and heal the disunion created by the Revolution.

Interestingly, July 2009 polling from the Strategic Counsel indicates an all-time high support for ending the monarchy in Canada, with 65% believing that Canada should cut its connection with the monarchy after the current Queen passes. While the monarchy certainly does not exert any negative force in North America today, surely history has shown the Patriots choice was a transcendental cause.

Even though the United States came into existence in resistance to British imperial rule, no animosity exists today. Most people consider the United Kingdom to be the US' greatest ally and friend. Indeed, one could argue the US-British relationship is now stronger than the Canadian-British relationship. Union Jacks can be found all over America, and Canadian States would be welcome to retain their Union Jacks within their own state flags (see Hawaii's state flag), as well as celebrate their British heritage.

12. What about capital punishment, gun restriction, single-payer health care, same-sex marriage etc.?

All these issues can be classified as "state issues". Within the United States, individual states have much greater latitude with regards to local governance. While Texas is well known for its use of capital punishment, Minnesota and many other northern states strictly prohibit its use. It should be noted that offenders can be executed under federal jurisdiction in some circumstances, but this only very rarely occurs. The widely publicized Timothy McVeigh execution was the first ordered by a federal court since 1963.

Gun restriction differs widely from state to state. While many southern states have very little restriction on gun ownership, many northern states have considerable restrictions very similar to Canadian gun laws. For example, New York state requires a state permit, firearm registration and owner's license for handguns. Accordingly, Canadian states could create gun legislation that best suits their own regional interests.

Health care is an area that is partly controlled and directed by state governments. In 2002 the people of the state of Oregon proposed a referendum to decide on enacting a universal health care system, which if enacted would have seen the state provide health care for every resident. Although the measure lost a state-wide vote, this example serves as a clear example for Canadian states that wish to retain universal health care.

While federal law has made same-sex marriage legal in Canada, in the United States each state has the power to decide whether to legalize gay marriage. As of 2011, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont recognize same-sex marriage.

In all four cases listed above, and any other similar issue, Canadian states would actually enjoy more freedom. It might be argued that the majority of Albertans do not wish to have tough gun restriction, while the majority of Nova Scotians do. Both would be free to follow the best laws for their own people, as state governments are more responsive to their citizens than any federal government.

13. I don't agree with the policies of the current administration, why should I support this idea?

You can change it through your action. In the United States, policies and politicians change with time through the participation of the People, but the Union remains constant. Furthermore, having a voice within the United States instead of outside it, gives you real power over local, regional and global policies.

In the 2000 US presidential election George W. Bush won by a mere 5 electoral votes. If British Columbia, alone, had voted for Al Gore in that election, George W. Bush would not have become President of the United States.

Of course, creating a United North America is more important than deciding who would be the President in the next general election. Those who would discount a Union based on current figures or policies must open their minds, and look beyond the present to the great future of possibilities that could be realized by the unity of our common people.

14. What of the United States' ballooning debt?

As of 2009, the US gross debt totals over $11 trillion dollars, an indisputably giant number. However, once this number is put into relative terms, US debt is comparable to Canadian debt. According to the OECD as a percentage of GDP, US debt is 73% and Canada 63%. The CIA lists it at 61% for the US, and 64% for Canada. Clearly, both countries need to control their spending better, but Canada's challenges are just as great as the US'.

15. The United States is a much more violent country, won't Canada become less safe?

While total crime, including property crime, is comparable between the two countries, there is no discounting that overall the US suffers more violent crime than Canada. Due to different methodologies direct comparisons are difficult, except when comparing homicides. Nationally, the US has just over three times the murder rate of Canada. However, as with many other factors, violent crime varies widely by region. In the United States, the highest murder rates tend to be in the southern states, while in Canada, it is the northern territories. As of 2007, New Hampshire (1.1), Iowa (1.2), Montana (1.5), Maine (1.6), Hawaii (1.7) and Rhode Island (1.79) all have lower murder rates (per 100,000) than the Canadian national average (1.8), and only one US state, Louisiana (14.2), has a higher murder rate than Nunavut (12.7), Canada's most violent region (See Murder Map for more information). Indeed, half of US border states have lower rates than their Canadian counterparts; and so there is little reason to believe that crime would increase north of the border, anymore than south of the border.

16. Canada is a bilingual country; the United States is not, what about those who speak French?

Unlike Canada, the United States has no official language. English, French, Spanish and German have all been used at the governmental level in the United States. No current US federal law prohibits any state or local government from operating in a different language. Thus, Quebec, for example, could legislate French as the official language of the state. Although the US, like Canada, is undoubtedly an English-dominated country, people have the freedom to communicate in any language they wish to speak in, whether that be English, Chinese, Farsi or otherwise. Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits failing to provide meaningful access to individuals who are do not speak English. All federal agencies of the US government must provide information on federal programs and activities in any language, free of charge (read here for more information).

17. What about the northern territories of Canada?

Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories would continue to be territories. Within the United States these territories would gain greater autonomy while continuing to receive the protection and support of the nation. The best analogue to this can be seen by looking at Puerto Rico.

18. How will this effect Aboriginals peoples in Canada?

In the United States there are a mulititude of laws that govern the Native American tribes, forming one of the most complex mesh of federal, state and local laws. However, treaties conducted between the USA and various tribes dating back as far as 1776 are still recognized and upheld in courts. As a union between Canada and the United States of America would be both democratic and peaceable, all treaties and laws in place today in Canada would continue in force after the union. Some tribes may wish to take the opportunity to renegotiate terms, but US precedent in the 20th century has been to consistently rule in favor of Native American tribes.

19. Why don't Canadians who like this idea just move to the USA?

Moving to the US is not the goal of this organization. There is no reason that someone cannot be Canadian and American at the same time; much like how a Quebecois is a Quebecois and a Canadian or a Southerner is a Southerner and an American. We do not wish to move below the border, but simply remove the border itself. It is an unnecessary impediment to our future success and preeminence on this planet. Moving to the USA would still leave a Canada that is divided from the United States for no good reason. Moving to the USA is much easier than removing the border, but for those who love Canada and Canadians, just not the redundant government and arbitrary border, the answer is a United North America.


 

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