"Annexation if necessary, but not necessarily annexation."

As with any discussion of supra-national consolidation, the North American context offers numerous potential iterations for such an amalgamation to occur. The focus here is with a democratic union, based on the expressed will of the people. It follows that any considerations for an annexation of Canada to the USA will only be relevant if they help build a consensus on both sides of the border. In fact majority support on both sides is a pre-requisite for any successful merger talks.

So why is an annexation necessary? People have different life experiences, different political beliefs, different social values, different perceptions and motivations. Canada and America are both countries that promote individual freedoms as a valuable wealth from which the whole nation ends up benefiting. So in this context, how can we establish the necessity for this union? Many people support a union for their own personal and unique reasons. Some supporters even hold contradicting reasons for their support, mostly due to differing perceptions on what the impacts of a Union would be.

The answer is to focus our attention on the natural affinity and compatibility of our peoples, rather than on the issues of the day. By momentarily making abstraction of those daily issues, we can distinguish the quintessential basics of this proposition: That proposition has it's core motivation in a mutually shared understanding of the people themselves: that we share a cultural affinity and a lifestyle that is so similar that to the external observer, we are indeed one and the same, but living under separate political regimes.

Indeed our undefended border is a testament to that situation, even though most of us are simply too busy with our daily lives to stop and think about it. So again, is there really a necessity for such a union? Can't we just enjoy the status quo and maintain our two separate political entities in the spirit of friendship of good neighbors, without having to compromise the elements that do make us uniquely different? These are valid interrogations that form the basis of any debate on this proposition. The necessity however, exists independently of these considerations. Let's now take a look at some of the reasons why necessity might become a motivating factor to justify altering the comfortable status quo:

Economic Necessity

Yes, an economic depression on a global scale could force such reconsideration of the status quo. A collapse of globalization would certainly return the levers of economic control in the hands of national     governments. This is in fact a serious possibility considering the current trends, and many financial analysts agree that this is a likely trend if the interdependent financial grid continues it's deterioration. Canada and America both share the biggest trade relationship in the whole world. Canada stands to suffer the most from a return of protectionist policies that would drastically affect it's export driven economy, and the welfare of it's good people would suffer as a result. At the same time, America is looking towards reducing it's dependence on foreign nations for it's natural resource needs. A conjugation of our national interests would certainly act as a legitimate and major driver for democratic integration talks.

Climatic Necessity

Climate change is occurring. The debate that rages around whether most of it is due to natural causes or to mankind's industry bears little impact on the fact that climate is changing, and that our ability to successfully adapt to it is directly linked to the technical means we have at our disposal. A warming of the Arctic pole resulting in the disappearance of all Arctic ice during summers, is being predicted and observed by scientists from numerous affiliations. The repercussions of those wide ranging changes are immense: previously unattainable natural resources are now accessible. New naval routes linking Europe to Asia now open. And the challenges of maintaining national sovereignty in those parts is limited by Canada's relatively small population. Whether it be as a result of drastic climate changes causing severe logistical issues with displaced populations and scarcer resources in an unstable global situation, as has been forecast by the US Department of Defense (see below), or because of changing geo-political balance as a result of the climate system alterations, it is clear that climate change can eventually play a huge role leading North Americans to seriously reconsider the current arrangements.

"In this scenario, we can expect alliances of convenience. The United States and Canada may become one, simplifying border controls. Or, Canada might keep its hydropower—causing energy problems in the US. North and South Korea may align to create one technically savvy and nuclear-armed entity. Europe may act as a unified block – curbing immigration problems between European nations – and allowing for protection against aggressors. Russia, with its abundant minerals, oil, and natural gas may join Europe." - 2003 Adrupt Climate Change Report

Political Necessity

There are also political motivations which may encourage a necessity for such a union of our countries. On Canada's side, the political reasons are basically centered around a federal system that has in the view of many provinces at least, usurped the balance of "individual/state/federal" and has over the years generated much discontent towards that system. It has even led to the emergence of multiple separatist movements (the biggest of which is found in Quebec) that seek to exit this "unfair" federation not because of an issue with the people of Canada, but rather because of systemic issues with the Canadian constitution and Ottawa's repeated meddling in fields of competence that are traditionally allocated to the provinces. From this perspective, America offers a much better balanced federal system, and a constitution that treats everyone equitably and fairly. By contrast, America offers clear delimitations on the division of powers between individuals, their state, and their federal government. Inclusion of Canada's provinces in the American federation would indeed destroy those separatist movements permanently: First because the systemic issues that fuel the fire of those political groups would be addressed, and secondly because any democratic annexation of Canada to the USA would be permanent in character, as stated in the Articles of Confederation:

"Article XIII. Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State."

While we are at it, those same articles also offer an open-ended invitation to statehood by the founding fathers, applicable to Canada specifically:

"Article XI. Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States."

As such I conclude that a democratic annexation born of necessity to address the systemic failings of the Canadian federation constitutes a legitimate proposition that truly has the potential to fix those irregularities while also providing Canadians with a pletora of economic and political opportunities as full partners of the American union, which the current border is inhibiting.

Common Sense

When it gets down to it, we have to use our own judgment about what's really necessary. Sure Canadians would gain from the increased economic opportunities. All Canadians would have many more travel and work opportunities, anywhere in the USA. Currently it is very hard even for university graduates to find work positions there, so that would be a major change. Lower taxes while keeping universal health care for the provinces that wish to keep it? These are valid advantages, but none of them seem to warrant the sense of necessity and urgency to justify such a major change to the North American situation.

Ultimately, it comes down to the necessity for our peoples to attain the best peace, freedom and prosperity for themselves while helping to propel mankind in the right direction, all of it in an efficient way that leads by example. This old idea is a big vision, a dream of what could be. And for some like me, the necessity of a union of both our countries is founded on the understanding that it would affect the future of mankind at large, in a positive and constructive way. Canadians are Americans without a vote, without a say, in what goes on in world affairs. The actions America takes end up affecting all of us, and to me the responsible thing to do is to take our place alongside our American brothers, enjoying the advantages while carrying the responsibilities that freedom entails. Playing our role from the inside, for our own advantage, but also to ensure that the choices America makes end up serving the broader interests of mankind, and that America forever leads by example. Whether necessity will knock at our door or not, remains to be seen. But we should not shy from exploring the implications of this serious proposition.

In conclusion, we can agree that whatever happens needs to be with the interest of our peoples at heart; this is why it must be democratic. A democratic discussion will ensure that any integration that occurs will be by the people. Perhaps our peoples will conclude that other solutions are better equipped to answer our mutual needs, and that an annexation is not in our best interest. In any event this exploration of potentialities will help forge and define real solutions that will inspire decisions made in the future in regards to this relationship.

Alexandre is a business intelligence consultant in the telecommunication and banking industries.

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