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Canada: a nuisance neighbour

Edward Campbell

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Here is a lengthy but interesting article from today's National Post.  I think Prof. Sapolsky's view is somewhat slanted but, on the facts (rather than some of his opinions) he is, largely accurate.

Harvey M. Sapolsky is not some fly-by-night right wing extremist.  He is a tenured professor at MIT, a recognized expert in defence policy issues.  See: http://web.mit.edu/polisci/faculty/H.Sapolsky.html  What he says matters in Washington, and it should matter in Ottawa, too.

http://www.canada.com/national/nationalpost/news/issuesideas/story.html?id=0426ecf8-ea82-4b86-ac93-74a7a1f218bd
A nuisance neighbour
 
Harvey M. Sapolsky
National Post

July 27, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Canada is a security threat to the United States. It is a shocking fact, because Americans are used to thinking that Canadians are our friends, and that Canada is the source of nothing more dangerous than some of our winter weather and most of our hockey players. It is not that Canada possesses great military power; we know that Canada barely bothers these days to maintain an army. On the contrary, it is precisely because Canada is so weak, militarily and culturally, that it acts to harm America's security interests.

Anti-Americanism is the unstated essence of the modern Canadian identity.

In the 1960s, Canada began to drastically reduce its military, which until then had always been at Britain's side, if not America's. Canada's NATO contribution, never large, faded to insignificant long before the Berlin Wall came down in November, 1989. It withdrew its soldiers and airmen from Europe entirely at the end of the Cold War.

In the 1990s, while continuing to cut its armed forces, Canada briefly sought an international reputation in peacekeeping, but greatly tempered this initiative after disastrous experiences in Somalia, where its troops misbehaved, and in Rwanda, where its leadership was ignored. Today, the Canadian military numbers about 60,000 and Canada spends only about 1% of GDP on "defence."

The value of British ties faded with the decline in Britain's power and the rise of separatist sentiment in Quebec. The threat of being absorbed not by a conquering but by a thriving America was also real after the Second World War. Canada had to find an identity as something other than Britain's North American outpost. It has been building that identity ever since. In 1982, it brought home its Constitution from Britain and with it a new Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a Canadian version of the American Bill of Rights.

But a constitution does not a country make, and Canada still has to worry about the big identity thief to the south. A Canadian idol has become a Canadian who succeeded in America. Many professional and industrial associations have blended between the nations, with the really big prizes almost always located in the south. Although very few Americans know or care who the prime minister of Canada is, most Canadians not only know the names of several American politicians, but have strong preferences among them. It is no wonder that Canada reveres its problem-laden health care system, because Canada is very close to being America with but one distinction -- universal health care.

Canada's search for additional national distinction has led it to adopt an anti-American foreign policy. The Vietnam War coincided with attempts to solidify a non-British identity in Canada. Canadian abstention from the war made the harbouring of American draft avoiders possible, as did the division over the war in the United States. Canadian politicians learned that opposing American foreign policy was popular at home and carried little risk to Canada of American retaliation.

When Canada helped some Americans to get out of Tehran during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979, it bought a decade of American goodwill. The token dispatch of two warships and a squadron of fighter aircraft was enough to give it full credit during the first Gulf War in 1991. But being an American foreign policy opponent has more advantages than being an American partner.

Without costs, many around the world shake a fist at America. The American public barely notices and holds few grudges. But opposing America can seem like standing up to Goliath at home. It can give the appearance of independence to nations that are hopelessly dependent.

Low grade anti-Americanism on Canada's part is surely tolerable. It is probably the glue that holds Canada together, and Americans should want Canada to stick together. Otherwise, the U.S. might be paying for the Maritime provinces and trying to figure out what to do with Quebec.

Moreover, anti-Americanism may well be the international norm these days given the disparities in power that exist and our own unilateralist tendencies.

If it makes most Canadians, or perhaps just most Canadian officials, feel good about themselves for Canada to cultivate an image of the kinder, gentler, more nuanced North American country, then so what? Canada's refusal to support America's invasion of Iraq may be in this mode. Calls by Canada for the United States to give more time for inspections to work or to take no action without United Nations approval, may have been annoying to senior U.S. administration officials, but were understandable Canadian positions.

Canada was not going to contribute anyway, and we were going to go ahead whether or not Canada agreed. No one much cared what Canada said or did.

The more reprehensible Canadian behavior has been that which has potential for harmfully constraining our military actions and putting our soldiers permanently at risk. One example is the Ottawa Treaty Banning Landmines, which the Canadian Foreign Minister at the time, Lloyd Axworthy, orchestrated in 1997. The Treaty, whose formulation involved unusually extensive participation by non-governmental organizations including various humanitarian relief and anti-war groups, bans the manufacture, possession, transfer, and use of anti-personnel devices that explode on contact or in proximity with a person so as to incapacitate, injure or kill.

Banned also are so-called anti-handling devices often used with anti-vehicle mines. The argument was that the dangers of mines persist long after wars, with these weapons lying in wait most often in unmarked or forgotten locations to kill and maim the innocent who pass by or try to work the land.

The United States has refused to sign the treaty in part because it maintains marked and fenced mine fields along the inter-Korean border to hinder possible North Korean attacks, but also because it has developed and equipped its forces with replacement mines that are scattered rather than emplaced, and that are set with timers to self-destruct after a battle, thus posing no risk to returning civilians. These devices were not exempt in formulating the ban because, as one organizer put it, "we didn't want to give the United States any advantage." At Canada's urging, most of our allies, including nearly all of our NATO partners, have signed the Treaty, which means essentially that we can not ever deploy mines if we seek coalition partners because it is unlawful for signatory nations to join in warfare with landmine users.

Because American forces do nearly all of the fighting these days done by Western militaries, it will be American soldiers who will be most often unprotected by defensive minefields. American soldiers, of course, will still face the dangers of landmines. The treaty has little effect on fighting in the poorer regions of the world, because few local participants pay attention to the ban and because unsophisticated mines are cheap to make and easy to plant.

Another example of Canada working against American security interests and potentially placing American soldiers in jeopardy is Canada's promotion of the International Criminal Court. A Canadian diplomat presided over the negotiations that produced the treaty creating the court, which Canada championed as the rightful legacy of the Nuremberg trials and the forum where the perpetrators of evils like that which occurred in Rwanda and Bosnia will be brought to justice. President Bush renounced the accepting signature that President Clinton gave the International Criminal Court treaty in his last days in office but never forwarded to the Senate, saying that the treaty would give license to politically driven prosecutors to indict Americans serving in overseas stability and peacekeeping operations.

With America taking the initiative to bring order to so many different parts of the world, it needed to protect its soldiers from the easy retaliation that an International Criminal Court trial would offer those who sympathize with our enemies. Canada has strongly opposed U.S. attempts to gain an extended exemption for U.S. forces from the court's jurisdiction. It seems likely that one day soon an American soldier will be heading to the Hague for judgment, with all the political consequences that will involve.

Canada's role in drafting these treaties is not the result of former Prime Minister Jean Chretien's obvious and, at times, crudely expressed dislike for President George W. Bush and his administration. The treaties were initiated well before President Bush took office, when Chretien's good friend Bill Clinton was the president. Because they intentionally undermine America's military equities, the treaties seem to represent a deeper and more dangerous decision by Canada's foreign policy establishment to lead the international effort to hobble the American military. Canada appears not to be just searching for a virtuous image or opportunistically expressing a mild brand of anti-Americanism. It seems to be on a Lilliputian quest to bind our power.

When a threat comes from a friend, and a weak one at that, it is largely ignored. American military-to-military relations with Canada are extensive, with Canada receiving a lot more than it gives in return. Hundreds of Canadian officers and enlisted personnel are embedded in American units, given training at American military facilities and exposed to American military staff planning procedures. Canadian ships often sail as part of U.S. battle groups. Canadian air force squadrons make exchange flights to U.S. bases. The deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defence Command is a Canadian general, but so, too, is the deputy commander of the U.S. Army's III Corps. Ironically, even though Canada opposes our role in Iraq, III Corps recently deployed to Iraq with the Canadian general still serving as the deputy commander and issuing orders to American forces.

Canadian defence firms are included in the U.S. defence industrial base and therefore get privileged access to U.S. defence procurement dollars. But when Canada buys defence equipment from U.S. defence firms, it demands offsets, which is equivalent to double dipping. Thus do Billions of dollars in U.S. weapon purchases follow toward Canada. Two-thirds of the Stryker vehicles, the U.S. Army's new combat troop carrier, are made in Canada. So, too, is a significant portion of our ammunition.

Canada's freeriding is both impossible to stop and ultimately limited. We are going to protect the continent with or without Canada's help. We are going to fight wars whether or not Canadian forces accompany our own. Given the likely effect of another terrorist attack on the nearly indistinguishable Canadian and U.S. economies, Canada can have no problem in working co-operatively with U.S. authorities to prevent infiltration by al-Qaeda members.

Canada does not have to spend much on its military, and it knows it, but Canada also is not suicidal. From a physical security/military assistance perspective, we have what we need from Canada and always will.

But Americans should be concerned about -- and not tolerate -- Canada seeking a leading role in the global coalition to thwart American power needed to protect U.S. citizens and interests. Canada has given up on warfare; it can afford to, though the U.S. cannot.

When Canada calls for a ban on the instruments of warfare or wants to put in criminal jeopardy those who fight, it knowingly handicaps American action.

There is nothing friendly or neighbourly about placing deployed U.S. forces at additional risk. There has to be a line where Canadian foreign policy cannot cross. Canada's anti-Americanism, so necessary for its independence, should not find an international stage. Subsidizing cultural events to reinforce a weak national identity is one thing; constraining American military advantage is another.

The recent decision by Prime Minister Paul Martin not to have Canada participate in the U.S. missile ballistic defence program shows how insensitive the Canadian government has become to U.S. politics. The Left in America has all but given up fighting ballistic missile defence, which is a sacred component of the Republican Party creed. Security fears, real or ginned up, govern American presidential politics post-9/11, as do Republicans. Lulled by the Clinton Administration's apparent unwillingness to assert America's military equities against Canadian diplomatic adventures, Canadian politicians think they have only to contend with their own domestic pressures when thinking about defence. Confrontation surely lies ahead unless Canada recognizes both its growing dependency on its neighbour to the south and the renewed intensity of America's security concerns.

It is time to give Canada some attention and a bit of a warning. Canada is easy to squeeze. The military trade preferences should end. The tag-along trips and the combat observation opportunities should stop. The Canadian military surely carries little weight in Canadian politics and these are small steps, but signals should be sent saying that there can be even greater costs ahead for Canada if it continues its international meddling at our expense and forgets its geography. The Canadian economy is highly vulnerable. Just as we know where Arctic blasts come from, Canada should know where its own economic prosperity originates.

© National Post 2005

I wonder if Carolyn Parrish reads the National Post.

 

Infanteer

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Edward Campbell said:
I wonder if Carolyn Parrish reads the National Post.

I'm still trying to figure out if she can read at all....
 

Britney Spears

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This is a little overblown. lone oddballs like Ms. Parrish do not represent the popular setiment of the entire Canadian population. Some of the guy's examples are meaningless. Canada is "Anti-American" because we didn't support the war in Iraq? Well I got news for you Ms. Coulter, NOBODY supports the war in Iraq,  maybe you should try convincing the 40% (at the very least) of AMERICANS who opposed the war first before pointing fingers?  Most of the other stuff is just greedy politicians and a stupid, shortsighted defence policy, not anti-Americanism.
 

Teddy Ruxpin

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This is the quote that got me:

Hundreds of Canadian officers and enlisted personnel are embedded in American units, given training at American military facilities and exposed to American military staff planning procedures. Canadian ships often sail as part of U.S. battle groups. Canadian air force squadrons make exchange flights to U.S. bases. The deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defence Command is a Canadian general, but so, too, is the deputy commander of the U.S. Army's III Corps. Ironically, even though Canada opposes our role in Iraq, III Corps recently deployed to Iraq with the Canadian general still serving as the deputy commander and issuing orders to American forces.

Frankly, I'm not sure where this comes from, given that there are Americans up here, taking training at Canadian military facilities and being exposed to Canadian planning procedures.  For such a weak, ineffectual military we seem to be doing pretty well, judging by this list.  I don't see many other foreigners actually commanding US forces.
 

54/102 CEF

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He`s full of $hit - a paper I did a while back for a counter view http://www.donlowconcrete.com/USA/

And extract

We ... have been and still are an engaged partner notwithstanding the Chretien downturn. We infer that although the US might like us to modernize our forces and participate in expeditionary operations with them, alluding to consequences if we do not, this is likely a hollow threat since the US alone spends over 43% of international defence budgets[x] that is aided by our economic relationship with them. Our trade relationship with the USA over shadows the defence arena. Our military has declined due to government neglect such that we have lost our ability to assist in quickly influencing international events by the presence of armed Canadian troops. In this we rank far behind the USA, Japan, the UK. France and China[xi]. Naval and air patrol capabilities are our strongest links, but the army reflects more starkly government under funding that also mark the other two services.

If our defence forces slip beyond the point of economic maintenance and require major re-investment, which the government seems loath to even contemplate, then there may be real risks to Canadian freedom of action. Potential consequences range from little or no consultation on US policy that may affect Canadian relations with the rest of the world. Yet â “ given the levels of American investment in Canada, an impartial observer may ask why does it even matter? It matters, in theory, because we are neighbors but the neighborhood is no longer European NATO or North America. It has become global â “ at the same time traditional multi-lateral organizations like the UN have shown themselves unwilling to accede to one country`s leadership.

All are indicators of a generalised lack of influence related to the decline in national investments that can be used outside of the country. There is no end to this story, just as one commentator suggested â “ a series of episodes.[xii] Business will probably lead the charge in the North American playing fields as they did in 1917 in capturing American business.[xiii] Until we actually contract out the fighting troops to hired guns our defence partnerships remain part of the mandate given to the government by the Canadian voter.

 

tomahawk6

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The author has some valid points:
1. weak on defense
2. pro-European foreign policy

My concern with Canada is that it has become closer to the EU than the US, politically. At present the EU is soft on terrorism because of their large muslim minorities which color their foreign policy. Right now Europe favors appeasement with regard to Islamic fundamentalism. Until the bombings in London the UK was in this camp as well. They had an informal truce with the fundamentalists which used London as a base. Now it seem's that the truce is over. But there seem's a similar truce exits in Canada and the terrorists may have decided that a base in Canada is preferable to one in London. For the moment I think we will see Canada used as a logistics base and conduit to support terror cells in the US. So in that regard Canada's hands off approach to fundamentalists does pose a threat to the US, which the US is countering with stricter border policies.
 

54/102 CEF

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A few points of contention here - but alls in good spirit - my comments preceded by asterisks *

1. weak on defense **** been that way for over 50 years

2. pro-European foreign policy *** I wouldn`t say pro Europe - I would say anti everything - if its touchy feely thats for us!

My concern with Canada is that it has become closer to the EU than the US, politically. (read this link http://www.cda-cdai.ca/presentations/natos_new_frontiers.htm - note the ref to post modern based vs accountability outlook)

* We have been diverging since 1914 and 1939 when we would not take Lend Lease loans from the US

* We are Closer to MExico - we are a one party state

At present the EU is soft on terrorism because of their large muslim minorities which color their foreign policy. Right now Europe favors appeasement with regard to Islamic fundamentalism.

* Thats pretty broad without facts.

Until the bombings in London the UK was in this camp as well.

* Whew! How did they catch the pics if they were sleeping at the switch?

They had an informal truce with the fundamentalists which used London as a base. Now it seem's that the truce is over.

* Read Understanding Terror Networks by Marc Sageman

But there seem's a similar truce exits in Canada and the terrorists may have decided that a base in Canada is preferable to one in London.

* Seems = you have no facts

For the moment I think we will see Canada used as a logistics base and conduit to support terror cells in the US.

* There will be a lot of dead terrorists here before they get down there.

So in that regard Canada's hands off approach to fundamentalists does pose a threat to the US, which the US is countering with stricter border policies.

* The border policy of the USA (my country also via dual Citizenship) is country wide not just norther norder based
 

mjohnston39

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A large portion of article is pointless. He basically states that Canada is a security threat because it supports two treaties that may put American troops at risk. Oh but wait Prof. Sapolsky, America doesn't recognize and hasn't ratified those two treaties, so guess what Prof. Sapolsky, they don't apply to Americans, so in this case it doesn't really matter what Canada/Canadians think or what treaties we support.

Prof. Saplosky also appears to suggest that the defense of North America against terrorism requires a strong military...

We are going to protect the continent with or without Canada's help. We are going to fight wars whether or not Canadian forces accompany our own. Given the likely effect of another terrorist attack on the nearly indistinguishable Canadian and U.S. economies, Canada can have no problem in working co-operatively with U.S. authorities to prevent infiltration by al-Qaeda members.

I would hope that someone with Prof. Saplosky's credentials and position would realize that stopping terrorists from entering Canada, and ultimately America, is more a security, intelligence and police matter than a military one. Maybe you should let your own government know that outing CIA NOCs and their cover companies isn't acceptable when the county is at â Å“warâ ?.

Prof. Saplosky appears contradicts himself by stating that Canada is freeloading on defense but also doesn't really need a large military and America gets everything it needs from Canada anyway...

Canada's freeriding is both impossible to stop and ultimately limited.

Canada does not have to spend much on its military, and it knows it, but Canada also is not suicidal. From a physical security/military assistance perspective, we have what we need from Canada and always will.

If Prof. Salposky wants Canada to spend more on defense, make the case for it, it's easy any many Canadians support it. If Prof. Salposky wants a more secure Northern border, make the case, but make sure you also cast a critical eye at the absimal job your own government has done in enhancing security. Don't use the rational that Canada should spend more on defense so we can join America on it's expeditionary wars and enhance contential defense, that doesn't fly...

Mike
 

sgt_mandal

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This really bugged me....
Canada is so weak, militarily and culturally

Canada, weak culturally in relation to the US.....I'm sorry but I really cannot see to which aspects he is reffering.....
 

beltfeedPaul

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I agree wholeheartedly with Prof. Sapolsky, we have been on a free ride since the early 60's. What could we field now? 9 understrength regular infantry battalions? Frigates that are tied up because there are not enough hard sea trade sailors to man them? Maybe 50 airworthy CF 18's? No heavy air transport(except rented Antonovs), Hercs that are literally falling apart, Reservists who get maybe 20 man days a year to train, with next to no ammunition? We suck, ladies and gentleman, and we are a burden.
 

paracowboy

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WO2_mandal said:
This really bugged me....
Canada, weak culturally in relation to the US.....I'm sorry but I really cannot see to which aspects he is reffering.....
the fact that we have adopted a culture of being "Not American". Canadian Intelligentsia have become so obsessed with 'not being American' that they have no identity. When all you do is compare yourself to another, whether favourably or not, then your identity is simply part of whomever you compare yourself to.
The average Canadian is far too busy to concern themselves with this sort of intellectual inferiority complex, this mental flagellation. But our press, and our fearful leaders have very little else to do when there isn't an election to rig.
 

Britney Spears

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the fact that we have adopted a culture of being "Not American". Canadian Intelligentsia have become so obsessed with 'not being American' that they have no identity. When all you do is compare yourself to another, whether favourably or not, then your identity is simply part of whomever you compare yourself to.
The average Canadian is far too busy to concern themselves with this sort of intellectual inferiority complex, this mental flagellation. But our press, and our fearful leaders have very little else to do when there isn't an election to rig.

I think you've got it backwards. The "not American" style of thought is generally prevailent amongst the less knowledgable and the easily exited, the ones who run around with "Canada Kicks Ass" T-shirts.

People who do study Canadian history and culture are more likely to have heard of Vimy and Oratona, and thus have a more reasonable appreciation of both American contributions to western civilization (incalculable) and our own heritage, more so  than the "average Canadian" who sits mesmerizied in front of the idiot box and it's Californian brand of western culture, while clinging desperately to the little maple leaf on their backpacks wailing "I am Canadian" or some other Madison Ave. drivel in helpless ignorance.

They don't call us the "INTELLIGENTsia" for nothing.
 

paracowboy

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Britney Spears said:
I think you've got it backwards. The "not American" style of thought is generally prevailent amongst the less knowledgable and the easily exited, the ones who run around with "Canada Kicks ***" T-shirts.

People who do study Canadian history and culture are more likely to have heard of Vimy and Oratona, and thus have a more reasonable appreciation of both American contributions to western civilization (incalculable) and our own heritage, more so   than the "average Canadian" who sits mesmerizied in front of the idiot box and it's Californian brand of western culture, while clinging desperately to the little maple leaf on their backpacks wailing "I am Canadian" or some other Madison Ave. drivel in helpless ignorance.

They don't call us the "INTELLIGENTsia" for nothing.
no Brits, with "the average Canadian," I'm referring to truck drivers, loggers, doctors, fishermen, elementary school teachers, etc. People who have more important things to worry about than whether they have a 'Canadian Identity'. They were born in Canada. They love their country. They pay their taxes. They have mortgages, their kids need braces or glasses or new shoes, they have a deadline coming up, that patient in 204 has complications, ad infinitum. They don't bother over-thinking it. They don't have to.

But, the Intelligentsia, those people boldly leading us into a future that they can't see because their blinders are blocking most of the view, have nothing else to concern themselves with, it appears. Possibly because they are still living in Mom's basement, spending Dad's cash on pizza pops and dope in the dorm, or suckling at the rapidly draining teat of the bureaucracy.
 

54/102 CEF

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beltfeedPaul said:
I We suck, ladies and gentleman, and we are a burden.

It would would be a mistake for anyone to take this personally - we suck because of poltical choices made by elected officials who bribe the gullible voter and give him no external protection and fractured internal security. Joe soldier knows wooden nickels - and our elected offiials spit them out of their butt$.
 

on guard for thee

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Joe soldier knows wooden nickels - and our elected offiials spit them out of their butt$.

Is that what keeps going into my bank account???????

Is that what they're paying you guys with too?????
 

Lazy W

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"When Canada calls for a ban on the instruments of warfare or wants to put in criminal jeopardy those who fight, it knowingly handicaps American action."

The UK, the 3rd lagest in the 'Coalition of the Willing' in Iraq (only next to private security companies and the US) and the US' closest ally, also happens to have signed and ratified both the Ottawa Treaty and the Rome Statute on the ICC... as have a large portion of the rest of the world.
 

Britney Spears

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Possibly because they are still living in Mom's basement, spending Dad's cash on pizza pops and dope in the dorm, or suckling at the rapidly draining teat of the bureaucracy.

Huh, you and I have rather different definitions of "Intelligentsia" then. You think people who do any of the above things are destined to become our future leaders? Certainly I would not associate Paul Martin with any of those images.
 

coors

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The Mine Ban Treaty has more than enough support including France and the UK. Accusing Canada of undermining US military capability is ludicrous in terms of our support of banning a weapon that have been of questionable strategic use in many recent conflicts (I just wrote a paper on the topic and will gladly post it if someone can inform me how via PM [it is 9 pages though]) The author does raise some valid issues but marres them with obvious prejudices. Attacking us as culturally weak is absurd our identity is not based on universal health care. How about loyalist how on rejection of the American Revolution moved north to Canada, I personal hold our historical ties to Britain dear to heart and I believe many Candians do as well. Our universal health care is not a source of identity but rather a product of Canada's overridding belief in the commonwealth or common good as more important than individual rights which is a significant difference ideologically from the US. We are culturally tied to the US and will always be economically and strategically tied to them but it is far more than healthcare that differentiates us from our brothers to the south. :cdn:
 

paracowboy

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Britney Spears said:
Huh, you and I have rather different definitions of "Intelligentsia" then. You think people who do any of the above things are destined to become our future leaders? Certainly I would not associate Paul Martin with any of those images.
I use the term 'intelligentsia' as an insult for those who think that they think.
And I do not associate Paul Martin with intelligence. Merely lack of honour.
 
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