I’d smiled then gone back to ignoring those reports a week or three ago of a “merger” movement between the US and Canada. But Conrad Black gave it his full attention:
Under one of the “merger” options presented in her book, Canada would be paid $16.94 trillion, divided up among all of its citizens on a basis weighted to their individual years of residency in Canada (all Canadians would receive $12,360 for every year they had resided in Canada). It is an interesting idea (and an interesting read): the ultimate monetization of nationality and the reduction to a mere, if unprecedentedly large, commercialization of nationhood. On its face, it illustrates both the sagacity of Canadians in building up a great national asset, and the ravages of inflation (consider that when the United States bought Alaska from Russia in 1867, the price was only $7-million.)
There are three problems with Diane’s merger plan: The Americans won’t pay; the Canadians won’t accept; and you can’t have a partial takeover — i.e. some Canadians selling their interest in the national patrimony to the United States while the others do not.
Of course we won’t pay. We can’t pay. We’ve already racked up debt slightly greater than the amount Diana Francis has proposed. We’ll never come up with the current $17,000,000,000,000, so you can just forget about another $17,000,000,000,000.
And of course our wise Canadian friends would never accept. I see two reasons. The first is our Canadian friends are too wise to accept funny money in payment for their nation. The second is — and follow me closely on this point — Canadians aren’t Americans. They’re Canadians. That’s why there’s a Canada. And we’re Americans. That’s why there’s an America.
Fact is, future maps are likely to have more countries on them, not fewer. And I’m afraid that might include maps of North America.