Maybe it’s time, at least for discussion purposes, to bring back this hoary old slogan from the Canadian Liberation Movement back in the 1970s. “Deep integration” continues, and is a key part of the Conservatives’ not-so-hidden agenda.
Is there something about Canada that is worth preserving? Or should we just pack it in? The Harper Conservatives, and the Liberals before them, have been chipping away at our sovereignty for some time. Now it’s greater economic integration, and a “security perimeter” being negotiated under cover of darkness. Two years ago, again under the radar, there was an agreement to allow troops from each country free access across the border in “emergencies.”
It was the Liberals who first advanced the notion of a Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in 2005. The Conservatives ran with it for a while, but popular opposition in both countries led to its demise in 2009. (Similar concerns about sovereignty had already led to the killing of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment in the late 1990s, but the MAI was not motivated by integrationism.)
There seems little doubt that the values of Harper and his Conservatives, and of continentalist Liberals, lend themselves to a gradual erosion of the differences between the two countries. What we are seeing presently, I believe, is a piecemeal strategy—a series of bits and bites that could lead to eventual political integration. Welcome to the pot, fellow frogs: and let’s hope that Snopes is right.
Lest anyone imagine that I am being alarmist, let me simply reiterate the question with which I began: what about Canada is worth keeping? Does anyone seriously imagine that the Conservatives and big-business Liberals have anything other than anodyne rhetorical answers?
I invite readers to offer their own. I’ll reserve mine for now.