For a while I thought that Canadians had nothing in common except the fact nobody there, with the exception of a boatload of hippies, was American. I whimiscally decided that, in order to be taken seriously, a country needs someone outside the country to hate it (besides the Quebecois)–and everybody was ignoring them. So I’ve been politely loathing Canada and things Canadian as my bit to help out Canadian sovereignty. Since every Canadian I met seemed to despise my country for being so violent, blah blah blah, I thought it a cry for attention and was willing to throw you lot a bone.
However, Grant McCracken undermines my efforts when he writes:
Plainly and simply, our neighbour needed us to close ranks, show solidarity, and present a single face to the dithering world community.
Er, no. If you’re really feeling indebted for those years of protection (which would assume we were doing this purely out of the kindness of our heart instead of needing a conveniently safe place to put the DEW Line), nothing says “thank you” like cash–maybe all that money you save on prescription drugs and not having any police since everyone up there is pure as the wind-driven snow, which I gather you have much experience with.
Seriously, just because we were determined to start a war on the thinnest of evidence doesn’t mean you’re less a friend (or a bratty younger brother) if you don’t follow us in. That’s like saying if Americans all started drinking heavily and going for a dip in the ocean, it would be Canada’s job to do the same to show solidarity to the world.
If you think it was right to go to war anyway because Saddam was a bad guy and for some reason was more important than all the other bad guys out there, fine. Criticize your government on that basis. But quite frankly it’s stupid to do it just because your ally has a yen. If that were so, how much shame would you put on the US (or, for that matter, yourselves) over the Suez crisis? I don’t hear anybody rushing to say Canada needed to put in troops in a land grab because you got a system of common laws from the UK and share a monarch.
If Canada were to say “Hey, we won’t go into Afghanistan because, well, thanks for the low, low prices on all the F-18s, but hey, we don’t want to become a target for the next 9/11, eh,” that would be ingratitude. That was the place to stand up and show solidarity. But to make a judgment that evidence of a threat from Saddam is insufficient, particularly when history has proven that judgment right and the American (and, honestly, mine at the time) judgment wrong, is not something to criticize.
Now, if you make the argument that the decision was taken on this visceral anti-Americanism you describe, the reasoning might be worthy of criticism. But so far, this is one of the few things I think Canada can feel just a bit smug aboot.
And remember, I hate Canada. Politely.