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Merge the US & Canada? - Author Diane Francis

Apr 13, 2014|

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Time to talk politics it's hard line on news radio nine. -- And what a week it is to talk politics this was the week where yet another candidate. Entered the race to challenge Governor Cuomo for governor little bit later in the program will be hearing from how we Hopkins he tossed his hat into ring once again this year. He did so four years ago he's doing so again now as a member of the Green Party. Its interest in because there is some polling out there that says Governor Cuomo has some vulnerability perhaps on his left flank. Before the next two hours are done we'll talk a little bit about that as well with Albany bureau chief Ken Lovett from the New York Daily News. And speaking of the governor he wasn't found earlier this week did you hear what he had to say. He basically threw the gauntlet down to local government. Local governments are annoyed with me. We want the local governments to give us a plan that shows how they saved 1%. A year for three years they say that I am creating pressure on them. To reduce cost you know what I'm creating pressure on them to reduce costs I plead guilty. It's true. For the next two hours there we will hear big chunk of his remarks and then get some analysis from one of those town supervisors who wants to buck back against the idea a little bit. Doctor Barry Weinstein supervisor of the town of -- will join us again. Before the next two hours are down this first hour. I wanted to make note of an interesting article posted this week in Politico magazine. Why the US should merge with Canada. Diane Francis is the person that wrote that she's an editor at large with the national post. She's also with writers and university's school of management in Toronto she's on the line with us. Earlier in this past year she's written opinion pieces for the while Wall Street Journal suggesting the US and Canada should merge and she's the author of the book why Canada. Merger of the century by Canada and America. Should become one country. Diane Francis thanks for joining us this morning. And it. Make the case why should we. Well. The -- is basically. Let me just declare my bias to the senate demonstrators might take a different approach to this. Mostly and I have a dual citizen I was born and raised in Chicago immigrated to Canada at the age of nineteen and live there percent which is quite a number of years. In the period time. The changes to both countries have been quite remarkable. If the United States. Was when I left in 66 was. Riddled with -- -- very issues women's lives civil rights. The anti war involving Vietnam and so on Canada. That I immigrated to Toronto would -- quaint little British city. Do not have melting pot -- all and so I would say that. And it was the country that was run by a handful of family and banks. And and a lot of government involvement so Canada has transformed with pre trade. And to a -- -- -- much more free enterprise. Open system there democracies the dynasties it disappeared self made people have written into the top of the business agenda. And it's become. A melting pot it's it's -- every bit you know half the people living in trying to we're not born in Canada. So the United States on the other hand has become more progressive. The women's right thing in the civil rights. It's not perfect but at the compared to what it lives almost five decades ago it's a transformative change in both countries so. That plus the inter action in business and personally socially and culturally between the two countries. You know they have not only become. Similar more more similar than ever before. But I would say a merger is underway and this century and we've got a lot more years but this -- I think it is inevitable. That if these trajectory. Progressive -- the part of the US and more. Enterprising attitude in Canada that these two will emerge now political merger is something I look at in the book I think that. Probably not likely elected crisis that some content where they have to get together and collaborate. I think an economic union is a no brainer. And that would involve getting rid of the border all the hassles and all the delays in all the red tape and each country would remain the statement. Because you know they do have different institutions. It would be very much like the European Union but not twenty countries would be -- country. Probably that same currency. And people would be free to work or live. And retire in either country. And so that sort of what we're moving toward. The other issue is the border after twenty pictures of free trade between the two countries -- work. And it's the only free trade agreement that like that point six years later we should have by now had a customs union an open border. That's what other country they've done here beaten country's West African country's European country. We have gone backward and a lot of that has to do with lack of terrorism. Maybe it prediction that perception that the black terrorist interdiction on the Canadian side. Homeland security and that is a huge drug smuggling problem from Canada into the US. I heard him use the word and -- used the word inevitable it's something that you've done in your writing as well. Do you really think this will happen are you just making the case rhetorically for the sake of raising the issues of greater economic corporation up operation. Well it's a thought experiment personally in the introduction the book I'd say I'm merger on the dual citizen. I think that he gets merged. Like the Germany did and I present a thought experiment. What that would look like what a joint venture would look like. What an economic union would look like. And and other things that men at the end of the book I say the politics -- impossible to make it happen -- -- a crisis. We're getting huge groundswell on both sides of the border whining that. And -- we don't know what's gonna happen in this country all kinds of crazy things that are in store for and and think come at a faster than we can engine. I'm not including Mexico in it in an economic -- -- you know every sure borders because Mexico is not ready yet but one of the reasons. That happened in the US have not moved more toward. Customs union in May be in monetary gain is because when Mexico -- and that has taken up most of the political capital in the US and beat these two countries should be couple and go the wrong way. And it would be symmetrical but it would still work -- still have NAFTA but that would be more integration now this is underway in 2011. Harper are prime minister and Obama your president. They announced in 2011 security perimeter. And this has not moved very quickly at all it's been stuck in the bureaucracy to both countries didn't would. Be the first major step that the between -- that's what you do get rid of the border what you merger. Security your police senior immigration here custom. Policy blend them and then you can open the board. So it has been announced but it's not going anywhere and it's got it because it's this border problem is very very negative for cancer. Critics of NAFTA -- often point to the fact that as a result we have lost jobs -- embedded in NAFTA is the concept of transitional aid. When a company has to shut down or eliminate jobs they can through NAFTA get some some assistance to take care of that. They -- now is meant that that this is in some ways bad for jobs. How then do you pitch the idea of yet a another NAFTA like thing. In in it in a climate where people would say we're losing jobs. No this is not about Mexico the US and Canada have lost. High labor content worked in Mexico both of us have lost that but we specialize and other things I -- and that's what free trade at about. Then it would create. Such -- thing in the merger or an economic union or even a joint venture would work. You see candidates problem is that as a small population 35 million. They -- economy what can decide the United States. And it has a piece of real estate that second largest in the world. It we have an Arctic that is empty and it's not been developed that has no infrastructure for exploration and development. That is full of very tractor that is the reason why candidate need to partner I'd only been helped develop that in a sustainable way. Because the world is going to need the resources -- not talking about oil sense but everything else. The world needs that the world gonna get it Chinese targeted candidates resources the Russians declared the Arctic -- Russian. And Canada have been made -- 8500. People an overall military smaller than Singapore. We did not have the money to develop our own north. Because it will be developed that we can't defend it. But we need a partner we have a partner the partners the United States. And the millions of jobs could be created in in development of candidates hinterlands. -- that you -- sources of building out infrastructure. You know. A basket is 13 decides to Canada's Arctic north 13 and had seven times more people it has been huge heritage fund. It created all kind the job that has -- We don't even have a railway we have one wrote in an area the size of Australia. And it is part of Canada that haven't even been walked by human -- it's very possible. It's a very nasty place to live in terms of climate. But Siberia and Alaska have both been built out in developed -- and sectarian big population can't. US. And the argument you make involving the -- senior right if the United States and Canada were corporations or European states this would already have happened a long time ago. Each has what the other needs -- you touched on that briefly. The United States has capital manpower technology in the world's strongest military. Canada has the enormous reserves and undeveloped resources in the Arctic region. -- you're not saying we should plunder the Arctic are you. No no no and in fact can affect your environmental restrictions that are being better than Canada. Just a little bit I just virtually but. I'm not talking about. My first chapter talks about what we got to -- Global population and and economic development going on in Asia. And in other parts of the world that will require your defeating the industrial and an economy. With all of the things that Canada -- and Russia combined. And other places but. You know this is going to happen in the next century -- find -- did not even need any resources -- that not sure it planetary arithmetic. You know and -- and that's why China has targeted candidates resources and others. And that's fine I mean you could have people. Build -- mine here and there but. Canada is it is not able to handle. You know and all onslaught of the big power with a different agenda. Like Russia or China or the air Mercury even. And and that's why we have to. Start to think about our strategic plans going forward and believe me Canada's politics have been probably preoccupied with the French English thing for the nearly fifty years I've lived there. It hasn't it hasn't been a good marriage it's still very good marriage. And you know the -- and a preoccupation and nothing has been done with the north. This past week the party -- the clock. Basically lost their their power there you don't see that is being an issue anymore you're saying now we need to move on to the bigger economic issue and and the merger. Now I know I think that is always going to be an issue I don't think that's been fixed the French want their country they are very unique. And that's what they're going to keep pushing for it if not now that's going to continue I mean that party has been in power since the early sixties. And they formed governments there and they lost this time because they had a candidate that kind of flub -- -- And there were other issues but this doesn't make them go away and it doesn't make the problem go away I'm just saying. Canada has been preoccupied with the Quebec thing and had absolutely neglected -- nor would keep the size of Australia. 8030930s. Are -- number we're talking with Diane Francis now would be a time if you'd like to get in on the conversation will open up the phone lines. She is an editor at large with the national post she's a professor at Ryerson university school of management. And the author of merger of the century why Canada and America should become one country. Maybe you'd like to join us if you north of the border we have that 800 number by the way it's 806269236. Then 9236 part spells out WB and and talked to me a little bit about what you see happening down the road may -- -- someone in forty -- and you look at the peace bridge and you say absolutely there's a lot of traffic here there's a lot of economic cooperation. We'd like to have you aboard this morning 8030930. Maybe you're someone who is a little more conservative than the Canadians are politically. And you wonder whether this could work on the political scale we'd love to have you aboard as well 8030930s. The number. Diane tell me about the peace bridge here in buffalo between. Buffalo and forty -- That is well. I'm I'm not that convert to without one the one that rate at which is just a great example of why the border is dysfunctional Detroit got to get rid of it. It the ambassador bridge between -- him there for twenty years. There's been a general -- That all of that that that has control over the bridge the bridge easement is jointly owned by the two governments Canada the United States they -- expropriated it. Paid and compensated him and moved on this has been a twenty year battle this guy can't gain the system is litigation use politics. And he's made a fortune buying good luck to him but you can have someone controlling. The most important trade -- in the world. And holding up you know progress and to the point now where. It -- been such an impediment that the Canadian public taxpayers -- now footing the bill for two billion dollar roadway and second bridge. We are -- manufacturing. And the result of this in the auto parts business in particular and so beat the kind of choke points. That you know we've got to get rid of that the Europeans have figured out. How everybody's state their own thing. Everybody keeps your country and language in the lock system and health care system and tax system but they don't have borders. And it really makes their economy much better than it would have been if they still have all these little borders. When we come back from the break I'd like take a couple phone calls and we'll talk about some of the political implications as well. Diane Francis is here author of merger of the century. Why Canada and America should become one country more after this it's hard line on news radio 930 WB yen. It's hard line on news radio 930 WB and good morning this is Dave Tebow. Diane Francis is here she is the author of -- merger of the century. Like Canada and America should become one country she puts forth a basic argument of greater economic cooperation something akin to the way. Countries have joined in Europe into the EU she says that would certainly help out the of economies of both countries. And there is so much integration now already that she argues we really ought to just go ahead and do this 8030930s. Number let's bring in a couple of phone calls before the news break. If you're on hold stay right there we will get Q we have time to squeeze at least one and before we -- stopped for the news let's pick it up with Jim in north tunnel Wanda hi you're on the air. Yuck it's -- report absolutely polls this year. And and I'm not because I have anything per say personally. Against the Canadian people I've tree with a can mean your army I have nothing. For the two year. The top -- professional soldiers. Dedicated. -- patriots I cared about -- about the kitty you're there but but apparently crossed the border to hear about it aren't. It apart try to talk that -- got it right away well and we have put. You'll Americans can and all wars. Are all you've got tackled quite the terrorists without. You know I think that there -- -- -- they don't have the right to keep the beer. They would not what happened in their bad yesterday. When both ballistic I put the can the federal agents that literally literally. In the quiet here as a high powered scope rifles would never predict here. So there are a lot of cultural issues here -- addressed the military and then on the other side will pick up some of the political issues and cultural after that. One about what Jim said right -- Diane. Well I I think it's it's I -- I took four years. To write this book I have lived in both countries. I'd vote pay taxes. And work in both countries I'm a professional observer. I wouldn't update my opinion about anything out of our room conversation. What I'm saying here is a very new -- important. Public policy book with the robust intellectual -- them. If all the facts and figures. It makes cases it has -- it's a thought experiment. It's for people to consider. In a very rational way and believe me Canadian. Would be interested in the American presidential type system and the system of government -- -- had to. They're system of government the parliamentary system -- superior to the presidential -- -- confident symbolic. The health care system in cat that is far superior but the symptoms are different this may never happen on a political basis. On a policy basis but economically it a no brainer. All right let's slept pop you back on hold will pick up some of the cultural arguments and discussions is just a little bit. Diane Francis is here why Canada and America should become one country more after this it's hardliner on news radio 930 WB and it's hard line on news radio 930 WB and good morning this is Davie -- we are talking about US Canadian relations this morning. From 1999 South Park movie that's blame Canada certainly satire and humor. But I think it's trying to raise the point that there are vast cultural and political differences here -- nonetheless. But there are economic argument she can make about possibly merging the two countries. Diane Francis makes them she's an editor at large with the national post and she is author of merger of the century. Why Canada and America should become one country if you'd like to join the conversation. Our numbers 8030930. If you're in north of the border the 800 numbers 1806269236. Diane let's get back into with a look at some of the cultural differences. These might be stereotypes and if they are certainly -- back against them forming. But I think the stereotype is. That America. The United States rather is is more of a center. Right country Canada much more liberal you've already talked about the difference between the presidential system on the parliamentarian system. -- their golf here that cannot be bridged. -- on the political side there would be there would be at tremendous but differences but that's why I say we don't know what's gonna happen in the future. Some people even say that nations states themselves become less -- -- important. And that people become more important. And you know we don't know what's gonna happen but politically there there are huge differences in the in the nature of the institutions. Culturally I think it's kind of interesting. I'm on the back of an envelope I looked at the fact -- actually had an -- -- they're that -- that candidate inside the United States. In the twentieth -- seven million Canadian emigrated. A quarter million immigrate every decade now. And if you were to look and and seven million as of right now three million. Canadians are full or part time in the United States and another million became naturalized reports at least six. Four million out of a population of 35. That's a lot of Canadians and if you look at the voting patterns going back to 1992 of the border states and down a coat. You'll see the Democrats. Pretty much there and I would submit that in their. Some of the influence may climb that maybe people in the northern -- they're more liberal if you like and people in the southern climbs but. That's the -- shaking out. I ended -- the population of the six New England states the 5 Pacific northwest the Minnesota and Wisconsin almost always vote Democrat. And that has roughly the same population as -- about 36 million people in the states. They they have more liberal laws in Canada and a lower crime rate so you can't generalize and it's really really tricky. And so I would say that that's what I mean can't have become more Americans in America part of America become more more Canadian in their attitude. But there is one overriding difference. And it's it's it's very very subtle but it's very important. And it and Canadians have a British sensibility. -- -- -- manners there's doctors spoke a bit more deferential -- and you know more polite in general. And they have that no matter what their ethnic background is every kitty Ukrainian Canadian Jamaican Canadian. And the British sensibility and that the protocol in society up in Canada. United States in the germanic sensibility. And the largest ethnic group in the last senses that he left the German Americans it's eighteen and a half percent. That's more than her African American that's more than there are Hispanic. And then the people that admit to being chairman some people are ashamed of it because of the Second World War but. The point yes you look at the presidency I talk about all the famous Americans that are German background I'm -- -- and I come from Chicago that's not a usual -- The germanic sensibility more direct more blocked. More efficient. Great work ethic much better work ethic and Canadians past. Or British or the Europeans. And they're very good at manufacturing. Making stuff engineering science and technology. That is the big difference now that sent stability that germanic one direct work hard push. Competitiveness. -- Canadians and Europeans the wrong way it doesn't it doesn't -- the Germans strike you know the French crazy. What I'm saying is that kind of sensibility. How her look at the numbers. Four million back at Canadian born in the United States Olympic and make sure and forced to live there. The point everybody can get along and the other issues that both countries share it bearable. Have a competitive advantage of being able to absorb and assimilate. And have people from all over the world com and live. And so I'm saying if he agreed assimilating countries which they are why can't they assimilate with one. So to use the cultural. Barriers if we can even call them barriers are small enough that economic issues will make them. Easy to overcome. Well it hasn't gotten in the way. You know all those millions of Canadians living full part time and Canada. In the United States and Americans like me living in Canada. I mean it's just. It just did it the ideal thing. It's it's just step out style thing and I don't think that's the big deal I really don't and again to make the point on the on the brain drain over the centuries from Canada and the United States. Advocate ethnic group in New England French Canadian. And you've got a lot of people along the border who have a Canadian parent or Canadian grandparents and on the back of the envelope. With seven million immigrated over the twentieth century. I would say you're probably talking about 25 million Americans. We'll have a Canadian grand tour at least one Canadian grand -- and and ancestors Hillary Clinton does. You know Madonna does Angelina Jolie does Ellen DeGeneres. Sarah Palin's grandfather were Canadian. And on and on so it's very commonplace. Well britney's father was she went from Canada promised that since the other was Walter Chrysler's. And it goes on and on so if there is a lot of similarity. In attitudes and values. And even in the social behavior I can't say all Americans that direct and blunt you know -- is mentally is Canadian and I can't they are Canadian cementing its. Look at -- forward. Great example it you know it very hard to generalize sort but I'm just saying good lord were both melting pot. I wanna hit those numbers against I think in a discussion and print certainly concede the numbers but in discussions sometimes they wash over people to quickly. You write that in 19100 Canada's population was only five point 37 million. And yet by the year 2007. Million Canadians had immigrated to the United States let's step take up for a couple calls here. Melissa and tunnel -- thanks for waiting so long you're on the air. I I wanted to say that I live on Grand Island. In the house and Canada. And before and -- -- a Latin and we immigrated we moved over the border very very freely and now since 9/11 -- the borders and it's become a lot tighter. It didn't really really hard and it makes it. Very difficult to go back and forth across the border. We can and let the Canadians that come over here on the weekend it weekend and we're the same way going over to -- corner to Canada and spending the weekends but. I can't see any really changing. Because of 9/11 and because of what happened with reporters. I think it would be an official week it had something like the EU. Where which is open borders and has its own currency that are at a but do you think that's possible because of 9/11 and now all of the security issue stand. It -- cares -- and. I've heard earlier in the show. -- I talked about -- twenty it'll happen Obama and Stephen Harper the prime minister of Canada announced. The security perimeter initiative what this would do it it's -- Make the border between. Irrelevant because what we would do is blend all of our. Policing. Immigration. Customs taxes. And national security. Policies. That we would be a perimeter in other words. The border for people goods and services coming into the two countries would -- that the perimeter. And we wouldn't happen internal border there moving toward that the very tricky stuff. But I'm starting all ready to see some of these things happening for instance. After that Boston Marathon tragedy last year within two days the FB IC IA. And the Canadian police had collaborated and arrested two men who hadn't done anything but -- picked up. Because of the sharing of information on policing -- national security authority starting to happen. They can get these two that I think gonna blow -- -- -- rock but just the plan wasn't a hundred pull it off or not is irrelevant. They were both illegally inside Canada the American authorities knew that told the Canadians they collaborated and they were arrested and put in jail inside Canada. So they couldn't do any harm so that the kind -- thing. That would never -- before so I -- an underdog coming -- are coming like. Hold on a little -- you in just -- second. I -- right. Bland if they blend all of these efforts. And they continue to do this then you don't have to have a board. All right Melissa -- weeks ago. And think you know back in court that there are times -- and I understand security and I understand safety has been Border Patrol I again. It sometimes takes me -- read -- three hours to get into Canada or get into the United States. That we then traveling back and for expert 25 years -- -- property in Canada. And I I just see it as being such a huge road block right now. But just security in the that bridge borders. I don't see. Anything moving moving our. I don't Shia and pass that right now Melissa -- -- Every point your character repeat in 2011. Announcement was made the two countries they're bureaucracies. Are grinding away and working at it we already saw. The -- result out of cold joint policing and security measures. In the incident -- told you about after the Boston -- it will happen because it has. I think on the southern border. So much of the discussion there involves. Immigration reform but also -- beefing up of the border. If we went ahead with what you're talking about would there have to be. Not just a parameter as you say but a stronger perimeter to make sure that threats -- coming in at what would then become. I'm much more massive border. Well that would be a border between Canada and the US the border would be. On the south part Mexico can't thank you -- and then the rest of the coastlines around but to -- two countries Canada the US. And and that's what I'm saying what we need to beef up. The entry into Canada -- the US via the coastline because suddenly we have to be enforcing a much broader area. And then -- -- my vote. -- handle any and -- they've both countries are -- do their own thing they would jointly agree on how to do it. In both countries that you wouldn't have somebody getting that you -- easily going in doing mischief in Canada or vice Versa. So that's what has to change they have to collaborate. In anybody who comes in either country that has been approved by both countries jointly. In a new kind of framework that's what they're working toward. That's what the Europeans. John in Rochester thanks for waiting it's your turn now go ahead. You know something like I love your nationally at the old gold handed. It's it's beautiful. I really do and it and a -- one thing I cycle policy in typical for the bills that I noticed side up. For awhile ago but Shapiro reports after a bowl game -- the -- -- important work proportionate number of what Canadians. That would be an error reports that I love Canadians -- carriers -- rob Ford is. Beat out of control party but. -- like why I pointed out. Crowd chanted what -- Our economic -- responsibility United States who were running -- Every every year in the last five years that there -- so we're truly Ballard. Well virtually dollars a year in their supposed to go down this year inaccurate but after there. Up and I kept it really view and health care and another question. I'm afraid of Canadian culture would get the rationing -- Let me speak. To the situation. Candidate right now I think you -- your physical. How relatively lower compared. Will get your question on -- much off the phone here for the sake of time. -- jump on and on that. Yes I'm there's a lot of that the people don't have the facts. The factor in my book. Carrier which is the proper treatment from you -- the population of eleven million people. And he has -- that are out of control. If you act and Quebec is that the the nightmare. -- Kerry has. I think something like four times the -- of California that has the bigger population in Canada. Ontario is again at Perry and Quebec are you gonna have the same amount of debt at their federal government in -- OK so if you add up the provincial debt. The federal that it's about the same as yours and by the way that's about I don't know 8085. To 90% -- These things are manageable in a low interest rate climate that you have to balance the books we have. That same government issues that the states that if not decades of one of the basket case -- the other the reason why Canada. It say is they'd better groomed shall we say with better infrastructure country is that the population. Growth is relatively recent. And we pay very tight exit. We pay higher taxes on average than Americans. Not in the global sense because you have other kind of taxation. But you know we have very nice cities because we pay a lot of taxes to keep them. Well -- And you don't see the debates that we have here. Overspending and deficits the kind of thing that has at one point shut down our government. You don't see that being a big enough issue that turmoil would -- A bigger scale -- and if there was a combination. -- -- did a lot of people I'm Canadian conservative. And and I'm writing about the debt problem all the time. Some provinces on the other hand there splendid examples like Albert -- captured number not yet it was the province. We've got to be very careful and the -- since. People more than federal government federal government's very weak in Canada compared to the US federal government. So you know that's where it gets confusing. And what people think all the Canadian debt is only 35% of GDP that's a part. Talking about the fact that it you know another 4045%. In the provinces he heated state governments in the United States can run deficit for only three years and I got to cut costs ruthlessly. In Canada they can just write it right up right off the chart. And they don't need permission from Ottawa brown. All right Diane we are out of time we already missed one of our break -- so glad you're able to join us and have this discussion. Maybe at some point maybe at some point on the road we'll have the end and and do even more of it at a later date. I appreciate it okay that's Diane Francis she's a professor at Ryerson university in Toronto she's also columnist with the -- with the national post there. And she's someone who's written a book basically that says we should merge the author of merger of the century like Canada and America should become one.