Were it not for my Chief Texas Correspondent, I might perhaps have missed a squib by Diane Francis in this morning’s National Post. Fortunately that newspaper lacks an effective pay-wall, & I was quickly able to learn about this lady’s proposal to merge Canada with the United States. Full details would require the acquisition of her “controversial new book,” but the excerpt outlines the financial arrangements. Ms Francis consulted a Geneva-based accountant with extensive merger & acquisition experience, who flagged Canada’s disproportionate contribution. With only 10 percent of combined population, we’d provide 18 percent of net asset values, once our rich natural resources were factored in. That worked out to a $17 trillion settlement, or $492,529 cash for each Canadian.
The pull-out heading with the article seemed to offer this sum as a lump payment, & I must admit I considered it for a moment. That would certainly cover my rent for a while. But on careful examination of the fine print, I found: “The payout would be stretched over two or more decades.”
One thinks of the Newfoundland Lottery, whose first prize is advertised as $1,000,000. (“A dollar a year for a million years.”)
Dear Diane. It is now a quarter-century since the last time I participated in a national election campaign, selling Brian Mulroney’s Free Trade Agreement with the USA. She was among others by my side, debating Liberals, Socialists, & Protectionists of all stripes, before sceptical Canadian audiences. Much of my own time, in these “town halls,” was spent explaining some of the more extravagant claims of my excitable allies. My own pitch was simpler: to destroy as much federal bureaucracy as we can, in the time available. And if the Niagara wine industry went down with the rest of the carnage, all the better. For as I pointed out, its then leading product, with a brand name something like “Cold Baby Duck,” was drinkable only as an alternative to after-shave.
Anticipating some last-minute pushback from Canada’s smug-Left literati — the usual full-page ad in the Mope & Wail, paid for by the United Auto Workers, & signed by Margaret Atwood & her friends — I passed round the hat & got a larger bunch of artsies with recognizable names to sign one entitled,
We Are Not Fragile!
“There is no threat to our national identity anywhere in the Agreement. Nor is there a threat to any form of Canadian cultural expression. As artists & writers, we reject the suggestion that our ability to create depends upon the denial of economic opportunities to our fellow citizens.”
It was fun. We won the election. And how was I to know that what I’d actually been selling was a vast new “free trade” bureaucracy, to cumber the perpetuated protectionist one?