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Essay/Term paper: Canada - of the united states of america

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History Essays

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Canada - Of the United States of AMerica


by: Mat Harrison
for: Mr. Harkins
HCN OA1

The Canadian identity has always been difficult to define. We, as
Canadians, have continued to define ourselves by reference to what we are not -
American - rather than in terms of our own national history and tradition. This
is ironic since the United States is continuing to be allowed by Canadians to
take over our economy and literally buy our country. Culturally Canada has its
own distinct government and institutions which differ and are better from those
in the United States, but economically the country has been all but sold out to
America. The major cultural differences to be examined are that of Canada's
strong government, institutions such as welfare and universal healthcare, and
our profound respect for law and authority. These establishments make Canada a
separate nation from the USA. Economically, it will be examined how Canada has
become a victim to Americanization through the purchase of Canada with our own
money, the shocking statistics of Canada's foreign ownership, and the final
payment for our country, free trade. All in all we have our own government, our
own flag, our own anthem; but are we really Canadian or a not quite United State
of America?

In Canada, strong government involvement plays an immense role in
determining the destiny of its people for the good of the society.

In Canada you are reminded of the government every day. It parades before you.
It is not content to be the servant, but will be the master...
Henry David Thoreau, 18861

Although slightly outdated, as of 1982 47.3 percent of Canada's GNP was
in government hands, compared with 38% in the United States. Government
spending in Canada was 24.4% greater than in the U.S. and if you subtract the
U.S.'s excessive national defense spending, the gap between the two countries
considerable widens.2 The United States has adopted a more Freudian "survival
of the fittest" concept towards government where the rights of the individual
are predominant and industry is publicly owned and run with little help from the
government. Although there is some government control and ownership of industry
in both countries it is much more common in Canada where "the state has always
dominated and shaped the ... economy."3

Of 400 top industrial firms, 25 were controlled by federal or provincial
governments. Of the top 50 industrialists, all ranked by sales, 7 were either
wholly owned or controlled by the federal or provincial governments. For
financial institutions, 9 of the top 25 were federally or provincially owned or
controlled ....4

Also, Canadian subsidies to business and employment in public enterprise were
five times the level in the U.S. Government involvement is a crutial part of
the distinctness of our Canadian identity.

Similar variations occur with respect to Canada's welfare policies.
They are clearly implemented for the good of the society, giving aid to any
citizen in need. This system is considered superior to that of the United
States where some people have no source of income whatsoever and no chance to
claim welfare. Welfare policies have generally been adopted earlier in Canada
and tend to be "more advanced in terms of program development, coverage, and
benefits".5 Another advanced Canadian institution is that of Canada's famous
universal health care system. Although it is a complex system its highlights
consist of: government run, non profit insurance plan that uses public funds to
pay for a private, comprehensive system.6 The concept of the program being
universal means that the service is available to all Canadians regardless of
income. This system has been said by many to be Canada's most successful and
popular program globally. It also separates us from the misconception that we
are similar to Americans.

Perhaps as important for our national identity, the Canadian approach to health
insurance also clearly distinguishes us from the United States. The fact that
we have developed such a different system suggests that we really are a separate
people, with different political and cultural values. Even better our system
works well while the American alternative does not.7

In the U.S. there are forty million people, more than the entire population of
Canada, who have no health insurance.8 And even the best medical insurance plan
in the U.S.A. only covers 31.5% of expenses.9 Moreover, the Canadian systems
costs are well below that of the U.S. and have produced lower infant mortality
rates and longer life expectancy.

In 1986, average out-of-pocket expenditures for health care were $1135 per
household in the United States, and $446(US) in Canada. For hospitals and
physicians American households paid $346, Canadians paid $33.10

It is clear that the Canadian universal system of health care is by far
superior to the U.S. system. This may also be said true for Canadian's superior
respect for law and authority. Canada's fathers of confederation stressed a
great Canadian motto of "Peace, Order, and Good Government" which implies
control of, and protection for the society. The parallel motto developed by
America's founding fathers is "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", this
model suggests the upholding of the rights of the individual. Due to the
Canadian motto being geared towards the rights and obligations of the community "
the crime control model .... emphasizes the maintenance of law and order, and is
less protective of the rights of the accused and of individuals generally".11
Due to the American "s stress on the rights of the individual "there is a
greater propensity to redefine or ignore the rules .... (there is) greater
lawlessness and corruption in the United States".12 For example, in 1987 the
murder rate in Canada was 2.5 per 100,000 population; for the U.S. it was 8.3.
In the U.S. last year, every 17 seconds a violent crime was committed; a rape
every 5 minutes, a murder every 23 minutes, an assault every 51 seconds. Also,
because it is a constitutional right for an American to own a gun, every day 15
children aged 19 and under are killed with guns, it is the leading cause of
death for people between ages of 15 and 24. Licensed firearm dealers sell an
estimated 7.5 million guns a year including 3.5 million handguns.13 In Canada "
ownership of offensive weapons or guns is considered a privilege, not a right"
.14 And 83.3 of Canadians show support for a law which would require a person
to obtain a police permit to purchase a gun . Even though a representative of
the Canadian Justice department is quoted as saying "it is almost impossible to
get a permit to carry a handgun".15 Though in the U.S.A. a handgun can be
purchased in less than 24 hours.

In 1992 handguns were used to murder 36 people in Sweden, 97 in
Switzerland, 60 in Japan,
128 in Canada, 33 in Great Britain, 13 in Australia and 13,495 in the
United States; God Bless
America!16

Again, a major Canadian system has proven itself superior to its American
counterpart. It is surprising that Canada's most important social institutions
are far superior to those of the U.S.A. although it is well known that the U.N.
(United Nations) has chosen Canada as the best place to live in the world two
years running. These successful institutions promote Canada's cultural identity
for they can be used as models to countries around the globe.

Americans should not underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the
mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from
you and we're different people because of you .... living next to you is in some
ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even tempered
the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt ....
It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada,
should project itself .... as a mirror image of the United States.
Pierre Trudeau (1969)17

Culturally, Canadians are Canadians but economically Canadians are
Americans. Ever since the end of World War I the U.S. cleverly began to
purchase our country. Through foreign investment "the Americans accumulated
Canada at the unbelievable rate of a billion dollars worth yearly"18 from 1955
onward. Not only were they buying out Canada but they were doing it with
Canadian money. The way that they did this is through trade profits, for
instance: Just before World War II the U.S.A. was buying goods off of us at a
rate of $35 per Canadian, we were buying goods off them at $50 per Canadian.
The difference comes to $15 per Canadian per year in the American's favour. Our
population was 11 million at this time therefore this trade deficit translates
into a profit of $165,000,000 in the American's favour, per year, at a $15 trade
deficit, with an 11 million population ($15 x 11mil. = 165mil.).19

In 1947 our trade with the United States reach such proportions that it
was draining from us the amazing total of $70 per person per year20

In the 10 years from 1947 to 1957 Americans bought $20 billion worth of
goods from us (figures are rounded), they sold us $27 billion worth. In other
words, we handed the United States seven billion dollars. And that same figure
(seven billions) happens to be almost exactly the amount of money the Americans "
invested in Canada" in the years 1947 - 1957. In other words:

In 10 years American financiers took from the Canadian people seven billion
dollars, and during that very same period they used our seven billion dollars to
buy up a large portion of our country21

This did not only happen between 1947 and 1957 but if you research any
year in modern trading history between Canada and the United States you will
come to the same conclusion (except the figures keep growing and growing as time
progresses).

Due mostly to the Americans purchasing our country "Canada is already
the most foreign-dominated of any industrialized country in the world".22 100%
of the tobacco industry, 98%of the rubber industry, 92% of the automotive
industry, 84% of transportation, 78% of electrical apparatus industry, 78% of
the petroleum and coal industry, 76% of the chemical industry, and 75% of heavy
manufacturing are foreign owned, mostly American.23

This foreign takeover has turned Canada into a branch plant economy
where parent companies in the U.S. make decisions concerning Canadian companies
and Canadians rarely have the ability to reach top management positions. This
current situation "erodes Canadian sovereignty and diminishes Canadian
independence" it is also a "threat to our power to implement decisions within
our own borders - a threat no less real, though more subtle, that if a division
of Marines were marching across our border."24 Another way of describing
Canada's branch plant economy is to call it a new form of mercantilism. We are
just a colony of the United States and we are acting for the betterment of the
Mother country.

We are the servants of a new mercantilism. The foreign subsidiary in
Canada clearly exists to further the interests of the parent corporation, whose
home country in most cases is the United States. The hinterlands - like Canada
- are to supply the corporations with raw materials, and organize the
disposition of subsequent consumer capital goods25

Although foreign ownership creates jobs for Canadians, it does not
create the top jobs, nor does it promote economic progress or even prosperity.
It actually costs Canada $35 billion each and every year in revenue taken out of
the country.26 "Americans have drained from Canada more wealth than they have
hauled out of all other countries combined". And the government is still
allowing more and more foreign investment. "No other country seems prepared to
tolerate so high a degree of foreign ownership as exists in Canada".27 And now,
with free-trade, it has become even easier for America to control Canada and
exploit it for all America's wants and needs.

New Democratic party leader, Edward Broadbent, referring to Brian
Mulrony and free-trade between Canada and the United States said "I can tell you
that for the first time in the history of Canada, we have a man who is Prime
Minister who has, without even being asked, volunteered Canada to be the 51st
state in the United States ...."28 This is essentially what free-trade meant
for Canada. John A. MacDonald had called free-trade "veiled treason", and for
125 years prominent Canadian figures warned fellow Canadians that "without an
economic border we soon would not have a political border either".29 The best
way to describe free-trade is to quote some of John Turner's detailed and moving
speech delivered in the House of Commons.

Mr. Speaker, we are here today to discuss one of the most devastating pieces of
legislation ever brought before the House of Commons...a bill which will finish
Canada as we know it and replace it with a Canada that will become nothing more
than a colony of the United States. In this bill...we find that Canadians can
be fined, even imprisoned for contravening American law....Why are we now being
forced to give hasy approval to legislation which represents the largest sell-
out of our sovereignty since we became a nation in 1867?...We have given up
control of our capital markets...This deal sells out our energy, the life blood
of this country...The National Energy Board becomes nothing more than a
monitoring agency...it is Washington that is taking control of our energy
resources...With this deal we have succeeded in the fulfilment of the American
Dream! Fifty-four Forty, or Fight! Manifest Destiny! At long last they found
a Government in Ottawa dumb enough, stupid enough, patsies so craven in the face
of American demands that they just caved in to every request made of them...I
say to the people of Canada that this is not a trade deal. This is "the Sale
of Canada Act..."30

When free trade was finally implicated into the Canadian society, the
first three years cost 1.4 million jobs. Archie McLean, Vice President of
McCain's Foods, testified that 100,000 to 150,000 jobs would be lost directly
from free trade in his company alone. By September 1992, Canada had the highest
number of unemployed in its history. B.C. millionaire Jim Patterson said: "
We're taking everything we've go and pushing it into the United States... I keep
telling our people to forget the border - it doesn't exist anymore".31 Free
trade was obviously a bad deal for Canada and should have been obvious when it
was laid on the table. Even the American public knew what they were getting
when they obtained the free trade agreement. An American economic forecaster,
Marvin Cetron, wrote in his 1990 bestselling book, American Renaissance : Our
Life at the Turn of the Century:

Once the free-trade agreement with the United States takes full effect, the next
logical step will be to accept politically what has already happened
economically - the integration of Canada into the United States32

In conclusion, it is evident that Canada is different form the United
States within its government and institutions and, in most cases, have a
superior system, but economically Canada is owned and dominated by America.
Benjamin Franklin once said that "the man who would trade independence for
security deserves neither."33 Canada is slowly voulenteering for the American
vision of Manifest Destiny where not one gun has to be fired. Ex Prime Minister
John Diefenbaker expressed his opinion by stating that "We are a power, not a
puppet...I want Canada to ve in control of Canadian soil. Now if that's an
offence I want the people of Canada to say so."34 We must to several thing to
break free from these restraints which ar upon us. First, though, we must scrap
free trade, control foreign ownership, and balance our trade with the enemy -
the USA.

Canada has gone form being a colony of France, to being a colony of
Britan, to being a colony of the United States. It's time now to become a
nation.35

Bibliography

1. Berton, Pierre. Why we Act like Canadians. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart,
1982.

2. Lamorie, Andrew. How they sold Our Canada to the U.S.A.. Toronto: NC Press,
1976.

3. Lipset, Seymour M. North American Cultures. U.S.A.: Borderlands Project,
1990.

4. Nader, Ralph. Canada Firsts. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1992.

5. Orchard, David. The Fight for Canada. Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1993.

6. "The center to prevent hand gun violence". National center for health
statistics, 1994. Internet document.

7. "The FBI Uniform Creme Reports". The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 19, 1995.
Internet document.

8. The Star-Spangled Beaver. Ed. John H. Redekop. Toronto: Peter Martin, 1971.

9. Thomas, David. Canada and the United States, Differences that Count.
Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1993.


 

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