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Right Intention: Canada = Europe

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Canada = Europe


Prime Minister Paul Martin said Thursday that Canada would opt out of the contentious U.S. missile defense program, a move that will further strain brittle relations between the neighbors but please Canadians who fear it could lead to an international arms race.

What no one wants to say out loud is that the reason Canada feels free to not pitch in is because they know at the end of the day the US will work on this problem and give Canada protection anyway. This is known in economics as being a free rider.

So Canada and Europe are becoming more similar by the day. First, both Canada and Europe tilt severely to the left politically. Second, they both feel free to mooch off the generousity of the US. Third, their mooching allows them to fund overly generous social programs at the expense of a functioning military.

Talking to reporters several minutes after his foreign minister first announced the move in the House of Commons, Martin said Canada would instead focus on strengthening its own military and defense in proposals laid out Wednesday in the federal budget.

"Canada recognizes the enormous burden that the United States shoulders, when it comes to international peace and security," Martin said. "The substantial increases made yesterday to our defense budget are a tangible indication that Canada intends to carry its full share of that responsibility."

Canada wants to pitch in? Great!

The federal budget presented to the House of Commons calls for $10.5 billion in the next five years to increase the country's beleaguered armed forces -- including an additional 5,000 soldiers and 3,000 reservists -- the largest commitment to defense in two decades. It also called for another $807,950 to improve Canada's anti-terrorism efforts and security along the unarmed, 4,000-mile border with the United States.

$10.5 billion over five years? 5,000 soldiers? Whoop-de-freaking-do. Is this the same country that had responsibility for Juno Beach on D-Day? What happened to these people?

And less than $1 million for anti terror efforts? Why bother? To present the illusion you are chipping in? Spare me.

But U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci told reporters Wednesday that he was perplexed over Canada's apparent decision to allow Washington to make the decision if a missile was headed toward its territory.

"Why would you want to give up sovereignty?" he said. "We don't get it. We think Canada would want to be in the room deciding what to do about an incoming missile that might be heading toward Canada."

Here's the decision: don't do anything if a missile is heading towards Canada. If Canada doesn't want in on missile defense, then so be it. Every country can have its own level of relationship with the US. We can cooperate or not cooperate on any issue. But what I would love to see the US do is for once put its foot down and tell our "allies" that if they don't want to chip in on security issues, don't expect the US to do it for them and don't expect to reap the benefits of our work. No more free riders.


Blogger Mike's America said...

Excellent commentary in Toronto Paper,the Globe and Mail:

From time to time there are a few Candadians who appreciate the relationship with the U.S. National Post is also pretty good on this stuff too.

The above article focuses on the dynamics of the political relationship, but there are some military/technical issues to be considered as well.

I'm not a NORAD expert, but the Candadians do participate in the air defense of North America.

I imagine they are waiting for us to perfect an anti-missile system and then just say "ok, you can shoot one down if it's headed our way." But the problem here is that we may need access to either their air space or technical facilities (radar stations) to properly develop and test any system.

I had hoped Paul Martin, the P.M. would be a better friend to the U.S. Guess Not! And the Candadians felt snubbed when Bush after 9-11 referred to Tony Blair and the U.K. as our greatest friend?

10:19 AM  

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