SLEEPING NEXT TO THE ELEPHANT

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Maybe it’s the books I’ve been reading. More than likely it’s the daily news. I find myself getting more and more uneasy as I cast my eye south of the border.

Courts have upheld the ban on the importing of Canadian beef into the US and our ranchers are suffering. The Canuck farm in general is in a bad way as evidenced by a rolling protest into downtown Toronto by tractors to rail against the perceived failure of Provinical and Federal governments to protect those who put the food on our tables.

At the same time, Prime Minister Martin’s decision to opt out of the Missle Shield lunacy is threatening our already shaky relations with Washington and the “unbiased” American media delights as portraying us as defenseless igloo dwellers who will be sorry when they don’t have Uncle Sam to protect them. The chances of a defensive missle shooting down an incoming ICBM are less than 50-50 but that doesn’t stop the military industrial machine from scaring billions out of the US taxpayer to fund the most expensive skeet shoot ever imagined. Let the Boeings and Rayethons build their toys, we don’t need them.

The war in Iraq continues with another milestone reached. Last week, the 1500th American death was reported. Funny that we didn’t hear anything about the estimated 16 to 18 thousand Iraqi civilians who have died over the same period but that doesn’t appear to count for much as long as the US makes the country safe for “democracy”. Again, Canada is in the doghouse for not helping out. Just because we realized that this liberation is actually an illegal occupation as defined in the UN charter. Pax Americana must continue and, if we don’t like it, we’d better get used to keeping our cows north of the 49th.

Meanwhile, the US continues to spend money like a drunken sailor. Their deficit is massive and the power of their dollar is being rapidly overshadowed by the growth of the Euro. War is expensive and sooner than later the rest of the world will have to start pulling their investments out of an economy that is built on sand and IOUs that the American youth are going to have to pay. I have no idea how Canada will resist being sucked into the recession that will surely happen and that scares the shit out of me as I get closer to retirement.

Some say that Canada needs to move quickly to patch up our differences with the US. Certainly, we need to be on cordial terms with our neighbour but in no way does that mean that we have to kowtow. We need to broaden our trade horizons, maintain our status as a peacekeeper and continue to express our moderate views. The world needs Canada even if some American politicians and commentators try and paint us as ungrateful and weak.