I am an unabashed Canadaphile. The Canadian constitution is rather better designed than the American one, other than not having a popularly-elected governor-general. The health care system is not the one I’d design from scratch, but it has ours beat cold. The federal system makes more sense. They don’t fetishize local government. Plus, they play good baseball and make good hip-hop. And I have in-laws in the Mounties. How Canadian is that, eh?
With that in mind, Canadian defensiveness towards the U.S. perplexes me, and it pops up in the most unexpected places. Frex, as I didn’t know until I read Randy’s blog, it seems that Janet Napolitano may have accidently confused the Millennium Plot with 9-11 during a press conference. OK, that’s a little embarrassing. I’ve been there myself. But enough to produce this reaction? Or this one?
The Globe and Mail column is particularly confusing. After all, the sensible ripost to any mention of the Millennium Plot is to say, as the column did, that the U.S. blocked the terrorists at the border and the system worked. Instead it brings up security theater that has nada to do with Canada (shoes in airports) and stuff that’s really aimed at keeping track of Americans, like requiring passports. And that after a claim that Janet Napolitano is just like Dick Cheney. Erm? From whence this excitement?
Now, there are countries where people are understandably worried about perceived slights from the United States. Like Mexico, where there are umpty-scrump reasons for people to be defensive with respect to their 800-pound neighbor. Among other things, Mexico lost its war with the United States. That sensitivity is why the U.S. needs to apply the same border controls to the northern and southern frontier, or at least be publicly seen to be doing that; otherwise key segments of Mexican public opinion would be enflamed, making cooperation unnecessarily harder.
But similar Canadian sensitivity I don’t get.