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Alberta and Saskatchewan should join the U.S.

Posted by John T. Reed on

Mary Anastasia O’Grady has a column in the WSJ about how liberals in Canada are gleefully celebrating the pain their oil and gas sector is suffering and dancing on its grave.

Alberta and Saskatchewan

The two main oil/gas provinces in Canada are Alberta and Saskatchewan. During the OPEC oil embargoes in 1973 and 1979, Canada was beating up on those provinces. There was much talk in Alberta and Saskatchewan then about their seceding from Canada and joining the US.
Alberta and Saskatchewan are also Canada’s best agricultural provinces.

The law of secession from Canada

Here is what Wikipedia says about Canadian provinces seceding:
“The Clarity Act (known as Bill C-20 before it became law) is legislation passed by the Parliament of Canada that established the conditions under which the Government of Canada would enter into negotiations that might lead to secession following such a vote by one of the provinces. The Clarity Bill (C-20) was passed by the House on 15 March 2000, and by the Senate, in its final version, on 29 June 2000.
“Although the law could theoretically be applied to any province, the Clarity Act was created in response to the 1995 Quebec referendum and ongoing independence movement in that province. The content of the Act was based on the 1998 secession reference to the Supreme Court of Canada made by the federal government of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Previously in 1996, a private member's bill, the Quebec Contingency Act (Bill C-341) was introduced to establish the conditions which would apply to a referendum regarding the separation of Quebec from Canada, but it did not proceed further than the First Reading.
“Two days after the Act had been introduced in the Canadian House of Commons, the Parti Québécois government passed An Act respecting the exercise of the fundamental rights and prerogatives of the Québec people and the Québec State in the National Assembly of Quebec.”

Quebecois love seceding from. How about BEING seceded from?

In other words, the party now celebrating ending the oil and gas industries in Canada—the French Quebecois—are also the party of secession. They are also a perennial pain in the ass, forcing the English-speaking provinces to put all signs in French and refusing to be drafted into the Canadian military.
Anyway, the French Canadians repeatedly threatened to leave the Brits. So how could they complain about the Brits leaving the French? Same result.

Trump tried to get Greenland, maybe the second time is the charm

Donald Trump is the president to make it happen if anyone is. He already tried with Greenland. Its owner Denmark said no. I do not know why. It’s not like the need it or make any use of it. Grabbing territory in other continents is a vestige of the colonial era when “all the kids were doing it” in Europe.

Stay in Canada—you would not be the first if you do

Residents of Alberta and Saskatchewan who did not want to become Americans could simply move to what remained of Canada. Actually, a substantial percentage of Canadians, maybe a majority, already did that once. The tories in 1776, escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad during slavery, American drunks in Prohibition, American deserters and draft dodgers during the Vietnam War. English-speaking Canada may be a nation of people who left their former home in America.
I read a book about joining the U.S. written by a Canadian and heard a Canadian make a speech advocating in the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

Two provinces = one state

Because they are more sparsely populated, their ten provinces would be just five states in the US. Here, I am only talking about two, Alberta and Saskatchewan. They would come in as one state—call it New Canada. Or they could become a territory like Alaska and Hawaii were and Puerto Rico and Guam still are.

Would not work unless no change in party power in Congress

Politically, the two American parties would only allow a new state if it would not change the party balance of power in Congress. We let AK and HI become states in 1959 because AK and HI were about 50/50 Dem and Republican when admitted. Each had 3 electoral votes.
There are probably ways to finesse that like some transition constitutional amendment that created some sort of equal Democrat and Republican Congressional power then gradually transitioned to the New Canada being whatever it wanted to be. That would give both US parties hope that they could win that popularity contest.

America would become second biggest nation on earth

The area of those two provinces is 507,241 square miles. At present, China and the US share the title of third largest nation after Russia (6.6M sq. mi) and Canada (3.855 M sq. mi.). The U.S. now is 3.797 M sq. mi. By gaining New Canada, we would move ahead of China and ahead of newly smaller Canada.
That would really piss off China, which would be fun. The remaining Canada would be more French politically and population and language-wise.

No change in water or AK land access

New Canada would still be landlocked. It would border mostly on Montana and partly on North Dakota Youbetcha.
It would not give us land access to Hudson’s Bay. Manitoba is in the way. But then I have never had any interest in Hudson’s Bay.
Alaska would remain an exclave, separated from New Canada by BC (liberal), the Yukon (Yes, that’s Canada not the US) and the Northwest Territories. International Falls, MN would never again win the coldest city in the continental US.
It would NOT give us additional border with Russia. Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut are between Russia and New Canada. Nuna what you ask? I never heard of it either.

Possible domino effect

The most interesting thing would likely be the domino effect on the remaining English-speaking provinces. Quebec is sort of a net recipient of Albert and Saskatchewan tax revenue. Quebec is about hydropower, much of which they sell to the US.
BC is liberal. I like it. It is north of WA. My Canadian bank is in Vancouver. very nice. Best climate in Canada relatively speaking. They might be more inclined to join us if Alberta and Saskatchewan did, Hell, the people of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan already live here in CA in the winter. The eastern Canadians are in Orlando.
It might be easier to get somewhat conservative Alberta and Saskatchewan into the U.S. If liberal British Columbia came in at the same time. Perhaps the three could become two states with equal electoral votes and new borders for the two new states that made one liberal and the other conservative.

Like the Connecticut compromise of 1787

Whatever the details, it would just be like the electoral college balancing act done in 1787 only without the 3/5th of a citizen slave nonsense. (Often misinterpreted to mean that African Americans as individuals are considered three-fifths of a person or that they are three-fifths of a citizen of the U.S., the three-fifths clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787) in fact declared that for purposes of representation in Congress, enslaved blacks in a state would be counted as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of that state.)

Keep your distinct Canadian identity

I asked a Canadian woman once why they did not support becoming Americans. We like our separate identity.
No problemo. We have three states that used to be countries: Texas, California, and Hawaii. And anyone who knows America is well aware that Texas, California, and Hawaii have retained their distinct identities. Most American states like Rhode Island and Delaware and Ohio and Kansas do NOT have distinct identities, but our three former countries do.
I know little about the other Canadian provinces. My general impression is they are pretty hardscrabble economically. I wonder how many of them would want to remain second-class citizens in a new fourth-rate in size Frenchier Canada as opposed to joining New Canada and becoming Americans.
Fun to contemplate.

Calgary like Texas

One of my Harvard Business School sectionmates was and is a Calgary guy. He lives in Palm Springs in winter I believe. He graciously hosted my wife and me at the Calgary Stampede one summer. I thought it had a feel of Texas only without the ego—very cowboy. We also spent a week then in Lake Louise which is also in Albert and is drop dead gorgeous.

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