Thursday, June 29, 2006

If Greenland, why not Canada?

Timothy Garton Ash has an amusing column in the Guardian titled "I've found a perfect new member for the EU. If only it were in Europe." It's all about a favourite fantasy of mine, Canada joining the EU.
In fact, why doesn't the European Union invite Canada to join at once? In most respects it would be a much easier fit than Ukraine, let alone Turkey. It effortlessly meets the EU's so-called Copenhagen criteria for membership, including democratic government, the rule of law, a well-regulated market economy and respect for minority rights (Canada's a world-leader on that). Canada is rich, so would be a much-needed net contributor to the European budget at a time when the EU has been taking in lots of poorer states. One of Europe's besetting weaknesses is disagreement between the British and the French, but on this the two historic rivals would instantly agree. English-speaking Canada would strengthen the Anglophone group in the EU, Quebec the Francophone.
Riiight. Because if there's one thing Canada's linguistic division has created, it's consensus and unity. Mr. Ash, there's a bridge I'd like to sell you...

Ash's column is not entirely complementary, but it is extremely thought provoking, and you should read the whole thing. There's even stuff there for Americans.


Anonymous said...

Me and my best friend have been dreaming of that too. Except he heard it was written somewhere that "being a part of Europe" was a requirement to be in the European Union. But c'mon, Turkey is only .1% in Europe. Canadian waters border Danish Greenland, isn't that part of Europe. Canada is more ethnically European than Turkey. Canada gave the most of any non-European country to Europe crashing fascism did in WWII so we should be let in.

The political sharing, immigration and travel liberalization and export diversification would be great for Canada.

The JF said...

I've written about this, legally, we _can_ join, we just need to convince the European Commission that we're either European politically or culturally. Which isn't an easy task, but it's theoritically possible. We'd need to pull out of NAFTA though.

Margot Wallstrom for Prime Minister of Canada
Welcome to Margot Wallstrom Blog's Readers; European Movement in Canada?

Well, the European Commission's Vice-President replied on her blog, saying:
"I came across an intriguing headline in some search engine results recently: “Margot Wallstrom for Prime Minister of Canada” (!) I checked it out and found what I must say is a very nice article about my blog. The writer says “I find it rather unfortunate that Canada can‘t join the EU. I mean, technically we can, I looked it up, we‘d basically need to prove that we‘re European either politically or culturally, we don‘t need to be European geographically. Which we could try, politically, by mentionning the Queen that resides in the UK.”

So – should Canada become a member of the EU?! ;-)"

The JF said...

Sorry, the links I include are the articles I wrote on it :P

Well, at least part of it.

macadavy said...

If it gets us out of NAFTA I'm all for it!

Anonymous said...

Why not? We'd be more politically powerful than a lot of Eastern European countries, and probably a lot more rational. Canadian business would surge - the European market is bigger and wealthier than the one provided by NAFTA (750m people to 450m, and probably a less volatile economy). Europe would also gain new markets (many times richer than Romania or Turkey) and the English and the French would get new markets for their culture. The UK might feel less insecure about their Continental partners' motives if they had their old Dominion to hold their hands. The Quebecois might shut up about independence after getting their own MEPs, and everyone - from the pissy Westerners to the pretentious Ontarians to the whiny French folk to the eternally poor Maritimers - would simply love the increase in the already insane amount of subsidy they receive. Canada is freed from NAFTA and American domination, the insecure EU doubles in size and grows in world influence, everyone goes home happy. And hey, maybe Europe will have something to learn from Canada's multinationalist policies, and this will solve the "Muslim Problem" in Europe.

I think that this is seriously a really good idea.

Anonymous said...

Being European myself it is nice to see some Canadians interested in this. It has to be remembered though that Turkey is not a member of the EU yet and to be honest may never make it however Cyprus is a full member and that's technically in Asia.

The best thing about EU membership is having EU citizenship and thus being able to live anywhere in Europe. I effectively have 27 passports and would love to add the option of setting up home in Canada to my list.