Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Monday, December 13, 2010

“New Border Vision” (2)

The “New Border Vision” negotiators and communicators will want to studying closely Thomas Walkom’s article “Why Ottawa’s new border scheme is such a loser”, in the December 11th Toronto Star.  Others, who are free to think more broadly, should also read his critique.
Walkom, the Star’s National Affairs columnist, argues that Canada’s possible loss of sovereignty—envisioned in the draft statement released last week—won’t be offset by the restoration of a hassle-free border between Canada and the US. “So the upshot of any perimeter deal will be to give the US two borders—an outer one around North America and an inner one at the 49th parallel.”
He damns this negotiation, however, not really because it will fail but because it might limit our sovereignty, unnecessarily. Unnecessary, in his view, because: “the deal will tie our fortunes more closely to a nation that, while still powerful, is in economic decline.” Here’s Harper’s fundamental challenge.
The Canadian Government should design and then defend—likely in an election—a package big enough to re-open the border, for the sake of both countries. (To remove the border, American security services would likely want to be free to operate in Canada as they operate at home.) If the deal isn’t big, however, the border won’t effectively re-open.
If it is big Canadians will have to decide again to embrace the US as their principal partner for future prosperity and progress.
Canadians and their political leaders would have to talk openly, as Europeans have, about how citizen and democratic rights can be maintained in an integrated, economic and security union.
Then we’d actually be talking about—a new vision.

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