World War II showed us that a policy of appeasement simply encourages bullies to further excess. Why, then, are so many countries intent on a policy of appeasement regarding a foreign country’s laws, namely FATCA?
Canada didn’t pursue a policy of appeasement in 1812 – we just kicked the butt of the United States right out of our country. Perhaps the reason for that was territorial – the US was invading Canada’s physical territory, which alarmed and angered both the government and Canada’s citizens. If the US invaded Canada physically today, to gain access to our fresh water, our oil, our vast kilometres of forest and resources, not only would Canada fight back, but the US would be censured the world over. However, unfortunately for us, two hundred years later, the US has learned an important lesson – economic pressure can win where brute force cannot.
Canada has a long history of economic entanglement with the United States and for just as long many of our leaders, and indeed, many of us regular folks, have been concerned about limiting the influence of the United States on Canada; the very concern that created the CBC. However, despite the misgivings of private citizens, many of our leaders have pushed for closer ties to the US.
What is the relationship between Canada and the US today? From the Government of Canada website, under Canada-US relations,
“Canada and the United States: No two nations closer
Canada and the United States enjoy a bilateral relationship unique in the world. It is forged by shared geography, similar values, common interests, deep social connections and powerful, multi-layered economic ties. The result is a long-standing, deep and enviable partnership.” http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/can-am/Closer-etroites.aspx?view=d
From a leaked document on Canada’s foreign policy (according to the CBC),
Despite all the focus on joining the global gold rush to bourgeoning markets in Asia, South America and Africa, the new foreign policy embraces a continuing close relationship with the U.S., regardless of its deeply troubled economy.
“We conclude that the U.S. will remain our bedrock partner,” the document states in bold letters for emphasis.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/11/19/pol-foreign-policy-.html
How about the historical relationship? Well, there’s this, for example,
“On October 24, 1935, the very day he assumed power, (Mackenzie) King told the American minister that he wanted to travel the “American road” and pursue closer economic relations. He insisted on completing an agreement by Remembrance Day, November 11, and with the support of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt that goal was achieved. Because of King’s haste the agreement was not as favourable to Canada as it might have been, but it was widely popular nonetheless.“ http://www.international.gc.ca/history-histoire/world-monde/1921-1939.aspx?lang=eng&view=d
A lecture on Canadian foreign policy, by Allan Gotlieb, back in 1991 is quite interesting reading. Did Allan Gotlieb perhaps see something like FATCA coming? He concludes his lecture with,
“But multilateralism will no longer be a strategy for limiting the influence of the U.S. over our nationhood and our lives. It seems that history at this time has dictated the inevitability of the second option – closer economic integration with the United States.
If we are to survive and flourish as a nation in the coming 60 years, we will have to look to ourselves as a strong, united and prosperous economic power, to strengthened bilateral institutions for dispute settlement, to the development of a common law of international commerce and to an effective voice in an expanding and perhaps deepening North American economic space.” (emphasis is mine) http://www.international.gc.ca/odskelton/gotlieb.aspx?view=d
However, our government also has some history of standing up to the United States:
- War of 1812
- Canadian sovereignty over the Northwest Passage
- Machias Seal Island
- The softwood lumber dispute
- The Iraq ‘war’
I’m guessing that our government doesn’t feel that FATCA is worth taking a stand on. Is the economic impact this will have on our country too small when viewed against all of the other financial ties we have with the US? How large does the negative impact have to be on Canada’s economy before our government draws the line in the sand?
If we consider Bill C-45, which I feel is mainly about throwing Canada to the big business and profits wolves, it shows that our current government values industrial development – i.e. economics – over protecting our environment. Given that, I don’t think they’ll fight the US over a such a ‘little issue’ as Canadian citizens right to privacy in order to protect the close economic ties with the US.
This is one of those times, Canada, when we need to stand up to the United States. Our government needs to grow a backbone and disagree with the US. Stop this policy of appeasement. Set an example around the world. Tell the US that our banks will not violate Canadian law to comply with the laws of a foreign country at the expense of Canadian citizens’ rights.
If the United States is successful in forcing all the countries in the world to accept and implement the laws of the US, what happens then? Consider the history around the policy of appeasement.
What is the next encroachment by the United States that we can look forward to? I’m worried about what that might be – why isn’t our government?
(also posted on www.outragedcanadian.ca)