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Goodbye NAFTA, Hello EU

2006_7_14euflag.gifGuardian columnist Timothy Garton Ash argues in his latest column that he wants Canada to join the European Union and that he came to this conclusion after seeing the multicultural and happy World Cup celebrations here in Toronto.

Driving through Toronto last week I saw a shiny black 4×4 with an English flag sticking out of one side window and a German flag out of the other. Presumably a Canadian family of mixed English and German origin, so rooting for both teams in the World Cup. A little later I saw a car with the Portuguese flag on one side and the Italian on the other.
It occurred to me that this pretty much sums up what we’ve been trying to achieve in Europe since the second world war. Welcome to the European Union – in Canada.

He goes on to point out that our entry into the EU would be much easier than Turkey’s, which had many member states questioning that country’s human rights record, or poorer Eastern European countries still emerging from decades of Soviet rule. Here in Canada we’re only emerging from a decade of Liberal rule that sometimes felt like a dictatorship. Sure our historical ties with the EU aren’t quite as strong as Turkey, who at one point tried to invade Western Europe but with our Anglo and Francophone populations we should have the backing of two powerful member states, add in our Italian and Portuguese diaspora and we have a lock.
Ash points out though that our integration with the US would make our inclusion into the EU a little strange, but lets consider the fact that despite our close relations with the US Washington still feels that its ok to screw us on lumber anytime a couple of lobbyists whine loudly enough. Let’s not talk about the social drift that’s going on between the two countries.
So how’s about it Canada? EU passports, access to European markets, the ability to work in any European country and a return, somewhat, to the old world doesn’t sound so bad, does it?


  • Michael

    Yes! We’d be the lynchpin between EU and US trade. We’d finally rule the western world, as is our rightful place in the universe. Or some such hyperbole.

  • Different Michael

    Could we have someone run an actual poll of this? I’d love to know what the split would be.
    Put me in the Yes calumn, by the way. Just the fact that I could work in Europe without needing a special visa would be amazing.

  • Mycroft

    Best idea ever…. Seriously

  • DJ

    While the benefits are extremely appealing (EU citizenship? HELLO!), I fear this would marginalize the non-Europeans of our country further. Not to mention: isn’t anyone else sick of seeing the damn Queen on our money? Canada’s always too willing to go along with someone else’s idea of our identity.
    I vote for an independent Canada.

  • slm

    Uh, Ron, you might want to do a little research on the softwood lumber file. Our problems with the Americans aren’t the result of our prices being too high, but the fact that they are too low.
    But don’t even start on EU trade policies, which make dealing with the U.S. seem like a breeze in comparison.

  • Mark

    Why not join the African Union?
    For such a large economy as Canada’s, the UE norms and regulations would create only problems. See why Norway and Switzerland do not want to join the UE.
    Also if Canada joins it will have to change the immigration laws which are very loose in comparison with the UE countries where you have to wait between 8 and 12 years in order to obtain citizenship status.
    I do not know what is the attraction to the UE job market when in most countries the unemployment rate is in the double digits.

  • Goodbye

    Hmmm….I guess Tim completely missed the past few years and the so-called state of the “close” relationship with the US. With the comments of the last Canadian government still ringing in our ears, it’s suprising we’re even talking.
    But, by all means, have fun dealing with the EU.
    See ya…

  • Michael

    I’m always amazed at how much stock people put in the trivial remarks of politicians. When it comes to trade, business interests drive politics, not the other way around.

  • Boy Reporter

    slm… yeah I realized that after and changed my post accordingly. As to the reasons why Switzerland won’t join the EU…. Switzerland doesn’t join anything, preferring to stay coldly neutral, making watches and laundering Nazi gold.

  • rek

    Instead of joining the EU, how about we annex/adopt the Turks and Caicos islands and see how that goes?
    And it’s not just softwood the US gladly screws us over on when lobbyists whine.

  • Jsn

    umm, very timely.
    this piece was in the (Canadian newspaper)
    Globe and Mail over two weeks ago.
    I didn’t think it was any good then either.

  • David Topping

    Two weeks later for a subject that isn’t “news”, but an opinion, doesn’t matter. And I think it’s an interesting idea. (Even if I don’t think it makes any sense, really. Why not let the States and every other democratic country in the world in, too?)