At 9:00 sharp the world awakes to a somewhat uncomfortable announcement from President Obama. Due to fiscal constraints, security concerns and as an attempt to stimulate development in the North, the United States of America is no longer going to recognize treaties with Canada.
“We can no longer be held back by legal arrangements with the British Crown which now date back two centuries. The realities of our new 21st century world call for a more fair and equal treatment under the law, and a more United North America. We plan to invest billions to bring prosperity to impoverished Canadian communities through oil, mining and timber development, and finally realize the dream of a settled and prosperous North. Through this initiative, we’re also going to bring democracy to the North, replacing the antiquated system based around Britain’s monarchy with a new, elected set of tribal councils, under our new Department of Canadian Affairs (DCA), which will help bring our northern brothers and sisters into the modern age.”
- President Barack Obama
For Canadian-Americans, it comes as a shock. Canadian status will no longer be recognized in American territories. Though we’ll be free to apply for new American passports and drivers licenses, we will no longer be entitled to special privileges such as free health care or our comparatively low rates of incarceration. Our territories will be privatized and our governments replaced. At the very least, though, we will now be full blooded American citizens, and isn’t that what we’ve fought for so long? In addition, we can look forward to new appreciation of Canadian-American art – for instance, the San Diego Olympics will feature a logo based entirely on Maritime fishing art. There’s also plans for a new hockey team, the Chicago Canucks, with “Wally Winnipeg”, their fun-loving, beer-swilling mascot dressed like a traditional Canadian “Mountie”.
The response from Canada’s traditional leadership is thoroughly indignant. “They can’t just…do this…can they!?!” asked Chief Stephen “Makes-Calls-With-Robots” Harper of Ottawapiskat. Bob Rae a leader of the “Lib’er’al” clan demanded a court challenge to assert Canadian “sovereignty”, though that may prove difficult under new “Canadian Act” provisions which prohibit spending of tribal funds for hiring lawyers to pursue land claims. After making a formal complaint to the UN, the FBI laid siege to the “Parliament Buildings” (the meeting-place of their traditional leaders) and installed a Tribal Council.
Others, such as Alison Redford, a notoriously outspoken western chief threatens roadblocks of the Interstate System if the plan went ahead. There are fears that these protests could escalate to confrontations with notorious militant groups such as the “Mounties”. The FBI and DHS have issued a statement that they’re “prepared” for any disruptions of vital services and are “monitoring extremist groups”.
The response from the American public is generally supportive. Many have long urged Obama to act on the “two-tiered justice system” and system of entitlements afforded Canadian-Americans. “Have you ever been to Canada!?!”, states one some guy quoted by every news outlet, “Buncha drunken hockey fans living large on their welfare state. They’ve had this coming for a long time”. Sentiment like this floods the comment section below every news article on the subject.
Civil rights groups such as the ACLU, on the other hand, call for a more balanced approach which takes into account Canada’s “rich and diverse cultural heritage”. People are awed by their sensitivity.
Protests take place, usually flash-mobs in shopping centres or short marches. Mainstream American media takes every chance they can get to play up the threat of violence and avoid any discussion of the “broken treaties”. Editorials urge peaceful, lawful protests with a moderate message so as not to offend mainstream Americans.
“America has an opportunity here, and President Obama has should seize this crucial historical moment. By finally addressing centuries of injustice, he can forge a more just and United North America. By choosing to meet with the traditional leaders of the Canadian Confederation, he can help put their concerns at rest and avoid the risk of a potentially costly interruption of America’s economy”.
In time, things worsen among the Canadian-Americans. Poverty and incarceration rates soars while life expectancy drops. New industries pop up everywhere, paying a pittance to operate among us and caring little for the toxins they dump onto our traditional lands. Infrastructure crumbles and many communities end up having to boil all drinking water for years at a time. Housing stock crumbles, leaving people helpless before the northern winter. There are even rumors of new unofficial policies about adoptions, sending all Canadian orphans (and those they’ve seized) south to full-blooded American families, and a growing list of horror stories emerging from the new boarding schools they’ve built for our own kids. Many people flee to American cities, often finding crushing poverty of a different sort. Those of us left behind are legally prohibited from any display of “Canadian” identity.
As Canadians migrate south, Americans begin to move north. New towns and cities arise (some, over the ruins of Vancouver and Toronto), quickly becoming the centres of trade and commerce. As the new population starts to outnumber the old (thanks, especially, to high death rates), Canadians become second-class citizens. As each new generation of settlers is born, they become increasingly intolerant of the “natives”, and more sure the land is “their” home.
Eventually, people start to acknowledge what happened. Inquiries and Commissions are held, some with very revealing conclusions, but little of it is ever acted on. With each new decade comes the same assumption: horrible things had happened in the past, but were now over and everyone had to “move on”. Every time, that sentiment leads to a similar set of ill-conceived assimilationistt “development policies”, and nothing ever really changes.
How would you feel? How would you react? And what would you want the people of America to do in response?