My wife and I flew over a bit of Canada last week on our way home
from Thanksgiving in New Hampshire. Scared hell out of me. Not
Thanksgiving in New Hampshire but flying over a bit of Canada.
But as far as I could tell there was no anti-aircraft fire, no
fighter planes intercepting us, and before I could warn the pilot of the
danger of Americans flying through Canadian air space, we were descending
for our safe landing in Minneapolis.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not normally a Canuckophobe. One of the
best students I ever had was a Canadian. Back in the late sixties, early
seventies, our little family used to go on cheap summer vacations to
Canada where we'd hang out for a couple of weeks on a lovely three-acre
island in a beautiful lake.
The island belonged to friends of ours who'd bought it from the
Canadian government for $700a steal even in the sixties.
The Canadians seemed pleased that we were there, and we were
certainly pleased to be there. The closest thing to international discord
came when one of our Canadian friends opined that Prime Minister Pierre
Trudeau was probably a better national leader than President Richard
Nixon. As I remember, we agreed with our friend's judgment. Called him
"mate" and gave him a rousing round of applause.
Then we popped another can of Molson and told our host how much
better it tasted than Coors. That cemented our relationship.
So, you must be wondering, why am I so fearful of Canadians now?
I'll tell you. I've been reading too many newspapers again.
Especially the coverage of our president's two-day stay in Canada
last week. Much of that coverage was frightening.
For example, the Nov. 27 issue of the Washington Post ran a story
headlined "Forecast Frosty for U.S.-Canadian Ties."
The story quotes a Canadian pollster, Michael Adams, saying this:
"In 1981 only 8 percent of Canadians had an unfavorable view of the United
States. Now 45 percent have an unfavorable view. There has never been
that kind of lopsided skew."
The story went on to say that "Much of the antipathy
and the White House has declined an invitation to address
Parliament, when Bush might be heckled."
And then the story tells us that last year Carolyn Parrish, a
Liberal Party member of Parliament, said "Damn Americans, I hate those
bastards"and thus "evoked cheers from many supporters."
That's when I got a prescient sense that Canada wasn't going to be
terribly friendly to our president.
The Post story goes on to quote historian Lawrence Martin's book
"The Presidents and Prime Ministers." He wrote that "this is a nadir of
how the Canadian people view a president. George W. Bush probably ranks
lowest on the scale in Canadian history, since the birth of Canada in
The Truth, Mainly
But what was most upsetting to me was a four-column wide
photograph on p. 3a of the Dec. 1 Journal-Star. You must have seen it
too. And as patriotic Americans you must have been as upset as I was.
You rememberit showed a crowd of "more than 500" Canadians
protesting the president's two-day visit. The headline over the story
beneath the picture said "Bush seeks amity with Canada."
But the photo showed no amity. It showed protesters "mimicking
the pulling down of the statue of Saddam Hussein during the Iraq war" by
pulling down a mock statue of President Bush.
And the pedestal on which the mock statue stood had this sign in
front of it: "George BushSelf-Appointed Emperor Of The World."
That is an insult, as Winston Churchill might have said,
up with which we should not put.
We've been at peace with Canada from its beginning in 1867. We
had a bit of a disagreement with the Brits in the early 19th century over
where our northern border should be. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 set it on
the 49th parallel.
But if there's a repeat of last week's Canadian insolence, we're
going to have to take stern measures.
I say that as soon as we win the war in Iraqsay in another
decade or two if we send in enough troopswe should invade Canada, claim
as our own all the provinces that border on the U.S. and relocate all Canadians
to whatever's north of the 60th parallel.
And of course we would also take over any other Canadian territory
that may have any oil reserves waiting for us.
That would teach Canadiansand the rest of the worldto show us
a little respect. You know, the same way our current war is teaching
Iraqisand the rest of the worldto show us a little respect.
Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity
from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail