Friday, January 27, 2006

Canada's New PM Learns Who is the "Bottom" and Who is the "Top"

Well, Stephen Harper has not been sworn in yet and he already has been informed by the American Ambassador that in every friendly relationship (like the traditional definition of marriage and the prophet Ezekiel's view of the relationship between God and Israel) there is a "bottom" and a "top".

The Republicans have long been disgusted at the fact that we do not fund our military to the degree that they feel we should. Well, Canada finally elected someone who wants to change that and part of that plan involves exerting Canadian sovereignty over arctic waters both in terms of military presence and with regards to listening posts to see just how many navies are sneaking around up there and how close they are coming to the shore. Strangely enough, David Wilkins, the American ambassador suddenly decided that we should not be increasing our defense spending, at least in this manner.
"We don't recognize Canada's claims to those waters...(of the high arctic) Most other countries do not recognize their claim."
None of those waters? Even the ones that are lapping on the shore? So if a nation wants to set up God knows what on Canadian soil, they just need to keep one toe in the sea? No, he later clarified what is Canada's and what is not:
"I simply restated our position on the 12-mile territory limit. Period," said Wilkins.
Uh... David, I suppose the fact that these waters are surrounded on all sides by Canadian land and that America has created a precedent by unilaterally claiming sovereignty over all resources extending out to the edge of its continental shelf are irrelevant, right?
Wilkins refused to comment further on the issue, stating that "military decisions regarding the Canadian military are internal decisions for the Canadian government. Period."
Thanks for the clarification. Period. Uh, David? Question mark. What is with the verbal punctuation? Question mark. Let it be noticed that while he says that our military is our business, America reserves the right to decide (by whatever means is most fun) whether we observe a 200 mile limit or a 12 mile limit. Just so we are all clear.

Wait, "most" nations do not recognize this claim (that the arctic waters are internal rather than international waters)? While I don't doubt this, I would be interested in asking: Was there a poll? Who sided with Canada on this? Wikipedia mentions that the US does not accept the claim that they are internal waters (Canadians having inconvenient environmental laws) but no other countries are mentioned. My guess is that other nations which feel it is a free for all up there include China, Russia, France and any nation with subs in their navy. The arctic is a great place to practice submarine warfare and having to get permission would take all the fun out of it.

Frankly I don't care whether the arctic is polluted by American ships and invaded by the American navy legally or illegally. As far as I am concerned, we should just put up solar, wind and tidal power stations on all those little islands and use the power to run
robot-staffed Tim Horton's coffee shops and sell donuts to all the submarine interlopers. Might as well make some money while we are being... lets call it "visited". Of course we will need to translate the menus into Chinese, Russian and whatever language the speak in Indiana. Plus, there will be the need to develop biodegradable cups so that the arctic does not end up looking like the rest of Canada with millions of Tim's cups as far as the eye can see; though the three meter thick floating layer of plastic-coated cups might give the polar bears something to walk on now that the ice is retreating. Evolution suggests that in a million years the bears might adapt the Tim's logo as camouflage. Now that would be cool. I think I have digressed.

Anyway, back to Stephen Harper. The Bush administration gave him crap sometime back for not being loud enough in support of the US missile shield program. This was funny because he had not been elected at the time and since many Canadians were skeptical about the missile defense program, it was not something Harper was looking to put up as a campaign issue. What is also funny is that the Bush administration wanted support for the program but refused to address any of the reasons for Canadian skepticism of the scheme (scientists were telling us it was nowhere near implementation so alienating the world and encouraging other nations to develop larger missile arsenals in retaliation seemed - oh, lets say, premature) on the principle that they should not have to discuss anything with anyone, least of all Canada. Who needs reason when you can just tell people what must happen.

Now, however, Harper (a cultural conservative) has been elected and there is great hope that the US relationship with Canada will improve.
"Wilkins also said he expects less anti-American sentiment from Harper's minority government, and added that he called Harper to offer congratulations on his election victory."
I am sure that 'We expect less crap from you guys' was meant in the most diplomatic of tones.

Harper reassured Canadians that he didn't give a fornicating fig what the ambassador thinks. He was then hospitalized for an asthma attack but I am sure it was not related. (Harper: "Hol-didley-oly mackerel. [GASP!]. What have I done?!?! I just stood up to my sweet baboo!") And I am sure that David Wilkins more conciliatory tone (such as it was) is not a result of him having given the new Prime Minister-designate a trip to the hospital. (Wilkins: "Holy Crap! I nearly killed the new Canuckistani tribal leader! Bush is gonna have nuts in a soup dish.")

Relax David, Harper is okay. You can go back to treating him like a Canadian head of state.


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