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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Across the pond

Why can’t we join the European Union?
Obviously we’re not part of the European landmass. But that’s a technicality that shouldn’t stop us from achieving such a merger. Referring to the distance over the Atlantic as “across the pond” isn’t accidental. Sure, it’s a lot of water, but it’s no Pacific. It was a two or three month trip by sailing ship in the Days of Yore, but it only takes five days or so now, dramatically less if you’re flying. Newfoundland and Ireland are about as far away from each other as Portugal and Romania; the only difference is that it’s water between us instead of land.
Distance isn’t a factor, and we can’t blame culture, either. It’s hard to paint a diverse and complex sub-continent with the same brush, but we have just as many European values in common as we do American (and I would say more, actually). Plenty of us even prefer the original BBC versions of all the television shows that the Yanks have ripped off.
Instead of being the tag-along partner to the American juggernaut, we could be a real player in the European community. We have fewer people than Spain, but have about the same GDP. That would place us sixth in terms of economic power in a union of 27 nations. Not bad at all. We wouldn’t be so dominant that our presence would be unbalancing, and not so small that we’d be ignored (like poor ol’ Malta.) Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have our opinions command some attention?
There is already talk of merging the Toronto Stock Exchange with the London one. I say take this process to its logical conclusion. Instead of being simply the hewers of wood, carriers of water, and providers of cheap power to the leviathan on our doorstep, let’s jump in where we will have a real voice.
Our real problem boils down to laziness and lack of vision. It’s just easier to ship everything south and bow our heads when they smack us around than it is to pursue a course that might promise short-term frustration for long-term gain. Damn the tantalizing allure of sloth. I should really go and start a protest to get us all out of our collective lethargy. But The Daily Show is on, and the couch beckons.
Maybe I’ll go later.

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