THE MOUSE AND THE ELEPHANT. 2016/08/04
Pierre Elliot Trudeau said it best when he addressed the National Press Club (1969) in Ottawa referencing the U.S. “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.
This has been true in the past for as early as 1690 the New England Colonies (USA) had their eye on New France (Canada) and invaded. This ended in failure resulting in years of raiding on both sides of the border. In 1754, the English along with Colonial Troops and Iroquois allies attacked New France as part of the Seven Years War. In North America this was the French and Indian War (1754-1763) which resulted in the defeat of France and making New France British. Twelve years later in 1775 the 13 Colonies that comprised what was to become the start of the United States of America rebelled against British rule and the American Revolution started. In that same year, 1775, the Americans invaded Lower Canada (Quebec) occupying Montreal and attacking the then town of Quebec. The Americans were driven out and pursued by General John Burgoyne. Twenty-nine years after the Americans won their independence they again went to war with Great Britain and invaded what had now become Upper (Ontario) and Lower (Quebec) Canada. This war would last for roughly 3 years and in the end nothing changed except that the British with Canadian Colonists and Indigenous allies drove the Americans out of Canada. In the space of 125 years the Mouse had survived when the Elephant moved.
During the mid-nineteenth century the Americans started to believe that it was their destiny to control all of North America. This belief became known as “Manifest Destiny” and its’ basis was the spread of American Style Republicanism not only throughout North America but the world. Fortunately, it diminished somewhat prior to the American Civil War. In 1861 eleven southern states seceded from the Union and plunged the U.S. into four years of the bloodiest civil war in history. It was during this period that the concept of Canadian Confederation gathered real momentum. In 1865 at the end of the civil war the U.S. had the largest army in the world and could if I so wished have easily marched north into Canada and there was little to stop the Elephant twitching. Fortunately, in 1867 Upper and Lower Canada along with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick united to form the Dominion of Canada.
During the four decades between Confederation and the Great War (WW I) there were some in Canada who actively campaigned for union with the U.S.A. The Great War and Canadas’ achievements in that conflict ended most of that talk for Canadians realized that we were a people worthy of nationhood and could stand proudly on the world stage. There has always been an envious, love, hate relationship between Canada and her southern cousins which at times has stirred up anti-American feelings which usually subside almost as fast as they flare up.
Now in the 21st Century as we approach our 150th Birthday as a nation there is the threat of ominous clouds gathering on the horizon. Our boisterous cousins are in the midst of an election campaign for the Presidency and one candidate verges on the Psychotic. This compulsory, habitual liar will say anything, insult anyone and spew racists commentary with little or no regard for others. If elected this megalomaniac will have his finger on the nuclear button. He is so thin skinned that he lashes viciously out at any criticism and it is foreseeable that someone or country might upset him enough that he pushes the world into nuclear holocaust ending civilization as we know it. The vitriolic speech that issues from this mans mouth should be reason enough for the world and especially his neighbours to be fearful.