Will Canada’s New Leader Impact the U.S.?

Will Canada’s New Leader Impact the U.S.?

–October 26, 2015

Well, kids, there’s a new sheriff in town….

Not here. No, up in that vast cold territory to the north of us–the land of moose, beaver, eskimos and ice hockey known as Canada. The country held a national election last week, in which the incumbent prime minister was ousted by a political dilettante.

Today’s Question: Who is Canada’s prime minister elect?

a.) Steven Harper

b.) Thomas Mulcair

c.) Justin Bieber

d.) Justin Trudeau

Steven Harper is the current long serving incumbent prime minister and leader of Canada’s Conservative Party. But don’t let the party’s moniker fool you, as Canada is a left-leaning country and Harper is about as conservative as Bill Clinton. So, Harper, even though not particularly close to either former Republican President George W. Bush or current Democratic President Barack Obama, managed to toe a middle line and helped maintain reasonable U.S.-Canada relations for the past 10 years.

Thomas Mulcair was the third-place finisher in the election. Leader of the New Democrat Party, Mulcair is about as “left” as one gets in mainstream Canadian politics. In fact, this party’s moniker is also suspect as it should be called the New Socialist Party. Had Mulcair won, his policies and governing style would alienate America and probably lead to a U.S. nickname for him something along the lines of “Hugo Chavez of the North.”

Justin Bieber is a famous pop star from Canada, and sure, had he been on the ballot he undoubtedly would have scored some of the youth vote, but this Justin as Canada’s prime minister would be like Americans voting in Tila Tequila for president.

tumblr_mrxqi5CCjn1qze0z6o1_1280Justin Trudeau is the prime minister elect. A member of Canada’s Liberal Party, he is going to be running that cold territory for at least the next few years, and will in part dictate whether Canadian-U.S. relations continue in good standing. The Liberal Party, which lies pretty much left of center, is where it is supposed to be on the political spectrum, and there’s no reason to believe that Justin will not get along with the Democrats in Washington. The Republicans, though, and a Republican president, should one win the election in 2016, might have some issues with young Justin. Though we trust that any such issues would not be enough to thoroughly trash the long-standing good relations enjoyed by the two countries.

Let’s flesh out what promises Justin made on his road to the prime minister’s office and try to determine how America will feel should he successfully implement them as law.

One of Justin’s first acts will be to pull Canada out of active participation in the U.S. led coalition against Islamic State. While having a close ally pull out of the fight might seem cowardly, it’s not like Canada’s contribution–six obsolete attack jets and a few hundred soldiers–was going to tip the scales either way in the fight. And Canada being Canada, will undoubtedly replace its military commitment with an equal measure of humanitarian aid to those displaced by the war. From what we understand, Obama has already forgiven Justin for pulling out, and any potential future Republicans in power will likely have no problem living with it.

And speaking of humanitarian aid, Justin has already promised to take in thousands and thousands of Syrian refuges. This will not have a direct impact on U.S.-Canadian relations, but the U.S. has been concerned about Canada being both a haven for terrorists, and a back-door entryway for them, since the early days of the War on Terror. Thus, border control issues, which are already sometimes painful with tit-for-tat measures between the countries, could become a source of greater contention.

Actually, due to another Justin promise, the border could get downright ugly….

Justin, you see, has promised to legalize the use and sale of marijuana, a promise, that if kept, would put Canada at significantmarijuana_leaf odds with America’s ongoing War on Drugs. We’re guessing that President Obama, who hasn’t sent the Feds into Washington or Colorado with their marijuana legalization efforts, will keep a low profile on the issue when Canada goes legal. However, should the Republicans gain the White House, things could get very ugly, especially given that most Republicans still maintain a zero tolerance stance.

We’re not trying to debate the pros and cons of marijuana legalization here, we’re just pointing out that Justin Trudeau is taking the debate to a new level, as Canada will likely become the first country in the world to allow nationwide legal use and sale of marijuana. Whether America will be accepting of this or whether it leads to trade sanctions or worse remains to be seen.

This issue then, is likely to be among the biggest determinants of the future of U.S.-Canadian relations.

So, Hash-It-Out! Should Canada legalize marijuana how should America react?

a.) Do nothing at all.

b.) Watch and monitor to see if legalization should be adopted by the U.S.

c.) Close the border and impose sanctions until those dumb, pothead Canucks relent.

or, d.) Use it as a pretext for invasion. The Canucks are almost American anyhow and would welcome us with open arms.

—Originally published by Hash It Out! on October 26, 2015

Celebrity Round Up–Patriotic or Not?

Celebrity Round Up–Patriotic or Not?

—July 3, 2015

Hoist the flag, don the red, white and blue, and let those fireworks fly, cause the July 4th weekend is upon us. And in the patriotic spirit of our national holiday, we’ve decided to investigate the patriotism of those people who capture the attention of the American public like Old Glory captures the wind.

Yep, let’s randomly examine some celebrities who may have background history that calls their patriotism into question: Here goes:

Donald Trump–No Doubt! Even though he tends to marry foreign and his hair is of questionable origin, he’s gotta be true blue American. Not only is he running for President (the most patriotic position in the land), his platform includes a proposal to build a wall that will help keep America American.

Arnold Schwarzenegger–Without a Doubt! Born in Austria to a former Nazi, The Terminator started dreaming of moving to America at age 10, and fulfilled that dream 10 years later, adopting his dream with enough fervor to allow the weightlifting champion to become a Hollywood star and then Governor of California. He might still have that German accent and perhaps a yen for Guatemala, but there’s little doubt about his love for this country.

Jane Fonda–Debatable! The Academy Award-winning actress’s patriotism has long been called into question due to her active opposition to the Viet Nam War, which included a visit to the enemy’s capital city and earned her the moniker “Hanoi Jane.” To this day, many veterans and most Americans on the right edge of the political spectrum consider her a traitor (at this juncture it needs to be noted that those on the far right generally consider all leftists to be Godless, un-American heathens). Ms. Fonda has publicly apologized for offending veterans, but stands by her opposition to the war. Those on the left would likely posit that Jane truly does love her country, and that her actions have been a case of going against the “my country right or wrong” stance by adopting a position of my country is doing something wrong, so let’s fix it.

Dave Matthews–Yes! Lead guitarist and frontman for the Grammy Award-winning Dave Matthews Band may have been born and partially raised in South Africa, but he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1980 and proudly calls himself “American.” While active in leftist causes (see Jane Fonda above), Matthews is a vocal advocate for the U.S. democratic process.

Justin Bieber–Not! He’s a Canuck! And Justin’s juvenile delinquent antics led to well over 100,000 true-blue Americans signing a petition asking the President to revoke his Green Card and deport him back to the land of ice, moose and beavers.

Pamela Anderson–Probably! Even though she’s another Canuck, the Baywatch babe became a naturalized U.S. Citizen in 2004, and has publicly stated love for her adopted country…though, while also saying that she is proud to be Canadian. We suppose that we should accept her as American, as Baywatch just wouldn’t have been the same if set in Canada. Lifeguards wearing wetsuits and toques? No thanks.

Christian Bale–Probably Not! What could be more patriotic and American than Batman (OK, Superman), but Christian Bale, current star of the Hollywood “Batman” franchise was Welsh Born and British raised. While he lives in Los Angeles, we could find no evidence that the current Batman has ever sought U.S. citizenship.

Michael J. Fox–Dubious! The Back to the Future star has long come across as the all-American boy type, but he’s another Canuck. While he’s a naturalized U.S. citizen in good standing, he reportedly insists upon being referred to as “Canadian-U.S.” and has been quoted as saying “I am a Canadian first.” Hmmm?

Salma Hayek–Unclear! Oscar-nominated actress Salma Hayek was born and raised in Mexico, and while she’s a naturalized U.S. citizen, for a while she reportedly lived in America as an illegal alien. And then there’s her marriage to French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, which could well sway her allegiance toward his homeland.

Kiefer Sutherland–not likely! Who could be more patriotic than Jack Bauer of Fox’s 24? Well, not Emmy Award-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland who plays the character. Born in England to Canadian parents, Kiefer has played many roles that would suggest that he’s a true blue American; however, we could find no evidence that Kiefer has ever sought U.S. citizenship. And while not necessarily a patriotism deal breaker (see Jane Fonda), Kiefer’s grandfather was an influential New Democratic Party (about as far left as it gets) politician in Canada.

Keanu Reeves–Not! Born in Beirut, and holder of Canadian and British citizenship, the Hollywood actor has a Green Card, but we’ve seen no evidence that he has pursued U.S. citizenship. Perhaps he just feels that citizenship is just another component of The Matrix.

What do you think? Have we nailed the level of patriotism for this crop of celebrities? And, what other celebrities need to be more closely examined to ensure that their allegiance is with the red, white and blue?

—Originally published July 3, 2014 in Hash It Out!