As It Happens

Forget Greenland — this politics prof thinks the U.S. should buy Canada instead

Daniel Drezner, a professor at the Tufts School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts, wrote a tongue-in-cheek op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that Canada is a much better investment.

Daniel Drezner pens tongue-in-cheek op-ed about the possibility of a 'United States of North America'

A Massachusetts professor has a 'modest proposal' for U.S. President Donald Trump — buy Canada. (Ben Shannon/CBC Radio )

U.S. President Donald Trump may be facing criticism for wanting to buy Greenland, but an American politics professor is suggesting an even better purchase: Canada. 

On Sunday, Trump confirmed reports that he was considering acquiring Greenland, which is an autonomous Danish territory, saying it would be "essentially a large real estate deal."

The idea has received a chilly response from Greenland's politicians and citizens, with the Danish prime minister calling it "absurd." Trump responded by cancelling a planned state visit to Denmark.

Daniel Drezner, a professor at the Tufts School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts, wrote a tongue-in-cheek op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that Canada is a much better investment.

He spoke with As It Happens guest host Helen Mann about his "modest proposal." Here is part of their conversation. 

Why should the United States buy Canada instead of Greenland?

Because Canada is so much better than Greenland. 

The Trump administration or Trump's defenders, in this relatively absurd real estate venture, have argued that Greenland is certainly desirable because it's strategic with respect to the Arctic and there are lots of natural resources in Greenland that could potentially be exploited.

All of these things are so much more true of Canada than Greenland.

Daniel Drezner is a politics professor at Tufts University in Massachusetts who believes that the U.S. should buy Canada. (Submitted by Dan Drezner)

Just how much would you be willing to cough up for Canada? 

I'm glad you asked that because I am prepared — and let me be very clear I have actually no negotiating authority under the Trump administration, but if you've seen the way the Trump administration negotiates for any other country, that doesn't stop other people, so I'm just gonna go ahead here — I am prepared to offer $20 trillion dollars split two ways. 

So $10 trillion would go to the Queen of Canada, who I believe also happens to be the Queen of England. And let's face it, that country could use it given the factors or problems facing Brexit.

And then the remaining $10 trillion would be split evenly among all the residents of "formerly known as Canada."

You're bribing us to accept, obviously.

Yes. And we would also be prepared to exchange, on a one-to-one ratio, the loonie for the dollar. Which is yet another benefit or windfall for, you know, citizens formerly of Canada.

And in return, all we ask, is that all the Canadian provinces would be absorbed as ... states in the United States of America. And that the Toronto Raptors visit the Trump White House.

I'm not sure if that will happen. Are we gonna get Kawhi Leonard back?

I can't necessarily speak on behalf of Kawhi Leonard, but I certainly think that is a reasonable negotiating position for you to take and I'm sure we can work something out on that front.

Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after his team defeated the Golden State Warriors to the team's first NBA Finals. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

OK, you've laid your cards on the table for what's in this for Canada. What about in the U.S.? I mean, President Trump does seem to be the only one who's really keen on taking over Greenland, so do you think that this pitch to buy Canada would gain some broader support in Washington? 

I think this would be one of those rare ventures that would actually generate bipartisan support in the United States.

For Democrats, the logic of trying to acquire Canada, and particularly granting statehood to all the Canadian provinces and territories, is a no-brainer. As I'm sure you're aware, you could argue that the centre of gravity in Canadian politics is somewhat to the left of American politics. 

So, you know, if you're adding 13 states, you're going to be adding a lot more Democrat members of Congress and senators than you would be Republicans. And so, therefore, that would sort of permanently shift the sort of median position within Congress somewhat to the left.

Now, you do acknowledge that there are drawbacks to your plan. What are they? 

OK, first of all, as an American I'm not thrilled with the idea of that much more hockey coverage. I like hockey, but for the love of God, I mean, I have my limits. And, you know, obviously hockey would become a national sport of the new and larger United States of North America. 

So I would have to deal with a little more, you know, hockey coverage than I would care to discuss.

You know, not a lot of Greenlanders appear to have been keen on the idea of being purchased by the United States. So besides this $10-trillion bribe, how would you get Canadians on board with the idea?

OK, now I think you all need to be honest with yourselves. Aren't you a little bit tired of talking about what it's like being a middle power?

I mean, if you actually accept this deal, you get to be the largest country in the world. 

I think it's time for Canadians to accept that inner American, that really immature voice inside themselves, that wants to be the world's superpower.

Written by Sarah Jackson. Produced by Richard Raycraft. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 


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