Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Canadian Solution? -- Matt Yglesias

Matt Yglesias weighs in:

As world economic conditions continue to deteriorate, Iceland continues to be the leading edge of collapse. Small countries tend, in the nature of things, to have less-balanced economies than do big ones. And Iceland is a very small country with an economy that revolves more-or-less exclusively around fish, tourism, Bjork, and banking so a banking collapse amidst a global economic slowdown leaves them in bad shape and facing national bankruptcy. There’s some thought that Russia may bail them out. Were there not a million other stories in the news, the thought of a NATO ally that long played host to a strategically important US military base becoming some kind of dependency of Russia would be prompting a lot of alarmed coverage. Thus far, though, not much. But David Hayes in a letter to Canada’s National Post suggests a Canadian solution:
Iceland, in the words of its President, is facing the “very real danger” of national bankruptcy. If the situation deteriorates, Canada should invite the small island nation to join our confederation, just as we did 60 years ago with another island in the Atlantic facing bankruptcy.

The island in question, for those not up on their Canadian history, would be Newfoundland which until 1949 was a politically separate element of Britain’s evolving empire-then-commonwealth. He observes that Iceland is no further from Ottawa than is Vancouver, that Iceland’s population largely speaks English (and one might add that Canada has some experience with bilingualism), that Iceland’s population is comparable in size to Canada’s smaller provinces, and that Canada is already committed to Iceland’s defense through NATO

It's worth reading the comments too:

Bold move, which would have the additional effect of opening Canada to EU membership and markets, protecting them from their dependence of the US (which is currently dragging the otherwise fairly stable Canadian economy down).

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