Sunday, October 12, 2008

How might Iceland change Canada

Let us suppose that Iceland joined Canada. What impacts would that have on Canada? Would they be positive impacts or negative?

Icelands biggest impact would almost certainly be cultural. Just as the inclusion of Newfoundland added to the cultural diversity of Canada's identity, and gave Canadians a new found appreciation for things Newfie, so the inclusion of Iceland would result in a new found appreciation for things Norse. It would no longer be some alien people that first arrived at the shores of the New World via Iceland and Greenland from Europe, but Canadians who first arrived at our shores from Europe.

The inclusion of Iceland into Canada would infuse new blood into Canada. We have in the more than 100 years of our existance grown rather too familiar with what is, and who the parts of the whole are, and have lost some of that spirit of adventure and discovery which was central to our identity in our youth. Our dullness troubles us. Enlarging the Canadian mosaic to include Iceland would make Canada more vibrant and challenge Canadians in ways that we need to be challenged, thus reinvigorating Canada. It would be exciting.

Iceland would clearly be a distinct society within Canada, as other provinces such as Quebec and Newfoundland are. By adding to the number of distinct societies within Canada culturally we would be emphasising that the being a federation composed of such distinct societies, was consistent with Canadian attitudes towards the nature of our federation. This would strengthen those who assert the right to be distinct. But the addition of new clearly distinct societies within the Canadian federation would act as a moderating influence on those components of our society that think that distinct society should confer special status on those that are distinct. With multiple clearly distinct societies within Canada, no province could demand special status for itself, without conceeding that others provinces were equally entitled to that same special status.

Regarding other nations; including Iceland within the Canadian mosaic would greatly increase our geographic presence, giving us more credibility and visibility on the world stage. The inclusion of Iceland within the Canadian mosaic, would once it was reflected upon, have little cause to ruffle feathers. Iceland is rather unique among nations. It came to the dance alone, and if it should choose to leave the dance, it may do so with whom it pleases. Moving our borders more than half way towards Europe, would turn Europe from being a continent the width of the Atlantic away, to being a neighbour little more than across the fence. Increased opportunities for cultural, and economic exchange would result both with mainland Europe, and also with Scandinavia.

Strategically Iceland is ideally located to serve not only as a bridgehead to Europe, but also as a cornerstone of Canada's security. With the arctic now becoming open water, through out the summer months, Iceland sits not only to our east, but also to our north. Incorporating Iceland into Canada, would permit Canada to fully integrate Iceland into Canada's defence systems, and provide as consequence a significantly improved ability to defend both Canada's maritime provinces, and Canada's northern sovereignty. Such mutual cooperation would likewise improve Icelands security.

It is almost certain that the addition of Iceland into the Canadian federation would be of benefit to Canada in yet other ways. The bottom line is that the inclusion of Iceland into the Canadian federation would enrich Canada in numerous ways, at almost no cost to either Canada or Iceland. This is a win, win opportunity for both nations if they have the vision necessary to see this fact.

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