The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Diane Francis, Editor-at-Large, Canada's National Post;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Broadcast: Weekend of April 19-20, 2014

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: U.S.-Canada Eastering.

DIANE FRANCIS: (From videotape.) And my bias is declared right up front. I think I'm a merger. I'm American and Canadian. I think the two countries should just merge and get it over with. I think they're already merging. I think it's under way and inevitable.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Diane Francis is the editor-at-large of the National Post, a newspaper based in Toronto. Diane has a big idea, and she has set it forth in a 400-page book, "Merger of the Century."

Ms. Francis argues -- get this -- that the United States and Canada should merge into one nation. Francis is serious. She knows that the two nations have plenty in common. Quote: "They share geography, values and a gigantic border. Their populations study, travel and do business together, and intermarry in great numbers. And each" country "has what the other needs. The U.S. has capital, manpower, technology, and the world's strongest military. Canada has vast reserves of undeveloped resources," unquote.

Canada is the U.S.'s number one trading partner. Last year, across the longest border in the world, 5,525 miles long, including Alaska, $632 billion in goods flowed. Trade and national security are features that loom large to author Francis in what some see as a disturbing future, one where, quote, "by 2018, four years from now, China's economy will be bigger than that of the U.S. And Asian economies will be bigger than those of the U.S., Canada, Germany, Britain, Italy, France and Russia combined," unquote, whereas, quote, "if Canada and the U.S. were to join forces, the tables might well be turned. The North American neighbors would become an even more formidable superpower, with an economy larger than the European Union's and a land mass bigger than South America's. The new union would top the world in energy, minerals, water, arable land and technology," unquote.

You make an interesting point, the basic point of the book. What's the benefit to the United States in a merger between the United States and Canada?

MS. FRANCIS: Well, the benefit would be -- and, by the way, there's all different ways you can merge. We don't have to go all the way like the Germans did. And I make that clear in the book. But it would be total security of borders, access and control over the Arctic, which is going to be very geopolitically important strategically going forward.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you worried about Russia and China --

MS. FRANCIS: Russia's declared --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the Arctic?

MS. FRANCIS: Russia's declared the Arctic as Russian. China has targeted Canada's resources. And Canada's resource space is about the size of Australia, and it's completely untapped. Now, it's pretty hostile to live in, but there's no infrastructure up there to even start to explore and develop it.

So the United States would have -- if we did a joint venture or some kind of union like the Europeans, the United States would have business opportunities to build out the infrastructure, explore and develop. They would have huge job capability and a more secure border.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did Canada recently expel the Russian minister?



MS. FRANCIS: Over Ukraine.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Over Ukraine?

MS. FRANCIS: Over Ukraine.


MS. FRANCIS: Well, there's about a million and a half Ukrainians living in Canada. That's the largest diaspora of Ukrainians outside Ukraine except for Russia, where there's 25 million Ukrainians. But so there's a great deal of interest, and they're very important and influential people. And there's a lot of anger about what's going on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have a phenomenon in the United States that some have described, Buchanan being one, as the Hispanicization of the United States. What impact would a Canadian-U.S. coalition -- more than that; what you describe in your book -- have upon the Hispanicization of the United States?

MS. FRANCIS: Well, there's 35 million Canadians and 314 million Americans. And Canadians -- our biggest minority would be the French. And the bulk of the rest of the people are from the British Isles and Germany -- (inaudible). And we have a very large, growing Asian immigration population. And one in five Canadians are immigrants.

PAT BUCHANAN: John, let me enter a dissent, if I might.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Proceed, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. Euripides said the greatest tragedy one can suffer in this world is the loss of one's own country. I cannot understand why, for reasons of efficiency or economics or money, one would give up their country, especially a magnificent country with its own unique history that Canada has.

Secondarily, if you look at what's happening to the European Union, half the countries of the European Union want out of the European Union. The world's moving the other way. From Sardinia to Scotland, from Catalonia to Crimea, people want their own unit, their own kith and kin together. So I think it goes against what conservatives of the heart believe in, to do something like this, and also what conservatives of the head believe in.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, hold on, Eleanor. Let her respond to this.

MS. FRANCIS: Sorry. I just wanted to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is an interview. And you're next, Eleanor.

MS. FRANCIS: I just wanted to respond to that. There are many countries that want into the EU; most recently -- you know, there's about seven or eight on the list, the queue to join the EU. And, yes, Scotland is talking about leaving, and Catalonia and so on. It's going in both directions, because the borders were artificial, usually drawn by colonial powers.

All I'm saying is -- and if Canadians indeed don't want to go all the way with a political union, I have five other models in this book. It's a thought experiment to say, well, we can do a joint venture in the Arctic. We can do an EU. And we can just do a customs union -- (inaudible) -- the border.

MR. BUCHANAN: I've got no problem with doing NAFTA-type deals with the Canadians and working with them. They're a great country. They're the best friends we've got in the world, them and the Brits, in my judgment. But the idea of merging the United States of America, with its own history and everything else, it seems, goes --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What Canada wants is our military protection. That's what Canada --

MS. CLIFT: They already have our military protection, because they're an ally. And if anybody threatens Canada, we --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, she's talking about --

MS. CLIFT: -- protect them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Russian intrusion possibly or Chinese intrusion in the north.

MR. BUCHANAN: They're in NATO, John.

MS. CLIFT: Right. They're in NATO.


MS. CLIFT: They've already got the U.S. protection.
I agree with everything Pat said except the part about kith and kin. I think kith and kin are going to be more diversified everywhere. That's the trend of the future, not necessarily splitting off with separate ethnicities.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: Well, it may be --

MS. FRANCIS: I mean, as far as --

MS. CLIFT: -- tumultuous along the way, but the future is more diversity of kith and kin.

I think it's a wonderful thought experiment that you've done. But I think that's all it is, because there really are no significant barriers to U.S. investment in Canada. If we were to merge, which would the brand -- which brand would survive? It would be the U.S. The Canadians aren't going to give up all their unique culture. That would be like Facebook picking off a little app. So I think we get along fine.

MORT ZUCKERMAN: I know how --

MS. CLIFT: We differ on health care. We differ on guns. You all --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her in. Let her answer some of this.

MS. CLIFT: I just want to finish my point, please. Gun --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leave her time. We're running out of time.

MS. CLIFT: Gun violence in Canada is not like this country. So they're not -- I don't -- I agree with Pat. I don't think they're going to want to give up their uniqueness. And a lot of it is wonderful.

MS. FRANCIS: They may not want to. But Canadians don't even realize how important the United States is to them going forward, and vice versa. I would argue -- I wrote this book to start conversations like this in both countries, because they both need each other. And how that construct is forged is down the road. I'm not saying and I'm not picking. Personally speaking, I'm a merger. Just get it over with and do it. But you're right. That's not going to happen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the health arrangements for the Canadian people by the government? How does that work? And do you think it would help the United States?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's totally different, John. I mean, they have a single-payer system in which the outcomes, the health outcomes in Canada, are significantly superior to the United States, at about one third the cost. We would never, because of our political culture here, introduce that kind of system.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Because we don't believe in that kind of a system. I'm not saying it's right or wrong. But this country would never pass, because of its political system -- I mean, what we're talking about --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- it's like --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and more effective than what we've experienced with "Obamacare"?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me give you a metaphor that I think applies. A lot of people think I should marry Audrey Hepburn, OK? She doesn't seem to think so. You know, I don't know why.

MS. CLIFT: And she's not -- (inaudible).

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Canadians do not want -- I understand. (Laughter.) That's why I used her. I didn't want to use anybody I know.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You don't know what it's like to be single. Anyway --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't know what this is. It sounds like a proposition.

MR. BUCHANAN: But it --


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me say this. The Canadians have a very different kind of political system, which happens to work very well. They have a much more efficient government, for all kinds of good reasons. They have an executive branch and a legislative branch that are one. Here we have two. They're completely separate. And our political system is very, very difficult to make the kind of big decisions on something like health care.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: But, having said that, what we're talking about and what I think you were talking about was not so much a union of the two countries, but some kind of economic system --

MR. BUCHANAN: We got that in NAFTA, Mort. For heaven's sakes, it's a free-trade zone.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is not -- you're not -- it's the (same ?), Pat.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is too much talking on the panel.
We have a guest here.

Please proceed, Diane.

MS. FRANCIS: Let me talk about the other reason and challenge that I think we face. We are very similar countries. We get along. All that's great. We joined forces in `89. Mexico came along later. Mexico had nothing but problems. They went bust and all of that stuff.

We, 26 years later, have a border that's worse than it was before. It's sicker, between security concerns, concerns about lack of terrorism interdiction in --

MR. BUCHANAN: That is because of the war on terror worldwide.

MS. FRANCIS: Pat, it's non-tariff barriers. It's lobbies on both sides of the border. It's Canada's drug-smuggling problem. We're the biggest exporter of meth and Ecstasy to the world.

MR. BUCHANAN: Canada is a unique, different, interesting, terrific country. It is great to have them for a neighbor. They are different than we are. You've got the single-payer system. You couldn't get that through the House of Representatives.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I agree. That's --

MS. FRANCIS: I'm not talking about that.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We're not talking about a political --

MS. FRANCIS: We're saying -- I'm saying at the very minimum we should clean up the border and get rid of it like the Europeans have done. France and Germany are -- (inaudible). They have no border.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Schengen Agreement is -- as you know, there's an enormous backlash all across Europe to the Schengen Agreement because it allows people to cross borders all over. That's one of the things they're protecting against now.

MS. CLIFT: How about starting with a common currency? I bet you'd get a lot of resistance to that. That would be --

MR. BUCHANAN: It would be our currency.

MS. CLIFT: Then I wouldn't get Canadian dimes shoved back at me at the drugstore. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll tell you what the real problem with Diane's book is that, given the potential domestic political opposition to paying Canadians -- this is what she wants us to pay Canadians going into a merger --

MS. FRANCIS: That's one model.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- $492,529 for each American. Correct?

MS. FRANCIS: The model is, if you did a full-on merger like Germany did, we have so many more -- we have that many more per person in resources that we would be bringing into a partnership.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Canadians --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Canadians --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her talk. Let her talk.

MS. FRANCIS: That's a hypothetical number that I did with an investment banker. This is part of -- (inaudible). I wanted Canadians to realize how much they're leaving on the floor by not doing anything in the Arctic. And I wanted Americans to understand how valuable the Arctic is.

MR. BUCHANAN: It is absurd to compare Canadians, who have a per capita standard of living probably as high as us, with East Germans. For heaven's sakes, it took a trillion dollars for the Germans to pick that place up and bring them up. The Canadians are as well off as we are.

MS. CLIFT: I wonder if you --

MR. BUCHANAN: If we're going to pay that money, we just ought to get all the resources and go.

MS. FRANCIS: I also say in the book that you don't do a full-on political merger like Germany unless you have a crisis.

MS. CLIFT: Well, I wonder if you have a model where Canada --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: -- would get electoral votes, because I think Canada would be more in the Democratic column. I'd be all in favor of that.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Political union is impossible. It's just a hypothetical.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: No Republican is going to vote to bring these socialists into the United States. (Laughs.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: There are many things that you can do -- many things you can do, even more than what has been done, in economic terms.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Diane says that Canada has between $9 trillion and $15 trillion in yet-to-be-discovered precious metals and minerals.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'd get all that in a merger. What do you think of that, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Do you want Americans digging all that up in Canada --


MR. BUCHANAN: -- or do you want the Canadians to parcel it out slowly?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, exit question. Let's have a round-robin on the concept, the idea, not its implementation or practicality of a U.S.-Canada merger of the century. Is it a good idea or a bad idea? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: It is worth discussing and rejecting.


MS. CLIFT: It's fun to discuss. It's already taking place on some levels. But, you know, it's not going to go any further or much further.

MS. FRANCIS: (Laughs.) I want to hear what he says.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Now that I've moved to the United States, it's no longer necessary. So what can I tell you?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean? Are you dodging?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I'm not dodging. I don't think it makes any sense at all to think of a political union -- absolutely none.

MS. FRANCIS: Political union if there's a crisis. Economic union has to happen, and it will happen this century.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's definitely a good idea, but it has to be shored up. Do you understand?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I certainly understand.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's definitely a good idea.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: In the long term.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just think about it. Just think about what they bring to the table.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Some basic facts and factoids: Population of Canada, 34,568,000; USA, 330 million. Literacy, Canada, 49 percent; literacy, United States, 49 percent. Life expectancy, Canada, 81.5 years; United States, 78.6 years. GDP per capita, gross domestic product per capita, Canada, $41,500; U.S., $49,100.

The symbol for Canada is maple leaf. Going back now, the unemployment in Canada is 6.9 percent. The unemployment in the United States is 7.3 percent. Do you want more of this? The budget in Canada is $2.465 trillion. And we don't have any for --

MR. BUCHANAN: I can't believe that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me -- $6.79.3 million (sic). And the United States is $2.465 trillion.

Ethnic groups in Canada: British is 28 percent; French is 23 percent. In the U.S., white, 79 percent; black, 12 percent; Asian, 4 percent; Amerindian, Alaska, .97 percent, and so forth.

I want to talk about Canadian filmmakers. How are they doing?

MS. FRANCIS: Well, when we give tax breaks, they come in -- they film up in Canada. But, you know, Canada --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking about feature films.

MS. FRANCIS: Well, Canada has -- a lot of Canadians are in Hollywood, about 250,000; some of the biggest directors -- James Cameron, Reitman; very important people -- composers, actors, post- production people. There's 250,000 --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Documentarians too; documentary people.

MS. FRANCIS: Yeah. And there's about a quarter of a million --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a particularly unknown factoid about Canada --

MS. FRANCIS: And there's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- how much they contribute to the motion- picture industry.

MS. FRANCIS: And there's a quarter-million -- well, Louis B. Mayer was Canadian. The Warner brothers came out of Canada. Disney's father was Canadian.


MS. FRANCIS: But in Silicon Valley, you have a quarter of a million Canadians working. And that's not the ones that are doing it part-time and doing it illegally. And in Manhattan, there's 400,000 Canadians working every day in Manhattan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Who's the most --

MS. FRANCIS: He is just an example of the worst of the brain drain that we have because --

MR. BUCHANAN: Who is the most famous --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were you born in Canada?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I was. I came here for graduate school in the United States, and I stayed.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: I went to Harvard Law School and the Wharton School.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm. (Acknowledging.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You graduated with honors and distinction?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I graduated with honors. I don't know about distinction.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where'd you do your undergraduate?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McGill in Canada.


MS. FRANCIS: In Montreal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a Jesuit university up there.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, there's a great Jesuit university up there. And there's a lot of interaction between the French and the English- speaking population.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When are we going to talk about the Quebecois?

MR. BUCHANAN: Quebecois.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Quebecois.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't know. How do you pronounce it?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tell us about them.

MS. FRANCIS: Well, we have a situation -- I characterize Canada -- and I came -- I went to Canada; I emigrated from Chicago in `66. And it was very British then. And then a couple of years later the French stuff started to happen. There was terrorism. There was all kinds of things that happened. And a separatist movement, a political movement, came about.

And so, ever since then, Canada -- they did the flag over again. It was like a little mini-Union Jack, British flag. They came up with the maple leaf. They did everything they could to appease the French. And yet -- and Mort is a refugee from Montreal -- is that, you know, there's still an uneasy truce between French and English. It's kind of a bad marriage.


MS. FRANCIS: And it's preoccupied the politics of Canada.

(Cross talk.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: John, let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, Canada? We're talking Montreal, aren't we?


MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me get in here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just a minute. We're restricting it to Montreal.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Go back, for heaven's sakes; 1967.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Mort in, will you?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me comment about that. When Canada was formed, OK, which was 1867, it was formed with -- it had upper Canada, which is Ontario; lower Canada -- lower Canada, which is now Quebec; and two other provinces.
Why was it formed? It was formed because the Civil War in the United States was over. There was a large standing army. The French had been a majority in lower Canada. When Canada was formed, they became a minority. They have resented Canada ever since. And you have a very strong -- it's both language and history and, frankly, religion.

MS. CLIFT: I think --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor in.

MS. CLIFT: I think we can say --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is still a major tension point in Canada to this day.


MS. CLIFT: I think we can safely say --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're running out of time.

MS. CLIFT: -- the French Canadians --


MS. CLIFT: -- aren't even sure they want to be part of Canada, much less part of the U.S.

MS. FRANCIS: That's right.

MS. CLIFT: But, you know, I think Canada's a wonderful country. It has an image that's rather kind of complacent and quiet, not a whole lot of charisma to the country. And I think the U.S. does seem more dynamic. And I think it'd be nice if --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, go to Montreal. You'll see a lot of charisma there.

MS. CLIFT: But I like the fact that Canada is there. When the politics don't turn out well in this country, every American says I'm going to Canada. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. OK. Skeptics also might point out that the U.S. and Canada can't even get their act together on a new bridge linking Detroit and Canada because of (a dispute ?) over who should pay for the new customs plaza on the bridge. Does that discourage you? The bridge has funding from the Canadian government, and private interests are stalled over who will pay $250 million for a customs plaza. Canada says the U.S. should pay. The U.S. Transportation Department says it has no funds.

What do you think of that?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think it's ridiculous, OK, to start off with. But I also think the pipeline that was supposed to go from the Keystone pipeline, that was supposed to go from --


MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm sorry?

MR. BUCHANAN: The XL pipeline.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah. Well, that's another pipeline, frankly, that I believe should be done, because it would serve everybody's interests. And there's going to be a certain kind of competition or conflict on all of these issues. It's natural between two countries.

MS. FRANCIS: These are --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- democratic countries.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MS. FRANCIS: These are the examples of why the border isn't working. The polls in the United States show Keystone should happen. We've had 82 pipelines cross the border without a problem. Suddenly it's a problem. The Ambassador Bridge could have and should have been expropriated by the two countries -- who, by the way, own it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jack Kerouac, he moved to America.

MS. FRANCIS: His parents did. They were French Canadian.


MS. FRANCIS: Well, 7 million Canadians in the 20th century had to go to the U.S. for jobs or because of opportunities. It's an enormous migration and brain drain.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Millions of French Canadians came here.

MS. FRANCIS: Yes, and English Canadians. And I think one of the largest ethnic groups in New England are French Canadians. They went for the factories.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What percentage of English speakers versus Spanish speakers in a merged country would you foresee? In a merged country.

MS. CLIFT: You're counting the Spanish speakers that would be Americans --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MS. CLIFT: -- and the French speakers are the Canadians --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MS. CLIFT: -- and then everybody else.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hispanics in the United States, John, are 53 million and the Quebecers or French coming in are about 5 --

MS. FRANCIS: Seven million.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- 5 or 7 million. So it would be, as they say, a spit in the ocean.

MS. CLIFT: But the point is we're becoming bilingual.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But 130 million English-speaking people would be coming to the United States.

MR. BUCHANAN: Many of those are Chinese, and I understand many of those are immigrants --

MS. FRANCIS: They speak English.

MS. CLIFT: But we're becoming bilingual in many parts of this country, which makes some people uneasy. And I think we can learn from Canada, because Canada has been bilingual.

We should --

MS. FRANCIS: But my Chicago ballot, every time there's a presidential election, it is Spanish --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, if there were a merger --

MS. FRANCIS: -- and English. It has been for 20 years.

MR. BUCHANAN: If there were a merger, there would be secessionist movements quickly form in both countries -- secessionist movements; in Canada, who don't want any part of us, and in the United States, who would not want the changes we're all talking about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I wonder. I wonder.

MS. CLIFT: I think Canadians --

MR. BUCHANAN: You can wonder, John, but I can assure you there would be. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I think Canadians are proud of the fact they're not Americans.


MS. CLIFT: They think those of us south of the border are a little barbaric.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think --

MS. CLIFT: And a lot of the times they're right. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think they would come to think it's mutual enrichment.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MS. FRANCIS: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think so?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, you're for this.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no, I'm totally for it. I think it would be a terrific thing for Canadians, as well as for the United States. I don't think it has any possibility of occurring. I think it would be a great advantage for the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, when you read those sad, sad lists of members of the armed forces who have been killed, you invariably see -- with the Americans and Brits, you see Canadians.


MS. CLIFT: They're part of NATO.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Canadians are with us all the time.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Canadians, John, were dragged into both world wars because they were part of the British empire. They went in in `39 with the Brits. And they went in in 1914, not 1917, like us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did Hillary Clinton make contact with you?

MS. FRANCIS: Well, I gave her a book, and she was kind enough to send me a letter and said it was a very interesting -- a very interesting idea.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary is a centrist?

MS. FRANCIS: I would think so. But these people know a little bit more about where the center is in the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She wants to rout the progressives.

MS. CLIFT: She's pro-Canada. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She wants to rout the progressives. And maybe she figures there's some votes there. Do you think?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't.

MS. CLIFT: No, I don't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, why did she write that letter to you? Why did she send it?

MS. FRANCIS: Because she genuinely liked the book.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did she like the idea?

MS. FRANCIS: She thought the idea was thought-provoking and interesting.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, thought-provoking. That's right out the side door.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's what everybody said on the panel.


MS. CLIFT: I said thought experiment. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: I think Diane agrees with that, actually.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did -- why did Bush --

MS. FRANCIS: It's a thought experiment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did Bush contact you?

MS. FRANCIS: Again, I went to an event and I was seated beside him at the table. He was speaking. I gave him a book. He said this is interesting. What do Canadians think about it? Then I explained. We started to talk about --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is Jeb Bush -- Jeb Bush.

MS. FRANCIS: Jeb. We started to talk about the resources and the benefits that would derive to everybody. The Americans could help us develop it and protect them. And he said, ah, now you're putting a lot more chips on the table.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: In 1967, de Gaulle came to Quebec and said Vive Quebec Libre. He spoke to the ethno-nationalism there in Quebec, which is one of the inhibiting factors that will mean this will never happen.


MS. CLIFT: Go to any airport in the world and look at all the Canadian maple leafs on the luggage. If this happens, I'm looking forward to plastering my luggage --


MS. CLIFT: -- with the Canadian maple leaf. It travels very well -- safe.


MS. FRANCIS: I think geopolitical realignment is important. The world is shifting. China, Russia, the Arabs --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you predicting it?

MS. FRANCIS: I'm predicting that this merger is under way and it's inevitable; not politically unless there's a crisis. But we will be one economy this century.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before the end of this century?

MS. FRANCIS: Century.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: The prime minister, Harper, is one of the outstanding leaders that Canada has had. He is the most powerful politician. He'll be reelected in a landslide.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that by the year 2050, the U.S. and Canada will be merged into one super-nation. Mutual necessity and shared values will drive us together.

Happy Easter. Bye-bye.

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