April 13, 2058
Toronto, East Michigan
A group of thirty Canadians gathered outside the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington yesterday to issue a long list of grievances. The complaints stem from the now 43 year-old Supreme Court case that dealt with the question of whether the Oregon Treaty of 1846 and the Treaty of 1818 were still valid. The treaties originally established the 49th parallel as the border separating Canada and the United States. In a controversial move, the court had declined to pronounce on whether the treaties were still in effect or whether the land-title of Canadians had been extinguished by the assertion of US sovereignty over Canadian territory, yet the court admitted that Canadians did indeed possess certain undefined cultural rights.
“The goal moving forward,” wrote the Chief Justice in his decision, “is to establish how the rights of Canadians can be reconciled with the reality of US sovereignty over the territory.”
Canadian activists disagree. Said one protestor:
“They have no right to unilaterally assert sovereignty over Canada in the face of a long established treaty. This is imperialism, pure and simple.”
The USSC case in question was launched back in 2015 when the US Government announced that the 1987 Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA), along with subsequent economic compacts, constituted an agreement on the part of Canada to relinquish sovereignty to the United States. A group of Canadian leaders took the claim to the US Supreme Court, alleging that the FTA was and always had been understood as a nation-to-nation agreement that opened the door for Canada and the US to share resources. “It was never an abdication of Canadian sovereignty. The notion is preposterous.”
In events leading up to the court’s ambiguous conclusions, the US Government asserted sovereignty over 99% of Canadian territory and passed what is known as the Canadian Act, legislation that granted certain compensatory privileges to Canadians and established, among other things, ‘lands in reserve’ for Canadians complete with institutions of reserve government modelled on the American system. The Act also made US citizens of all Canadians, though they would only be granted the freedom to vote in US elections on the condition that they renounce their special Canadian status with all its privileges. Initially, with growing concerns that Canadians were not integrating well into American culture, the US enforced a policy of removing Canadian children from their families and placing them in schools run by the Mormon Church. That policy has since been discontinued.
Despite 43 years of life as Americans, it is surprising that most Canadians still refuse to recognize the legitimacy of US sovereignty. Canadian “lawyers” frequently cite various United Nations declarations that confirm Canadian rights to sovereignty. The US Government has responded, however, stating that it is very concerned with the welfare of their Canadians and is doing its best to accommodate them. “We honour the dignity of Canadian culture and support their many fine traditions, such as hockey,” stated a Senator from the State of Yukon. Canadians complain that such statements reflect the crude and patronizing caricatures that American society has of Canadians.
A sampling of testimonies from regular Americans shows that opinions are mixed.
“Why do they insist on living in the past?” asked an American farmer from the new State of Northern Saskatchewan. “Looks like they got a good deal to me. I hear they don’t even pay land-taxes.”
“I don’t buy these ridiculous assertions of ‘Canadian sovereignty’ based on myths of ‘Canadian nationhood’,” argued a lawyer from Cascadia. “If they were a sovereign nation as they claim, where were their aircraft-carriers and atomic weapons? Where is their space station? Now, of course they claim that Canadian values don’t support massive military build-up but I think it’s obvious that they just weren’t capable of it. They’re just not a fully developed civilization, you see. They’re better off as Americans.”
“I feel their pain, I really do. You know, we think my great-grandfather was Canadian, so I get it,” claimed an economics professor from Newfoundland State University, adding “But we just can’t go back to how it was, can we?”
Given the rising tensions on and off Canadian reserves, the US Government has instituted a Reconciliation Commission to air the grievances of Canadians who have felt slighted by the sometimes heavy-handedness of US policies. The President kicked off the project with a declaration of remorse: “We apologize to all Canadian Americans for how difficult we have made this process. We will do better.”
A Canadian activist protesting at the steps of the US Supreme Court today rejected the apology. “We don’t want to reconcile ourselves with the US. Why would we? We’re Canadians.”