On June 13th 2011, the National Post published the first in a five-part series on the future of the Great Lakes region in advance of a North American summit on the subject. The Mowat Centre and Brookings Institution will hold the « Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Region Summit » on June 21st-22nd in Windsor and in Detroit. Many speakers will be heard from all over the areas concerned, i.e. two provinces, Quebec and Ontario, and 8 American states. The point of holding this conference is that there is a growing awareness in the business and political communities that regions are becoming more and more important around the world because of geographical « clustering » of populations, capital, talent, education centers, private research centers, culture centers, etc, that go beyond official borders. Since a couple of years, new industries have come to replace traditional heavy industry in the region of the Great Lakes, which is a sign that it can only grow up again after a certain period of decrease in the last decades. Canadians and Americans share the area of the Great Lakes and St-Lawrence as a land mass to live on, to prosper, to do business, and basically to be happy and enjoy freedom and democracy. The authors of the article, Matthew Mendelsohn and John Austin, recall that in 2050, 1/3 of the world’s population will live with a short supply of water, which makes the Great Lakes and St-Lawrence region a little treasure to be cherished for the future of our children, and even for us. Skipping down in the article, they mention that apparently, we have « an inability to imagine our shared future » on both sides of the border. It is probably true.
I knew it was coming. In George Orwell’s 1984, whole continents are considered regions and the world is united in a totalitarian fascist-socialist regime. After the marriage of a bunch of european countries to form the European Union, now we can already see certain movements beginning the same process in North America. The summit that will be held this week is a good idea but I think it is the symptom of something else. A political event drew my attention recently. In three U.S. states that are concerned with the Great Lakes issue, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, moves have been made to attack the middle class and the unions, among other things. For example, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has made some questionable manoeuvres in the last weeks concerning the future of his state. The next paragraph is an extract of an earlier post, on the seastedding movement:
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder seems to have been working behind the scenes to implement a local mixture of seastedding in his own state. Applying the basic principals of Shock Doctrine, he recently submitted a budget for the State of Michigan that is expected to cut financial aid to cities and towns. As a result, evidently, much of those cities will end up in difficult financial situation. By pure « coincidence », Snyder is also pushing a bill that would give him and his administration the power to declare certain towns and cities in a state of financial « emergency ». The bill specifies that the Governor will then be in a legal position to appoint a kind of « czar » figure to manage the « crisis » for a particular town and that that czar will have the power to do virtually anything, including to terminate collective bargain agreements or any other contracts and to dismiss elected officials. In the end, the management of these towns in « crisis » will be turned over to corporations that will have the power to even terminate them at will.
Similar orientations have been taken in Ohio and Wisconsin, and that let me to be skeptical about the real motives behind the Summit. If you take under consideration that the United States are technically bankrupt, and that their total collapse, both financial and political, will, in all probabilities, happen in a matter of maybe a decade, we have to ask ourselves what will follow then. The obvious is that smaller Republics will form out of the disenfranchised states. But what will be their political orientations and/or regimes? Could we see fascist or extreme–right governments form themselves? In the light of what is going on since the last couple of weeks in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan, I think it is fair to ask the question.
I offer you two scenarios. A catastrophy one and a happy one, depending on the point of view, of course. The catastrophy one would be that an autarchic Republic forms itself out of the states of the Great Lakes and that it would attempt a coup d’état in Ontario, Manitoba and in Quebec to be able to create a new country within North America. The United States having been dissolved, anything will be possible, and the end result of that scenario would depend totally on the will and capacity of the Canadian government to counter such a coup d’état and defeat whatever troops the new Republic can put out, while keeping the Canadian Federation united.
The happy scenario is twofold. Either the United States don’t dissolve and then the Great Lakes area becomes a very important region in the world under two different jurisdictions. Or the United States dissolve and a new country will form out of the states from the north-east of North America, like for example Great Lakes states. Personally, in a scenario where the United States would disunite and the Canadian government is unable to keep the Federation united, I see immediately a union of Quebec and New Brunswick with Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, etc, to bring together French-Canadians and Franco-Americans. We share the same values and a common history. Our societies are similar. But I guess it could work out too, if we unite all these territories with the Great Lakes. In a nutshell, in the scenario of a total collapse of the political structures in North America, the land mass that spreads from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean could become a new country. But this is not necessarily what I wish for. I am only analyzing the situation and the different possibilities.
This Summit on the Great Lakes will be held this week. We will see. But I will make sure to continue monitoring what is going on behind the scenes. You and me don’t need to be « in the know », i.e. to be intelligence agents, to understand what is going on. All we have to do is looking at the clues. Everything is before our eyes. If we are not too distracted by television, or sports, or by whatever non-sense that sucks up our energy, maybe we can understand our world. That’s what I am trying to do…and I encourage you to do the same.