Canada in 2031

Canada 2031

by Ian Parker, a Canadian communications consultant living in Seattle

The newly arrived Canadian Consul General took in the panoramic view of the San Juan Mountains from her office in Canada’s expanded northwest presence. A beautiful sunny day, which according to one of her predecessors was sure sign that the rain was moving in from the Pacific.

“Hmmmm”, she mused to herself, with any luck it would hold off until after tomorrow’s meeting between the Premier of British Columbia and the Governor of the State of Washington. As usual, the talks between Premier Sarah McLachlan of the Lilith Fair Party and Governor Ken Griffey Jr. (Independent) would be an exercise in walking that fine line between resolving some outstanding trade irritants while maintaining security. There was a lot at stake. The province and the state had become each other’s primary customers, generating jobs on both sides of the border.

North of Seattle two semis, one traveling south on Highway 99 and the other moving north on I-5, both loaded with retail goods, approached the ground breaking, high-tech “Security Marshalling Yards” that straddled the Canada-United States border. Nineteen years after what was to be the defining meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama and their commitment to work together to reduce the cross border barriers that were the biggest challenges to prosperity on both sides of the 49th parallel, an integrated economy was becoming a reality.

It had been a rocky road. Despite the political commitment, balancing the dual priorities of security and trade was always a challenge for both governments and served as a continuous irritant to both Canadian and American business interests. They were united in their position that the freer movement of goods and services would be beneficial to both countries. The eventual establishment of “Security Marshalling Yards” where Canadian and American Border Officers worked together on trade and security issues at border crossings was due in no small part to the efforts of B3, Business for a Better Boarder, a coalition of business interests that advised both governments on developing policies for perimeter security, regulatory compliance and economic competitiveness.

Meanwhile, Clean Energy Initiatives funded by both Federal and Alberta governments dramatically reduced emissions and the growing concerns over what had been seen as the negative environmental impact of the Alberta Oil Sands. Dependable and affordable access to clean energy opened up new markets in the United States. Not only did Canada benefit economically, so did the economies of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Over 150 thousand jobs and dramatic increases in the GDP of all four states.

The big issues, security, trade and energy had taken almost a generation to resolve. Both countries have shared in the benefits. But no relationship is perfect. Nor is this one. There will always be a contentious issue requiring a joint determination to resolve, but given all that has been accomplished, there are no obstacles that these two great countries cannot overcome. Neighbours, allies and best of friendsÂ…forever they will be.

Neighbours, allies and best of friendsÂ…forever they will be.