Good News! Canada's Armed Forces is setting up a field hospital in Haiti. Great idea. Now this is the kind of effective mission Canadians do best. And we do it without strings attached.
Let's not change that.
In recent days, pundits have talked about boosting Canada's international reputation and influence in the Americas. One gentlemen, suggests Canada make Haiti a protectorate and share power there with the U.S. (Ok Americans, go ahead and laugh. I know you want to. Canadians, too.)
Aside from the fact colonialism is abhorrent to most Canadians, there are other resasons this would not work. Our different systems of government (constitutional monarchy vs. republic), different political cultures, and the fact that the Americans regard us a country, that Fox News and South Park points out could be invaded (with guns) and still be the punch-line (Ut is kind of funny becuase when US tried to invade Canada, in 1812, the joke was on them.)
The U.S regards Canada just like every other country in the Americas. They may like us as individuals, trade with us, visit us, and pay our musicians and actors big money, but they do not Canada as a equal in the Americas. (That, by the way, is the essential problem for the Americans in the Americas. Fix that, and they've solved a whole range of international issues.)
Now, there is an upside to all this. Freed from competing with Americans for turf and prestige, Canadians do what they do best. Our aid workers and emergency personnel go into other countries where the people we help are assured that we do not have some political agenda for being there.
We can fight for human rights as John Diefenbaker fought against apartheid. We can take a stand on international issues, as Pearson did during the Suez Canal crisis. And we can concentrate on building our economy and sharing our prosperity with each other and the world. Other nations may not see Canada as powerful, but they often do see us as an honest broker.
Haiti needs aid workers, more than soldiers. It needs money and jobs more than military. And while, building field hospitals and clearing runways is important; providing funds to non-profits on the ground in Haiti is the more effective course in the long run -- for Canadian taxpayers and the Haitian people.
So please, no more talk of protectorates and neo-colonisim. It's not only offensive. It's quite frankly delusional.