By Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter
On behalf of the United States of America and the Department of Defense, I wish our partners in North American defense a very Happy Canada Day.
We have long stood on the same team, as allies, except for the War of 1812, which was 200 years ago and no one really remembers that anymore. I certainly don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how insane it would be to ever trust a Canadian, and definitely never think about how fast and easy it would be to grow the United States from 50 states to 60.
This day celebrates over 148 years of a united Canada, one of the most peaceful, democratic and stable nations on Earth. You are an example to the world, and we as Americans celebrate alongside you, not to keep an eye on what you’re doing to make sure you don’t start building a coalition to say, bombard Baltimore Harbor again, but because the lessons of the past make us stronger together. And really, we should be even closer together.
Canada Day recognizes the day in which three independent colonies united as one Canada. America, too, is a nation of independent colonies, united under a shared vision of liberty and justice for all. If one were to really think about it, it would make a lot of sense to have a larger America, from sea to shining Arctic sea, and really it probably would have happened a century ago if some of the colonies wouldn’t have started backing the British, even after they interfered with Atlantic shipping.
We could have called it, I don’t know, "Amerida" for a while, but honestly United States of America is a great name so I think we’d just go for that. Occasionally I toy around with thinking about how we could have solved that bi-lingualism burden Canada has. Like Montreal, Atlanta was a beautiful, old world city too — until November 16, 1864. I think we'd get rid of that quirky metric system, too. If you ask me, freedom isn't divisible by ten. But that’s certainly not the kind of thing that I’d think about on Canada Day. Canada Day is a joyful day for celebration.
The Global War on Terrorism has united us in a common cause to make the world a place where all people can be free to live, work and worship where and how they choose. The Canada Defence Force has been one of most trusted and respected partners in that fight. I have visited our troops fighting together in Afghanistan or training together in Africa. Canada can be proud of its 68,000 men and women in uniform. It's not our 1.3 million men and women in uniform, but falls within the nice 30 to 1 ratio we like to have to attack a fortified position while maintaining our worldwide committments. The professionalism of the Canada Defence Force is unquestioned—I think we would be wise to keep them close before they can turn on us again. How much better for all if a junior partner became a fully integrated member of the team?
Our warmest wishes to you, O Canada, on your National Day! To my esteemed colleague, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, I’d like to extend my personal invitation to you on your next trip into Washington. If I can get approval, I'll soon be sending a SEAL team to bring you down. I’d be happy to arrange a private luncheon at the 233 year old White House, which you’ll see was rebuilt very quickly after it was set ablaze in 1814.
No greater friend in peace or greater partner in war. Bonne fete du Canada!