Let's Build the Great Wall of Canada
With the United States government planning a 1,951-mile fence the length of its southern border to keep new Americans out, endanger wildlife, devastate tribal lands, and ruin the view of the Mexican desert, I propose that Canada build a longer fence to draw people in, advance the welfare of wildlife, improve tribal lands, and enhance views of the pristine Canadian wilderness.
Allow me first to list my qualifications. Both of my grandparents were Canadian, my father is a first generation American, and that makes me one-fourth Canadian. My pedigree is an amalgam of escape artists from Scottish haggis, lead mines, and fog; Irish potato famines, whiskey, and fog; Welsh sheep farms, impossibly long last names, and fog; and English textile mills, strong tea, and more fog. My ancestors had assembled more than settled in Ontario in the 1880’s to build homesteads and cottages. They farmed rocks left by the Ice Age, fished for small mouth bass on weekends, and cut and split enough firewood annually to build a wooden replica of the Great Wall of China—and that’s what gave me this capital idea. Instead of splitting wood to burn, the people of Canada can use this wood to build a magnificent wall like the New Jersey boardwalk Hurricane Sandy recently destroyed. I know I’m only 25% Canadian, but this idea is 100% sound.
The Great Wall of Canada would be one of the new somewhat natural wonders of the world and would put America’s steel and concrete wall of shame to shame. The builders would have to put “Moose Crossing” signs all over it, of course, and they’d have to watch out for jealous beavers, but it could be done—and at a much lower cost than the $4.1 billion (US) it will cost to build the American wall. Using current prices from Home Depot Canada (shipping costs not included), a wall with a 3.66-meter (twelve-foot) wide walkway, 2,000 barbecue grills spaced a mile apart, and nice, sturdy railings on either side will cost a little less than $3 billion Canadian or four times the annual budget of Nunavut, Canada’s newest province.
Where would the Canadian government build such an unbelievable wall? The wall could start in Tuktoyaktuk in Yukon Territory and shoot through Eskimo Point in the Northwest Territories before winding around Hudson Bay to Kuujjuarapik in Quebec. The Great Wall of Canada could stretch a little over 2,000 miles over melting permafrost and not disrupt the Canadian economy one bit. Oh, it might displace a few trillion mosquitoes and a lonely moose or two and cut off the 32,000 inhabitants of Nunavut, but the people of Nunavut seem to like being isolated.
There is more than enough space in Canada for such a wall. Neighbors, hospitals, convenience stores, hockey arenas, and Tim Horton’s are hours away in all directions in Canada, so such a wall wouldn’t get in the way of any real progress.
Except for the fog. There is entirely too much fog in Canada, especially in the northern territories where it used to snow a lot before global warming. Something about the permafrost evidently evaporating—a scientist could tell you more than I could. Pernicious fog would shroud such a magnificent wall for much of the day and night. We have to do something about the fog.
I had a Canadian aunt from Barry’s Bay who had many names for fog. Like the Inuit in Nunavut who have countless names for the snow that used to fall with regularity there, Annie could look at the fog and classify it according to density and consistency. “It’s split-pea soup with ham out there,” she’d say. She’d call the fog “milk,” “half ‘n’ half,” “cream,” “malted milk,” “a runny milkshake,” “whipped cream,” “cottage cheese,” “mayonnaise,” and “biscuits and gravy.” When Annie died, it was a day of sun and, of course, fog. I would have called her funeral sky “lemonade with a few scoops of French vanilla ice cream.” She might have called it “gray cotton candy.” But I digress. Suffice it to say, Canada is extremely foggy, almost as foggy as the minds in the American Congress.
Canadian wildlife would benefit greatly. The Great Wall of Canada would be another Hadrian’s Wall of sorts, blocking the advance of animals like grizzly and polar bears, arctic hares, lynx and other endangered species that have lost their habitats because of thinning ice, soggy permafrost, and global warming. The wall could keep those animals from wreaking havoc on the thriving megalopolises of Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, and Yellowknife. Imagine the delight of tourists as they watched chipmunks frolicking, flying squirrels soaring, moose and elk rutting, black bears begging for food, and starving polar bears posing for pictures on the northern side of the fence. Imagine the joy of hearing children wrapped tightly in down clothing complaining about the -30 F (-34 C) temperatures. Imagine the family bonding that could take place if a grizzly bear wandered down the walkway.
The wall will also improve tribal lands by keeping tribal lands completely on one side of the wall where they, too, belong. The Great Wall of Canada will also enhance the view of the Canadian fog, I mean, the Canadian wilderness, that last great, unspoiled though slightly melting frontier.
Let’s build this wall before the Americans build theirs. We can show the Yanks what a really nice, treated lumber wall and walkway are all about, and perhaps we can teach them a few important lessons about inclusion.