Friday, April 6, 2012

A modest proposal

The news today is that the State of Maine will be funding a feasibility study for a new east-west highway, to connect Calais in the east with Coburn Gore in the west. This 220-mile privately owned toll highway would hugely benefit the people of Maine, says the Governor, construction company CEOs (well, one in particular), loggers, truckers, and Republicans.

One look at the map shows whom it would really benefit - the Canadians. Calais borders New Brunswick and Coburn Gore borders Quebec and the highway would be a much straighter shot for the products of Atlantic Canada to reach the consumers of Ontario and the American rust belt. Oh, I suppose a few dribbles of stuff might escape Maine too, but since Canada has everything Maine has, and a lot more of it, please prepare to see foreigners driving their semis loaded with blueberries and maple syrup and lobsters and logs through the Great North Woods, and not stopping to spend or build or recreate or appreciate. Well, maybe a coffee and a donut at Dysart's.

For, besides temporary road contractors, those are the kinds of jobs that Maine will get - waiters, gas jockeys, 7-11 clerks - from this boondoggle. Proponents says lots of new tourists will come, but the huge majority of tourists come from the south, on well-established roads. What sensible Canadian tourists will come to the wild woods of Maine when they already have what we have?

So I have a modest proposal. Just make the northern part of Maine the fourth territory of Canada. It already sticks up rather awkwardly into the gut of Quebec so just round it off. Portland and environs could stay. Also LePage. In trade the US could annex southern Ontario, which is basically American anyway, sticking rather awkwardly into the gut of the Midwest and poking Detroit in the eye.

Welcome universal healthcare, sensible politics, pacifism, and the loonie! One highway coming up!

NB - Not discussed here are pollution, eyesore development, noise, interruption of wildlife migration and breeding, ugliness, greed. I'm saving that for next January when the feasibility study will be finished.

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