Copyright 2013 John T. Reed
In theory, an American could avoid most of the hardship of US dollar (USD) hyperinflation by taking just two steps:
1. Putting a substantial amount of savings—say $100,000—into Canadian dollars (CAD) in a Canadian bank
2. Moving, for the duration of the hyperinflation, to a spot in the US near a Canadian border crossing that leads to a Canadian town
Since I expect the hyperinflation will last about 6 to 24 months, this would be a temporary move.
However, I believe it may not be that simple. So I went there in late June and early July 2013 to try to handicap our ability to do this during US hyperinflation. I visited libraries in Canada and Washington state to research. All recommended a book called The Border by James Laxer. I got it and read it. I also learned about a book called Point Roberts, USA which I got and read. I have two more books about the Canadian border on order.
I wrote about my visit at http://www.johntreed.com/northwest-washington-state-towns-as-hyperinflation-refuges.html. That article includes information I got from the book Point Roberts.
In this article, I am mainly talking about information I got from the book The Border.
Laxer is a Canadian. I would also say he is what Americans call a liberal and I found him to be anti-American, which is fine because a portion of the Canadian population is anti-American. He traveled almost the entire border between Canada and the continental US, plus he visited parts of the border between Canada and Alaska. He deliberately varied his mode of transportation using car, ferries, trains, planes and ships.
Here is the basic idea of using a Northwest Washington state temporary home as a refuge from US hyperinflation—assuming you have non-US money to spend when you go to Canada.
• keep unwanted people out
• keep unwanted things out including plants and animals
• charging duties or recording the import of things that are allowed to pass but subject to customs duties or reporting requirement (like more than $10,000 in cash)
• price controls
• capital controls (prohibit U.S. residents from possessing foreign currency or gold and from taking US currency out of the US except in very small amounts related to necessary travel abroad)
• anti-hoarding laws (prohibit U.S. residents from having any more of rationed items than you would have right after buying the maximum allowed by your ration coupon)
• financial repression laws (force U.S. residents to buy U.S. government bonds directly or indirectly by forcing U.S. residents to but their money in bank accounts which their bank is forced to use to buy U.S. government bonds)
The overall effect of the combination of USD hyperinflation and these five laws is you would not be able to get food, fuel, medicine, or other necessities like soap and toilet paper and so on in the US. And if you only had USD, you would have great difficulty buying these things in Canada where they should be in normal supply. You would not have enough money to afford them and/or the Canadian retailers would refuse to take USD because it would have too little value. Indeed, Canadian border guards probably would not even let you into Canada if all you had to spend there was hyperinflated USD.
In Vienna, Austria during their hyperinflation, people starved to death. 95% of the children were too short and too light for their ages. Read the diary of Anna Eisenmenger called Blockade. It is apparently out of copyright and available for free down load on the Internet.
The questions are, during USD hyperinflation, would the U.S. government prevent you from going to Canada to use your CAD to buy food, etc. there and would Canada let you in.
My tentative conclusions are that the US government would let you leave. Refusing to let a resident leave a country is something that has generally only been done by places like North Korea, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Communist China. It is called an exit visa—which would generally be denied. Exit visas are extremely rare around the world and throughout history and I do not believe the US has ever required them.
So would Canada let you in? Probably not if you were a destitute beggar, which the vast majority of Americans will be during USD hyperinflation. If you have money other than USD to spend in Canada, like my situation where I have CAD, Australian dollars (AUD), New Zealand dollars (NZD), and Swiss francs (CHF), I expect they would be very glad to have you enter because during USD hyperinflation, the US economy would contract to an extreme degree and that contraction would cause a similar contraction in Canada, although our hyperinflation would not cause Canada to get hyperinflation. The Canadian border guards would demand that you prove you had stable foreign currency to spend before letting you enter.
Then there is the issue of if you live in Northwest Washington and go buy stuff in Canada with the CAD that you pre-positioned there before the hyperinflation and capital controls hit, would you be allowed to bring that stuff back into the U.S. They could prohibit it on the grounds that you are importing without a license to do so. And they would deny the license if you applied for it.
Or they might levy customs duties on the items you are bringing back. If they are reasonably low, you might just decide to pay them. If they are prohibitive, you would have a problem.
One solution might be to have a member of your family move into Canada on a 90-day tourist visa. Then you could get what you needed from them by visiting them—although you might have to consume it in Canada. In the early 1920s hyperinflation in Germany, residents of adjacent countries like France and Italy had a field day going into Germany to buy stuff cheap. Then the French and Italian governments outlawed bringing stuff back from Germany—probably because of screaming from French and Italian retailers. So the visitors to Germany would pig out on food and booze and stagger back across the border because the guards could not levy a customs duty on the contents of their stomachs. I would expect in the 21st century, they might also let you not pay duty on the contents of your normal vehicle gas tank, although I am not sure.
The phrase “tag team” means you would have a different member of your family take over the Canada apartment or whatever at the end of each 90-day period to comply with the tourist visa law. You might only need two people because I think you can make at least two 90-day visits to Canada per year on a tourist visa from the US. It may be that one American can stay there all year, if you merely tag up in the US every 90 days. It was not clear to me from the Canadian government web site and I doubt immigration lawyers worry about 90-day tourist visa law such that they could answer you off the top of their head. They are more into helping you get a residency permit or citizenship.
I do not think the Canadians would prevent you from entering their country because the US had hyperinflation per se, but they might indirectly for reasons like the above-mentioned requirement that you have stable non-US money to spend there. And they might also stop you because of reasons indirectly related like a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak in America. There was a lot of TB in Austria during the hyperinflation. TB is a poor people’s disease and the whole US would be made poor by hyperinflation and price controls.
A visa may be denied for a number of reasons, some of which being that the applicant:
has committed fraud or misrepresentation in his or her application
has obtained a criminal record (e.g. in the past 5 years [US]) or has criminal charges pending [DUI is a felony in Canada and a US DUI would keep you out of Canada]
is considered to be a threat to national security
cannot prove to have strong ties to their current country of residence [I guess for example if you were an illegal alien in the U.S.]
intends to reside or work permanently in the country she/he will visit if not applying for an immigrant or work visa respectively [Correct: if you give even the slightest indication you may not leave when the 90 days is up, they will not let you in]
does not have a legitimate reason for the journey
has no visible means of sustenance [Like I said above, during USD hyperinflation, a wheelbarrow full of USD will not be considered a means of sustenance]
does not have travel arrangements (i.e. transport and lodging) in the destination country
does not have a health/travel insurance valid for the destination and the duration of stay [check with your provider—90 days may be too long for them]
does not have a good moral character
is applying on excessively short notice [Canadian tourist visas are granted automatically to Americans generally by just showing up at the border crossing—this relates to countries where visitors have to apply for a tourist visa in advance]
had their previous visa application(s) rejected and cannot prove that the reasons for the previous denials no longer exist or are not applicable any more
is a citizen of a country to which the destination country is hostile
has previously visited, or intends to visit, a country to which the destination country is hostile
has a communicable disease, such as tuberculosis [Told ya]
has previous visa/immigration violations [If you misbehave or lie to Canadian or US customs/border patrol, you could easily be banned from Canada for more years than the hyperinflation in the US would last.]
has a passport that expires too soon [Renew it now]
didn't use a previously issued visa at all without a valid reason (e.g., a trip cancellation due to a family emergency)
Laxer’s book primarily informs one of the states of mind of the two countries toward each other and the history of the border. I feared it might just be a travelogue, but it is thankfully mainly a history book.
Some US readers may doubt my prediction that Canadian border guards will not let Americans in during hyperinflation unless they can prove means of sustenance (i.e., other than hyperinflated US dollars) while in Canada. There is a historical rough precedent. The Klondike gold rush happened in the late 1890s. The Canadian Mounties had a rule that all prospectors entering the Yukon Territory—a Canadian province—had to have at least 2,000 pounds of supplies. These had to be packed in by the prospectors 40 or 50 pounds at a time! That meant each prospector had to make forty or fifty trips up and down the White or Chilkoot Passes, leaving their accumulating stuff at the top until they had the 2,000 pounds!
There are many in the US and Canada who oppose free trade between the two countries. That just means they want protective tariffs on the products they sell so they can charge more in their home country. They want Buy American laws in America and buy Canadian laws in Canada. Laxer is one of them although I do not think he has a dog in the fight other than general national pride and anti-Americanism.
The anti-trade forces wax and wane due to politics. During financial crises, the protectionist forces tend to gain political power—which is unfortunately the exact opposite of what would be in their best interests. So you can expect more trade restrictions between the US and Canada during an economic contraction in either country.
Laxer says the border feels arbitrary when you approach it or cross it. I agree. The countries are so similar one wonders what the hell is this hassle about? But the answer is politics. The citizens of the two countries disagree on a number of things. Also, Canadians seem to have a complex. There is a general feeling in America that Canada is more or less the same as America so who needs a border. But Canadians are sort of scared about losing their separate identity as Canadians and sort of have to assert themselves in things like border crossing rules to constantly prove they are a separate country.
Another book about the border used a phrase that strikes me as quite correct. Something like,
America’s indifference to Canada and Canadians’ fears about their fragile sovereignty.
Sort of like a little brother demanding that he get new clothes not always his older brother’s hand-me-downs.
Laxer and others in Canada apparently spend a lot of time navel gazing about their the definition of sovereign and whether they meet it. Every border transaction or treaty or proposed treaty is suspect as reducing Canadian sovereignty to Laxer and Canadians like him. Seems to me that the fact that Canada is a country is totally settled. That being the case, they ought to decide whether to agree to treaties or free trade and every other proposed joint effort by asking whether it is good for Canada and only that. Instead, they seem to be paranoid about every such topic out of fear that it is a trick or secret plot by the US to diminish Canadian sovereignty.
My wife’s college friend who is now both a US and Canadian citizen told me they had a recent made-for-TV movie there about the US invading them to get their water. I laughed out loud. Water!? We have water.
“Not so much in the Southwest,” she said.
“More people live in California than in all of Canada. California is the southwest most state in the continental US. The snow is 14 to 20 feet deep in the Sierra Nevada mountains. No one in California is near dying of thirst. We have lots of water squabbles in the US southwest, but we don’t kill people over it—at least not lately.”
The fact that they would have such a ridiculous movie gives you an idea of their rather unexpected—to an American—mindset about their “struggle” (which apparently exists only in their minds) to remain a separate country.
Laxer accuses us of being “hegemonic.” This is a dysphemism—the opposite of a euphemism. For example, stubborn, unchanging, and steadfast all essentially describe not changing your mind under pressure to do so. But stubborn is a dysphemism; unchanging, neutral; and steadfast, a euphemism. Hegemony is a spin word designed to make the underlying fact—being bigger than other countries in size or military power or economic power—sound like a sin of some sort.
Some country has to be number one, almost by definition. I guess there could be a tie. That seemed to be the case during the Cold War and the reason for the Cold War. The era since—with no war, seems better to me than the Cold War was. I had to do a tour in Vietnam during the Cold War. I went to school once—during the Cuban Missile Crisis—wondering if I would ever live to see another day. That’s what a tie got us.
Wikipedia defines hegemony as
an indirect form of government, and of imperial dominance in which the hegemon (leader state) rules geopolitically subordinate states by the implied means of power, the threat of force, rather than by direct military force.
So during Vietnam, we forced Canada to join the war and turn over our draft dodgers and deserters via our implications to them about power and/or by threatening to use force against Canada? But wait, we did urge both those things, but Canada blew us off on both and did the exact opposite. I guess we need to work harder on our implying skills and threatening skills.
Some Arab leader I think it was said something to the effect of,
If we had to live in a world with one superpower, thank God it was the United States.
That would be another, non-dysphemistic way to describe our size and strength relative to the rest of the world.
Bottom line: a lot of people in Canada think we are hegemonic and they are displeased with us for that. I am not sure how we cease being hegemonic since implications are mostly in the eye of the beholder and the perpetrator of the implication can easily be called out whenever there is any question about what, if anything, the more powerful country was implying. As far as our threatening the use of force against Canada is concerned, I think the last time that happened was the James K. Polk campaign of 1844 (54'40" or fight!) Can’t we agree the statute of limitations ran out on that?
So if you are planning on relying on Canada as a refuge in US hyperinflation, understand their view of Americans is similar to our view of ourselves, but not the same. Laxer has a personal problem with America. Unfortunately he presents his views as representing a wide swath of Canadians. I do not sense that he is correct. I think his views are less popular than he would have us believe or perhaps than he believes. However, I am not much of an expert on such things.
Yes. Here they are:
Quebec speaks French and has a somewhat French culture. They sort of have sovereignty paranoia squared.
Canada is generally cold as hell in winter which is different from the continental US. International Falls, MN is often the coldest place in the US in winter. International Falls is south of most of Canada!
We have different histories. They started British and stayed British forever. They are still in the British Commonwealth. We started British and revolted against Britain. We revere the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Canada dislikes those two documents—believe it or not. Many Canadians are descendants of people who were run out of the US during the Revolutionary War—like the driver of our complimentary car one night at the Calgary Stampede.
He said his ancestors came to Canada from the U.S. “in the 1770s and that they were called United Empire Loyalists.” My brain cells flickered for a few seconds processing that then I said, “1770s? Don’t you mean 1776?” He admitted that was indeed the problematic year for his ancestors. “That’s a nice euphemism you guys have worked out to call yourselves. I think the word in the U.S. is traitors.” My wife was sitting in the front seat of the car and I said, “You are sitting next to a descendant of Francis Lewis, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. And my niece the genealogist says we Reeds are cousins of James Madison, who is known as the ‘Father of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights’.” I smiled when I said all that and we had a fun conversation.
They have a similar feeling about the Revolutionary War as many US southerners do about the Civil War. The Tories who fled to Canada, and their descendants, are still pissed about it. We see the Revolutionary War as between us and Britain with Canada as uninterested bystanders. Canadians generally see it as a war between the British Empire, which included Canada, and a bunch of disloyal subjects. They thought we were making too big of a deal about things like “taxation without representation.”
Canada never had slavery and were the terminus of the Underground Railroad—not the northern part of the US because of the Fugitive Slave act which allowed southerners to take escaped slaves back to the South.
Canada did not have Prohibition and smuggling of alcohol from Canada to the US almost brought down the Canadian government of the time.
Canada opposed the Vietnam War and gave asylum to about 60,000 US draft dodgers and deserters—which pisses me off. I am a Vietnam Vet. Anyway, President Jimmy Carter pardoned them out of the blue for no apparent reason, which really pissed me off. And about half the 60,000 invited him to shove his pardon and stayed in Canada. So those 30,000 and their wives and children and grandchildren are now a part of the population of Canada and its sometimes anti-American feelings.
The death penalty is illegal in Canada.
Canada has long had universal government health care. One of their reasons for keeping some people out is the suspicion that they are coming for the free health care that they have not paid taxes for. The U.S. passed Obamacare but that appears to be self-destructing.
Americans go to Canada to buy prescriptions and to fraudulently get free health care. Canadians go to the US to get medical tests and procedures performed more quickly than they would be in Canada. Canadians also go to the US to get medical tests and procedures that the Canadian government refuses to give them at all—often because of age.
In some cases, the Canadian government sends the Canadian patients to the US for medical tests or treatment and pays for their tests, procedures, and transportation because it is more cost-effective than Canada trying to provide those particular services.
Because Canadians already have health care insurance, it is attractive for some US companies to locate factories and other branches there. Canadian workers are cheaper if only because the US employer need not pay for their health care.
Ditto cheap, publicly-financed colleges and universities, and the Canadian version of Social Security.
Canada is too big for Canada to defend. They are the second biggest country in the world but rank 37th by population. So what is their defense strategy? Apparently, to stay friendly militarily with the U.S.—albeit while sovereignty paranoids like Laxer wring their hands about any joint US-Canadian activities.
Is that a viable military strategy? As long as America is willing to defend Canada, yes; otherwise, of course not. What might be for Canada? Nuclear weapons—which they have chosen not to have. Could they rely instead on the British Commonwealth? If I am not mistaken, there is not a single aircraft carrier in all the militaries of all the British Commonwealth countries. Could they rely on NATO other than the US? That is a bunch of countries who spend scandalously little on defense per capita—less than they are required under the NATO pact. One British general referred to NATO as a “hotbed of cold feet.”
The U.S. is 179th in the world in population density, but we spend about half the world’s defense spending and we have lots of nukes and 19 aircraft carriers. Canada ranks 228th in population density and refuses to dirty its hands with nukes.
I suspect a Canadian is going to tell me they do not have nukes because the US asked them not to have nukes. And was that in the same letter in which we asked them not to give sanctuary to our Vietnam draft dodgers and deserters? In the same letter as our asking them to raise their defense expenditures up to the level they agreed on in the NATO treaty? They are a sovereign nation. Ask Laxer. They do not have nukes because we have nukes. If they wanted nukes, they would have nukes.
The U.S. spends 4.5% of its GDP on defense. The NATO average, which includes the US is 2.5%. The European Union is 1.7%. The world average is 2.2%. Canada is 1.3%. In other words, Mr. Laxer’s country is freeloading on us when it comes to defense—and any proposal to increase Canada’s military connection with the US concerns Mr. Laxer with regard to Canadian sovereignty.
By definition, the threats to Canadian sovereignty come from enemies whose sole purpose would be to utterly wipe out that sovereignty. And if Canada were invaded—probably targeting its major cities along the border, which direction would Canadian non-combatants flee? North? East? West? Or South to the US? Canadian forces, if they ran out of ammo or fuel in a fight would probably retreat in the same direction as the noncombatants—presumably with Mr. Laxer standing on the side of the road urging them not to go that way because it might jeopardize Canada’s fragile sovereignty.
Make no mistake, I have no complaints about the Canadian Forces other than their small numbers. They have fought well beside us in World War I and II and in Afghanistan. Our guys volunteered for their Air Force during World War II before Pearl Harbor. But as a country, Canada is freeloading off our defense expenditures, along with almost everyone else on earth.
Oddly, large-scale cross-border migration has been almost non-existent other than the Tories fleeing after their side lost the Revolutionary War and the 1880s when about 20% of the Canadian population migrated to the Midwest for farm land. This contrasts dramatically with migration to the US from Latin America, and cross-ocean migration to both countries from Europe and Asia. Lately, Canada’s immigrants are primarily from Asia; America’s from Latin America.
There have been a number of small-scale migrations: the Underground Railroad slaves. Following orders from the Soviet Union, Canadian Communist Party members fled to the US during the early years of World War II when the Soviet Union had not yet been invaded by Germany. At that time, the USSR was Hitler’s ally and after 9/1//1939 the British empire and Commonwealth were at war with Germany. Vietnam draft dodgers and deserters, and in 2002, thousands of Pakistanis leaving the US because of having to register with the INS in the aftermath of 9/11.
I envision Canada becoming a temporary refuge for Americans fleeing from US hyperinflation, the way Latin America became a temporary vacation spot for wealthy Americans during World War II or Paris for the Ernest Hemingway “Lost Generation”expats in Paris after World War I. I do not think US hyperinflation will cause permanent migration into Canada unless the US reacts to it by turning severely socialist when it ends.
By some narrow definitions, the quality of life for the average Canadian is higher than for the average American. But a number of Canadians admitted to me privately that a lot of Canadians wish they were Americans. I think there is greater opportunity in America than in Canada. So if you want to be average maybe you would be better off in Canada. But a lot of people want to be above average and feel there is more opportunity to do that in the US.
Plus, there are a lot of people who immigrate into Canada not to stay there but as a stepping stone to immigrating into the US—because it is easier to do in those two stops than to move directly from their original country to the US. Virtually no non-North American moves to the US in order to immigrate to Canada.
And the US have numerous undeniable quality-of-life advantages like climate, far more choices in almost every realm of life, etc. I write books that generally are bought by my fellow citizens—a number of them are books about American football. How would my quality of life be affected by my moving to Canada and writing books only about Canadian Football, which has different rules? I’ll give you a hint. America has 317,000,000 people; Canada, 33,000,000.
Canadians seem to seek, and are proud of achieving, a certain equality of results. America’s socialists want that, although they—even Obama—shy away from that phrase. The goal in America is equality of opportunity, not results. You are responsible for the results after you have been given the opportunity. That does NOT appear to be the goal in Canada.
During wars, Canada has sometimes been our ally—lately—and sometimes our enemy—1812 and before. At times, when we were at war, they were neutral, like Vietnam. At other times when they were at war, we were neutral, like World War I before 1917 and World War II before Pearl Harbor. These periods of neutrality may seem like meaningless footnotes now, but they were REALLY big deals at the time. The neutral vs. ally situation issue could arise again in the future. If it happened during a US hyperinflation, it might restrict cross-border flow of goods or people.
Individualism is less a Canadian value than an American one. The climate of the lower 48 is milder than that of Canada. That means in America, the rugged individual could succeed in the old west pioneer days. Because Canada’s climate is more harsh, Canadians had the habit of grouping together to help each other survive. I also read this about Australia where the climate is harsh in the other direction—too hot and dry.
The part of Canada that is reportedly most like the U.S., and most pro-US people, is the Southern Alberta-Calgary area. The political party popular in that area—The Canadian Alliance—is the most pro-American party in Canada. My wife and I were just there for the 2013 Calgary Stampede and liked the people there very much. It is the oil area of Canada. When Canada imposed some harsh restrictions on oil provinces, they briefly talked of seceding from Canada and joining the US or becoming an independent country in the 1980s. Eastern Canada tends to be the most anti-American—French-speaking Quebec and the location where most of the “United Empire Loyalists” settled.
Many US companies have subsidiaries in Canada to avoid past tariffs. The converse is not true.
Not everyone reading this is a native-born American. And not every native-born American is Caucasian. Some are of the descent indicating ancestors from Muslim countries. If you are a US resident, but look like you are, or are, from a Muslim country, you may not be able to rely on moving across the US-Canadian border freely, even if the current law says you can. The US and Canada both imprisoned Japanese ancestry persons during World War II solely because of their ancestry. After 9/11, America began to register, photograph, and fingerprint all persons entering the US from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, and Sudan. People who merely look Muslim have been severely hassled and worse since 9/11. I have no expertise on how to deal with that, but if you are one of them and your are innocent, you’d better come up with your own special Plans B, C, D, etc.
Canada is less friendly to gun ownership, although when I was in Calgary in July 2013, some Royal Canadian Mounted Police went into people’s homes during the flood and confiscated guns because they were not locked up. They were not locked up, as required by Canadian law, because the heavy gun safes were typically in the basements which, at the moment, were flooded. the public and the press went nuts screaming at the mounties in editorials and elsewhere. So Canadian law is less right-to-bear-arms oriented than US law, but I think Laxer overstates Canada’s lack of a “gun culture.” For Chrissake, they have grizzly bears wandering around! If you are in the habit of carrying a gun on your person or in your vehicle, you’d better be very careful about assuming that’s okay in Canada, too. Check before you possess a gun up there.
Canada agreed to the Kyoto Protocol (global warming) which says countries other than India and China must lower carbon dioxide emissions. Laxer has an extremely dishonest account of the US response to the Kyoto protocol. By his account, we initially agreed to it, then Bush illegally all by his dictatorial lonesome un-agreed to it. Not even close.
In 1997, during the Clinton Administration, Vice-President Al Gore was sent to the Kyoto meeting. He signed the treaty, but that had little meaning because under the US Constitution, the US Senate must ratify all treaties by a two-thirds vote. Knowing it had no hope of being ratified, President Clinton refused to submit it to the Senate for a vote. The Senate voted on it anyway. The Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which passed by a vote of 95-0, said the US Senate would not ratify the Kyoto Treaty unless it was considerably modified. Australia reacted to it similarly and rejected it. In 2001, Bush withdrew the U.S. endorsement of Kyoto—I guess he just said that Gore signing it meant nothing because it had not been ratified by the Senate and was not going to be submitted to the Senate to be ratified, which given the Senate resolution, would be a meaningless act.
Laxer contrasts his wonderful country of Canada, which bought into Kyoto, to the evil Bush administration and US. Here are a couple of deliciously ironic facts that post-date Laxer’s 2003 book. In 2011, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto protocol. They produced emissions in excess of the Kyoto target they had agreed to and said they were going to do their own “made-in-Canada” emission policy. Uh huh.
Meantime, it was discovered that the country that was most close to complying with the Kyoto emissions standards was the United States, by virtue of its normal, on-going, anti-pollution efforts and technological breakthroughs that lowered the price of natural gas thereby increasing its use and decreasing the use of coal.
Time zones are sometimes different in Canada than from the US areas directly south of them. Yukon Territory is an hour later than Alaska Time which applies to the Alaska panhandle south of the Western Yukon. This is because Alaska, in spite of its enormous width, has decided to have the whole state always in the same time zone. Saskatchewan is north of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, ad New Mexico, but it is in the same time zone as the states to the east of those states, i.e., North Dakota, etc. Ontario is north of Wisconsin, but in the same time zone as Michigan, which is east of Ontario. Quebec is north of Maine and in the same time zone, but Eastern Quebec is east of Maine yet still in the Quebec time zone. Canada’s Northwest Territories are extremely wide spanning three US time zones but they only use the time zone of our Mountain zone. Yukon and British Columbia are also rather wide but only use our Pacific time zone. If logic alone determined, all time zones worldwide would follow longitude lines and would have equal 30º widths. In fact, they almost all zig zag for various political reasons including within the US.
Canada is more socialist than the US in general, but that is not significant for my purposes of dealing with possible USD hyperinflation.
The US is famously, by way of Sarah Palin, a neighbor of Russia, but only at the Bering Strait. Canada is a big-time neighbor of Russia and Greenland (25km apart at the closest) if you look at a globe. Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. During World War II, the US supplied the Soviet Union with war material in part via the Alcan (Alaska-Canada) Highway. The Distant Early Warning line of radars to detect Soviet attack on the US or Canada runs along the 69th parallel through Alaska and Northern Canada.
Both Canada and the U.S. have Indians. They are called First Nation in Canada; Native Americans in the US. My brother who was working on family genealogy says we are 1/16 Cherokee, a common bit of DNA in my father’s West Virginia.
Indians have a certain amount of sovereignty in both countries: reservations and casinos. At some parts of the border, there are reservations. The Canadian Indians are apparently not greatly respectful of the border regarding it as a post-Indian arbitrary white man thing. The practical result of this is the border reservations tend to be hot beds of smuggling of people and contraband. The Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve south of Cornwall, Ontario is apparently the prime smuggling venue on the whole border. The U.S. border there is the St. Lawrence River. The Mohawk reservations are on both sides of the river. The US side is sparsely populated.
Whenever I mention smuggling across the US-Canada border, I feel compelled to warn you that this is not a joke. For one thing, it often involves gunfire and deaths. For another, if you decide to engage in some personal smuggling, you may be banned from crossing the border if you get caught. In which case, for you at least, just living near the border probably will not be enough to save you from the ravages of USD hyperinflation and price controls.
Smugglers have to go back across the border on a return trip. To make that economic, they tend to smuggle into the country they are returning to less profitable bargain items. Local merchants on the side where such goods are more expensive scream bloody murder to local law enforcement. During US hyperinflation, virtually everything in the US will be a bargain to Canadians visiting with CAD. Expect restrictions on bringing purchases back into Canada after an initial period where it will be allowed before the Canadians realize the great bargains to be had and the Canadian merchants start screaming.
There will be a black market in goods and services and foreign currency everywhere in the US after the USD hyperinflation starts and the five laws are enacted. The black markets in the towns on the border on the US side will have the best black markets—most variety of goods and lowest prices—because it is simply physically easier and cheaper to supply black markets from one or two miles away than to supply black markets 500 or 1,000 miles away—say in California. During hyperinflation, a great deal of money is made legally and illegally filling the needs of the deprived country from the normal one.
The people Quebec oppose a military draft. As a result, Canada was one of the first countries to do away with it after World War II.
Many Canadian residents travel to the US to have babies because that makes those babies citizens of the US. I presume they also get Canadian citizenship by virtue of their parents and living in Canada after they are born.
At times historically, the cost of living on one side of the border has become quite law for the residents of the other side of the border because of the value of one currency falling in relation to the other. That, of course, would be the situation for Canadians if the US had hyperinflation. They will be going to the US to buy anything and everything because it would be extremely cheap to them. But it has happened historically when there was no inflation to speak of, just a fall in the value of one of the currencies in relation to the other.
A Nexus card lets people crossing the Canadian-US border use the express lane. Nexus was suspended in the aftermath of 9/11. It has since been reinstated. Although I do not foresee Canada closing the border to all Americans because of our having hyperinflation, I can foresee the border being closed because of some terrorist issue. There is no law of nature that says we can only be beset by one crisis at a time. If your Plan A relies on your being able to go across the Canadian border whenever you want, and you cannot get across because of terrorism or a TB outbreak or whatever, you’d better have a Plan B, C, and D.
At present, US citizens can go to Canada without a visa and vice versa. But the list of countries whose citizens can enter the US or Canada without a pre-arranged visa changes over time. On 3/17/03, the US added many British Commonwealth countries to the list of those who needed a visa to enter the US including the Bahamas, Jamaica, Kenya, South Africa, India, and Pakistan—even if they had permanent residence status in Canada.
It may not relate to hyperinflation, but Canada, apparently alone among all the nations of the world, considers the Northwest Passage to be its territorial waters. The general rule in international law is that narrow waterways that have multiple nations on both sides of the narrow passage are international waterways even though they may be entirely within, say, 12 miles of a nation at the narrow passageway. For example, the Strait of Hormuz separates The Arabian Sea and The Persian Gulf. One side of the Strait is Iran; the other, Oman. Nations that border the Persian Gulf include Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE. Obviously, it would be a bit problematic for all of those nations if Iran declared the Strait to be its territorial waters. Similar situations include Bosporus (entirely in Turkey but separates the Black Sea from the Mediterranean), Djibouti (separates Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden), and so on. But Canada seems to be claiming the Northwest Passage is entirely its territorial waters—ice most of the year. The seafaring nations of the world have to go a hell of a long way around if they cannot use the Northwest Passage when it is open—either to the Panama Canal or around Tierra del Fuego or through the Suez Canal or around the Horn of Africa to get to the Pacific from the Atlantic or vice versa.
The main point I got out of Laxer’s book is that the relationship between the US and Canada is more complex than it appears to a tourist. Laxer is a jerk with a lefty agenda, but much of the book is factual. I think Canada is probably a great refuge from US hyperinflation either by living near it or living in it on a 90-day tourist visa or both. But I think you’d better not rely entirely on Canada as your salvation from US hyperinflation.
John T. Reed