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Friday, October 15, 2004

Klein for President?

Last month Ralph Klein (for more of Ralph's adventures, click here) announced he'll be leaving the premiership of Alberta within the next four years. Ralph is not a happy camper - he dreads having his Gulfstream airplane taken away from him - he spends countless hours in the Gulfstream - smoking cigarettes and contemplating the cosmos. Wouldn't Ralph be better off with a bigger job and a bigger plane? How about the big kahuna job - the biggest one there is. Where you're talking not about Gulfstreams but about 747s - Air Force One - the Presidency of the United States. The first chump president since Warren G. Harding. Well, Ralph - the Eye Opener has good news for you - read on: but, mind, there's some pretty complicated legal stuff here - bear with us.

40-year-old Cree Calgarian Cort Gallup has done alot of things, been alot of places. Gallup has won many a ski race; has coached skiers; has studied at the University of Calgary; has sold real estate; has hosted and anchored and produced TV shows; has traveled all over the globe. Seven years ago Gallup settled in the Hawaiian Islands, on the Island of Maui. Soon Gallup was hosting a TV program - that gave him what politicians call "name recognition." Catnip attracts cats - "name recognition" attracts politicians. Local Democrats came calling and Gallup was soon running as the Democratic candidate for South Maui in Hawaii's House of Representatives.

The good old boys in Maui's Republican establishment were plenty upset. They saw Gallup as a carpet bagger, an outsider who would disturb and destroy their island paradise. For the last 10 years they'd managed to get Chris Halford, one of their own, elected as State Representative for South Maui - Gallup was running against him. Halford or "Junior" (he is 53 years old but the son of a legendary Republican organizer) was born and bred in Maui - with a silver spoon in this mouth. While Gallup has wandered the world, Junior has stuck close to home and he's proud of it. It looked like Gallup was going to beat Halford - 870 Democrats voted for Gallup in the Democratic Primary Election - only 847 Republicans voted for Halford in the Republican Primary.

Junior's good old boy network discovered that Calgary-born Gallup had never applied for U.S. citizenship. They sicked their lawyers on him. The lawyers dragged out the Hawaiian State Constitution. It says:

No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of the house of representatives unless the person ... [is a] citizen of the United States.
So get lost, said the lawyers.

So what, countered Gallup. I'm a Cree Indian - way back in 1794, the U.S. and Britain wanted to trade with the Cree. So they signed the Jay Treaty. And the Jay Treaty allowed:

Indians dwelling on either side of the said boundary line (the U.S./Canada border), freely to pass and repass ... into the respective territories and countries of the [U.S. and Canada].
So there, said Gallup. if I can pass and repass into the United States that makes me, automatically, a U.S. citizen - I need not apply for citizenship - I'm already a citizen, automatically.

You're full of baloney said Junior's lawyers. We're suing - they filed suit in a local Hawaiian court.

Last Friday a Hawaiian judge threw Junior's lawyers out of Court - not because Junior's claim was flawed but because Junior had sued in the wrong Court. But, on Wednesday, the good old boys took the battle to the Clerk of Hawaii's House of Representatives. On Wednesday the Clerk ordered Gallup to prove his citizenship by Thursday afternoon. That's where the story stands - very likely there'll be more fighting in the Clerk's office and in the Courts. But there is an even larger issue. Here's the actual wording of the Jay Treaty:

It is agreed that it shall at all times be free to His Majesty's subjects (after 1947, read "citizens of Canada"), and to the citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of [what is now the U.S./Canada border], freely to pass and repass by land or inland navigation, into the respective territories and countries of the two parties, on the continent of America, (the country within the limits of the Hudson's Bay Company only excepted.) and to navigate all the lakes, rivers and waters thereof, and freely to carry on trade and commerce with each other.
Cutting through all the legal hooga booga, one thing is clear. If Gallup is right - if the Jay Treaty automatically gives Gallup U.S. citizenship, then the Jay Treaty automatically gives every Canadian U.S. citizenship.

So does that mean that Ralph Klein could be elected President of the United States? No, there's one more hurdle. Reads the Constitution of the United States:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President ...
California Governor Arnold (the "Terminator") Schwarzenegger and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm want to change that. The testosterone laden Schwarzenegger makes no secret of the fact that he should be president. And he is determined and tough. Schwarzenegger started out as a 90-pound Austrian weakling. He took up bodybuilding. Through will power, guts and ego he became a world champion body builder, a movie star, the husband of a Kennedy and Governor of the largest state in the Union. A few words in a constitution aren't going to stop the Terminator. So Schwarzenegger rounded up Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and talked Hatch into sponsoring an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment takes the "natural born Citizen" clause out of the Constitution.

Vancouver born Michigan Governor Granholm supports Hatch's resolution. Of course, protested Granholm, "This is not about me. I have no interest, not a whit, in running for president." Sure, Governor, that's what Senator Kerry said three years ago. Why 10 years ago, Governor, President Bush Junior didn't even dream of running - he thought candidates had to pass an IQ test before running.

There may be another way. What if Alberta joined the United States? Calgary would then be part of the U.S. Would Calgary-born Ralph then become a natural born citizen of the United States? Well, Ralph, go out and hire a silver-tongued John Edwards or Paddy Nolan. Ralph, you might just win. And no IQ test required.

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