Open letter to Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton

David A. Benfell, Ph.D.
321 S. Main St. #12
Sebastopol, CA 95472

November 19, 2016

His Excellency, Ambassador David MacNaughton
Embassy of Canada
501 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001-2114
Fax: (202) 682-7619

Your Excellency,

It reaches my attention that you believe that “Canadians have to do a better job selling Americans on the benefits of our interdependence on issues like trade and security.”[1]

Perhaps you would like to explain to me just how it is that fifteen years of unemployment benefits me. Or, alternatively, perhaps you would like to invite me to Canada to partake of the social safety net you offer your own citizens while so carefully raising barriers to immigration from the U.S.

During my fifteen years of unemployment, I have returned to school, completed a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. I continue to be denied a right recognized in nearly every country in the world, including Canada, but conspicuously not by the United States, which is “the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts.”[2]

There are many in the United States with far less ability than I who are similarly denied this right. They have been increasingly resorting to suicide and drug abuse to ameliorate their pain.[3]

Perhaps you would like to explain to these people just how it is that so-called “free” trade, that is, trade that is free for the wealthy but not for the poor, benefits them. Perhaps you would like to open your doors to them, to guarantee them the rights that nearly the entire world recognizes, but not the United States.

I eagerly await your response.


David Benfell, Ph.D.

  1. [1]Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, “Canada needs to do better job selling the U.S. on trade benefits, says ambassador,” November 19, 2016,
  2. [2]International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, December 16, 1966, United Nations, General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI),
  3. [3]Gina Kolata, “Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds,” New York Times, November 2, 2015,; Paul Krugman, “Heartland of Darkness,” New York Times, November 4, 2015,; Paul Krugman, “Despair, American Style,” New York Times, November 9, 2015,; Josh Zumbrun, “The Economic Roots of the Climbing Death Rate for Middle-Aged Whites,” Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2015,

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