Saturday, December 2, 2006

Canada says torture flights "lawful"

From Macleans :
"Extraordinary rendition, the U.S. practice of shipping terrorism suspects to foreign prisons, may be legal in some cases, says the Foreign Affairs spokesman Rodney Moore :
"Whether any particular rendition is lawful would depend on the facts of each individual case."

But hey, not to worry because :
"The government said earlier this year a review of dozens of alleged CIA aircraft landing at Canadian airports uncovered no evidence of illegal activity."

Even though :
"Alex Neve of Amnesty International Canada accused Ottawa on Monday of failing to "launch a thorough and comprehensive probe" of the possible use of Canadian airstrips by planes involved in extraordinary rendition."
Some of those same planes implicated in the European cases are known to have made use of Canadian airspace and airstrips," he said."

Alleged CIA torture flights in 2005 : UK-210, Gemany-437, Canada, um, 0

At the same time this secret Foreign Affairs/Justice Dept report was being prepared last November, Condi Rice was jetting around Europe telling everyone to just shut up shut up shut up about torture flights.

Times-Online Dec 6, 2005
"Rice challenged European leaders to back controversial American anti-terrorism tactics yesterday as she robustly defended the CIA’s extrajudicial seizure, transportation and interrogation of thousands of suspects.
Dr Rice said that she expected American allies to co-operate and keep quiet about sensitive anti-terrorism operations....she pointedly reminded European governments that they had helped the US for years in a “lawful” policy of rendition — the removal of suspects to third countries for interrogation."

Ah, there we go - "lawful".

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Canada, a nation within the United States

From the Glib&Mall :
"The Conservative government is floating plans to block takeovers and investment from foreign state-owned firms should it detect a threat to Canada in the transaction, a move triggered by China's global prowl for acquisitions."

Well, I've certainly argued for this, although I wouldn't have singled out China or bothered with delicate distinctions between foreign state-owned firms and firm-owned states. (Firms? Who says firms any more?)
But look at the assumptions in this next bit :

"Greater Chinese inroads into the oil sands would certainly unnerve American policy makers, who always include Canada's tar-rich deposits in the equation when they discuss how the United States could achieve energy independence."

So Canada is now voluntarily initiating policy to facilitate a smoother US takeover of our resources?
When did the US cease to be a foreign power?
Yeah, I know, but it bugs me the G&M just takes it for granted.
The list of 'unfriendlies' is interesting : Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Venezuela. What - no North Korea?

The Cons - vigilantly protecting the national interests of the US.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

The man that time forgot

Atlantica, Cascadia, and presumably also Pointsinbetweenica* will soon be getting a boost as a replacement for Canada, thanks to the appointment of right wing free marketeer Brian Lee Crowley to a position as senior policy adviser to the federal Finance Department.

Crowley is the founding president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, created to promote Atlantica as the economic union of the Atlantic provinces with the New England states. He's also a big fan of NASCO, the ten lane corridor almost a quarter of a mile wide with gas, oil, electricity, and water pipelines running up either side, which is being proposed to link Mexico, with her non-union truck drivers, directly to Winnipeg.

The Canada/US border, according to Crowley, is merely an impediment to "continental integration" :
"The east-west axis for development of North America is being supplemented by a drive to stitch back together the old north-south trade routes that had flourished across the continent before 1867."

Ah yes, the goode olde dayes.
Other concepts from before 1867 that win Crowley's approval are lack of pay equity for women, lack of regional development funding, lack of EI and welfare, and lack of government interference in the glorious free market.

Friday, October 6, 2006

The Federal Bureau of Integration

FBI agents are carrying out investigations in Canada without the approval of the Canadian government. Yeah, I know - quel surprise.

But there's an interesting bit of vid up on CBC about it here : Video - Evan Dyer.
I know you hate the clicky/linky thing so here's the gist of it.
RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli assured Canadians that no effort would be spared to avoid a repetition of the Arar debacle, and he has since put in place procedures that centralize and properly vet "paper documentation" going to U.S. authorities.

However Evan Dyer reports that this means doodly because members of the FBI are in fact physically present at those very meetings. The Canadian Integrated National Security & Enforcement Teams are there when ongoing investigations are discussed. Ongoing, as in unproven.
INSET handled the intel on Arar and the Toronto 17.

Dyer further points out that this is particularly troubling given the recent passage of the U.S. Military Commissions Bill, which allows the U.S. to prosecute foreigners, including Canadians, on hearsay evidence.

I'm guessing despite Zac's concern about vetting "paper documentation", the FBI will probably manage to take its own notes at those meetings.

"When asked about the report during question period, Day said Canadian security forces work with Canada's allies, including the U.S, and have agreements in terms of information sharing."
Shorter Day : It's ok if the FBI doesn't ask our permission first before initiating their own investigation because we already said they don't have to.

Shorter me : Isn't this where we came in? Stockwell Day has Stockholm Syndrome.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Senate endorses leaky umbrella

A senate defence committee report released Thursday says Canada should sign on to the U.S. ballistic missile defence program.
Because signing on to a program that can't even pass its own tests on a good day under ideal conditions in that sink hole of escalating pre-emptive militarization and weaponization of space that is the flagship of U.S. diplomacy just seems like the right thing to do.
Here's a better test of Canadian security for you - How many Canadian students travelling abroad sport a US flag on their backpacks?
To be fair, the Senate Defence Committee also advises doubling the amount of money we assign to foreign aid :
"The likelihood of reducing world turmoil through military responses is a mug's game. Force won't work on its own."

Yeah, well, they got the first sentence right.
Link. Much better coverage of this at No BMD, eh?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Anschluss watchdogs

Remember the super-secret deep integration conference at the Banff Springs Hotel last week?And the quite spectacular non-coverage it received from CBC and the print media?

Well today it just became a whole lot more visible thanks to ...

Aaron Paton at the Banff Crag and Canyon who scooped the mainstream media.
Susan Thompson at Vive le Canada who followed up on publishing Mel Hurtig's email last week with a list of the conference's participants and agenda, and
Maude Barlow of Council of Canadians who provides a concise overview in today's Toronto Star, the first big paper to make any mention of it.

On the blogs, skdadl at Pogge summarizes the progress so far, while Ross at The Gazetteer has been pushing on this all week in five separate posts.

Take a bow, Anschluss watchdogs, for paying attention to the little men behind the curtain.

Update : Gosh, and thanks just ever so, CBC, for this truly stellar piece of investigative journalism.
And to think they were working without a media press kit from Stockboy!
They did at least quote Banff taxi driver Chris Foote, who as Herbinator mentioned below, should have been prominantly included in my list above for his part in getting the word out.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Stop the clock

Yesterday I was furious that there was no mention on CBC or in any newspaper of the Canada/US "deep integration" conference wrapping up today in Banff. One would have thought that the possibility of Donald Rumsfeld's visit to Canada would have rated at least a one-liner somewhere.

Nada. Ditto today.

Silly me. I should have been looking among the Anschluss fans :
"This is how the future of North America now promises to be written: not in a sweeping trade agreement on which elections will turn, but by the accretion of hundreds of incremental changes implemented by executive agencies, bureaucracies and regulators. "We've decided not to recommend any things that would require legislative changes," says Covais. "Because we won't get anywhere." "

"The guidance from the ministers was, 'tell us what we need to do and we'll make it happen,' " recalls Covais, who chairs the U.S. section of the council, which includes 10 CEOs of big companies like Wal-Mart, General Motors and Merck."

"Covais figures they've got less than two years of political will to make it happen. That's when the Bush administration exits, and "The clock will stop if the Harper minority government falls or a new government is elected."

That's Ron Covais - President of the Americas for Lockheed Martin, a former Pentagon adviser to Dick Cheney and Chair of the US section of the North American Competitiveness Council created during the Harper/Bush Cancun meet in March.
He made these remarks following the last deep integration conference in Washington in June.
The objective of the current Banff conference is to draw up a list of recommendations for ministers of "Canada's New Government" for the reopening of parliament in October.

Stop the clock. Stop it any way you can.

Write to the CBC, national newspapers, your MLA.
It may be inevitable/necessary/natural that one day we will see a North America union with one coin, one flag, one defense perimeter, one education system, one health care system, one energy resource pool, etc.
Opposition to this idea in Canada is often spun as anti-Americanism by its corporate sponsors and their government flacks.
It isn't. It's anti-corporatism. And most Americans agree with us.

Stop the clock.

Update : Sept 20/06
Ok, this story has now finally made it into the mainstream press.
Here's Maude Barlow of Council of Canadians in today's Toronto Star.
Note how many of the details are still very much under wraps.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Emerson : NAFTA is crap

No, he didn't actually use the word "crap".
He did one better : he explained why it *is* crap for Canada.

"I want people to remember that NAFTA is built on domestic laws," Emerson said. "You can win a legal victory today, and think you have established a legal precedent, only to have Congress change the laws affecting the industry and the way disputes are litigated in the future."

In other words - if no US law is broken, the US wins the dispute.
If a US law is broken causing the US to lose the dispute, Congress simply changes that law and mounts an appeal.

We would like to thank David Emerson for being the first member of Harper's cabinet to publicly admit that NAFTA is a crappy deal for Canada.

Of course, Emerson is only knocking NAFTA to sell his and Steve's 'Firesale! softwood diplomacy' as a better alternative. And we already know that Steve intends to blackmail the opposition into accepting it rather than risk having the government go down in a non-confidence vote this fall.
As Toronto Star's David Crane puts it :
"Because U.S. courts were finding for Canada, the Bush administration wanted an immediate settlement.The Harper government caved. Now we will have to see whether the opposition parties will do the same."

Bonus : Dave's Snarky (Northern) Canadian Blog explains Emerson's affinity for Firesale! diplomacy.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Tread water and carry a big stick

Shorter David Emerson : If the lumber companies don't voluntarily sign off on giving $1 billion in illegal softwood bribe money to the US in order to keep the Cons in power here, then, as the government of Canada, we will let the US keep the whole damn $5 billion.

Emerson states that negotiations have ended and the White House has no more appetite left for further negotiations.

Hah! By "negotiations" he is presumably referring to the unamended version of the deal which Canadian lumber companies received only days before he signed off on it.
CathiefromCanada was right on the money when she pointed out that an agreement requires, you know, agreement.

He also has the unmitigated gall to slag the previous liberal government's strategy of winning all softwood disputes in both international and US courts - at a "cost of millions". Which last time I looked was still less than "billions".

Hey, asshole, weren't you a big part of that strategy when you were with the Libs? I mean, wasn't the big rationale for you defecting to the Cons that it would enable you to continue your valuable work despite a change in government? So who exactly is it you are actually working for again?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gosh is it G8 time again already?
Yes it is, and Harper will be leaving for St Petersburg this week.
You remember last year's G8 summit in Gleneagles, right?
The televised Live 8 concert and the billions of dollars in aid promised by the world's richest nations to the world's poor.

On the way over, Harper will first make a stop in England, who failed to meet the Live 8 Aid to Africa target they set for themselves last year, and afterwards he'll spend a day in France, the only country who did.
The focus of this year's G8 is "energy security".
Well, that's handy - Harper should be really well boned up on this one.
As it happens, "energy security" was also a focus of the "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America" pact which Harper endorsed in his meeting with Bush just this last March. In fact the phrases "North American energy security" and "North American energy markets" appear repeatedly in this document, along with the stated goal of "Increasing private sector engagement in the SPP by adding high-level business input".

Plus of course Bush and Harper announced the implementation of the North American Big Box Competitiveness Council.
Death to regulation of industry by government, but pleased as punch to have industry regulating government.
I wonder what grand promises will be made in the interests of the public good this time round.
And whether Harper will be "standing up for Canada" or North America.

Friday, July 7, 2006

The far side of crazy

From the transcript of the Bush/Harper press conference yesterday, here is Bush answering a question about the threat posed by North Korea :
Are you ready, Ginger?
"blah, blah, blah, blah, we're trying to make sure, by the way, that the missile that he fired wasn't headed for Canada. We don't know, for a fact, where it was headed. But, for example, one thing that Stephen and I talked about is he could be seemingly firing a missile at the United States, say, at -- I don't know, this is all speculation -- but could be headed toward the Northwest of our country, and it wouldn't take much for it to get off course, and end somewhere where he may not have intended blah, blah, blah, blah."
Did you get all that, Ginger?
What's that? You only heard "missile headed for Canada"?
Good boy, Ginger, good boy!
At this point Harper is balancing sucking up to Bush with not freaking Canada out about it.
Harper has hitched his wagon to Bush's falling star and up till now Canadians have shown little inclination to follow. We are especially leary of hitching Canada's wagon to Bush's Star Wars shenanigans.
Harper's best hope here is to convince Canadians that it is already too late to base our security on our ability to keep our distance from the egregious imperialist misadventures of our neighbours to the south.
So the question for Canadians is : Are we any smarter than Ginger?
Bonus snark : Bush calls Harper "Steve"; Harper calls Bush "Mr. President". Try to imagine Harper calling Bush "George".

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Gravy train spotting

Some people hate the Americans.
I don't.
Americans are just wankers.
We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers.*

Eleanor Grant has a great piece up, tracing the history and players of "deep integration", or, as the Canadian Council of Chief Executives winningly puts it : "creating a single economic space".

The only thing I would add to her excellent summary is that it's always worth dropping by the CCCE website from time to time to listen to them take credit for it.

*with apologies to Irvine Welsh

Monday, July 3, 2006

Extra soft and super absorbent

David Emerson hailed the new improved softwood lumber agreement as "a nation-to-nation agreement, it's a treaty."

Ha! Why, sure, if by "treaty" you mean another 2-ply extra-soft super-absorbent guarantee that the US will treat like so much used toilet paper whenever it suits them.
And what do we get out of it? In return for $1 billion, the US promises not to bother losing any more NAFTA court battles to us for the next two years.
Harper released a statement hailing the agreement as "a great day for Canada" and CTV further reports:
"the Tory hope is that, with softwood out of the way, Harper and Bush can concentrate on issues like global security, water exports..."

And photo ops. Lots and lots of photo ops.
You're not fooling anyone, you know.
Update : Ross at The Gazetteer is all over this.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hey Alberta, who's your daddy?

This year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival is going to feature the "culture of Alberta".
"Festival director Diana Parker said the Smithsonian worked with Albertan scholars, government officials and ordinary citizens to come up with ....."

Go on, take a guess. What's it going to be?
The Calgary Stampede? The Oilers? Wheat-henge?
Nope. The "culture of Alberta" is a monster truck and the tar sands.

From Canadian Press :"One in three Alberta jobs depends on exports to the United States and 85 per cent of those exports are petroleum and natural gas."

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sinking Atlantica

The “Reaching Atlantica: Business Without Borders” conference just wrapped up last weekend. It's an Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce proposal to expand economic and political links between the Maritimes and the Northeastern US, and it kind of makes sense when you look at the map, doesn't it? Atlantic Canada plus Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York state and part of northern Massachusetts.
In fact the front page of the Atlantica website states :
"After the Americans rejected Reciprocity and Confederation was born, the continent was divided into two national 1867."
If this sounds like an unusual reading of history to Canadian ears, it may be because the VP soon-to-be-President of the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce is an American and the CEO of Eastern Maine Development Corp.
And while there are many alarming references to minimum wage legislation, size of public employee workforce and “union density” as barriers to “Labour Market Flexibility” and “Public Sector Efficiency”, it is in the Atlantica Media pages that they really get down to it :
"If the vision of Atlantica could be realized, it would be a wonderful facilitator toward restoring Atlantic Canada's heritage as a thriving centre of international trade, but even better would be to integrate all of Canada and the U.S. inside one big continental economic and security zone, which would also eliminate the looming problem of American passport controls at the border which former Ambassador to the U.S. Frank McKenna estimated as potentially causing a reduction of up to 7.7 million visitors to Canada, and losses of nearly $2 billion annually - mainly from the tourism industry.
The ideal solution would be a European Union-style "perimeter" that would allow Canada and the U.S. to jointly manage common external border entry points while largely dismantling internal border restrictions. Last year, an independent task force sponsored by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, of which former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley is a co-chair, recommended that Canada, the United States and Mexico become a single trading zone. This is so logical that it should be a no-brainer, but resistance from the above-mentioned "usual suspects" is of course a given."

I'm sorry, who were those usual suspects you mentioned again?
Ah yes, here it is :"the usual suspects - unions, rabid ultranationalists like the Council of Canadians, radical feminists, and other fellow-traveling leftist flat-earthers"
Dear Atlantica : While your proposal is generally well researched and adequately reasoned, in your list of usual suspects you refer to "fellow-travelling leftist flat-earthers" when the more usual designation of "godless tree-hugging Commie fags" would be more consistent with the rest of your material.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

NASCO - Paving the way for stuff

According to their website, NASCO is "a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the world’s first international, integrated and secure, multi-modal transportation system along the International Mid-Continent Trade and Transportation Corridor to improve both the trade competitiveness and quality of life in North America."
For "quality of life" here, read "stuff".
Expanding the wealth and power of corporations at the expense of people and the environment.
A ten lane corridor almost a quarter of a mile wide with gas, oil, electricity, and water pipelines running up either side, extending all the way from Mexico to Winnipeg.
Containers from the far East to be offloaded at Mexican deep-sea ports and transported by truck to the new $3 mil Mexican Customs Office - in Kansas City!
Texas has already been given both federal funding and the go-ahead to begin their section of this toll-road, and the second "Hemispheria" summit to discuss this project was due to happen in Winnipeg earlier this month.

What could possibly go wrong?
Oh yeah... Terror, Terror, Terror! Big fences! Passports and tighter border security! Bad Canada harbours terrorists! Canadians are naive! says Harper. Beef up Canada's spy network! Get under the Ballistic Missile Defense Umbrella! says the Canadian Council of Chief Executives."
Hemispheria" was cancelled due to security concerns, over the objections of the mayor of Winnipeg and the (so far laughably small) Winnipeg arm of NASCO, after the Manitoba government evidently deemed the $8 mil cost of providing security for the expected 600 CEOs and US governors to be prohibitively expensive.

So the real issue is profit vs security then?
No. The real issue is profit and their security, how to free up the movement of capital while simultaneously controlling the movement of people.
Terror! Terror! Terror! is merely one way of getting us to agree to it.
We haven't yet, but they'll be back.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Senate endorses leaky umbrella

A senate defence committee report released Thursday says Canada should sign on to the U.S. ballistic missile defence program.
Because signing on to a program that can't even pass its own tests on a good day under ideal conditions in that sink hole of escalating pre-emptive militarization and weaponization of space that is the flagship of U.S. diplomacy just seems like the right thing to do.
Here's a better test of Canadian security for you - How many Canadian students travelling abroad sport a US flag on their backpacks?
.To be fair, the Senate Defence Committee also advises doubling the amount of money we assign to foreign aid :
"The likelihood of reducing world turmoil through military responses is a mug's game. Force won't work on its own."
Yeah, well, they got the first sentence right.
Link. Much better coverage of this at No BMD, eh?

Thursday, May 4, 2006

The Media is the Massage

Flag by Scout over at Harper Valley
Great, isn't it?
Would be a good backdrop for the magic act appearing in the (I kid you not!) 'Grand Scheme Ballroom' tomorrow.
American NeoCon funnyman Frank Luntz will be up in Canada teaching a select group of Canadian Con polis and Con media how to perform his Newspeak dog and phony show, aptly titled "Massaging the Conservative Message For Voters".

Some highlights from his previous shows down south : "September 11 changed everything.
So start with 9/11….Without the context of 9/11, you will be blamed for the deficit….The trick is then to contextualize the deficit inside of 9/11."
"No speech about homeland security or Iraq should begin without a reference to 9/11"and who could forget : "Never say 'drilling for oil', say 'exploring for energy'."
"Hotter Than Hell" quasher Rona Ambrose is already retelling her own version of this one :"Instead of using the term "global warming," substitute "climate change" because while global warming has catastrophic communications attached to it, climate change sounds a more controllable and less emotional challenge."
Some of his older stuff, like "Contract With America" which he co-authored with Newt Gingrich, has gotten more than a little stale, but tomorrow the Cons will be learning how to retell those old jokes in their own inimitable comic style.

I can hardly wait. I'm sure I won't have to.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Great Parliamentary Afghanistan Debate

Harper wasn't there. Neither was Duceppe.
Not only was there no vote, there was no debate either.
Attendence : Out of a possible 308 MPs:
  • 58 Conservative MPs, dropping to 14 after O'Connor finished
  • 21 Liberals but dropped to 102
  • 2Bloc Quebecois
  • 8 NDP, rising to 20
Fucking shameful.
Especially as Canadians are divided about 50/50 over whether we should be there at all.

Here is one reason we are just a bit concerned:"
"Canadian soldiers could be charged with war crimes in the International Criminal Court because of an agreement the government approved on the handling of detainees captured in Afghanistan," warns UBC international law professor Michael Byers.
University of Ottawa Prof. Amir Attaran, a constitutional human rights law specialist, agrees.

Under international law Canada has an obligation to ensure any detainee is protected against torture, not only when they are transferred into Afghan custody but if they are sent onwards to a third nation, such as the U.S.

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said last week he is satisfied with the pact, as is Opposition leader Bill Graham, who was the Liberal's defence minister when the agreement was signed in Kabul in December.
Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier signed the agreement even though the Afghan government's own human rights commission warned in 2004 that the torture of prisoners is "routine."
So far, more than 100 detainees from Iraq and Afghanistan have died in U.S. custody.
Canadian military officers, however, have continually said they are confident any detainees turned over to the U.S. would be treated humanely."

Here's another reason, from the Government of Canada National Defense website :
"On November 29, 2005, Camp Julien, which was the Canadian base of operations in Kabul, officially closed. Canadian Forces personnel in Afghanistan, were relocated to Kandahar in the southern region of Afghanistan as part of the United States-led campaign against terrorism known as Operation ENDURING FREEDOM ( OEF )."

And Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor had the unmitigated gall to open the proceedings with Bush's "Fly-paper" analogy :
"Fighting terrorists in Afghanistan is better than waiting until they show up in Vancouver, Montreal or Ottawa, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor told the Commons on Monday."Canada is in Afghanistan because it is in our national interest,'' he said. "Our security begins very far from our borders.'' "

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Big Box Government

I didn't see the president of Home Depot climbing around the ruins at Cancun but evidently she was there :

Bush, Harper, and Fox "also announced the establishment of a North American Competitiveness Council. The council will comprise representatives of business and the three governments and will have a say in targeting projects and ideas aimed at creating a more creative market environment.
One business leader who joined in a meeting with the three leaders over the new council said she feels considerable urgency among governments to get at the smart-card issue.
"I don't know the technicalities of it, but I do know that the intent of governments are to get together and come up with something that is technologically easy," said Annette Verschuren, president of Home Depot Canada. "We just don't want to slow down the movement of products and people."

Say, didn't Tom Ridge retire as US Homeland Security Secretary to join the board of Home Depot?
Why yes he did :
"We are honored to have Ridge join our board, where we expect that his unique global experience and perspective will make a profound contribution to our company and our shareholders," said Home Depot Chief Executive Bob Nardelli.

Ridge is quite familiar with home-improvement projects. He was instrumental in a short-lived run on duct tape in early 2003, when he encouraged Americans to turn to the sticky substance and plastic sheeting as protection against terrorists using chemical and/or biological agents.
The move, which drew criticism from many corners, motivated many across the country to stock up -- to the extent that some retailers reported widespread shortages.
Home Depot, in fact, went so far as to set up special Homeland Security displays near its entrances to tout sales of duct tape, plastic sheeting, batteries and bottled water, among other safe-room supplies.

At the time, Ridge had just upped the color-coded security threat advisory to orange, the second highest level."
Government and business, working together.

OK back to the future at the Glib and Mall :
"Our three countries are facing unprecedented competition from large developing economies such as China and India," said Thomas d'Aquino, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. "A positive and constructive tone at the top is essential if our three countries are to move forward in defining a new and stronger North America."

He elaborates further on this new North American Competiveness Council at the Council of Chief Executives website where he adds :

"We would restate our view that it is in Canada’s interest to participate in the ballistic missile defence program."
Government and business working together.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cancún cowboys

The Canadian press was very quiet about the Cancún summit today.
Fortunately, the American papers are full of it...but not as 'full of it' as usual.
From the Miami Herald : italics mine
Bush will find soul mate in Canada's Harper
"While meeting in Cancún, Mexico, President Bush should find he has a lot in common with Canada's new prime minister, Stephen Harper.
CANCUN, Mexico - President Bush arrives in Cancún today for a two-day summit with Mexican President Vicente Fox and new conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a political soul mate who is bent on improving his country's frosty relations with Washington.
While talks with Fox about immigration are expected to dominate the session at this Yucatán vacation resort, Harper will be pushing his own agenda, and when Bush sits down with him on Thursday, he'll see a mirror image of himself.
Harper, a 46-year-old economist, rose to Canada's highest office by talking about his religious faith, vowing to cut taxes and end government corruption and promising to reconsider a same-sex marriage law that Canada's Parliament approved last June -- all themes that Bush campaigned on in 2000 and 2004.
In addition, Harper said he'll consider the White House's offer for Canada to join in fielding a continental ballistic missile shield, an invitation that former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin rejected.
''If George Bush can't get along with Stephen Harper, he can't get along with any world leader,'' said David Taras, a political science professor at the University of Calgary. ``They're ideological cousins, if not twins.''

Sworn into office last month, Harper borrowed a page from Bush's playbook and secretly traveled to Afghanistan earlier this month to meet with Canadian troops, highlight his country's contribution to the war on terrorism and buck up domestic support for the mission.
The trip also sent a message to Washington, according to John Hulsman, an analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
''That was to show the cavalry is back in town, that they're not going to be anti-American,'' he said. ``Harper, like Bush, has a black-and-white, good-and-evil view of the world -- they're cut from the same cloth."

Now why can't we get great press coverage like that in Canada?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Anschluss Watch

Michael Wilson, the new Canadian Ambassador to the US, helped bring in NAFTA as Mulroney's Minister of International Trade and has been a tireless advocate of privatizing public corporations. More recently he favoured Canada joining the US in the Iraq adventure.

He was one of a dozen Canadians who brokered The Task Force on the Future of North America into the more watered down Waco Pact signed by Paul Martin, Vicente Fox, and George Bush in March 2005.

The original Task Force of which Michael Wilson was a member made the following recommendations:

  • a North American resource pact allowing greater trade and investment in non-renewable resources, such as oil, gas, and water
  • an integrated N.A. electrical grid
  • a common N.A. currency
  • a N.A. passport
  • a N.A. security perimeter
  • an educational project to teach the idea of a "shared N.A. identity" in schools
  • a harmonization of immigration and refugee policies with the US
  • a trilateral threat intelligence center with the US and Mexico

And this is the guy who is going to "Stand Up For Canada" ?

Anschluss Watch 2

At the UN Economic and Social Council Commission on the Status of Women, 41 countries voted in favour of a resolution to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes.

And Canada and the US voted against it.

"Welcoming the report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that addresses the issue of Palestinian pregnant women giving birth at Israeli checkpoints owing to denial of access by Israel to hospitals, with a view to ending this Israeli practice".

"Israel's representative said she recognized the difficult situation faced by Palestinian women, but the text failed to assess the multiple causes of those difficulties : If terrorism did not exist, Palestinian women would live without the detriment of security checkpoints and the security fence. She called on the Commission to vote against the text."

In favour: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, China, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania.

Against: Canada, United States

This valiant siding with the US in refusing to allow Palestinian women to go home represents Canada's first UN vote since the Cons took office.

Link at UN, but I first read about it at the Gazetteer

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

We never forget who you are either


Lockheed Martin, the largest war profiteer in the world with 80% of its business contracted to the US Department of Defense, is providing the software for the next Canada Census.
Their company motto is "We never forget who we're working for".

Countmeout has some helpful suggestions as to how to protest both deep integration and NAFTA while still legally counting yourself in. Before the volume goes up way past Chapter 11.

Omission Accomplished

George Bush - March 2, 2006 in The Star Phoenix :
"I assure you this government of yours will not blink, we will not yield. . . . The United States doesn't cut and run,' Bush said to enthusiastic cheers and applause [in Afghanistan]."

Stephen Harper - March 8, 2006 in The Calgary Herald :"Canadians don't cut and run at the first sign of trouble. That's the nature of this country. And when we send troops into the field, I expect Canadians to support those troops," said Harper."

Fucked that one up, eh Harper?
Are there good reasons to deploy Canadian troops in Afghanistan? Because you're going to need something more substantial than merely your ability to perfectly parrot whatever Bush says.
Bush has made extensive use of the "if you don't support my wars then you don't support the troops" rhetoric.
What a fucking crock. Don't you even try that bullshit up here.
All Canadians support the troops. Got that, Harper? All Canadians.
Disagreeing with your or Bush's use of them does not mean we don't support the troops.

Ok, you can wipe Bush's bullshit off your chin now.

And in other news in Afghanistan, I see opium rations are up again...

Thursday, March 2, 2006

The Thing with Two, or Four, Heads

"Health Canada is looking at the idea of conducting joint reviews of new drugs with the American government, an idea long promoted by the pharmaceutical industry as a way to get their products on the market more quickly.
"Four heads are better than two ... You're exploring the possibility of real-time dialogue with the FDA," said Jirina Vlk, a Health Canada spokeswoman."

Canadians who generally like to see only one head per body will remember that after FDA scientists in the US approved an over-the-counter morning-after pill, the Bush administration over-ruled them and required women to get a doctor's prescription first.

"Unless Health Canada can show that an independent review process is essential to the health and safety of Canadians ... why not piggyback?" asked Jonathan Goodman, a spokesman for Canada's Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), the brand-name-drug makers' association."

Because, Mr Goodman, Canada hasn't yet developed a morning-after pill for deep integration with the US. And even if we did, we're pretty sure you and Bush would try to prevent us from getting access to it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gun registry - no ...People registry - yes

"Sooner or later, Canadians will have to carry some form of identification other than a passport to travel outside the country," says the new federal minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Stockwell Day.
Why isn't a passport good enough, Doris? It's worked just fine so far, both for travel to the US and abroad.

"Day said the need for identification of some sort came up again this week when he spoke on the phone with his U.S. counterpart, Homeland Security' Secretary Michael Chertoff", who we all remember for being praised by Bush as "a practical organiser, a skilled manager and a brilliant thinker" and for being in charge of the US gov't response to Hurricane Katrina and for helping to craft the war on terror.

See, it doesn't matter if Doris is a nutter as long as he surrounds himself with good advisors.
So, Doris, you're against gun registry but for people registry?

Doris later confided he wished his ministry had a really cool name like Homeland Security - blam! blam! blam! - instead of a lameass one like Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which kind of reminds him of helping little kids cross the street and stocking up on extra candles and tinned goods.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Wacko Waco Pact

Schwartzman suggests in the comments that a follow-up is needed as to what happened as a result of 'The Task Force on the Future of North America' (see below). He recommends this from The Council of Canadians website.
I'll wait here while you go read it.
Go on - it's really short.
It's a pact called 'The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America' (SPP), and was signed by Canada PM Paul Martin, Mexico President Vicente Fox, and US President George Bush on March 23, 2005 in Waco, Texas. It reads like a slightly more anemic version of the Task Force on the Future of NA.
No one paid much attention to it at the time, as this was the same day that the media was clogged with the spectacle of Crusader Bunnypants criss-crossing the nation, pen in hand, to save the brain-dead Terri Schiavo from slipping through the fingers of the christian right into a dignified death.

But maybe you think The Council of Canadians, a watchdog group which has written extensively against "deep integration" with the US, is acting like The Council of Chicken Little here.
Given that it was the Canadian Council of Chief Executives who first launched this whole initiative in 2003, perhaps it would be a better idea to go to their website and see what they themselves have to say about it :

Task Force Report Emphasizes Need for Urgent Action on North American Security and Prosperity
"The final report of the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America adds momentum to the trinational security and prosperity initiative launched recently by the leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada, says the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE).
Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and composed of 26 leading figures from government, academia, business and the non-profit sector, the Task Force strongly endorses the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) announced at the March 23 summit in Texas, and proposes building on and extending that initiative by creating a new community by 2010 with a single market, common external tariff, and an outer security perimeter.
In January 2003, the CCCE embarked on a multi-year project to develop a strategy for shaping Canada's future within North America and beyond. In launching its North American Security and Prosperity Initiative (NASPI), the CCCE said that a Canadian strategy for managing its future within the continent should be based on five pillars: reinventing borders; regulatory efficiency; resource security; the North American defence alliance; and new institutions. All five areas are addressed in the final report of the CFR-sponsored Task Force."

Well of course they like it - they wrote it.
It's their very own "Chickens For Colonel Sanders" campaign.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Quisling Watch

Quisling Watch :
John Manley - former Liberal Deputy Prime Minister and ex-Finance Minister of Canada
Michael Wilson - former Tory Canada Finance Minister
Pierre-Marc Johnson - former Quebec premier
James Dinning - former Alberta Finance Minister
Tom Axworthy - former Chief of Staff to P E Trudeau
Thomas D'Aquino - Chief Executive of Canadian Council of Chief Executives

Thanks to the above for all their work this year on the 'Task Force on the Future of North America'. We are especially grateful for these recommendations:
  • a N.A. resource pact allowing greater trade and investment in non-renewable resources, such as oil, gas, and water
  • an integrated N.A. electrical grid
  • a common N.A. currency
  • a N.A. passport
  • a N.A. security perimeter
  • an educational project to teach the idea of a "shared N.A. identity" in schools
  • a harmonization of immigration and refugee policies with the US
  • a trilateral threat intelligence center with US and Mexico

and also for this quote:
"Governance has not kept pace with economic realities and is preventing further integration."