Shorter John Ibbitson : If Maude Barlow of Council of Canadians and some right wing nutters in the US are both sending out alarms about North American integration, well then I guess we can call it a draw and forget the whole damn thing.
What a "fair and balanced" load of foxcrap.
"Political realities are no obstacle to conspiracy theorists", writes Ibbitson, juxtaposing these two examples:
"The North American Union will bury our America under more than 100 million, mostly poor Mexicans, and tens of millions of Canadians, used to their lavish social welfare benefits and socialized medicine unless we stop it," the News Journal of Mansfield, Ohio, gravely warned in a recent editorial.
While on the Canadian side, Ms. Barlow maintains that "deep integration," as she likes to call it, is "quite literally about eliminating Canada's ability to determine independent regulatory standards, environmental protections, energy security, foreign, military, immigration and other policies."
Right. See a single item on Barlow's list that isn't currently being violated? Need me to provide links to the downgrading of pesticide regs to match US ones, no water security under NAFTA, the NoFly list, CIA operations in Canada, Maher Arar? No? Tired of hearing about them?
Well then if these deeds are actually going on, it isn't much of a conspiracy theory, is it?
As opposed to the first example of being buried under spoiled brown welfare bums.
Ibbitson decides to provide us with a single concrete example of "lunatic not-so-fringe" thinking :
"The vast conspiracy to sell out the sovereignty of Canada, the United States and Mexico to a new North American Union would manage the flow of Canadian oil and water south to the thirsty United States and oversee the construction of the so-called NAFTA superhighway - a massive, 12-lane road, rail and oil-and-gas corridor that would snake from western Mexico, through the United States and into Canada, making it far easier and cheaper to import Chinese goods, thus completing the final destruction of the American and Canadian manufacturing sectors.
Of course there is no NAFTA superhighway, and no plans to build one, any more than there is any serious talk of a North American Union. "
Holy crap! This is going to come as a considerable shock to the U.S. Department of Transport, Federal Highway Administration, who have maps, and artist's renditions, and articles. From their website :
"The proposed system will be a network of transportation corridors (routes) incorporating separate lanes for passenger vehicles and trucks, rail lines for high-speed passenger and freight rail, and a dedicated utility zone. Components in the system may incorporate existing and new highways, railways, and utility rights-of-way where practical. Up to 366 meters (1,200 feet) wide in some places, the corridor is designed to move people and freight faster...
"... a 2,570-kilometer (1,600-mile) national highway that, once completed, will connect Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Other States involved in the I-69 project include Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The planned location for I-69, designated by the U.S. Congress in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), was chosen because of the economic opportunities that could be created along the north-south corridor, specifically those related to increased trade resulting from NAFTA. "
Now who knows if this super-highway will get past the outraged ranchers unable to get assurances their land will not be expropriated, the environmentalists alarmed that the project is proceeding prior to their final reports, Governor Perry's three political opponents crying foul, and the public fury that the public-private partnership bid is going to a South American company which is going keep the toll profits for decades.
It sure sounds pretty lively for "no NAFTA superhighway and no plans to build one".
Mr Ibbitson rests his case on Peter MacKay :
Mr. MacKay dismissed the whole shebang when he spoke to reporters after the meeting Friday. "I don't think the SPP should be viewed in a conspiratorial way," he said. "It should be viewed for what it is. It's a way to enhance our collective interests in North America."
Enhance our collective interests in North America?
Nice dodge, MacKay. You call that a rebuttal, Mr Ibbitson?
So. Mr Ibbitson. Here's what's got me pissed :
We already know that the rightwing from Lou Dobbs all the way to the John Birch Society view what they call the NAU as a super-secret probably Jewish cabal of international bankers and intellectuals intent on ruining America with brown people and Canadian commies.
Please do try to keep them separate in your head from Canadians who can see the incremental corporate-driven piece-meal harmonization of continental defence and agreements compelling countries to deregulate for the sole benefit of global investors.
That way you won't get caught up in some silly conspiracy to deny it.