Saturday, February 24, 2007

Canada's version of Frank Carlucci

Tom D'Aquino, chief of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, was on CBC's The House this morning defending yesterday's Security and Prosperity Partnership meeting in Ottawa yesterday. See post below.

He both began and ended his interview with a reference to 9/11.

A bit puzzling to Canadians till you remember Frank Luntz' advice :
Always open and close every speech with the words "9/11".
In between, Tom touted the SPP as corporate Canada's intention to implement Kyoto and better labour standards.
Bad bad lefties for doubting this.

Tom also denies that the North American Business Council has anything to do with the North American Union. (Note to Tom : Best get this off your website then.)
Also, it isn't so much that the SPP is secret - it's just that apparently the rest of us are too stupid to be bothered with.
Oh, and the North American Business Council? It's ok - they're just "business people".

See, that's the whole point, Tom. We didn't elect them.

Audio of Tom on CBC's The House - starts at 33:40.

h/t to Pete for Carlucci analogy

Friday, February 23, 2007

"Canada is not the gas tank of the U.S."

Hey Canadians - wake up! It's Feb. 23, Condi's here, and it's time for another gnu-gov installment of Security, Prosperity and Peace For Our Time Partnership.
In addition to Condi, attending the meeting today will be Peter MacKay, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and their Mexican counterparts.

The North American Competitiveness Council, these guys, will deliver 50 recommendations to the SPP ministers.
I'll just bet they will.
From Canadian Press :
"It's not often governments have to put out a press release reassuring their citizens they're not selling out their sovereignty."

"The SPP is legal and in no way violates the Constitution or affects the legal authorities of the participating executive agencies," reads the U.S. Security and Prosperity Partnership website.

MacKay addressed the concerns earlier this week.
"It's ensuring that Canada's sovereignty, Canada's interests and Canada's prosperity and security are going to be advanced through this partnership and through these very open and high-level dialogues," he said.
Still, the Canadian government provided no official briefing on what was expected from the meetings."

Heh. By "open", Stockboy is presumably referring to his public denial of the existence of the Banff SPP meeting in September, later followed up by his clarification that it wasn't actually "secret".
Typically, the Americans are rather more straight forward about it :
"We're working on a trilateral initiative on energy..." Tom Shannon, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said Thursday.

NDP Energy Critic, Dennis Bevington :
"Canada is not the gas tank of the United States. NAFTA already locks us into supplying energy to the United States even if ordinary Canadians go without; a North American Union would only make this worse."

and NDP Trade Critic Peter Julian :
"The Harper government must pull out of further talks on continental integration with the United States and Mexico or risk our national sovereignty.
Canadians should know that the SPP process supports a North American Union (NAU). The NDP rejects the secretive process surrounding these ongoing discussions. Canadians will never support a political ideology which aims at turning North America into a fortress for corporate interests and neglects the interests of ordinary Canadians. Canadian sovereignty is not for sale to the highest bidder and the federal government has no authority to push for a NAU without a mandate from Canadians,” said Julian

Julian is calling for a public debate.
You may remember him calling for one on the softwood lumber deal after a US negotiating lawyer informed us we were being sucker-punched. He also called for one on the Banff meeting.

Don't be looking to the Libs for any help on this - they're the ones who started it.
So, bloggers, start your engines.
Steve reading aloud from a tabloid in the House and bringing a whole gnu nuance to the poo-flinging more commonly known as Question Period is certainly rivetting stuff. But he was a dick the day before and will still be one tomorrow, so let's not be so diverted by that little Punch and Judy Show that we miss what's going on behind the curtain.

Both the links above, CP and NDP, are well worth a read.
With many thanks to Holly Stick for the nudge and the links.

LATE NIGHT UPDATE : MSM coverage of SPP implications of today's meeting
Nothing on CBC TV News or website, except for a pic of a protester being escorted away with no explanation as to what she was doing.
Nothing in the major dailies either but for this from the Hamilton Spectator :
"OTTAWA Top North American ministers deflected criticism that they had consulted only big business for their talks on trade and security rules, suggesting there are "different venues" for public interest and labour groups to raise concerns."

Different venues for public interest than our elected officials?
And what would those be, pray tell?
Legs on this south of the border though : Lou Dobbs on CNN
Anyone hear of any coverage up here?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Notes from the Anschluss

Remember that secret "deep integration" meeting held in Banff last September?
A total news blackout accompanied the week long conference - nothing in the news while it was going on but for this one local Banff paper, who have updated their scoop here.
At the time, some small amusement was provided by Stockwell Day who first asserted that there was no meeting and then later admitted that there had indeed been one but it wasn't a secret.

Now, courtesy of US Freedom of Information laws and the gods of irony, Canadians have access to some notes from those meetings.
From the Ottawa Citizen : Canadian, U.S. and Mexican officials held secretive meeting on integration
"Canadian, U.S. and Mexican politicians discussed using "stealth" to overcome public resistance to the integration of the three countries at a confidential meeting last year, according to documents just released under U.S. Freedom of Information laws.
Top military brass, corporate executives and diplomats also attended the meeting in Banff, Alta., where participants discussed everything from the harmonization of food and drug standards, to common immigration policies, and the pooling of energy resources.
The secret guest list of the North American Forum included then-U.S. secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld, Canadian Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, Pengrowth Corp. CEO James Kinnear and Lockheed Martin executive Ron Covais.
Presentation outlines for the forum acknowledge that the concept of North American integration - which some call a "North American Union" - is unpopular, and note that it might be tough to sell as a concept.
"While a vision is appealing, working on the infrastructure might yield more benefit and bring more people on board ('evolution by stealth')," the notes said."

Well, that explains all the secrecy quite well, doesn't it?.

"But, former finance minister John Manley, who attended the meeting, said the forum was "not part of a nefarious plan to yield sovereignty to the U.S. .... It was just some informed private citizens and government officials having a conversation on how best to co-operate to ensure their citizens enjoyed a safe and prosperous future."

Reassuring words. Or rather they would be had John Manley not been the Canadian Chair on the Task Force on the Future of North America back in 2005. You know, the one that called for one currency, one security perimeter, one passport, and a resource pact for oil, gas, and fresh water. To be fair to Manley, he did append some dissenting opinions on sovereignty to the final report before it was delivered to the Washington think tank who commissioned it.

Anyway back to this "partnership" thingey....Council of Canadians has expressed concern that :
"Most of the 300 policy recommendations within the accord may not require legislative changes."

So there's your "evolution by stealth".

Banff attendee Ron Covais, President of the Americas for Lockheed Martin and a former Pentagon adviser to Dick Cheney, explained it this way to Macleans :
"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."
"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."

So let's stop the damn clock.
Security and Prosperity Partnership web page at the White House.