As reported yesterday, heads of government and business in Canada, the US and Mexico (including Donald Rumsfeld, Stockwell Day, Chevron, Lockheed Martin and NORAD) met in Banff from September 12th to 14th to pursue a closed door agenda for the merging or 'deep integration' of North American economies, currency and security. The media has been almost entirely silent.
Today The Star published an editorial by Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians on the meeting and its implications for Canadian sovereignty, environment and foreign policy.
The event was organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives — the elite club of Canada's richest CEOs — and the Canada West Foundation, an Alberta think-tank that promotes, among other things, closer economic integration with the United States.....
Since Paul Martin, Vicente Fox and George W. Bush signed the Security and Prosperity Partnership in March 2005, discussions on continental integration have gone underground.For more information and online discussion see the running threads on Daily Kos and The Next Agenda, as well as Creekside for more coverage on last week's meeting in Banff.
The media have paid little attention to this far-reaching agreement, so Canadians are unaware that a dozen working groups are currently "harmonizing" Canadian and U.S. regulations on everything from food to drugs to the environment and even more contentious issues like foreign policy.
Make no mistake, this process of harmonization is not about improving food, environmental and other norms; it is about priming North America for better business by weakening the impacts of such perceived obstacles as environmental standards and labour rights.
In addition, here is an article that ran last week in Maclean's that details the major meeting held last March, which included Stephen Harper.
Contact your local papers and demand to know why they are not covering this story, as well as your representative in Parliament, Congress or the Senate and make your views known.
Ron Covais is in a hurry. The president of the Americas for defence giant Lockheed Martin, and a former Pentagon adviser to Dick Cheney, he's one of a cherry-picked group of executives who were whisked to Cancún in March by the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and asked to come up with a plan for taking North American integration beyond NAFTA. 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."
In Cancún, the executives gathered behind closed doors in a luxury hotel and vented about slow borders, duplicate regulations and the competitive threat from the European Union and Asia. "It was an intimate discussion. It was a lot of fun, there were no reporters, just a freewheeling discussion on the things that drive you crazy," recalls Annette Verschuren, the president of Home Depot Canada, who flew in on Harper's jet and said the PM was "very engaged."