Last month, while Canadians were ooing and ahhing over the rumoured romance between Peter MacKay and Condoleezza Rice (we haven't heard a thing about that one since, have we?), the meat of North America's political machinery was in Banff, Alberta engaged in closed door meetings for the merging of the continent's security, economies and military.
As a democratic exercise, I wrote to the leaders of our opposition parties to discover their stance on the most important issue facing the sovereign future of Canadians. In tandem with that effort, I also wrote to our major news outlets to politely inquire as to why this meeting was not picked up and reported on. Here are the results.
Of the five news companies I wrote - The Globe & Mail, Canwest, Alberta affiliates of Global TV, CTV and the CBC - none responded to either of the two enquiries I submitted.
In Ottawa, I wrote to the Liberal party, the NDP, the Green Party, my personal MP (Derek Bell - Lib), and the major contenders for the Liberal leadership - Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff, Stephane Dion, Ken Dryden, and Gerard Kennedy. Of all these public officials only two offered a response, Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff.
Mr. Layton provided a comprehensive stance against deep integration and other Conservative initiatives that represent a potential threat to Canadian interests. From Mr. Ignatieff I received a brief note that stated his support of Canadian sovereignty with no mention of deep integration in particular. Below are their respective responses in full.
Response from Jack Layton, Leader, Federal NDP
Thank you for informing me of your concern about the further integration of Canada with the United States and Mexico.
At an October 4th press conference and in Parliament, NDP International Trade and Globalization critic, Peter Julian, outlined the NDP's opposition to plans to fast-track North American integration through the harmonization of 300 common areas of legislation and regulations.
Mr. Julian stated, "This is the giving away of Canada’s command to the U.S. Republican administration and to North America’s largest corporations. We are seeing this with the Softwood Lumber Agreement and with the Canadian Wheat Board, as well as in a variety of other sectors." For more information, please see attachment below and visit: http://www.ndp.ca/page/4413.
The recent Banff meeting of top government, corporate and military officials from all three countries has heightened this concern. It was clear that organizers and participants intended to keep this important meeting on integration out of the public eye.
Mr. Julian has been active on this file since the launch of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) - http://www.ndp.ca/page/1444. Please be assured that the federal NDP will continue to demonstrate strong leadership on deep integration as we have on other important issues such as Afghanistan and the Softwood Lumber Agreement.
Again, thank you for taking the time to convey your interest to safeguard our future and our Canadian sovereignty. Feel free to forward this email to all others who may share this concern.
Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
Leader, Canada’s New Democrats
Response from Michael Ignatieff:
Mr. Ignatieff is a strong defender of Canadian sovereignty. He does not believe that we should make our country more dependant on the United States, or any other country. We must always maintain a strong and independent voice on the world stage.
Thank you for your question.
All the best,
Campaign Michael Ignatieff Leadership Campaign
I would encourage all Canadian readers to forward this article to your MP's and demand their views on the matter, especially if you are in a Liberal riding. The Security and Prosperity Partnership was begun under the Paul Martin government, and as the Liberal's will likely return to power before this issue is resolved, their stance and future action on this issue needs to be made known to voters in advance of the next election, as well as in the current leadership race.
You can find your local MP at the Parliament search site.