By PAUL KORINGMonday, March 14, 2005Updated at 2:06 AM ESTFrom Monday's Globe and MailWashington - Canada, Mexico and the United States should collectively gird againstterrorism with a common security perimeter, protecting an increasingly integratedcontinent where residents freely cross internal borders and the three countries sharea common energy strategy.
That's the sweeping and undoubtedly controversial vision for North America thatis to be unveiled in Washington today by a blue-ribbon tri-national task force chairedby former Canadian deputy prime minister John Manley, former Mexican financeminister Pedro Aspe and former Massachusetts governor William Weld [...]
The US may have the corner on this behaviour at this juncture in history, but that doesn't mean there isn't a matching dynamic here. From the same article:
Spurred by self-interest to prevent Washington from slamming shut the border in caseof another major terrorist attack against the United States, "Canada and Mexico have anoverriding commercial interest in increasing North American security, apart from any other considerations," according to a draft version of the co-chairs' statement, obtained by The Globe and Mail.
- Unified visa and refugee regulations, joint inspection of container traffic at ports and integrated terror "watch" lists;
- Common biometric border passes that would allow seamless passage through customs, immigration and airports throughout North America;
- Shared external tariffs "at the lowest rate consistent with multilateral obligations";
- Joint energy and natural resource security strategies; (just wanna borrow a little oil and oh yeah, maybe some water?)
- A development strategy to stimulate growth in Mexico.
Don'tcha just feel safer already? I had a stomach ache for two days. Small encouragement, but there's a sense there could be some problems here:
New vision for North America criticized
By BETH GORHAM
Canoe News Network
March 14, 2005
A prominent task force's elaborate vision of a common economy and security perimeter in North America by 2010 drew fire Monday from some Canadians who see it as a dangeroussurrender of sovereignty designed to benefit big business.
The panel, which includes former deputy prime minister John Manley and is backed by Canada's business elite, insists thatleaders from Canada, the United States and Mexico have a crucial chance at theirmeeting next week in Texas to start building "the architecture of the future."
But Maude Barlow, head of the Council of Canadians, slammed contentious recommendations released Monday, saying they shouldn't gain traction when President George W. Bush sits down with PrimeMinister Paul Martin and Mexico's Vicente Fox to talk about NAFTA and securityissues.
"My worry is that because we said 'No' to Iraq and missile defence, the prime minister has to offer something by way ofapology," said Barlow.
"This is how these things happen. You don'tstart with the big dramatic bang; it's incremental."
Barlow said the plan, which calls for muchcloser collaboration between the three countries, including a common biometricborder pass to speed travel and identical external tariffs on goods to easeregulatory differences that cost firms money, is a great idea for bigtransnational companies but few others.
"This is NAFTA plus, plus,plus. This is using the terrorist threat to promote a business agenda," said Barlow. "It won't make us safer. In fact it aligns us closer with the primetarget. This would be a George Bush North America, a kind of superpower againstthe rest of the world." [....]
Gee thanks Paul, why don't you just paint a big bullseye on the country and be done with it.
But this proposal can't be laid completely at the feet of the present players. It, like the Patriot Act seems to have been in the works for quite a while:
Is the Annexation of Canada part of Bush's Military Agenda?
For nearly two years now, Ottawa has been quietly negotiating a far-reaching
military cooperation agreement, which allows the US Military to cross the border
and deploy troops anywhere in Canada, in our provinces, as well station American
warships in Canadian territorial waters. This redesign of Canada's defense
system is being discussed behind closed doors, not in Canada, but at the
Peterson Air Force base in Colorado, at the headquarters of US Northern Command
The creation of NORTHCOM announced in April 2002,
constitutes a blatant violation of both Canadian and Mexican territorial
sovereignty. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced unilaterally that US
Northern Command would have jurisdiction over the entire North American region.
Canada and Mexico were presented with a fait accompli. US Northern Command's
jurisdiction as outlined by the US DoD includes, in addition to the continental
US, all of Canada, Mexico, as well as portions of the Caribbean, contiguous
waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the Mexican, US
and Canadian coastlines as well as the Canadian Arctic.
NorthCom's stated mandate is to "provide a
necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical
support for [the] nation’s civil authorities in times of national need."
(Canada-US Relations - Defense Partnership – July 2003, Canadian
American Strategic Review (CASR), http://www.sfu.ca/casr/ft-lagasse1.htm
Rumsfeld is said to have boasted that "the NORTHCOM – with all of North
America as its geographic command – 'is part of the greatest transformation of
the Unified Command Plan [UCP] since its inception in 1947.'" (Ibid)
Following Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's refusal to join NORTHCOM, a
high-level so-called "consultative" Binational Planning Group (BPG), operating
out of the Peterson Air Force base, was set up in late 2002, with a mandate to
"prepare contingency plans to respond to [land and sea] threats and attacks, and
other major emergencies in Canada or the United States".
It's a bad enough to be embarrassed to be the citizen of one country. But governments going behind the bak of those it purports to represent is the way of this world. Check here for a cogent analysis of these articles. Maybe learning to see this for what it is can allow you to make a choice for another world. The Signs of the Times news service is a good resource if you're looking for a way out.