Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The SPP is dead; long live the SPP

Just three months shy of 2010 - the date by which the Canadian Council of Chief Executives originally projected the goals of the Security and Prosperity Partnership would be completed - yet some people have been mourning or celebrating for years already.

The SPP is dead - a short history :

Oct. 10, 2007 "The Security and Prosperity Partnership is dead," wrote John Ibbitson in the G&M. "Nothing's going to happen anytime soon."

Aug. 1, 2008 "The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America is dead," says Robert Pastor, chair of the 2005 Council on Foreign Relations task force "Building a North American Community" available in book form with co-author John Manley.

Feb. 25, 2009 "The SPP is probably dead," Canadian Council of Chief Executives President Tom d’Aquino tells the foreign affairs committee, adding that "something else" will replace it.

July 13, 2009 "The SPP is in hibernation," - Chris Sands, Canada-U.S. relations expert at the Hudson Institute, in Toward a New Frontier which recommends "rebranding a revived SPP.".

Aug. 2009 "The SPP's Death Knell has Sounded" - Embassy Mag. "The Security and Prosperity Partnership, as we knew it, is dead. May it rest in peace."

Aug. 19, 2009 "The SPP is dead, so where's the champagne?" - Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians, at Rabble.

Sept. 24, 2009 "The SPP is dead. Let's keep in that way." - Murray Dobbin, Canadian author, long time foe of deep integration, and one of my personal heroes.

That's two whole years of announcements about the SPP nailed to its perch and pining for the fjords.

The most recent - Dobbin and Trew - do not imagine for a moment that the push towards deep integration is over by any stretch, yet Dobbin does not see any successor on the horizon:
"Some on the left are so accustomed to losing that they make the claim the SPP will just re-emerge with another name."

And indeed I do so here - Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas.
Bush's outgoing gift to Obama has been embraced and described by Hillary Clinton as "a multilateral initiative to promote shared security and prosperity throughout the Americas".
Stockwell Day has already begun dutifully using the phrase "pathways to prosperity" in the House, while exPM Paul Martin, Chris Sands, d'Aquino, David Emerson and other fans of deep integration assure us of the inevitability of some future SPP rebrand and relaunch.

But what worries me is : do we even need a rebrand and relaunch anymore?

In 2003 the Canadian Council of Chief Executives' came up with the North American Security and Prosperity Initiative to shape Canada's future within North America. It called for "reinventing borders; regulatory efficiency; resource security; and a North American defence perimeter."

Here's how that agenda has been achieved through the SPP so far :
Joint RCMP-Homeland Security “Shiprider” pilot project
Civil Assistance Plan signed in Feb. 2008 allows the military of one nation to support the other during a civil emergency
Passenger Protect no-fly list
Sharing military responsibilities in the arctic"
Smart Borders' and unmanned drones patrolling the Canada US border
The exile and/or detainment in Canada of persons of interest to Homeland Security
Canada's cats paw FTAs with countries the US hopes to reach
The Canada Israel 'Homeland Security' pact
Canada helps the US occupy Afghanistan
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
Biometric data into visas for foreign nationals
RFID drivers' licences - a de facto continental ID
Run-of-river projects and ramped up tarsands extraction for energy export
Proposal for national Canadian energy or water policy blocked
Streamlining regulations on food, drugs, pesticides, genetically modified seeds.
"Intermodal transportation concept for North America"
Integrated North American energy and resource program

Does anyone really think just because 30 odd CEOs from the North American Competitiveness Council aren't meeting as a designated SPP group anymore that that's the end of it?

Ten days ago Harper stood in the White House and said :

"Today, Canada is announcing a major hydroelectric project, a big transmission line in northwestern British Columbia, which has the capacity down the road to be part of a more integrated North American hydroelectric system."

"Canada is not leaving Afghanistan; Canada will be transitioning from a predominantly military mission to a mission that will be a civilian humanitarian development mission after 2011."

So, no, I'm not celebrating anything until the SPP and the groundwork already laid by the CCCE - plus the unseen continued integration of its facets throughout the public service - can be stopped and rolled back.

Paul Manly is taking his film ‘You, Me and the SPP: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule’ on the road.
The tour, which will visit 33 cities across Canada, will be launched with an Ottawa Premiere on Parliament Hill on October 1st. hosted by NDP International Trade Critic, Peter Julian.
The Ottawa screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A, featuring, Peter Julian, Teresa Healy (Senior Researcher, Canadian Labour Congress), Bruce Campbell (Executive Director, Canadian Council for Policy Alternatives), Maude Barlow (Chairperson, Council of Canadians), Louise Casselman (Common Frontiers) and Paul.

The screening and panel will be streamed live by - see promo page

From Ottawa, the tour will be working its way east to Newfoundland and then back across Canada to British Columbia. You can see all the tour dates on the film website here

Each confirmed screening date has a pdf poster, handbill and press release that can be downloaded and used to promote the screening. Please help out where you can. All of the screenings are either free or by donation.

This ain't over yet ...

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