Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stephen Harper's Big Thingey

John Ibbitson at the G&M has a new big idea :
"This could be Stephen Harper's Big Thing."
"a revolutionary new agreement that would transform both Canada and the U.S., truly launching the continent into the 21st century."
"This is the perfect time to do something big. This is the time for a North American environmental, security and economic accord."
Well, bully for you for finally coming out, John.
After years of pissing about, defending the very jelly bean-ness of the Security and Prosperity Partnership - It's not about deep integration; it's just about efficiency! It's not scary! Oh noes, it's dying because of those whiny nationalists and conspiracy theorists! - you finally get down to it.
And what a great name you have chosen for it - The Big Idea.

Coincidentally, "The Big Idea" was also the name coined by the C.D. Howe Institute in 2002 for their Shaping the Future of the North American Economic Space: A Framework for Action, but I'm sure they'll be happy to hear you want to revive it. Their report, which later resurfaced as "The Task Force on the Future of North America", suggested that Canada could successfully woo the US into deeper integration with us if only we would just join their war on terra and offer them free access to our water and oil.

What? You say your Big Idea proposes that too? :
"Canada should propose a harmonized, universal, continental market, coupled with massive joint investment aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the oil sands, in exchange for guarantees that the U.S. gets all the oil."
All the oil?
Why it seems only yesterday, John, you were complaining that conspiracy theorists were killing the SPP with crazy ideas like that:
"While on the Canadian side, Ms. Barlow maintains that "deep integration," as she likes to call it, is "quite literally about eliminating Canada's ability to determine independent regulatory standards, environmental protections, energy security, foreign, military, immigration and other policies."

And now here you are - recommending those very same ideas yourself as the best way for Steve to consolidate his legacy. And you've got more:
"Let's not stop there. Let's propose a joint security agreement to prescreen goods and people coming into the continent. Let's set a joint tariff.
Let's remove national protections on cultural and financial services."
Because I ask you - what could be better timing for Canada right now than to hitch our wagon to US security agreements and finances?

Congratulations, John. As the only journalist invited to the last SPP leaders' meet-up, you have finally proven your worth to them.
And a big idea shout-out to the G&M too, for having the guts to go public with this. We always knew you had it in you.

Cross-posted at Creekside

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