NAFTA Superhighway: Fact or Myth

Updated to add this story, North American Union Drivers License Created  which quite nicely fits with this piece I posted last night.

As a means of maintaining my sanity, I have been trying to focus my blogging on the uranium issue. But this, from the Financial Post, just begs for a response (and the two issues are probably interconnected, if you dig deeply enough).

Anyway, the President of the NASCO SuperCorridor is so desperate to keep that project separate from NAFTA that he has had to denounce people like me. Apparently, by linking NAFTA and the NASCO SuperCorridor, I am perpetrating a myth. I think he is trying out a new adaptation of a trick the former Saskatchewan Tory cabinet minister and convicted murderer, Colin Thatcher, used: deny, deny, deny.

 

Highway myths

Fringe Groups Cultivate The Myth Of A Planned ‘NAFTA Superhighway,’ Diverting Attention From The Crumbling Highways That Already Exist

George Blackwood, Financial Post

Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Well, if he and the Financial Post say so, then by gosh and by golly, it must be true!

Interestingly, there is a letter on a listserv archive which calls said highway the NAFTA Superhighway. That letter is dated June 1998.

My heartiest congratulations go out to the North America's Superhighway
Coalition, its Board of Directors

There is another letter just a little further down on the same archive page:

        Dear Fellow Former Colleagues at David A. Dean & Associates/Dean

International, Inc.         Founding Consultants to the North America's Superhighway Coalition, formerly

known as

        The Interstate Highway 35 Corridor Coalition

Now really, what’s a girl to think? Especially when she reads further in that letter and sees this:

the trade corridor program was funded with $700
million in Contract Authority (these are "real dollars" as opposed to a
simple authorization which must go through the appropriations process).

        The I-35 corridor is the strongest and most organized of the corridor
initiatives so, if we play our cards right, we stand to get a part of the $700
million.

One has to wonder if Mr. Blackwell is more concerned about his own pocketbook than he is about what is best for the citizens in each of the countries involved in this project. How stupid do they really think we are?

Hmm…we have the NAFTA Superhighway head honcho, the President of the United States of America, and Prime Minister Harper all in some kind of deny, deny, deny mode since their love-in in Montebello. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Canada’s Deadly Secret

Finally, the true story of Saskatchewan’s uranium will be out there for all to read, thanks to dedicated no-nukes activist, Jim Harding. Canada’s Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System, has been a long time coming and chronicles 30 years of intense struggle. It comes at a time when the nuclear industry is trying to make a comeback: a uranium refinery proposed for SK, nuclear plants for the AB oilfields, and Bush’s global nuclear pact which would force us to accept nuclear wastes from abroad.

Helen Caldicott, who wrote the Foreward to Jim’s book, says,

“Harding exposes the role the government played in perpetuating nuclear propaganda through the disinformation of campaigns of its covert Uranium Secretariat and penetration of the public education curriculum…He also explores the deadly corporate planning processes that reveal the growing partnership between the oil and nuclear industries.” Harding “unveils the dark side of nuclear politics in his home province, which bears the distinction of of being the largest uranium-producing region in the world and he challenges us to explore how Canada has consistently been complicit and instrumental in the expansion of the global nuclear system.”

Jim is a retired professor of environmental and justice studies. He is a founding member of the Regina Group for a Non-Nuclear Society and International Uranium Congress and was director of research for Prairie Justice Research at the University of Regina, where he headed up the Uranium Inquiries Project. Jim also acted as Prairie Corresponent for Nuclear Free Press and consultant to the NFB award-winning film Uranium.

Fernwood, a non-profit publisher, cannot compete with the nuclear industry’s expensive PR, but we can build grass-roots networks here and abroad to counter the pro-nuke propaganda. If you can help to organize a reading in your area, post here, and I’ll let Jim know.

Upcoming SK Book Launches

1. Sat. Sept. 29th, PCTC, Fort Qu’Appelle, 7:00 p.m. (as part of the KAIROS Prairie Conference).

2. Tuesday Oct. 16th, McNally Saskatoon Bookstore, 7 p.m.

3. Sun. Oct. 28th, Regina Exchange, 7 p.m. (as part of a Non-Nuclear Benefit).

4. Sun. Nov. 11th, Regina Unitarian Hall, morning service (still to be confirmed).

Labrador – Canada’s Nuclear Waste Dump?

Labrador, desperate for employment is diving into the nuclear industry.  And, apparently willing to take on waste.  Here’s the story.  Here’s an excerpt:

With new discoveries in Labrador, the region is poised to become a major producer and supplier of uranium as new discoveries are brought online. If the government of Canada decides to join other nations in this nuclear initiative Labrador, with its massive land area and extremely small population, would likely become a preferred choice for the storage of international radioactive waste.

Doesn’t that just warm your heart?  NOT!!!

New job for former Liberal MP

So, get a load of this! The former Liberal MP for Desenthe-Missinippi-Churchill in northern SK, Gary Merasty, whose resignation took effect this past Tuesday, is a new VP at the multinational uranium giant based in Saskatoon. Yes, that’s right! CAMECO scooped him from federal politics into nuclear politics. The Star-Kleenex reports:

Cameco Corp. says Gary Merasty is well-suited to take on the uranium company’s newly created position of vice-president of corporate social responsibility because of his past experiences in First Nations and federal politics.

I think this could really be interpreted to read something like,

CAMECO Corp. needs a face that will make them look good, especially in the First Nations’ communities whose lands and lives are being devastated by uranium mining in northern Saskatchewan. And it’d be helpful if this person had some political connections, too.  Mr. Merasty fits the bill.

Gary Merasty:  willing participant in the promotion of ecological racism.  (For an excellent discussion of environmental justice, including ecological racism, read this.)

A Simple Statement on Nuclear Power

A petition from the Nuclear Information Resource Service (NIRS):

“We do not support construction of new nuclear reactors as a means of addressing the climate crisis. Available renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power.”

Sign ItI signed because I agree that:

We’re getting a little tired hearing nuclear industry lobbyists and pro-nuclear politicians allege that environmentalists are now supporting nuclear power as a means of addressing the climate crisis. We know that’s not true, and we’re sure you do too. In fact, using nuclear power would be counterproductive at reducing carbon emissions. As Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute points out, “every dollar invested in nuclear expansion will worsen climate change by buying less solution per dollar…”

Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

 Naomi Klein’s film, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, debuts today at the Toronto International Film Festival. It is shocking in its truth telling! Whew! Thank goodness it is short!

As part of this blog burst, I will receive a review copy of Naomi’s book of the same title. Watch for that review in the coming weeks.

shock_doctrine.jpg

Women of Iraq ask for help

And let’s not forget that these women live on despite the depleted uranium radiating their lands.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

OWFI has spoken in a recent report over the CNN about the masses of Iraqi
women who are part of human trafficking currently inside and outside Iraq.
The report shows OWFI executives challenging the officials who choose to
look the other way.

OWFI has also challenged the rapists of 7 Iraqi female prisoners who are
still free and work in the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.

OWFI has initiated a secular youth movement based on Poetry, Music and Art
under the name of “Freedom Space”. Hundreds of youth from the so called
“Sadre City” are enthusiastic members and some are leaders of this rapidly
growing movement.

OWFI is still sheltering women who are threatened by honor killing or
retaliation from militia members / after these militias kill the males of
the family.

As a result, the Iraqi government decided on September 4th to freeze the
funds of OWFI in the Iraqi banks so as to paralyze our movement and make our work impossible.

Dear Friends and supporters do not let the intimidation of the Iraqi
officials stop you from supporting one of the few freedom initiatives inside
Iraq.

We are writing you this letter so that you do not send us any funds or
donations into our official bank account in Iraq as the government has put
its hand on it.

As for our activities, do not worry. We will still voice the pains of Iraqi
women and keep on creating bigger “freedom spaces”, especially that we run
mostly on volunteer will-power.

The farce of “Democracy” in Iraq will not sway our determination to a free,
secular and egalitarian life for all in Iraq.

Freedom and equality for all

Yanar Mohammed

September 6, 2007

some of the recent CNN reports:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/08/15/iraq.prostitution/index.html
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/06/26/pysk.mohammed/index.html
and a previous one on NPR:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6286899


			

Harperian Lies?

Harper’s Getting Old Government of Canada (GOGC) is getting good at doublespeak, most recently on the nuclear issue. On the one hand, the GOGC says that the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) is not on the table at the APEC meetings in Sydney, Australia this week and that Canada has not yet made a decision on joining in Bush’s radioactive partnership. On the other hand, as a Canadian Press reporter suggests, Canada will send a representative from Foreign Affairs to a GNEP meeting in Vienna in just over a week.

…Harper’s minority Conservative government clearly does not want to engage the Canadian public in any discussion about the initiative.

At a pre-APEC briefing last week, one of the prime minister’s most senior officials, flanked by his director of communications Sandra Buckler, carefully skirted a question on the GNEP.

“It doesn’t feature on the APEC agenda, per se,” said the official. “Whether the initiative has disappeared off the global agenda or the U.S. agenda, I really can’t say.”

The next day, in response to a separate and unrelated media inquiry, a spokesperson from Foreign Affairs confirmed Canada has been invited to a Sept. 16 meeting in Vienna to discuss the initiative.

“Canada has been invited to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and to participate in the next meeting scheduled to take place on September 16 in Vienna,” said the official.

“Canada is reviewing the proposed GNEP Statement of Principles and a decision on Canadian participation will be made shortly.”

That carefully neutral response – which left Canadian attendance in doubt barely a fortnight before the Vienna meeting – stands in contrast to earlier draft “talking points” obtained by The Canadian Press under an Access to Information request.

Those heavily censored documents show much greater enthusiasm.

“Canada is very interested in examining potential areas for partnership in the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) given that we are the world’s largest uranium producer,” said one undated talking point from 2006.

The same memo continues: “Canadian officials . . . have begun discussions with their counterparts in the U.S. to consider possible parameters of Canadian involvement.”

As recently as April 7 this year, Peter Harder, the then-assistant deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, was corresponding with Robert Van Adel, the president of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., about the partnership plan.

As Van Adel wrote, the initiative “if implemented, would have significant technical and commercial implications for Canada, which need to be assessed.”

Internal government correspondence also indicates the nuclear initiative was on the agenda at the 2006 meeting between Harper, President Bush and then-Mexican president Vicente Fox in Mexico, and again at the 2006 G8 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Greenpeace is not amused. Nor am I, nor should any Canadian who cares about democracy and democratic process be.

Sustainable Energy Blueprint

Here is a bit of interesting and encouraging news from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service via Common Dreams (but the dates on the news release seem weird).

145 businesses, environmental organizations, and other groups (representing 37 states) released the “Sustainable Energy Blueprint” – a policy paper that outlines a “plausible strategy for achieving a no-nuclear, low-carbon, highly-efficient and sustainable energy future.”

It provides a timeframe and series of policy recommendations for rapidly expanding the use of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies to enable a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gases while simultaneously phasing out nuclear power and ending most energy imports.

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY BLUEPRINT

A PLAUSIBLE STRATEGY FOR ACHIEVING A NO-NUCLEAR, LOW-CARBON, HIGHLY-EFFICIENT AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FUTURE

The following statement outlines an ambitious but doable strategy for dramatically reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, phasing out nuclear power, and ending energy imports while simultaneously creating new domestic jobs and businesses, improving energy, homeland, and national security and the economy, and enhancing the environment and public health.

Objectives:

The three primary, longer-term objectives for the nation’s energy policy should be:

1.) reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level consistent with a world-wide goal of global climate stabilization (assumes curbing U.S. CO2 emissions by 60-80% from current levels by mid-century);

2.) eliminate U.S. energy imports (i.e., oil and natural gas – now 58% and 15% respectively), while reducing overall use of oil and natural gas;

3.) phase out the current generation of nuclear power while substantially curbing the production and consumption of fossil fuels, by increasing the use of energy efficiency and making a transition to sustainable, environmentally safer renewable energy sources.

I suspect this will seriously upset a few of the pro-nuke fellas.  Poor things!

Canada to reprocess other nations’ nuclear waste

 Well, PMS just can’t get close enough to Georgie, now can he?  They are just as snug as two bugs in a rug on this nuke stuff, aren’t they?  And I’ll bet SaskParty leader,  Brad Wall, is chomping at the bit to make it a threesome — or would that be a foursome, given that John Howard is in there like a dirty shirt?

From the Globe and Mail: Canada to reprocess other nations nuclear waste

As he headed to a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in Australia yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was expected to face questions on whether Canada will join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, a group of major nuclear powers dedicated to spreading nuclear technology into developing countries.

U.S. President George W. Bush – who is leading the GNEP process – has suggested that, as a price of entry, major uranium-producing countries should agree to accept and dispose of nuclear waste from countries to which they sell the uranium for reactor fuel.

Canada is the world’s largest uranium producer, followed closely by Australia, whose government has already indicated an interest in joining the nuclear partnership.

“We’re very seriously looking at our options but a final decision has not been made on it yet,” Mr. Lunn said yesterday. “There are some benefits that we would want to be looking for, but I believe there could be some advantages for Canada to be an official member of the GNEP.”

Who knew nuclear would be an issue in the next federal election?  I surely don’t see Canadians wanting to cuddle up any closer to  Dubya than they already are.

Nail in the coffin for PMS?