NAFTA Superhighway Rearing Head in Republican Leadership Race

P’n’P covered the NASCO Corridor/NAFTA Superhighway quite a while ago, back when all the powers-that-be were denying it was a plan in action. Well, Regina now has its ‘global transportation hub‘ and the signs on the highway aren’t worth stopping to photograph. But here’s an update to a previous P’n’P piece which revives the USA’s Superhighway problem in Texas.

Rick Perry’s NAFTA Superhighway problem

By Rachel Alexander
web posted August 15, 2011

Move over Mitt Romney. Rick Perry has a bigger problem to defend from his tenure as governor. Remember the NAFTA Superhighway project? It was to consist of a two-mile wide $184 billion transit system of toll roads, rail lines and utilities from the Texas-Mexico border all the way up to the Minnesota-Canadian border, to make it easier to ship foreign goods from China and other countries into North America. It became so unpopular in Texas that the Texas portion of it, called the Trans-Texas Corridor, was renamed and mostly disbanded a couple of years ago. Perry was the only gubernatorial candidate in 2006 of four major candidates who supported it. Even the Democratic candidate opposed it.

Perry’s campaign website lists the Trans-Texas Corridor as one of his accomplishments, “Rather than taking decades to expand these important corridors a little bit at a time, Governor Perry developed the Trans-Texas Corridor plan.” But is it something Perry really wants broadcast as an achievement? The Texas Republican Party’s 2010 platform includes a plank specifically opposing the Trans-Texas Corridor. Some of the opposition to the NAFTA Superhighway has been dismissed as conspiratorial, but loud objections also came from people concerned with border security and one million rural interests and farmers that stood to lose their land to eminent domain.

Construction of the Trans-Texas Corridor began in 2007. Perry received substantial campaign contributions from the companies expected to benefit from the construction, Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transport and Zachry Construction Company. Cintra is a Spanish-owned company that would own the toll roads. This arrangement has been accused of being a hidden tax payable to a foreign corporation. Zachry was selected by the Texas Department of Transportation to construct the Trans-Texas Corridor. Perry initially opposed efforts by the Texas legislature to impede the construction, vetoing several bills. As opposition increased, the legislature was finally able to repeal the section of the Transportation code dealing with the Trans-Texas Corridor and pass an eminent domain bill protecting property. The TTC-35 project, a privately built multi-lane toll road, railway and utility line network that was to run parallel to Interstate Highway 35, was canceled. Perry finally backed down in the 2010 Republican primary for governor running against Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and opposed construction of the TTC-35.

Full article here

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NAFTA MUST BE RENEGOTIATED

 From the Alliance for Responsible Trade, website, the US sister organization to Common Frontiers-Canada, the Quebec Network on Continental Integration and the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade. 

NAFTA MUST BE RENEGOTIATED

A proposal from North American civil society networks

Politicians throughout North America (Canada, Mexico and the United States) are beginning to recognize what the majority of citizens already know – the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) promises have not been fulfilled and new policies are urgently needed. There is growing awareness that quality jobs have disappeared, only to be replaced by insecure and low remuneration employment, while income inequality has risen to almost unprecedented levels.

As a result of widespread public concern, various candidates for the Presidency of the United States recognize the necessity for major changes to NAFTA. Recently, several members of the House of Representatives have introduced a bill requiring an assessment of NAFTA, renegotiation of some provisions and providing for US withdrawal unless certain conditions are met.

The Permanent Commission of the Mexican Congress, as well as several State Governors, echoing the wide-spread demand of well-organized campesino organizations, is demanding a revision of NAFTA given the devastation it has caused for agriculture and its harmful effects on the rural population.

Similarly, a Canadian Parliamentary Sub-Committee on International Trade recommended that the Permanent Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade undertake a comprehensive review of NAFTA Chapter 11 on Investment and Chapter 19 on trade disputes.

We four civil society networks from Canada, Mexico, Quebec and the United States believe that it is absolutely necessary to profoundly revise NAFTA beginning with those aspects that have proven most damaging for the socio economic and human rights of our peoples and for the environment.

At the same time, we reject the deeper continental integration currently being negotiated under the aegis of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) by large multinational corporations and governments with no transparency or input from civil society. As such, the SPP is nothing less than the privatization of public policymaking. The citizens of North America have several ideas for bringing about real prosperity and security on this continent. Integration negotiated behind closed doors, however, will bring neither.

Any just trade agreement among our countries must consider the enormous economic inequalities that exist between Mexico, the United States and Canada as well as the growing inequality within each of our three countries. While even the World Trade Organization allows special and differential treatment for poorer countries, this is not the case with NAFTA.

The revision of the terms of this treaty must have as its objective the establishment of economic relations based on social justice and sovereignty within a paradigm of sustainable development. In this brief declaration we cannot mention all the necessary revisions. Here are ten priorities for the required renegotiation of NAFTA.

Read the full statement here.

For further information: In the United States: Tom Loudon, Alliance for
Responsible Trade, (301) 699-0042, toml@quixote.org; In Canada: John Dillon,
Common Frontiers-Canada, (416) 463-5312 ext. 231; jdillon@kairoscanada.org; In
Quebec: Pierre-Yves Serinet/Normand Pépin, Quebec Network on Continental
Integration (RQIC), (514) 276-1075/(514) 217-6529;
pepinn@csd.qc.ca/rqic@ciso.qc.ca; In Mexico: Alejandro Villamar,
(English)Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC), (52) (55) 5356-0599;
rmalc@prodigy.net.mx

Fiacco Lies on a Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & an Inland Port

Veering ever-so slightly off my no nukes agenda to slip in an I told you so.  Mayor Fiacco would not reveal the plans for this before the municipal election and now that he is safely back in office he can reveal his real plan.  Today P’n’P learns of the plan for a Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port which is part of the NAFTA Highway, the Security and Prosperity Agreement, the ecological devastation called the Tar Sands, and North American Union.

This gateway involves moving the rails from central Regina to the west side where industrial development is taking place and will likely increase dramatically without our approval.  It will increase land and air traffic which means more air and noise pollution.  It will move us closer to BushCo’s & HarperCo’s dreams of not only continental unity but also a continental currency.  At a time when we need to be doing our utmost to curb green house gas emissions, our City is promoting increased consumption and an increased use of fossil fuels!

Thanks for what amounts to lies, Mayor Pat, and for selling us out to the corporatist extremists. We’ll see you at the polls in less than two years.  And we will remember.

Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port

Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port

The Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port, or “Prairie Gateway” is a virtual combination of services and a cluster of numerous transportation, distribution and assembly players working and investing together. This is the best way to maximize the existing transportation assets across an integrated region, with many transportation, production, storage, trans-loading, assembly, product identification and research resources working as a team. This base will draw additional investment, labour and technology as a catalyst for a host of new ancillary business service companies.

What is an Inland Port?

An Inland Port is defined less on the physical aspects of one location and more on the intelligent logistics and coordination of a multitude of services.  It has the following qualities:

  1. Is an organization or coalition made up of key transportation stakeholders
  2. Serves the regional trading area businesses and economy
  3. Facilitates growth for both import and export trade logistics
  4. A mechanism for cooperation, marketing the regions trade processing abilities
  5. Provides national coordination and collaboration among ocean port users

Why Saskatchewan?

Like the Kansas City Smart Port regional model, the Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port will be anchored by “connecting” the three major cities of Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina. This will promote regional asset and system optimization. It is proposed that Saskatchewan’s central continental location and lower costs would be of sufficient appeal to attract international investor attention. The high level of cooperation among the principal transportation centres of Saskatchewan, through the tri-cities will generate distinct advantages, including:

  1. Integrate and maximize the unique sub-regional advantages of each community to generate even greater synergies than each community could achieve by working separately;
  2. Provide a value-enhancing alternative to the various less coordinated and smaller scale and scope terminals, hubs or trans-loading sites existing in other parts of Canada;
  3. Foster freight movement productivity through modernization of regulatory reform (i.e. highway road weight limits) and preservation of freight-corridor efficiency on road, rail and air.

Code Pink CoFounder Refused Entrance to Canada

I can hardly believe this! What is it with our border security? A little over the top, perhaps? I suppose that is because it’s now pretty much run by the United States, thanks to NAFTA and all.

Edited to add Alison’s addendum at Creekside.

Canada Refuses Entry to CODEPINK Cofounder Medea Benjamin and Retired Colonel Ann Wright

 

WASHINGTON – October 3 – Two well-respected US peace activists, CODEPINK and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin and retired Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright, were denied entry into Canada today (Wednesday, October 3). The two women were headed to Toronto to discuss peace and security issues at the invitation of the Toronto Stop the War Coalition. At the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Bridge they were detained, questioned and denied entry. They will hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC to ask the Canadian government to reverse its policy of barring peaceful protesters.

The women were questioned at Canadian customs about their participation in anti-war efforts and informed that they had an FBI file indicating they had been arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience.

 

Press Conference:

WHEN: Thursday, October 4th at 1pm

 

WHERE: Canadian Embassy, 501 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

 

“In my case, the border guard pulled up a file showing that I had been arrested at the US Mission to the UN where, on International Women’s Day, a group of us had tried to deliver a peace petition signed by 152,000 women around the world,” says Benjamin. “For this, the Canadians labeled me a criminal and refused to allow me in the country.” “The FBI’s placing of peace activists on an international criminal database is blatant political intimidation of US citizens opposed to Bush administration policies,” says Colonel Wright, who was also Deputy US Ambassador in four countries. “The Canadian government should certainly not accept this FBI database as the criteria for entering the country.” Both Wright and Benjamin plan to request their files from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act and demand that arrests for peaceful, non-violent actions be expunged from international records. “It’s outrageous that Canada is turning away peacemakers protesting a war that does not have the support of either US or Canadian citizens,” says Benjamin. “In the past, Canada has always welcomed peace activists with open arms. This new policy, obviously a creature of the Bush administration, is shocking and we in the US and Canada must insist that it be overturned. Four members of the Canadian Parliament–Peggy Nash, Libby Davies, Paul Dewar and Peter Julian– expressed outrage that the peace activists were barred from Canada and vow to change this policy.

 

 

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?

Who’s renting the busses?

Well, I guess Dubya is flexing some muscle over PM Steve these days.

And, apparently, it’s all because of Maude Barlow and the Council of Canadians, the ones some radio personality around here is writing off as an extremist radicals. Now, I don’t know about you, but from my recollection of Maude Barlow the last time she was through here, she’s a pretty tame duck. And she tends to talk a lot of sense, most particularly on water and globalization, I had thought.

Now there’s this issue of North American Union aka Security & Prosperity Partnership aka deep integration. The idea’s been around for a long time, just not so brilliantly orchestrated or articulated. We’ve had “structural adjustment,” the Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA, just a few bits of the language global economics and capitalist ideology have thrown our way as they continue in their lust for more, their disgusting and immoral misuse of resources and promotion of rampant consumerism.

And PM Steve is priming Canadians to accept it while big business works behind the scenes to quietly make it happen. PMS (and a PM or two or more before him) also kowtows yet again to the President of the United States of America, allows the US Army to dictate security in our country! Again, I don’t know about you, but I know I don’t like it when a mucky-muck from another country, most particularly an aggressively violent other country is “protected” by a 25 km security perimeter from seeing what Canadians really think of him and his policies. I mean, is he worried that Maude might kill him? Now that is laughable!

What really gets my goat though is when friends of the mucky-mucks have the complete and utter stupidity to issue a challenge, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen:

“You can be sure it [security] will be pretty strong. I wouldn’t advise anyone to try to get through the 25 kilometres.”

Yet again, I do not know about you, but when I get challenges or threats sent my way by anyone, I get persnickedy. So, I’d like to try breaching the security area. I would. I hope some fine Canadian or group of Canadians charters a bus or organizes a train full of Canadians to get me and a whole lot of others to bring attention to this undemocratic and unethical attack on human rights and human security.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll write the letter The Council of Canadians are asking for (see below). And I’ll talk to a shwack of folks, too. If enough of us make noise, we might just succeed in getting that meeting cancelled. If not, I will see you on the bus or train.

 

INTEGRATE THIS! Teach-In

.

ACTION ALERT: Stop SPP talks, consult with Canadians now July 12, 2007Dear activists,As reported on the front-page of the Ottawa Citizen and in numerous other media reports, “Police have derailed plans for a public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership that was to take place six kilometres from where the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will gather next month for a summit.” (See Ottawa Citizen Police nix meeting near world leaders, July 12, 2007)The news report states, “The forum was scheduled for August 19, the day before Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon are due to start two days of meetings on the security partnership, a controversial initiative aimed at more closely aligning the three countries in a variety of areas.”

Frederic Castonguay, the municipality of Papineauville’s general manager, “confirmed he had been called by Mr. Guy Cote (of the Quebec provincial police), who told him that the police and U.S. army need the community centre as a base of operations for summit security.” Despite the fact that the Council of Canadians had paid its $100 deposit for the space, Mr. Castonguay said the police, “didn’t want us to rent it to anyone because they need the room there to put equipment and special vehicles. There was no choice.”

The Council of Canadians in coalition with other organizations, including the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Common Frontiers-Canada and the Quebec Network on Continental Integration, had planned to hold a public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership in the nearby community with Maude Barlow and a panel of writers, academics and parliamentarians. This public forum was intended to promote broader public awareness and citizen engagement on this important issue. An alternate location for the public forum is now being sought.

Linda McQuaig wrote recently in the Toronto Star, “Given the centrality of (national security and energy, as well as trade), one would have thought that any changes – especially changes that would make Canada more like the U.S. – should involve wide consultation with the Canadian people. But exactly the opposite is happening. The public has been completely shut out of the SPP process…No public consultations have been planned for Montebello. Indeed, security measures will ensure the leaders hear as little as possible from the people.”

For more information on the Council of Canadians campaign against the Security and Prosperity Partnership, along with a wide range of analysis and background materials on this issue, please go to IntegrateThis.ca.

THE DEMAND
Activists are encouraged to send their own version of the following message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper at pm@pm.gc.ca or click here to send a letter using the form on our website
:

Prime Minister Harper,

As a member of the Council of Canadians, I am calling on you to stop talks on the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, including the upcoming leaders summit this August 20-21 in Montebello, and to consult with Canadians on this critical issue.

I was outraged to read that a public forum near Montebello with writers, academics and parliamentarians wanting to speak on this issue was blocked because the police and U.S. army wanted the community centre it was to be held at as a base of operations for summit security.

I am opposed to the SPP, which includes the no-fly list (the SPP states, “Develop comparable standards and procedures…for passenger screening”); pesticide residues (it says, “Work to resolve differences in pesticide maximum residue limits that may be barriers to trade…”); the tar sands (it calls for, “Greater economic production from the oil sands”); and civil rights (it calls for, “sharing of terrorist watch list data and the establishment of appropriate linkages between Canada, the United States and Mexico.”)

I also believe that the North American Competitiveness Council should be disbanded. Corporations such as Manulife Financial, Home Depot and Wal-Mart should not be shaping economic policy between Canada and the United States.

I urge you to keep the promise you made in your Throne Speech that “significant international treaties will be submitted for votes in Parliament.” I believe that the Security and Prosperity Partnership should be subject to public hearings, as well as brought to the House of Commons for a full debate and vote.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
<your name>

For more information about the Security and Prosperity Partnership, visit IntegrateThis.ca. We’ll post new information about the Montebello summit as it becomes available. Visit often for up-to-the-minute updates

With thanks to the good women and men at BnR and to The Council of Canadians for the links.

Laying out un-Welcome Mats

Oh!  I can see it now from coast to coast to coast, un-Welcome mats layed out for Dubya, PMS, and Calderon who are scheduled to gather in Quebec from August 21-23rd 2007 to sign, seal, and deliver to us the Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement which, of course, is being done without the benefit of due democratic process in any of the three countries involved.

But that’s what fascism’s about, eh?

The Canadian Peace Coalition invites all Canadians to join the National Day of Action

The  Council of Canadians has a wealth of information including background documents, AV materials, and Teach-in resources.