Fortress North America Back on the Radar

Just want to get my .02 in on this one again, make sure all y’all know about it.  Alison, Greg, Dawg, Laxer and The Beav have the details.  Give them some love and go read them.

Then you might wanna take a look at this Globe & Mail article, too, to see the Wikileaks connection (courtesy Toedancer @ BnR).

 

UPDATE:  Had to add this little gem, for its title if nothing else: Welcome To Your Authoritarian Corporatocratic Security Surveillance State Of North America.

The fascist politicians on the SPP

I’m getting pretty damned sick of this government by stealth shit.  Here’s the Feb 28 SPP Statement by Ministers from Canada Mexico and the USA.  How can they do this without the support of the elected officials and through them, the people?  All these many years, I’ve been working under the assumption that Canada was a democracy.  What a flippin’ fool I am!!!

Feb 28 SPP Statement By Ministers

Posted on Monday, March 03 2008 by sthompson

U.S. Department of Commerce                                                       Office of the Secretary
Washington, D.C. 20230                                                                   www.commerce.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2008

CONTACT: Rich Mills / Ann Marie Hauser
202-482-4883

Joint Statement by Ministers Responsible for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America

In preparation for our leaders’ meeting in New Orleans on April 21-22, we, the ministers responsible for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) met in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, to review progress on the five priorities identified by leaders in Montebello and to discuss cooperative approaches to common challenges and opportunities.

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has been a tremendous success: trade and commerce among our countries have grown exponentially. Trilateral merchandise trade is approximately $900 billion in 2007, significantly contributing to economic growth and increased standards of living in all three countries.

The SPP builds on this dynamic relationship by providing Canada, Mexico and the United States a partnership to build a safer, more secure and economically dynamic North America, while respecting the sovereignty, laws, unique heritage, and culture of each country.

In order to give guidance and achieve results in advance of the April 2008 North American leaders’ Summit, we have reviewed progress achieved since Montebello and have directed officials to:

  • Competitiveness: Continue to implement the strategy to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and build on the Regulatory Cooperation Framework by pursuing collaboration through sectoral initiatives, with an emphasis on the automotive sector;
  • Safe Food & Products: Strengthen cooperation to better identify, assess and manage unsafe food and products before they enter North America, and collaborate to promote the compatibility of our related regulatory and inspection regimes;
  • Energy and Environment: Develop projects under the newly signed Agreement on Science and Technology; and cooperate on moving new technologies to the marketplace, auto fuel efficiency and energy efficiency standards ;
  • Smart & Secure Borders: Strengthen cooperation protocols and create new mechanisms to secure our common borders while facilitating legitimate travel and trade in the North American region ;
  • Emergency Management and Preparedness: Strengthen emergency management cooperation capacity in the North American region before, during and after disasters.

We also instructed officials to consider innovative ways to advance these five priorities, to enhance our dialogue and further our cooperation.

We recognize the work of our colleagues from the various agencies and departments that have contributed and will continue to contribute to advancing bilateral and trilateral cooperation.

We acknowledge the challenges that transnational crime poses to our region and our assessment indicates that some accomplishments have been made. Nevertheless, we need to improve and strengthen our cooperative bilateral and trilateral mechanisms in order to identify innovative and committed solutions to eliminate those threats and assure the well being and prosperity of our people.

We will also explore new avenues of cooperation and convergence to address issues such as arms trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, counterfeiting, trafficking of people and smuggling, and border violence.

We also met with representatives of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), whose contributions and advice in building a more prosperous and dynamic North America have been invaluable.  We discussed the long-term challenges facing our three countries and how best to increase security and prosperity in North America, in order to make our region the best place to live, work and do business.  Accordingly, we reiterate our interest in maintaining an open dialogue with business leaders and other stakeholders.

We reaffirm our commitment to the objectives of the SPP.  We are convinced that greater cooperation and coordination will bring benefits to our countries.  As we prepare for the next leaders` Summit in New Orleans, we will continue to work together to ensure progress in the priority areas identified at Montebello and other areas where there is ongoing work.

From:

http://www.spp.gov/news/news_02282008.asp

Thanks to Vive le Canada for the info. 

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.

US Backing Down on Bali Agreement

Surprised?

The US backtracked yesterday on the climate change agreement reached after marathon talks in Bali, saying it had “serious concerns” about the new global consensus and that developing countries had to do far more if there was to be any pact in two years’ time.

The reality check followed the drama and euphoria of the weekend when the US was shamed into joining the rest of the world in working towards a new climate change agreement to come into force after 2012. All 190 countries have agreed to take the talks further.

But the White House press secretary, Dana Perino, poured cold water on the Bali result, saying the talks had not adequately addressed the responsibilities of developing countries. “The US does have serious concerns. Negotiations must [now] proceed on the view that the problem of climate change cannot be adequately addressed through commitments for emissions cuts by developed countries alone.”

In a clear signal that the US would agree to nothing unless China and India, the two largest developing countries, agreed to significant cuts, she said that account had to be taken of the size of countries’ emissions as well as their level of economic advancement. China’s emissions are on a level with those of the US but on a per capita level, each American emits far more than a Chinese. “For these negotiations to succeed, it is essential the major developed and developing countries be prepared to negotiate commitments that will make a due contribution to the reduction of global emissions,” she said.

Not really surprising, eh? In fact, it makes Environment Minister John Baird’s behavior at the plenary make sense. He wasn’t expecting the US to agree to anything. But they did do so, we now see, just to shut everyone up. They had to; they need NAU, GNEP and the Tar Sands to go ahead as planned.

Edited to add Monbiot’s point that this is an echo of the Kyoto round.

Bedfellows: Oil, Gas & Uranium

 

It just keeps getting more and more interesting, how these pronukers and oil barons collude and collaborate. I found the following buried in a Globe and Mail article:

 

 

Bruce Power Corp. announced that it has agreed to purchase assets of Energy Alberta Corp., a small company that has proposed building a reactor in Alberta to supply electricity and, possibly, hydrogen.

 

Bruce Power said it would forge ahead with plans to build a Candu reactor near Peace River, Alberta, with the launch of a full environmental assessment.

Isn’t it just so convenient that the Energy Alberta Corporation (EAC) is being consumed by the Bruce Power Corporation (BPC)? EAC is the little unknown Alberta company that introduced itself in 2005 with a mission to “to provide clean, emission-free energy, utilizing advanced and proven nuclear technology to supply oil sands operators and the province of Alberta with a reliable flow of electricity at a competitive cost.” [Note: EAC's corporate mission statement has been revised since P'n'P first reported on this issue.] EAC teamed up with the federal crown corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada Corporation, in its bid to build a new-fangled and untested CANDU nuclear reactor in northern Alberta.

 

BPC bills itself as “Canada’s first private nuclear generating company.” Basically, it’s an all-male consortium with representatives from the uranium giant, Cameco, which purchased “nearly a third of Bruce Power LP” in 2003 according to Friends of Bruce. Also represented on the Bruce Power board is TransCanada Power Corporation, a pipelines and energy business which includes gas transmission, power generation, gas storage and their plans for the Keystone Pipeline which is proposed to run from the Alberta Tar Sands and south into the USA. The Communications, Energy, Paperworkers (CEP) Union of Canada, an affiliate of International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions, has called on the feds to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources for broader discussion and on Canadians to take actions to stop this proposed pipeline.

“There is no way this pipeline benefits Canada in any way,” says CEP President Dave Coles. “It’s all about boosting the bottom line of multinational oil companies.”

“This ruling is not in the public interest economically, socially or environmentally. CEP studies submitted to the NEB — that show the loss of 18,000 potential new jobs — have been ignored. Environmental concerns have been similarly ignored as has the issue of Canada compromising the energy needs of its own citizens to feed U.S. markets.”

“Clearly, this is the wrong decision for Canada, and it brings into question the role of the Board and the need for a domestic energy policy to protect Canadian interests. This discussion belongs in the political arena, and the federal government should take the necessary steps to make that happen.”

 

Interestingly, there is now a vacancy at the National Energy Board.

 

The tar sands giga-project is the single largest industrial project ever undertaken in the history of humanity, according to Oil Sands Truth. The community-based organization is working to shut down the tar sands project as part of Canada’s plan to tackle climate change and stop environmental devastation. Apparently, the MSM forgot to send a reporter to their end of November conference, Everyone’s Downstream, which brought together representatives from First Nations communities, environmental organizations, northern communities and migrant workers’ rights groups as well as the general public.

 

The proponents of the plan to nuclearize northern Alberta have been working tirelessly. Wayne Henuset of EAB was in Saskatoon in October, speaking at a Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce luncheon about Nuclear Power in the Oil Sands. All the players are moving ahead as though this project will not be stopped. We can be sure that Saskatchewan’s new premier, Brad Wall, will be eager to help his friends in the energy industry by supplying them with all they need.

 

To those who love this planet, it is essentional that we come together and stop this project. Greenpeace has named the threats of this project and they are huge:

 

 

I believe the capacity of the human spirit to overcome problems is greater than the threats we face. All we need to is to live into our intention to love this planet. Take action now!

 

 

Security(?)! and Prosperity for whom?

I almost missed this one! The SPP and North American Union keep forging along, with old sexist language, to boot!

North American Forum 2007 agenda

Under the Joint Chairmanship of:
The Hon. George Shultz, Former U.S Secretary of State
The Hon. Peter Lougheed, Former Premier of Alberta
The Hon. Pedro Aspe, Former Finance Minister of Mexico

but working hard to co-opt progressive language:

North American Cooperation and Community

And it sent its participants home with inspiration:

This year, the North American Forum discussed:

- Strategic dimensions of the North American security and prosperity partnership (with Homeland Security and Canada Border Services Agency participation)
- Investing in competitiveness: new ideas and options for infrastructure, borders and business – Public/private partnerships, municipal bonds and border development
- NAFTA at 15: where do we go from here? – How to “create a North American Community?
- The social agenda of North American integration – Migration and development
- Energy in North America – Security, rationalization and climate change

Guest panellists included some familiar faces:

- David O’Reilly, CEO, Chevron Corporation
- Luis de la Calle, former Undersecretary of Trade
- Anne McLellan, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
- Carla Hills, Chairman & CEO, Hills & Co.
- Tom d’Aquino, Canadian Council of Chief Executives
- Ron Covais, President, The Americas, Lockheed Martin Corp.

Gotta wonder what it was the RCMP and Canadian military types brought home, eh? EXTREME VIOLENCE WARNING: Police States R Us

New port security measures threaten privacy, human rights, say workers

From the Council of Canadians:

New port security measures threaten privacy, human rights, say workers

November 8, 2007
Posted by Stuart Trew

The Canadian section of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has filed a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada insisting that Transport Canada’s Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program (MTSCP) and the Application for Transportation Security Clearance form required under the MTSCP violates the Privacy Act.

According to the complaint: “The Security Clearance Form requires responses to invasive questions about a number of matters, including country of origin and city of birth; whether the employee has a passport, and if so, the passport number (leading to the possibility of cross-referencing for additional information); whether the employee attended a post-secondary institution, and if so, which institution and when; all addresses that the employee may have lived at for the past 5 years; all activities for the past 5 years, such as school or previous employment; all travel with stays in countries for more than 90 days during the last 5 years; whether an employee has a criminal conviction; and information about an employee’s spouse.”

Furthermore, “The Security Clearance Form requires the employee to consent to the release of the information contained on the form to governments of countries that he or she may have lived in or travelled to. If consent to disclose is not given, the Security Clearance will not be granted and the employee would not be able to work in designated areas.”

According to an article from Lloyd’s List posted on the Longshore and Warehouse union’s website, “Effective from December 15, security clearances will be required by workers at the container ports of Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver, as well as at the ports of Fraser River and North Fraser River in British Columbia. The regulations will also be applied at the control centres in Canada of the St Lawrence Seaway.”

On top of the privacy complaint, the union is “raising various issues with the Canada Industrial Relations Board at hearings in Vancouver,” said Tom Dufresne, president of the Canadian Maritime Workers Council, speaking with Lloyd’s List. “Dufresne also said the regulations are ‘discriminatory’ against workers not born in Canada.”

The MTSCP is coming into force in Canada as similar new port security measures, including biometric ID cards and fingerprint scanners, are causing anxiety south of the border. The goal of both sets of measures is to streamline port security across North America as spelled out by initiatives within the Security and Prosperity Partnership’s Security Annex. But the result will be more racial profiling, say critics, of which there are plenty.

As University of Toronto professor Deborah Cohen wrote in the Toronto Star last month: “It is not just union leaders who have come out against it. The B.C. Maritime Employers Association, leaders from the cruise ship industry and port security directors from Canada’s largest ports have all critiqued the proposed regulations. Three city councils in the port-dependent province of British Columbia passed motions calling for the federal government to restructure the program, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association recently condemned the potential abuse of civil and labour rights that the program sanctions.”

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.

 

 

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?