By TONY SEED
HALIFAX (16 April 2005) – DESPITE a virtual silence in the Parliament and the media amidst all the fuss about the sponsorship scandal, opposition has begun to be more widely voiced more at the agreements struck on 23 March by Prime Minister Paul Martin, US President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vincente Fox in Texas behind the backs of the peoples of the three countries.
Meeting at the private ranch in Crawford of President Bush, the three heads of state signed a new accord entitled the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. The agreement envisages integration of the policies and regulations in the three countries to create a unified standard for the continent. This would include creating a North American energy pact, harmonizing immigration policies, and creating common security policies under the guise of protecting citizens against terrorism.
The accord is already being dubbed Fortress America.
A statement issued by Prime Minister Paul Martin in Texas said: “The partnership among Canada, the United States and Mexico is important…. We have committed to meet in person on a regular basis to assess our progress, to address concerns and evaluate opportunities, to ensure that this partnership produces concrete, measurable results.”
What is significant is that (1) the peoples of the three countries were told that an agreement had been reached to standardize important features of their collective life – and that was it; and (2) there was no discussion beforehand in the respective countries nor are the respective parliaments required to ratify it. Yet the details that emerged from the press conference and statements by Martin make it obvious that staff within the PMO and certain cabinet ministers have been active on the partnership agreement for months.
The Partnership announcement released details of specific measures to change, if necessary, or strengthen and codify in law existing arrangements regulating the activities of the monopolies and their relations with the people, other businesses and with the social and natural environment.
According to the PMO, actions to concentrate decision-making in the hands of all-powerful ruling executives in North America include the following: “We will establish Ministerial-led working groups that will consult with stakeholders in our respective countries. These working groups will respond to the priorities of our people and our businesses, and will set specific, measurable, and achievable goals. They will identify concrete steps that our governments can take to meet these goals, and set implementation dates that will permit a rolling harvest of accomplishments. … Within 90 days, Ministers will report back to us with their initial report. Following this, the groups will report on a semi-annual basis. Because the Partnership will be an ongoing process of cooperation, new items will be added to the work agenda by mutual agreement as circumstances warrant.”
Speaking in Toronto on 2 April at a mass meeting celebrating its 35th anniversary, Sandra L. Smith, national leader of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada, stated that the danger of the “partnership” is the further international concentration of political power.
“The US attempt to completely annex Canada and Mexico so as to impose a United States of North American Monopolies is being done through executive decree.”
“The entire Parliament and all the political parties are kept out of the deliberations. We cannot permit Canada to become part of a reactionary North America,” she emphasized. “There can be no conciliation with the direction the Martin government is taking Canada today, embroiling it in the war crimes and aggression of the US.”
The significance of executive decree is no small matter, she said, calling on Canadians to work out means to become develop a nation-wide discussion and “an organized force” to assert themselves as a sovereign force. When people are “always marginalized politically, left out of the equation”, their depoliticization favours the preparations for fascism and war.
The closed door partnership agreement represents a new level of executive rule on the international level especially with regard to US annexation of the political life of Canada and Mexico. Martin said at the press conference: “I look forward to discussing means as to how we make this partnership work better. Let me just say that we have committed, as leaders, to meet on a regular basis. We’re going to do this to assess our progress.”
That would represent a further development from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which provided for setting up agencies charged with supra-national executive and administrative powers in the spheres of trade and the economy. Yet Canadians were largely opposed to such an agreement and even voted against it in the 1998 federal elections before Prime Minister Brian Mulroney imposed free trade by executive decree. Later Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in a summit with the leaders of the US and Mexico extended free trade throughout North America as NAFTA, even though he swore the Liberal Party was against it during the preceding federal election campaign.
Writing from Vancouver in the weekly Georgia Straight, author and columnist Murray Dobbin states that the “partnership” represents the interests of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and “begins the process of economic, social, cultural, and security assimilation into the US”. (See “CEOs sell out the nation” in this edition)
“Poll after poll reveals that Canadians have different values than Americans, and those differences mean we want less integration with the US, not more. “
The Council of Canadians declared in a statement that “the agreement, one giant step toward full continental integration, would lead to a significant loss of sovereignty for Canada.”
Guy Charon of the Council also emphasized that the Partnership represented a “big business grocery list”, enunciating the agenda of big business interests. “It’s no coincidence that the title, Security and Prosperity Partnership of North American is so close to that of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives recent report, The North American Security and Prosperity Initiative.”
He added that “there is no concrete action to improve the lives of citizens as every single measure is geared to please the corporate sector.”
Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, pointed out that “Contrary to the title of the document released by the three leaders, deeper integration will not result in greater security and prosperity for Canadians.” She added, “This initiative will lead to the erosion of Canadians’ civil rights, the destruction of regulatory standards and practices designed to protect Canadians from unsafe food and drugs, and the eventual surrender of precious resources.”
Despite news regarding Canadian Members of Parliament supporting a fundamental review of NAFTA, especially the chapters on investment and dispute settlement (Chapters 11 and 19), the political parties in Parliament have been silent. It seems that all the fuzz on the sponsorship scandal represents a diversion as well as horse-trading for self-serving advantages allegedly to favour their chances for an increased vote in the next election.
It also aims to set up Fortress North America as a bulwark capable of dominating Europe and taking over Asia.
A statement released by the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada on 31 March pointed to the geopolitical significance of the pact reached in Crawford. “It also aims to set up Fortress North America as a bulwark capable of dominating Europe and taking over Asia. The inter-imperialist rivalry with Europe concerning Asia will give rise to even more collusion and contention.”
“Fortress North America will lead to even more attempts to suppress the struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean for their right to self-determination and independent progress. As they boast in the Partnership agreement, the monopolies want to use their commanding base in North America – the existing modern industrial means of production, the skilled and educated workforce, the public infrastructure and abundant natural resources, especially the energy reserves of Mexico and Canada, and the armed forces – as an invincible fortress to compete globally, expand the US empire and attack all those who would resist its domination or dare rise in competition.”
Shunpiking Online, http://www.shunpiking.com/ol0206/0206-nl-attks-mount.htm