Atlantica: Harper, MacKay and the man from Portland

By TONY SEED, Editorial, Shunpiking Magazine

AT a conference in Halifax in June, a new six-person body called the Atlantica Council was introduced: three Atlantic Canadian corporate executives, one state trade manager from Portland, Maine, the president of the Atlantica Center for Energy and the president of Memorial University. At the same conference, Peter MacKay, Minister for ACOA, handed over $548,000 to the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce to fund this Council.

The Nova Scotia Business Journal reported that “Bill Denyar, president of the APCC, says one thing the council will do is determine the laws and regulations that the various governments will need to change in order to make Atlantica a reality.” [1]

The second planned activity will be to develop “the Atlantic Gateway, a multi-modal, ocean super-port and international highway designed to lure Asian shipping companies away from overcrowded western ports via the Suez Canal” – to the US.

Since this report, the media has been abuzz with speculation of large windfall grants forthcoming from the Harper Government to finance the expansion of the port of Halifax and other infrastructure for the mega-project.

In other words, the forces behind Atlantica are seeking to annul unspecified “laws and regulations” of “various governments” and this is directly related to facilitating Atlantic Gateway. From this it is clear that the Atlantica Council is essentially demanding that “laws and regulations” of Canada be streamlined with that of the US so as to expedite maximum transport in the minimum amount of time, better compete with other international trade routes and enrich themselves. In other words, sovereign Canadian “laws and regulations” are to be vetted and amended to facilitate US and transnational corporations and private gain.

Furthermore, the determination of what “laws and regulations” that governments “will need to change” is outsourced to a completely unelected and private body, the Atlantica Council.

Nay more, along with the three home-grown executives, this unelected private body includes the man from Portland with a vested interest. That a US citizen is being given co-responsibility to “determine the laws and regulations that the various governments will need to change” is either criminal, corrupt or an act of national betrayal.

Who is making Canadian sovereign law? All US and other corporations are required to follow Canadian sovereign law without exception. Canadians and their political and legal institutions are responsible for all affairs, including commerce, that transpire within this country. The leading representatives of the Government of Canada, Messrs. Harper and MacKay, are handing over Canadian sovereign “laws and regulations” to a US citizen and a tiny elite to “determine.” They should be held to account.

In June the media was all over youth, 20 of whom were arrested, for allegedly breaking the rule of law in protests against Atlantica. Where is its outrage and courage now? If the rule of law is to mean anything, why are these colonial deals not discussed openly and publicly right from the outset? Or is there more to follow?

The Atlantica presidium

The first group of six Atlantica Council members are:

* Chairman Neville Gilfoy, CEO of Progress Corp. (Halifax, NS);

* Tim Curry, president of the Atlantica Centre for Energy (Saint John, NB);

* Janine Bisaillon-Cary, president of the Maine International Trade Centre; also the Maine Director of International Trade (Portland, ME);

* John Murphy, vice president, J.D. Irving Limited (Saint John, NB);

* Regis Duffy, founder of Diagnostic Chemicals Ltd. (Charlottetown, PE);

* Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University of Newfoundland (St. John’s, NL).

The Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce says it will soon recruit the vice president of Atlantica and announce the next round of appointees to the Atlantica Council.

Source: Nova Scotia Business Journal


1 Chet Wesley, “Rise of the Atlantica elite?; Responsibility for drafting policies passes to appointed group,” Nova Scotia Business Journal,

Source: Shunpiking Magazine, Fall, 2007, Volume 13, Number 49

Related reading: 

Council of Canadians, 1 May 2007, Presentation on Security Prosperity Partnership, Standing Committee on International Trade,

Special Report: The ‘Atlantica’ Project, Shunpiking Online, June-August 2007,

“Geo-strategic significance of the Atlantica Project,” GARY ZATZMAN and TONY SEED, Shunpiking Online, 15 June 2007, Volume 4, Number 5

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Filed under Atlantic Gateway / Atlantica, No Harbour for War (Halifax), Working Class

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