Monday, October 06, 2008

SPP and Election '08 : From Star Wars to listeriosis

Kevin Brooker, columnist at the Calgary Herald, gets it :
Beware Government deals made secretly
"Before you go into the voting booth next week and do your part to help give Stephen Harper's Conservatives a parliamentary majority [ahem], there's something you need to think about.
With all of the structural problems in the U.S. economy, is now the time to give deep integrationalists encouragement to do what we never asked them to do in the first place?"
Mr. Brooker refers to the Con's summer release of their Competition Review Panel report "Compete to Win" , which recommends loosening up foreign investment restrictions and ending the prohibition on bank mergers.

Well just lol. The U.S. economy is tanking and we already have one of the world's most foreign dominated economies, but as usual, not U.S.-dominated/decimated enough for the North American Competitiveness Council, aka the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

Let's do a little review of "Compete to Win", in their own words, courtesy of Integrate This! :
"The chief mechanism to deal with Canada–US border issues, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), has yielded too little progress in improving crossborder flows. In this context, the Panel believes that it is imperative to intensify our bilateral effort with the US, focusing on facilitating the flow of goods, services and people across the Canada–US border"

"The Minister of Natural Resources should issue a policy directive to liberalize the non-resident ownership policy on uranium mining..."

"The Minister of Industry should introduce amendments to the Competition Act (to) align the merger notification process under the Competition Act more closely with the merger review process in the United States..."

"The federal, provincial and territorial governments should continue to reduce corporate tax rates to create a competitive advantage for Canada, particularly relative to the United States."

"Addressing the thickening of the Canada–US border should be the number one trade priority for Canada, and requires heightened direct bilateral engagement at the highest political levels."

"Canada should harmonize its product and professional standards with those of the US, except in cases where, and then only to the extent that, it can be demonstrated that the impairment of the regulatory objective outweighs the competitiveness benefit that would arise from harmonizing."

As Mr. Brooker notes :
"When these people sit down to discuss, say, environmental regulation, do you think it is to make those laws tougher?
Do you suppose they're spending much time thinking about how to preserve workers' rights?
And how about Canada's vast freshwater resources, which were specifically excluded from NAFTA. What are the chances that emergent "security" needs will put water back on the table and thus guarantee the U.S. permanent access, just like they got with our oil?"

The always wonderful Laura Carlsen, director of Americas Policy program at the Center for International Policy, answers Mr. Brooker's questions with a quote from someone who should know :
"In April 2007, on the eve of the North American Trilateral Summit, Thomas Shannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, described the SPP's purpose with remarkable candor: The SPP, he declared, "understands North America as a shared economic space," one that "we need to protect," not only on the border but "more broadly throughout North America" through improved "security cooperation." He added: "To a certain extent, we're armoring NAFTA."

Carlsen notes: "This was the first time that a U.S. official had stated outright that regional security was no longer focused on keeping the citizens of the United States, Canada, and Mexico safe from harm, but was now about protecting a regional economic model."

Of course the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Wing of the NACC, have not only always known this, they are very keen to take credit for the idea. From their website :
"As our Council made clear in launching our North American Security and Prosperity Initiative in 2003, it is in Canada’s fundamental interest to pursue bilateral and trilateral agreements that will keep our border with the United States as open as possible, and this requires hard work on issues related to security.
...In this context, we would restate our view that it is in Canada’s interest to participate in the ballistic missile defence program."

Oh goodie! Pudding!

And while I was over at the CCCE website perusing their "Blueprint", I ran in to this :
"In 2003, our Council proposed that the federal government adopt a “five percent solution”, which would require that each year, each minister and each deputy minister identify the least effective five percent of spending under their direction. This identification of relatively ineffective spending would provide a pool of resources that could be reallocated to new purposes if and when needed."
A 5% cut in each department's operating budget?
That sounds familiar. And voilĂ !
"A Canadian Food Inspection Agency employee was fired on Friday for sharing with his union information he found in a Treasury Board document that CFIA planned to make a 5% cut in its operating budget by outsourcing responsibility for food inspections and the labelling of products to industry.
It's like watching a prophecy unfold, isn't it?
The CCCE proposes something, the Cons make it flesh, and we get listeriosis.

On Oct 14, be sure you are not voting for these puddin' heads.


West End Bob said...


Excellent sleuthing, Alison.

Goodie, the "Shock Doctrine" now gives us a food group: Pudding . . . .

Cliff said...

Krugman points out that worldwide integration has increased massively in just the last ten years. And removing all those airlocks means one bulkhead breach drowns the whole ship.

Alison said...

Food group ;-)

Cliff : Now that's a scary metaphor.

Cliff said...

Harper keeps arguing that Canada is insulated from what's happening in the US - and doesn't want to talk about the cognitive dissonence of the longterm project to remove all of that insualtion.

Anonymous said...

Fed trolls Canada to rescue U.S. banks

Alison said...

Thank you, Anon. Posted.

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