NEWS: Conservatives plan to fast track new limits on Canadian sovereignty

NDP demands accountability from Harper

OTTAWA – NDP International Trade Critic, Peter Julian, MP (Burnaby-New Westminster), along with Teresa Healy, spokesperson for the Canadian Labour Congress and Jean-Yves Lefort, spokesperson for Common Frontiers, declared that they will be redoubling their collective efforts to halt the stealth takeover of Canada by the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), and to bring this corporate agenda to the public’s attention.

“This is the giving away of Canada’s command to the U.S, Republican administration and to North America’s largest corporations,” stated Julian. “We are seeing this with the Softwood Lumber Agreement and with the Canadian Wheat Board, as well as in a variety of other sectors. Stephen Harper is following the legacy of Paul Martin and the Liberal Party and is willing to give anything away in pursuit of so-called good Canada-U.S. relations.”

Current Conservative cabinet ministers, former ministers from the previous Liberal governments, officials from Canada, Mexico and the US, North America’s top corporate executives and top military brass met at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel on September 12-14, 2006. Neither the general public from all three countries nor the media were informed about this meeting. The Harper government has so far refused to release any information. The event was organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

The SPP was launched in March of 2005 as a trilateral initiative to fast-track the integration of Canada and Mexico with the United States through the harmonization of 300 common areas of legislation and regulations. Since Paul Martin, Vicente Fox and George W. Bush signed the Security and Prosperity Partnership, discussions on their continental integration have gone underground.

“Through the SPP, business and government executives are meeting in secret to deepen the de-regulation and competitive pressures that undermine labour rights, decent wages and working conditions. Workers want to know - what happened to democracy?” stated Teresa Healy.

"The North American Competitive Council (NACC) is made up of corporate executives from some of the largest enterprises in Canada, the US and Mexico. They have been anointed as the exclusive advisers to government Ministries involved in implementing the SPP. In this arrangement, the opinions of the people from the three countries are not welcome," declared Jean-Yves Lefort.

“What this means for Canada is lower standards and quality of life in many areas, such as food security, air safety, environmental norms, health care and labour rights. It’s a recipe for lowering standards in our country. This is unacceptable to most Canadians,” noted Julian.

The NDP will be fighting over the next few months to get full disclosure of any agreements the Harper government is entering into and will be sending access to information requests to ensure that Canadians become aware of what is at stake.