NEWS: Harper should heed Parkland Institute’s advice on Canada’s energy security: NDP

OTTAWA – Today, NDP International Trade Critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) and NDP Energy Critic Dennis Bevington (Western Arctic) came out in full support of the Parkland Institute which called on the Harper Government to establish a policy of energy security for Canada.

Political economist Gordon Laxer, Director of the Parkland Institute, was in Ottawa appearing before the Standing Committee on International Trade for the hearings around the SPP. Laxer urged the Harper government not to negotiate further concessions on Canadian energy sovereignty to the Bush administration through the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) – deep integration.

“The real goal of the SPP is more about integrating Canada into the American way of doing things,” Laxer said. “Rather than pledging allegiance to U.S. energy security behind closed doors, Canada should look after the security needs of Canadians first.”

The NDP succeeded in obtaining hearings to discuss the impact of the SPP on Canada’s sovereignty and on the lack of transparency and democratic debate around this process. The SPP was initiated by the Liberal government of Paul Martin, and has been continued by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper.

“The Parkland Institute has clearly shown that the sell-out of our energy sector has profound implications for Canadians,” said Julian. “We simply cannot allow the continued surrender of Canada’s important energy resources.”

As part of the SPP, the Bush administration is pushing for greater control of Canada’s energy resources. In fact, the proportionality clause of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) means that the United States has the right of first and exclusive access to Canadian energy resources, even in the event of a critical national supply shortage.

"The uncontrolled approach to the sale of our natural gas supplies over the past decade under NAFTA is going to leave Canadians relying on foreign supplies in the future,” said Bevington.

The SPP agenda includes reducing protection in over 300 areas, including pesticide use, food safety and air safety, as well as central control from Washington over Canadian national resources – including energy.

The NDP reiterated its call for a full and accountable public debate to expose the agenda around the SPP. The NDP will continue to propose an ethical and fair trade model of international trade while pushing for full parliamentary oversight and public disclosure of SPP.