NEWS: Legislators and civil society groups of the North American region call for halt to Security and Prosperity Partnership

Legislators and civil society groups of the North American region call for halt to Security and Prosperity Partnership and replacement of NAFTA

Ottawa – At a press conference today, legislators and civil society networks from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico unveil a collective plan to bring an end to deep integration and replace NAFTA with a people-centred trade model.

“We must reshape trade agreements in North America to ensure rising standards of living for our peoples,” says U.S. Congresswoman, Marcy Kaptur (Democrat, Ohio).

The groups met in Ottawa on June 5, 2006, to extend the work of the first North American Forum held in Washington in May 2005. This second forum brought progressive legislators together with representatives from civil society networks Red Mexican de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC) of Mexico, Canadian organization Common Frontiers, le Réseau Québécois sur l’intégration continentale (RQIC), and the Alliance for Responsible Trade (ART) from the United States.

”NAFTA has aggravated poverty across the continent,” says Pierre-Yves Serinet of RQIC.

According to NDP Trade Critic, Peter Julian, “there is no doubt that under NAFTA most Canadians are poorer. We have been fighting to make adjustments and now it is clear that NAFTA has to be replaced. It is not working for the vast majority of inhabitants of North America. It has failed on the bottom line.”

In anticipation of the March 2007 “Three Amigos Summit” that will be held in Ottawa, the new group will create a North American secretariat and introduce simultaneous legislation in Mexico, the U.S and Canada to replace NAFTA. It will build opportunities for public engagement on the issue of continental integration.

Rosario Quispes of RMALQ describes the Security and Prosperity Partnership, as “a distorted, more dangerous version of NAFTA.”

“We need to work together to stop the Security Prosperity Partnership because the negotiations have been anti-democratic, without transparency and promise to benefit only the business elite of the region,” says Victor Suarez, Member of the Mexican Parliament (Partido de la Revolución Democratica, D.F.).

Civil society groups applaud participating parliamentarians for involving the public –
Something the governments of the three states have failed to do. “We want to work to with civil society to develop another model of integration that will ensure prosperity for all, says Bloc Québécois MP, Pierre Paquette.”