Friday, May 20, 2005

Put an end to deep integration

Earlier this week, the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America, with the full backing of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, issued a report calling for a virtual surrender of Canadian sovereignty to U.S. interests on a variety of public policy fronts.

This final report, which echoes their interim report released in March, calls on the Canadian, American and Mexican governments to:

- "Establish a common security perimeter by 2010" that would "require specific policy, statutory, and procedural changes" and thereby align Canada even more with American homeland security priorities.

- "Develop a unified North American border action plan" that would "harmonize visa and asylum regulations" and thereby further erode Canadian sovereignty in the areas of immigration and refugee policies.

- "Increase information and intelligence-sharing at the local and national levels in both law enforcement and military organizations" and thereby increase the likelihood of more cases (as with Maher Arar) of detention and torture.

- "Develop a North American energy strategy" that would address "regulatory barriers," and U.S. energy needs and thereby put at risk Canadian energy security.

- "Adopt a common external tariff" and thereby have Canada, Mexico and the U.S. speak as a single bloc at international trade negotiations with the resulting loss of an independent Canadian trade policy.

- Adopt a "tested once" policy for pharmaceuticals that would address the "regulatory burden" and thereby require Canada to accept drugs approved in the U.S. despite our potential health and safety concerns.

- "Review those sectors of NAFTA that were excluded" and making "the coverage of NAFTA more comprehensive" and thereby further threaten Canada's water and culture.

There is every reason to take these threats seriously:

- the co-chair of the task force is former deputy prime minister and Liberal Party leader heir apparent John Manley.

- the Canadian Council of Chief Executives was, in their own words "the Canadian private sector leader in the development and promotion of... the North American Free Trade Agreement," a deal that has already severely eroded Canadian sovereignty.

- the report builds on the agenda already agreed to by Prime Minister Paul Martin, President George W. Bush and President Vicente Fox at their meetingin Waco, Texas on March 23.

Take action on this by:

- contacting Prime Minister Paul Martin at and telling him that he must clearly and firmly reject this pro-deep integration report.

- contacting the Canadian Council of Chief Executives at and telling them that you will be raising your voice again when CEOs meet in Washington this September to further their agenda.

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