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Recently released documents uncover powerful business influence over SPP process
07-13-2007, 08:35 PM,
Recently released documents uncover powerful business influence over SPP process
A Peek Behind Closed Doors

Recently released documents uncover powerful business influence over SPP process

James Corbett
Corbett Report

July 9, 2007
The Corbett Report has obtained minutes from the highly-secretive Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) Ministerial Meeting held in Ottawa on February 23rd, 2007. (click to view)

This meeting — attended by political heavyweights from Canada, the United States and Mexico — received much criticism in the Canadian press at the time for being needlessly secretive. This was in fact the main focus of a Canadian Press report from that day headlined "Officials play down criticism that talks too secretive" which noted how "North American ministers deflected criticism that they had consulted only big business for their talks on trade and security rules, suggesting Friday there are 'different venues' for public interest and labour groups to raise their concerns and suggestions." Indeed, the government officials present at the press conference were forced to address issues of secrecy when the press conference was disrupted by protestors who were angry about the secretive nature of the talks. Such criticisms were not without their merit. In attendance were such key government representatives as Peter McKay (Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada), Stockwell Day (Public Safety Minister of Canada), Condoleeza Rice (U.S. Secretary of State), Michael Chertoff (U.S. Homeland Security Chief) and Patricia Espinosa (Mexican Foreign Minister). On their agenda, according to the CP article, were matters traditionally left to elected representatives to debate in legislative settings, including a meeting devoted to "finalizing a North American plan on dealing with a flu pandemic and another on a common regulatory environment in all three countries."

The secrecy surrounding the talks come as no surprise to those who have been following the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The SPP is carrying out a merger of the three sovereign North American nations in what has been euphemistically dubbed a "dialogue" in order to commit an end-run around the legislative process which would have made such a merger politically impossible. The process started when then-Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada, then-President Vincente Fox of Mexico and President George W. Bush of the United States announced the creation of the SPP at Baylor University in Waco, Texas on March 23rd, 2005 at a press conference which was heavy on hyperbole and scant on details. Facts coming out of the subsequent leaders summit in Cancun, Mexico on March 31st, 2006 were similarly sparse. The official websites of the SPP from all three countries (the Canadian the American and the Mexican) provide few details of how government representatives are working to carry out the SPP's initiatives.

Indeed, the SPP completely circumvents the democratic process since it is a "dialogue," not a "treaty" or even an "agreement" between the three governments, meaning government representatives can claim they are attending SPP meetings as private citizens. The office of Stockwell Day refused even to confirm Mr. Day's attendance at the secretive North American Forum meeting in Banff, Canada in September 2006, saying it was a "private meeting and generally I don't confirm private meetings of the minister."

Read it all (inc the documents) here:
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