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NAFTA

Bilderberg 2015: Implementation of the A.I. Grid

Regina’s All-Seeing Eye.

via Activist Post
June 8, 2015

By Jay Dyer

The plan to integrate nations into continental trading blocs is not a new idea.  In Dr. Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope, reference is made to the plan of the Third Reich to create global trading blocs, which itself is an older British Royal Society plan.  Daniel Estulin, in his The Bilderberg Group and Shadow Masters provides detailed investigations into both Bilderberg and its many-headed Hydra organization, exemplified in Captain America 2: Winter Soldier.  Founded by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, as well as numerous other Atlanticist elites like David Rockefeller, Paul Van Zeeland and numerous other media barons, corporate heads, bankers, and countless other people better than us.

Bilderberg, operating under the guise of “free market capitalism,” represents instead the complete culmination of banking corporate world control.  Presented as yet another debate forum, the secretive meetings instead have been revealed in numerous cases to have driven global policy.  The most shining example is the 1955 Bilderberg meeting’s plans for the creation of the “European Common Market” and “European Union (Unity) shown below.  It is important to recall that the European Common Market came into play some three years later in 1958, while the European Union itself was supposedly founded in 1993.  With this in mind, we can see how the TTIP is simply a further extension of the same strategy of economic integration, from the EU to NAFTA.

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VIDEO — Rising ‘Hispanic’ Star George P. Bush Confronted on Family’s Nazi Banking Past

Truthstream Media
Feb 16, 2014

http://politicalscams.me/
http://truthstreammedia.com/rising-hi…
http://truthstreammedia.com/proof-ran…
The little known George P. Bush (from the powerful Bush Dynasty) is rising to political power in Texas on his ‘Hispanic’ credentials. His rising star is a Trojan Horse towards stopping a “Blue State” from emerging in Texas, swinging potentially Democratic voters back to the GOP, while priming the Southwest for the immigration reforms designed by his father Jeb Bush at the Council on Foreign Relations — in turn part of the larger plan to usher in a North American Union and seize vast land areas for the planned Trans-Texas Corridor which will fast-track NAFTA-on-steroids global trade and transform the once free United States irreparably.
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With George P. Bush, grandson of George H.W. Bush, campaigning in Texas to secure political office and his place in the 4th generation Bush Dynasty as a “Hispanic” leader, a Latino activist confronted him on the inconvenient truth of his family’s Nazi connections. George P. Bush was named after Sen. Prescott S. Bush, the father of George H.W. Bush, who was a partner at Union Banking Corporation — a bank that had its assets frozen under the 1942 Trading With the Enemy Act for financing Hitler and the Nazis.

The London Guardian, among other sources, have confirmed the scandal through historical documents. See here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004… Nevertheless, the powerful Bush Dynasty has played a role in war profiteering, the creation of the CIA, shady covert operations and has now seen two U.S. presidents named George Bush, along with other powerful political figures.

Will George P. Bush be the next? A new drama of mass proportions is unfolding in Texas… Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton of Truthstream Media.com speak with Hector Cubillos of PoliticalScams.me, the Texas resident and Mexican national who confronted the blue blood Bush scion on exploiting his Hispanic credentials to gain office (full confrontation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_7YmM…).

The son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is now seeking election for Texas Land Commissioner — a position well under the radar of most political spectators — but which holds powerful clout over vast land areas, imminent domain, veteran’s rights, education … and in particular over a pet project with many Bush hands already in it — the formation of the Trans-Texas Corridor and the gradual completion of the North American Union. These mega-projects would combine the economies and territories of Canada, the United States and Mexico, while fast-tracking corporate dominance and paving over existing properties with a gigantic new transport highway that runs vertically from lower Mexico up through Texas all the way to Canada. Compounding with this are the changing demographics of Texas, which many political pundits say could turn “blue” and swing Democratic, while the Republican party in a long-firm “red” state is trying to stay relevant by showcasing Hispanic candidates like George P. Bush — all while his daddy Jeb Bush is pushing the Immigration Reform Plan he wrote for the elitist and secretive Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

The impact of these vast changes in policy and infrastructure are part of a globalist scheme to transform the structure of governance and place the rights of the Constitution under the yoke of Free Trade and treaty law. Hector Cubillos explains how he has seen the impacts of NAFTA first hand growing up in Mexico, and how it contributing to mass migration and an influx of illegal immigration in the United States.

Website: TruthstreamMedia.com
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NAFTA and the Next Phase of North American Integration

BE YOUR OWN LEADER
Jan 27, 2014

By Dana Gabriel

In preparation for the upcoming North American Leaders Summit which will be held in Toluca, Mexico on February 19, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently held a meeting with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts. Over the last number of years, not as much attention has been given to the trilateral relationship. Instead, the U.S. has essentially pursued a dual-bilateral approach with both Canada and Mexico on key issues including border and continental perimeter security, as well as regulatory and energy cooperation. On the heels of its 20th anniversary, there once again appears to be renewed interest in broadening and deepening the NAFTA partnership as part of the next phase of North American integration.

On January 17, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the North American Ministerial with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade. The discussions centered around topics such as regulatory, energy and trade relations, along with border infrastructure and management. The meeting was used to lay the groundwork for next month’s North American Leaders Summit which will include the participation of U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. During a press conference, a reporter asked about reopening NAFTA in order to update it. Secretary Kerry answered, “the TPP, is a very critical component of sort of moving to the next tier, post-NAFTA. So I don’t think you have to open up NAFTA, per se, in order to achieve what we’re trying to achieve.” Minister Baird added, “we believe that NAFTA’s been an unqualified success, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, which all three of us are in, offer us the opportunity to strengthen the trilateral partnership.” Secretary Meade also chimed in, “We do not think it is necessary to reopen NAFTA, but we think we have to build on it to construct and revitalize the idea of a dynamic North America.”

In December 2013, the Miami Herald reported that the Obama administration, “is exploring a regional trade plan for the Americas that would be the most ambitious hemispheric initiative in years.” It went on to say that Secretary of State John Kerry, “would like to first seek an agreement to deepen the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, and to expand it afterward to the rest of Latin America.” According to some of Kerry’s top aides, “the plan to relaunch NAFTA could come as early as February, when President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts at a North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico.” The recent article, U.S. lays out goals for NAFTA cautioned that, “the shared goal of a NAFTA 2.0 that wins fresh, sustainable gains for Canada, Mexico and the U.S., the Americans warn, is unlikely to come in a single, dramatic and easily digestible sound byte.” It further noted that, “Instead, the Americans are urging a more realistic approach aimed at reviving trilateral momentum, with a dogged diplomatic effort that aggressively fine-tunes, streamlines and expands the trade pact.”

Last year, business leaders from across North America released a set of policy recommendations designed to increase continental economic integration and competitiveness. In a letter issued to President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Enrique Pena Nieto, the Business Roundtable, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Consejo Mexicano de Hombres de Negocios called for greater trilateral government action in the areas of intelligent border systems, regulatory standards and practices, as well as North American energy security and sustainability. The business organizations explained that, “More can and should be done to promote regulatory cooperation between our three countries, to facilitate the legitimate movement of people, goods and services.” They emphasized that the time to act was now and that their specific proposals would, “help deepen our economic ties, strengthen the international competitiveness of Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. companies and their workers, and realize North American energy self-reliance.” Their goal is to create a seamless North American market.

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Final Push for a Canada-EU CETA and the Coming NAFTA-EU Free Trade Zone

by Dana Gabriel
Be Your Own Leader

March 25, 2013

Pressure is mounting on Canada to finish up a long-delayed trade deal with the EU. Despite outstanding issues that still must be settled, there is a final push to try and complete an agreement this summer. If both sides are able to secure a deal, it would lay the groundwork for the proposed U.S.-EU trade pact. There is the possibility that the U.S.-EU transatlantic trade talks could also include the other NAFTA partners and maybe even other countries. Mexico has already shown interest in joining and if Canada can’t put the final touches on their own agreement with the EU, they might also be part of the negotiations. This would facilitate plans for a coming NAFTA-EU free trade zone and the formation of a transatlantic economic union.

After almost four years, negotiations between Canada and the European Union (EU) on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are bogged down in the final stages. Both sides have missed numerous deadlines to wrap things up. There is uncertainty when or if CETA will even get done. Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently tried to boost trade talks. He acknowledged that considerable progress towards a free trade deal has already been achieved, but admitted that there are still important issues that need to be resolved before any agreement can be finalized. Harper also explained that it would be to Canada’s advantage to sign a deal with Europe before the U.S. does. He made the comments while meeting with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who was in Ottawa for an official visit. As part of a joint statement, both leaders said they looked forward to a successful conclusion to CETA negotiations. Before his trip to Canada, Ayrault was sent a letter by civil society groups voicing opposition to CETA and the investor protection chapter that would grant corporations the power to challenge government policies that restrict their profits.

There are key issues which remain stumbling blocks and are preventing Canada and the EU from reaching an agreement. Academic researcher and law professor Michael Geist argued that, “with the EU the stronger of the two parties, it doesn’t see any urgency to compromise. In fact, with a growing number of EU negotiations (including talks with the U.S.), compromise with Canada may undermine its position in more economically important deals.” He also laid out different possibilities for the future of CETA. This includes Canada continuing to hold out hope for a compromise which thus far has failed. They could cave to the EU demands, but this might hurt the Conservatives chances in the 2015 election. Geist pointed out another scenario which would involve Canada joining the U.S.-EU talks and CETA being replaced by the Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA). He noted, “The argument for TAFTA would be that Canada is consolidating its negotiations into major agreements covering the Pacific (TPP) and Atlantic (TAFTA) to ensure that it is part of two potential large trading blocks. The danger with this approach is that Canada becomes a bit player in both negotiations with even less leverage to promote Canadian interests.”

During a speech given in November of last year, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht called on Mexico and the EU to modernize their existing trade agreement. Glyn Moody of techdirt recently reported that Mexico is now looking to join the U.S.-EU transatlantic deal. This would be one way for the EU and Mexico to upgrade trade relations. Moody emphasized that the U.S. strategy is to, “make TPP the defining international agreement for the entire Pacific region. TAFTA obviously aims to do the same for the Atlantic. As well as establishing the U.S. as the key link between the giant TPP and TAFTA blocs, this double-headed approach would also isolate the main emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India and above all China.” Just like the U.S. dominated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Mexico and Canada could also be a part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks. This would make it a true NAFTA-EU trade bloc-level negotiations. There might be an opportunity for other countries to join as Turkey is also pushing to be included in the trade deal.

In a recent article, Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians described how CETA negotiations have laid the groundwork for a U.S.-EU free trade zone. She insisted that it would be a mistake for all three NAFTA countries to be a part of a transatlantic agreement. Barlow warned about some of the same dangers found in CETA that the U.S. could face in their own trade deal with the EU. She stressed how opening up local procurement to the EU should be of great concern to U.S. states and municipal governments. In Canada, a number of municipalities have passed motions demanding that they be excluded from the procurement rules in CETA which would restrict local hiring and purchasing initiatives. Barlow also cautioned that an investor protection chapter like the one in CETA would allow European multinationals to sue for any potential profit losses related to U.S. government policies and regulations. This would be worse than NAFTA’s Chapter 11 and as a result, the U.S. would lose more sovereign rights. The Australian government has already stopped the practice of including investor-state dispute resolution procedures in trade agreements and now it’s time for other countries follow suit.

In Canada, opposition to CETA continuous to grow. There are deep concerns over the expansion of NAFTA-like investor rights, the dismantling of supply management in agriculture and the negative impact that CETA would have on local public procurement. It could also serve to further empower Big Pharma by extending monopoly drug patents which would lead to higher costs. Just like any of the other so-called next-generation trade and investment deals, CETA is based on the failed NAFTA model with the same false promises. These secretive and binding international agreements are not really about trade, but are in fact designed to reshape regulatory and policy frameworks to further increase the rights of corporations and investors.

Whatever happens with CETA will greatly affect how the U.S. and EU approach their own trade deal. Moving forward, the merging transatlantic partnership will eventually culminate in the creation of a NAFTA-EU free trade zone. With the push for deeper international economic integration, the U.S. is positioning itself to become the lynchpin between the world’s largest trading blocs.

Related articles by Dana Gabriel:
Deepening the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade Partnership
Growing Opposition to the Canada-EU Trade Agreement
Spreading NAFTA’s Love Across the Atlantic
U.S.-EU Trade Deal is the Foundation For a New Global Economic Order

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: beyourownleader@hotmail.com Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader

[hat tip: Intellihub]


U.S.-EU Trade Deal is the Foundation For a New Global Economic Order

by Dana Gabriel
Be Your Own Leader
February 25, 2013

The U.S. and EU have agreed to launch negotiations on what would be the world’s largest free trade deal. Such an agreement would be the basis for the creation of an economic NATO and would include trade in goods, services and investment, as well as cover intellectual property rights. There are concerns that the U.S. could use these talks to push the EU to loosen its restrictions on genetically modified crops and foods. In addition, the deal might serve as a backdoor means to implement ACTA which was rejected by the European Parliament last year. A U.S.-EU Transatlantic trade agreement is seen as a way of countering China’s growing power and is the foundation for a new global economic order.

In his recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama officially announced that the U.S. would launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union (EU). A joint statement issued by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and U.S. President Obama explained that, “Through this negotiation, the United States and the European Union will have the opportunity not only to expand trade and investment across the Atlantic, but also to contribute to the development of global rules that can strengthen the multilateral trading system.” In a separate speech, European Commission President Barroso also emphasized that, “A future deal between the world’s two most important economic powers will be a game-changer. Together, we will form the largest free trade zone in the world. So this negotiation will set the standard – not only for our future bilateral trade and investment, including regulatory issues, but also for the development of global trade rules.”

The decision to pursue a free trade deal was based on the recommendations put forth by the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth which was created to deepen U.S.-EU economic integration. In their final report, they called on leaders from both sides to, “initiate as soon as possible the formal domestic procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a comprehensive trade and investment agreement.” According to U.S. and EU officials, talks could start in June with the hopes of completing a deal by the end of 2014. The proposed trade pact would include removing import tariffs, dismantling hurdles to trade in goods, services, and investment, as well as harmonizing regulations and standards. It would also cover intellectual property protection and enforcement. This could be used as an opportunity for a backdoor implementation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). It was a result of public pressure associated with risks to internet freedom and privacy which lead to ACTA being rejected by the European Parliament in July of 2012. There have already been attempts to use Canada-EU trade negotiations to sneak in parts of ACTA.

Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Director, Lori Wallach cautioned how U.S.-EU talks, “are aimed at eliminating a list of what multinational corporations call ‘trade irritants’ but the rest of us know as strong food safety, environmental and health safeguards.” She went on to say, “European firms are targeting aspects of the U.S. financial reregulation regime, our stronger drug and medical device safety and testing standards and more.” Wallach further added, “U.S. firms want Europe to gut their superior chemical regulation regime, their tougher food safety rules and labeling of genetically modified foods.” In a press release, Earth Open Source warned that, “An EU-U.S. free trade deal would obliterate EU safeguards for health and the environment with regard to genetically modified (GM) crops and foods.” Research Director Claire Robinson pointed out, “If the new trade agreement goes through, it will be illegal under World Trade Organisation rules for the EU to have a stronger regulatory system for GMOs than the U.S. system.” This is disturbing considering that in many cases, GM foods in the U.S. do not require any special regulatory oversight or safety tests.

Overshadowed by the proposed U.S.-EU trade deal is ongoing Canada-EU negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Despite talks being in their final stages, both sides still have some important gaps to be bridged before a deal can be reached. Thomas Walkom of the Toronto Star acknowledged that, “Europe’s real interest in negotiating a trade deal with Ottawa was to demonstrate to the Americans that a trans-Atlantic free trade pact was possible.” He noted, “EU negotiators will be even more reluctant to make concessions to Canada for fear of weakening their bargaining hand with the Americans.” Walkom argued that, “Canada is under more pressure to make a deal while Europe is under less.” He concluded that. “A Canada-EU deal seems inevitable. But now, with America in the mix, the terms for Canada may be even less favorable than expected.” The Globe and Mail recently reported that the EU is demanding additional concessions from Canada before any agreement can be signed. In order to wrap things up, a desperate Canada may be willing to give up even more. This was a bad deal from the start and it would be in their best interest to just walk away from CETA.

In the coming months, you can expect the anti-corporate globalization movement on both sides of the Atlantic to mobilize against the U.S.-EU trade agreement. It is big business and financial institutions who are pushing this deregulation agenda which threatens health, environmental and food safety standards. Just like NAFTA, the proposed U.S.-EU trade deal is also likely to include an investor-state dispute process which would give corporations the right to challenge government policies that restrict their profits. A trade agreement between the U.S. and EU is the building blocks for a new global trading system. If you combine NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a U.S,-EU Transatlantic trade deal, you have the makings for a global free trade area.

Related articles by Dana Gabriel:
Deepening the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade Partnership
Growing Opposition to the Canada-EU Trade Agreement
Advancing the Transatlantic Agenda
From NAFTA to CETA: Canada-EU Deep Economic Integration

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: beyourownleader@hotmail.com Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader


U.S.-Canada Harmonizing Border Security and Immigration Measures

by Dana Gabriel
Be Your Own Leader

February 4, 2013

The U.S. and Canada have made significant progress in advancing the Beyond the Border deal and continue to implement various perimeter security initiatives. Without much fanfare, they have signed an immigration agreement that would allow them to share biographic and at a later date, biometric information. As part of a North American security perimeter, both countries are further harmonizing border security and immigration measures. Canada is further taking on U.S. security priorities and this could include a bigger role in the war on terrorism.

It’s been over a year since Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama announced the Beyond the Border and the Regulatory Cooperation Council action plans. On December 14, 2012, the U.S. and Canada issued the Beyond the Border implementation report that highlights the objectives that were achieved over the past year and the work that has yet to be done. It explained that moving forward, “Key future initiatives include harmonizing our trusted trader programs, making significant infrastructure investments at our key land border crossings, fully implementing an entry/exit program at the land border, expanding preclearance operations to the land, rail, and marine domains.” The report also acknowledged challenges facing the Next-Generation pilot project which would permit teams of cross-designated officers to operate on both sides of the border. It was originally scheduled to begin last summer. While steady progress has been made, a lot more work is needed to meet the goals of the Beyond the Border action plan. Over the next several years, other aspects of the deal will be phased-in incrementally with specific deliverables due this year, in 2014 and also in 2015.

Another important facet of the economic and security perimeter agreement is the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC). A progress report to the leaders outlines accomplishments made in aligning regulations in the areas of agriculture and food, transportation, the environment, health and personal care products, workplace chemicals, as well as nanotechnology. This includes cooperation on pilot projects, scientific and technical collaborations and harmonized testing procedures. RCC working groups have developed detailed work plans for the various initiatives with objectives that will be implemented over the next couple of years. In Canada, some fear that deepening regulatory integration with the U.S. could weaken and erode any independent regulatory capacity. This could lead to a race to the bottom with respect to regulatory standards.

In December of last year, the U.S. and Canada signed the Immigration Information Sharing Treaty which is tied to the Beyond the Border deal. Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney stated that the, “agreement builds on our countries’ mutual efforts to protect our common borders and the surrounding perimeter, through improved screening of immigrants and visitors.” He went on to say, “Enhanced information sharing of foreign nationals will protect the safety and security of Canadians by helping us prevent terrorists, violent criminals, and others, who pose a risk, from entering Canada or the United States.” Under the treaty, Canada and the U.S. will share biographic information from third country nationals who apply for a visa, a travel permit or claim asylum. In 2014, it will also include the sharing of biometric information. There are privacy concerns on how far-reaching the data collected will be shared. This threatens the sovereignty of Canada with regards to retaining control over information at its own borders.

On December 28, 2012, President Obama signed into law, the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act which is designed to curb Iran’s presence and activity in the region. The bill calls on the Department of Homeland Security to work with Canada and Mexico, “to address resources, technology, and infrastructure to create a secure United States border and strengthen the ability of the United States and its allies to prevent operatives from Iran, the IRGC, its Qods Force, Hezbollah, or any other terrorist organization from entering the United States.” Julie Carmichael, spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews discussed Canada’s efforts to counter any perceived hostility from Iran in the Americas. She is quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying, “We continually assess threats while co-operating with international partners, including the U.S., to address threats to our common security.” Carmichael added, “The Beyond the Border Action Plan as announced by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama provides a framework to identify threats before they reach North America.” Under the perimeter security deal, Canada is further aligning itself with U.S. foreign policy interests and could be expected to play a greater role in the global war on terror.

Through the Beyond the Border agreement, the U.S. and Canada are deepening economic and security integration which is laying the foundation for a North American security perimeter. Both countries are also engaged in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations with Mexico and other member nations. This is part of efforts to create a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific and could be used to update and expand NAFTA. Another key priority for U.S.-Canada relations is North America’s energy future. President Obama is expected to make a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline sometime this year. Meanwhile, there is growing environmental opposition to the proposed project which would carry oil from western Canada to the Texas gulf coast.

Related articles by Dana Gabriel:
Merging U.S.-Canada Arctic Foreign Policy
U.S.-Canada Integrated Cybersecurity Agenda
Shaping the Future of North American Integration
Taking the U.S.-Canada Partnership to the Next Level

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: beyourownleader@hotmail.com Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader


Beyond NAFTA: Shaping the Future of North American Integration

by Dana Gabriel
BE YOUR OWN LEADER
December 10, 2012

In a move that signalled the importance placed on the NAFTA partnership, Mexico’s new president visited the U.S. and Canada before his inauguration. This was seen as a step forward in further strengthening political, economic, energy and security ties between all three countries. Other recent high-level meetings and policy papers are also shaping the future of North American integration.

Before his recent trip to the U.S., Mexico’s new President Enrique Pena Nieto emphasized in a Washington Post editorial the opportunity both countries have to build on their economic partnership. He explained that, “in NAFTA we have a solid foundation to further integrate our economies through greater investments in finance, infrastructure, manufacturing and energy.” As part of his government’s strategy to reduce violence, he stated that it is, “important that our countries increase intelligence-sharing and crime-fighting techniques and promote cooperation among law enforcement agencies.” In a White House press release, Pena Nieto invited President Barack Obama to participate in the next North American Leaders Summit which will take place in Mexico sometime in 2013. With regards to U.S.-Mexico relations, Obama said that he was also looking forward to finding ways, “to strengthen our economic ties, our trade ties, our coordination along the border, improving our joint competitiveness, as well as common security issues.”

According to the new policy brief, A New Agenda with Mexico put out by the Woodrow Wilson Center, “declines in illegal immigration and organized crime violence in Mexico, open up an opportunity for U.S. policymakers to deepen the economic relationship.” The report recommended working, “together with Mexico and Canada to strengthen regional competitiveness and to grow North American exports to the world.” It further elaborated on how, “Economic issues can drive the next phase in deepening U.S.-Mexico cooperation. Investments in trusted shipper programs, pre-inspection programs, and enhanced border infrastructure will be crucial.” The study called on Washington to offer more, “support for Mexico’s criminal justice institutions, and strengthen U.S. anti-money laundering efforts in order to combat organized crime and violence.” It also recommended engaging, “Mexico more actively on hemispheric and extra-hemispheric foreign policy issues, ranging from terrorism to international trade and finance, as Mexico’s role as a global power grows.”

In a recent article, Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas Policy Program scrutinized some the new Mexican president’s policy initiatives. In the area of security, she pointed out that, “A real change in paradigm would require two measures that the Pena government has said it will not take: withdrawing the armed forces from counternarcotics efforts and renegotiating security cooperation with the U.S. government.” She noted, “Pena Nieto has reassured the U.S. that his administration will continue the drug war.” Carlsen acknowledged how, “The U.S. government has actively promoted and supported the drug war model of enforcement and interdiction through the Merida Initiative and spearheaded the massive expansion of U.S. counternarcotics activities in the country.” She further added, “U.S. defense, intelligence and security companies depend on the Mexican drug war to obtain multi-million dollar government contracts. The Pentagon and other U.S. agencies have achieved unprecedented freedom to act and even direct actions on Mexican soil.” As far as economic policy goes, Carlsen was also critical of President Pena Nieto’s commitment to deepen rather than fix NAFTA.

Just days before being sworn in as Mexico’s new president, Pena Nieto also visited Canada. In a press statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was looking forward to working with him in improving trade ties, as well as strengthening North American competitiveness and security. In an editorial that appeared in the Globe and Mail, Pena Nieto announced that, “One of the areas with the largest potential for co-operation between Mexico and Canada is energy production and development. Mexico’s energy sector is about to change. I want to enhance its potential by opening it up to national and foreign private investment.” He went on to say, “We can cultivate a closer relationship in this area in order to attain North American energy security.” Canada-U.S. energy issues are also at the forefront. Following his re-election, President Obama is under pressure to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed project would carry oil from western Canada to the Texas gulf coast.

In the report, Forging a New Strategic Partnership between Canada and Mexico, Perrin Beatty and Andres Rozental recognized the opportunity both countries have to reshape bilateral relations. Among other things, the policy paper recommended removing the visa requirement for Mexican visitors to Canada. It supported increasing funding to the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program which is aimed at enhancing the ability, “of government agencies, international organizations and non-governmental entities to prevent and respond to threats posed by transnational criminal activity throughout the Americas.” In addition, the study called for institutionalizing the North American Leaders Summit and establishing a complementary North American Business Council. It also advocated pursuing further economic cooperation with the U.S. on a pragmatic basis and suggested that, “Ongoing border and regulatory initiatives should be results-oriented and pursued in the most effective way possible, bilateral or trilateral, as the case may be. This policy recommendation can be extended to any North American issue, including continental security perimeter initiatives and anti-narcotics efforts.”

Last month’s NAFTA20 North America Summit examined NAFTA’s evolution, as well as its future prospects. Speaking at the conference, Thomas Donohue President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged Canadian, Mexican and U.S. leaders to move forward with, “the integration of our markets to further rationalize our supply chains, increase efficiency, and better position North America in the global economy.” He went on to say, “We need to advance regulatory cooperation, streamline our border, and reform immigration practices to ensure the free flow of products, people, capital, and ideas.” Donohue concluded that Canada and Mexico joining the U.S. and other countries as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement would help maximize the strength of the North American market. Meanwhile, there are growing concerns over the secrecy surrounding the TPP. This includes fears that it would grant corporations more power and further put the sovereignty of member nations at risk. It could also be used as a backdoor renegotiation of NAFTA without officially having to open it back up. With the 15th round of talks coming to a close in New Zealand, a final TPP deal could be reached before the end of 2013.

In October, Ottawa hosted the North American Forum. The annual get-together includes, “Canadian, Mexican and American thought leaders, whose purpose is to advance a shared vision of North America, and to contribute to improved relations among the three neighbors.” Much like other secretive gatherings, reporters were barred from entering the Forum’s events. This year’s discussions centered around energy and North American economic competitiveness. Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay also delivered a keynote address which focused on continental security issues. He highlighted the bilateral defence relations that the U.S. and Canada enjoy through NORAD. MacKay remarked on how, “Canada and Mexico are also becoming important strategic partners and stronger defence ties with Mexico are a priority.” He praised the first meeting of North American Defence Ministers as a, “great opportunity for our three nations to identify ways to work together to address shared defence and security challenges.” The trilateral defence meeting which took place in March is part of the process of integrating Mexico into NORAD and establishing a North American security perimeter.

While NAFTA partners pursue a trilateral approach with respect to different initiatives, the U.S. also has a separate bilateral border and regulatory agenda with Canada and Mexico. This is part of ongoing efforts to create a common economic and security perimeter. As the incremental path towards a North American Union continues, citizens from the U.S., Canada and Mexico are not being consulted, much less being given a choice in the matter even though the plan threatens the future sovereignty of each country.

Related articles by Dana Gabriel
Using the TPP to Renegotiate and Expand NAFTA
North American Integration and the Ties That Bind
NAFTA Partners Take Steps to Boost Trilateral Relationship
The North American Leaders Summit and Reviving Trilateral Integration

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: beyourownleader@hotmail.com Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader


Canada Officially Joins Pacific Trade Talks

by Terry Wilson
CanadianAwareness.org
October 10, 2012

Less than a week after a “gala” event, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the free trade agreement between Canada and America. That took place in Toronto Ont. on Wednesday October 3 2012. Canada has now officially joined talks aimed at achieving a Pacific free-trade deal.

The pacific free trade deal now has 11 countries signed on, in the talks. Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

The advocates of the pacific deal say it could prove a useful way of counteracting the growing clout of China in regional trade and be extremely beneficial to average Canadians. Boosting the Canadian middle class.

This is the same type of rhetoric that was said when when the FTA was signed, and ultimately NAFTA a few years later. How true was the advocates hype with the FTA and NAFTA?

In a report from the Toronto Sun, published on the university of Toronto’s website. The numbers show how free trade has severely hurt Canadians.

“Diversification in Canada’s industrial base has been disappointing, said Campbell, with the average unemployment rate in the last 15 years remaining about the same as the previous 15 years. Big business, though, has done well. A study of 40 non-financial member companies of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives found their combined revenues jumped 105 per cent between 1988 and 2002 while their overall workforce shrank by 15 per cent.

The wealth hasn’t trickled down, said Campbell, despite steady productivity growth in the Canadian economy. “If free trade was supposed to usher in a new era of rising living standards, reversing the sluggishness of the 1980s, the record reveals quite the opposite.”

Annual growth in average personal income per capita was at 1.55 per cent a year in the 1980s but slid to 0.63 per cent a year between 1989 and 2005. Meanwhile, Americans were enjoying a personal income growth rate of almost twice that during the same period. Massive cuts to Canadian social programs haven’t helped, said Campbell, and tax cuts and transfers didn’t offset the difficulties as
they did in the past.

Federal non-military spending cuts in the second half of the 1990s were the largest in Canadian history, bringing spending down to the level of the late 1940s. “Growing wealth and income inequality and a shrinking Canadian social state have been hallmarks of the free trade era,” Campbell said.

The bottom 20 per cent of families saw incomes fall by 7.6 per cent during 1989 to 2004, while incomes of the top 20 per cent rose 16.8 per cent. While the average Canadian wage increased eight per cent between 1990 and 2000, the top one per cent of wage earners made 64 per cent more. “The first free trade decade saw overall income inequality increase for the first time since the 1920s,” said Campbell.
Continue Reading

Since this report, things have not improved. This was published just today: Canada must move on income inequality

“What’s concerning is that inequality is getting worse instead of better, and while Canada has the financial means to turn this around, those steps aren’t being taken”

As we can see the only Canadians benefiting from North American free trade are the rich. Or as the occupy movement dubbed them the “1%”. The rest of us got the shaft after being told it would be amazing! (big surprise)

Will this new trade deal be legit? Will it help common Canadians? I wouldn’t count on it! This trade deal along with many others including CETA (Canadian and European trade agreement), which is also being negotiated at this moment. Is only furthering the globalized consolidation of wealth into the hands of a few billionaires.

And for those who like to pin all of our woes on Stephen Harper or the Conservative party. Stop before you even try to blame them solely for this. Conservatives began the FTA and NAFTA, Liberals continued them and started the negotiations for CETA, and now the conservatives are continuing CETA and starting this new Pacific deal. You see an emerging trend? It does not matter which politician or party is in office. The same agenda continues. Harper, Martin, Chretien, Mulroney all puppets doing the bidding of their corporate masters.


FLASHBACK: Spreading NAFTA’s Love Across the Atlantic

by Dana Gabriel
BE YOUR OWN LEADER
August 26, 2012

(Originally published in October of 2008)


Canada and the European Union (EU) are set to begin preliminary discussions on deeper economic integration a mere three days after the election. It has been reported that the proposed trade deal will far exceed NAFTA. Some see this as an opportunity to possibly update the 15 year-old accord. Stephen Harper is busy telling Canadians that only a Conservative majority government will be able to bring confidence back and stabilize the economy. That is why I find it a little strange that this has not become a pillar of the Conservatives economic platform. Harper has decided not to release the full text of the draft proposal until after the election on October 14. The reality is that such an agreement with the EU will be no different than NAFTA in the sense that it will be used to further advance corporate interests.

For the past several months, Canadian officials have been hard at work negotiating with EU representatives. They have compiled a detailed study that will be unveiled after the election. Talks could begin as early as October 17 at a summit in Montreal , with formal negotiations set to begin in 2009. Just as the case with the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) labour, citizen groups and the public at large have been excluded from any discussions. Many support this trade initiative because they wish to lessen Canada’s dependency on the American economy. This agreement has a better chance of succeeding if Harper is re-elected Prime Minister. There still remains much secrecy surrounding trade talks with the EU, and up to this point, Harper appears to be reluctant to make this an election issue.

French and current rotating EU president Nicolas Sarkozy has said that he wishes economic integration with Canada to be part of his lasting legacy. Europe sees Canada’s energy resources as a possible solution to easing their dependency on Russian oil and gas. In a commentary that appeared in the Globe and Mail, Alan Alexandroff, co-author of the C.D. Howe Institute paper titled Still Amigos, writes, “If the EU and Canada can forge an accord that covers services, government procurement and skilled labour that could well set the table for reviving the original NAFTA.” He went on to say, “If the EU and Canada join hands, the U.S. and Mexico will be eager to join the party.” Some believe that such an agreement will further advance North American integration while spreading NAFTA to Europe. A Canada-EU trade deal could be used as the model for future bilateral accords and as a way to further renew U.S.-EU relations.

There are calls to further deepen the U.S.-EU partnership with a new sense of multilateralism in areas of trade, climate change, and fighting terrorism. In April of 2007, it was announced with very little fanfare that the U.S.-EU had reached a deal on a new Trans-Atlantic Economic Partnership. They agreed to set up an economic council and further boost trade and investment by harmonizing services, business takeovers, and intellectual property. They also agreed to continue working towards eliminating non-tariff barriers to trade, which could eventually lead to a U.S.-EU single market.

Economic integration was a first step in the creation of the EU, and a similar stealth approach is being used to advance a North American Union. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso recently said in a speech, “We have to make room at the top table for others, because that is the only way we can consolidate and strengthen a stable, multilateral world, governed by internationally agreed rules.” He also stated, “the time has come to start thinking of an Atlantic Agenda for Globalisation.” With the further erosion of national sovereignty and continued economic, social, cultural and environmental integration, we are on an undeniable path towards world government.

With the collapse of the WTO talks, more bilateral trade agreements will be used in advancing the New World Order’s agenda. The global elite, pushing for world government, are using the current financial turmoil to acquire more wealth and power. Economic uncertainty could also be used to usher in a North American Union with its own currency. A Canada-EU trade deal is yet another incremental step towards global governance.

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: beyourownleader@hotmail.com Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader


Trans-Pacific Partnership: Agenda 21 Meets Global Corporate Takeover

Red Ice Creations
July 31, 2012

By Susanne Posel | OccupyCorporatism.com

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “is a key trade initiative” that the Obama administration claims is “seeking to support jobs for American workers by boosting American exports to the dynamic Asia-Pacific region, promote manufacturing, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and at the same time, reflect in the agreement important values on key issues such as worker rights and the environment.”

However, the agenda of the TPP is a securitization of customs and border patrol services, telecommunications, corporate competition policy that directly effects immigration, corporate investments, and the addition of intellectual property rights with focus on copyright limitations.

The TPP, held in secret, is in actuality a multi-national trade agreement that seeks to extend intellectual property rights across the globe; creating an international enforcement scheme.

In a White House statement , Obama seeks to incorporate America with Canada and the other TPP countries in a “next-generation regional agreement that liberalizes trade and investment.” The press release explains that TPP will build upon “the commitments of NAFTA.”

The TPP defines intellectual property as:

• Copyright
• Trademarks
• Patents
• Geopolitical indicators

The leaked document drafted as the US TPP Intellectual Property Rights Chapter clearly states that negotiators for Obama are actively pushing for the adaptation of copyright measures that further restrict that is outlined in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and other similar international treaties.

There is an initiative to control global IP enforcement by the UN under signatory treaty wherein nations will be mandated to enact domestic laws that have been worded to reflect the provisions in the TPP agreement.

As in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), that places federal agencies in control of digital “locks” and enforcement of over=blown statutory damages on claims of copyright infringement; as well as restricting the US Congress from altering existing IP governances as changes in technology and innovation demands such elasticity.

The restrictive nature of the TPP is evidenced in such obligations as:

Strict punishment over temporary use of copyrighted material without the holder’s authorization

Import bans on “parallel goods” from foreign nations wherein copyright authorization is required

Extend copyright terms beyond 70 years as agreed in the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP

Enact laws that treat copyright violation and technological protection measures as separate offences regardless of proof that copyright infringement has occurred

Classify copyright infringement as a criminal offense

Complete adaptation of the DMCA Internet Intermediaries copyright safe harbor regime

[…]

Read the full article at: occupycorporatism.com
Related Articles
Mexico and Canada Invited to Join the Secret TPP Negotiations
TPP and what it means for New Zealand and the world (Videos)


Using the TPP to Renegotiate and Expand NAFTA

by Dana Gabriel
Be Your Own Leader
June 25, 2012

Both Canada and Mexico have been invited to join the U.S., along with other countries already engaged in negotiations which will deepen trade and economic ties within the Asia-Pacific region. Such a deal would surpass NAFTA in size and scope. The U.S. led talks which have been criticized for their secretive nature, could be used to update aspects of existing trade pacts among member nations. This would provide the perfect opportunity for a backdoor renegotiation of NAFTA without officially having to open it back up.

After expressing interest in joining trade talks back in November 2011, NAFTA partners have been invited to join the U.S. backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which also includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk welcomed both Mexico and Canada into the TPP fold. He noted that, “Mexico has assured the United States that it is prepared to conclude a high-standard agreement that will include issues that were not covered in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).” He added, “Inviting Canada to join the TPP negotiations presents a unique opportunity for the United States to build upon this already dynamic trading relationship. Through TPP, we are bringing the relationship with our largest trading partner into the 21st century.” A joint statement by the U.S. and Canada acknowledged that, “The TPP presents an opportunity to conclude a high standard agreement that will build on the commitments of NAFTA.”

The Council of Canadians who continue to be vocal opponents of NAFTA and other trade deals that follow the same flawed template, are strongly against Canada’s entry into the TPP. Its national chairperson, Maude Barlow warned that this, “could force Canada to change its drug policies, its copyright policies, its environmental and public health rules – all without going through the normal parliamentary process.” The organization cautioned how, “TPP negotiations could mean up-front concessions in a number of areas, including intellectual property rights, where the U.S. is making considerable demands on TPP member countries that will undermine access to essential medicines so that its multinational drug firms can increase profits.” They also emphasized that, “Supply management, which guarantees fair wages and stable prices for farmers in non-exporting sectors, is too valuable to Canada to sacrifice on a negotiating table.” Others have pointed out that it is important as a buy-local program, as well as key to Canada’s food security and food sovereignty. The Council of Canadians maintains that, “the TPP is by and large a NAFTA renegotiation but on U.S. President Obama’s terms.”

Not surprisingly, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, an organization that lobbies the government on behalf of the country’s largest corporations, welcomed the announcement that Canada has been invited to join the TPP talks. Its President and CEO John Manley stated that, “By signing on to the TPP, the federal government has taken an historic leap toward securing Canada’s long-term strategic interests in the Asia-Pacific region.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce have also applauded Canada and Mexico’s entry into the TPP. Its President and CEO Thomas Donohue argued that, “negotiating the TPP together is an excellent strategic decision for North America.” Back in January, the Council of the Americas explained how, “it makes little sense for the United States to enter into potentially significant trade arrangements with countries in the Pacific region without our NAFTA partners.” They view the TPP as a “promising vehicle to support the updating of our bilateral and trilateral trading relationships within North America to the high standards of twenty-first century free-trade agreements.”

In his article, Will invitation to join TPP talks lead to NAFTA 2.0?, Peter Clark one of Canada’s leading international trade strategists concluded that, “A successful TPP would allow NAFTA to essentially be re-opened without the optics of it actually being re-opened.” He went on to say, “The business leaders in all three NAFTA countries, as strong supporters of TPP invitations to Canada and Mexico, understand that after nearly 20 years, modernization of NAFTA is needed. For rules of origin, supply chain management and manufacturing integration.” Clark stressed that, “All Canadians should be clear about this – TPP is the negotiation of NAFTA 2.0 and it could have major implications for Canada-USA trade relations.” Meanwhile, both countries are implementing the Beyond the Border Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan which has been described as the most significant steps forward in U.S.-Canada cooperation since NAFTA. Christopher Sands of the Hudson Institute observed how, “The TPP negotiating agenda is at once similar to the bilateral agenda that Canada and the United States are pursuing, and also more ambitious and multilateral.”

In May, the TPP held its twelfth round of negotiations with the next set of talks scheduled to take place in San Diego, California from July 2-10. So far, there has been a real lack of transparency, but what is clear is that the TPP seeks to go beyond other trade agreements. According to a leaked text by Public Citizen, it would expand on the investor privileges found in NAFTA, granting corporations more power and further threatening the sovereign rights of member nations. In the meantime, the U.S. continues to spearhead TPP negotiations as a way of countering growing Chinese influence. The door is open for other countries to join which is why it is considered to be a stepping stone to a larger free trade area of the Asia-Pacific and an important part of the international corporate globalization agenda.

Trade deals such as NAFTA and now the TPP are being used to smuggle through a new set of transnational corporate rights, trapping nations in a web of treaties that further trump their own laws. All too often, these agreements fail to deliver on the promise of prosperity and only serve to accelerate the path towards economic enslavement. Globalization has meant sacrificing self-sufficiency and sovereignty for foreign dependency which is a sure path to world government.

Related Articles By Dana Gabriel
Canada and Mexico to Join U.S. in NAFTA of the Pacific
Building Blocks Towards an Asia-Pacific Union
NAFTA Partners Take Steps to Boost Trilateral Relationship
U.S. Economic, Political and Military Expansion in Asia-Pacific

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: beyourownleader@hotmail.com Visit his blog at beyourownleader.blogspot.com

[hat tip: Activist Post]


Canadian Government Moves to Outlaw Masks at Demos

by Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
May 7, 2012

It may soon be a crime to wear a mask in Canada. The Harper government supports a bill proposed by Conservative backbencher Blake Richards that would slam protesters in prison for five years if they wear a mask during a demonstration.

The legislation is supported by the Conservative majority and will likely become law.

Richards said the bill will give the police more power to prevent property damage. “I think it strengthens the right for peaceful protest. It’s only when individuals engage in criminal activity or become violent where this law would apply.”

It will also allow the police to more easily photograph demonstrators and identify and target them.

Richards’ bill follows a tuition hike protest in Montreal that turned violent last month. A student federation said the riot was caused by the police after they “quickly and brutally” intervened in the protest. The police said they were responding to vandals attacking the Montreal Convention Center.

Canadian police have a documented history of inserting agents provocateurs in demonstrations and then using their behavior as an excuse to attack non-violent protesters. In 2007, police “anarchists” were caught staging violence in Montebello during a NAFTA summit.

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Canada’s Economic Collapse and Social Crisis: Class War and the College Crisis, Part 5

by Andrew Gavin Marshall
TheIntelHub.com
April 24, 2012

Part 1: The “Crisis of Democracy” and the Attack on Education

Part 2: The Purpose of Education: Social Uplift or Social Control?

Part 3: Of Prophets, Power, and the Purpose of Intellectuals

Part 4: Student Strikes, Debt Domination, and Class War in Canada

What are the Spending Priorities of the Government?

In the debate raging over increased costs of tuition in Quebec, increased debt loads of the federal and provincial governments, the need to reduce costs – impose “fiscal austerity” – and find “solutions” to these problems, very little context is given.

As students fight back against increased fees, the counter argument simply states that people must pay for their education, that governments must reduce their deficits, and therefore, cuts in spending and increases in tuition are necessary, though undesirable. But how necessary are they? Where is the government putting its money?

The question really comes down to one of priorities and approach. What are the spending priorities of the government, for people in need or for the benefit of the rich? What is the government’s approach to spending in terms of addressing a major social and economic crisis, to treat symptoms or address the cause?

A great deal is revealed about the moral, ethical and humanitarian considerations of a state in terms of how and where it spends its money. Canada is no exception.

First, let’s start with Canada’s debt. In October of 2011, it was reported that Canada’s combined federal and provincial debt equaled roughly $1.1 trillion. This raised calls from the business community in Canada stating that, “It’s time for governments across Canada to get more serious about controlling and reducing debt.”

In other words: time for fiscal austerity! (i.e., cutting social spending and increasing costs and taxes) This debt load amounts to roughly 58% of government GDP (that is, 58% of yearly tax revenues), as opposed to Greece, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 160%.[1]

An interesting issue to note is that the Bank of Canada (Canada’s central bank) was created in 1934 as a private bank, and it was transformed into a government-owned bank in 1938, and was then able to lend to the government without interest, and thus, “the Bank is ultimately owned by the people of Canada.”

The job of the Bank is to manage monetary policy, by issuing the currency and setting interest rates. Canada had a unique central bank, as most other central banks were founded and maintained as private banks (responsible to private shareholders), such as the Bank of England (1694), the Bank of France (1801), and the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States (1913).

It was responsible for financing Canada’s war machine during World War II, railways, the St. Lawrence seaway, the TransCanada Highway, schools, hospitals, healthcare, pensions, and social security, all with no interest attached. Between 1940 and 1974, Canada had a national debt below $18 billion. In 1974, all of this changed as Canada sunk into its neoliberal abyss, when private banks (the “big five” in Canada) essentially took over the function of lending to the government, and at high interest rates, with Canada paying over $61 billion per year on interest to private banks alone.

Between 1981 and 1995, the Canadian government collected $619 billion in income tax, but because the debt was owed to private banks, instead of being interest-free with the Bank of Canada, during that same period of time, the Canadian government paid the private banks $428 billion in interest payments.[2]

Interest payments on Canada’s debt account for roughly 15% of Canada’s revenues. Statistics Canada provides information up until 2009 on the Canadian government’s expenditures and revenues. In 2009, the federal government’s expenditures amounted to $243 billion, with $26 billion spent on health care, $88 billion on social services, $5.8 billion on education, and $18.6 billion on debt charges.[3]

So, while cuts are being made to social programs and education (fiscal austerity), they are increasing dramatically to the military, defense, and police. In 2000, Canada spent $10 billion on defense, and that rose to $21.8 billion in 2011. In 2008, Canada’s Conservative government set out a plan to increase defense spending over the following 20 years, setting the goal at $490 billion in total defense spending over that period.

Included in the plans are the purchase of 65 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin, the American war profiteering corporation, to a possible dollar amount of $30 billion or more.[4] So there is money for the war machine, to support an increasingly imperialistic foreign policy, and as the ever-present appendage lap-dog to the American Empire to the south.

And since Canada has its lowest crime rate since the 1970s, naturally the ever-pragmatic Conservative government is seeking to rapidly accelerate the construction of prisons and expansion of police forces. The government’s proposed changes to the criminal system seek to “create a flood of Canadians into the prison system.”[5] The government identified prisons, police, and the purposely-Orwellian classification of “public safety” as the biggest winners in increased budget allocations for 2011, seeking to build more prisons and hire hundreds more police officers.[6] At the same time, the government is slashing benefits to seniors and old-age pensioners. According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, prison costs are expected to rise from $4.4 billion in 2011 to $9.5 billion in 2015-16.

When the Conservatives came to power in 2006, prison costs amounted to $1.6 billion per year.[7] So while the government spends billions on corporate tax cuts, fighter jets, police and prisons, it is simultaneously planning on cutting spending for old age pensioners and social security programs.[8]

As the government cuts between 11-22,000 federal public sector jobs, the Canadian Forces (military), RCMP (police), and the overall ‘national security’ establishment will not suffer such cuts, and in fact, will gain employees. Ultimately, under the plans of the Conservative government, between 60,000 and 70,000 jobs could vanish across the country to implement $8 billion in spending cuts.[9]

While spending on health care exceeded $200 billion in 2011, it amounted to $5,800 per person in Canada. While this system – of what is often called ‘socialized healthcare’ – is portrayed by Americans as costly and wasteful, it is far cheaper than the American corporatized – or privatized – health “care” system.

The average spending on health care for OECD countries – as a percentage of GDP – is 9.5%: Canada spent 11.4% of its GDP on healthcare in 2009, compared to the United States, which spent 17.4% of its GDP on healthcare; with the Netherlands spending at 12% of GDP, France at 11.8% and Germany at 11.6%. In terms of spending per capita (that is, the cost of healthcare spread out evenly to each individual within the country), Canada spends $4,363 (U.S. dollars) per person on healthcare, with the OECD average at $3,223, and compared to the United States at $7,960 per capita. The irony here, of course, is that a for-profit health system is far more costly than a ‘socialized’ healthcare system, despite the common claims to the contrary.[10]

So naturally, the Federal Government, in the midst of – and on the precipice of a far greater – economic crisis, decides that the best courses of action are to increase unemployment by firing tens of thousands of people, reduce social spending so that they are left with less support in their newfound poverty, and continue to privatize everything. Of course, this inevitably leads to social unrest, protests, even rebellion. Quebec is a great example, as it seems that the anti-tuition strikes and protests are getting more dramatic with each passing week. As the reality of our situation settles in over the course of the next year and years, the protests and resistance will exacerbate and grow nation-wide (along with the development of similar movements around the world).

Thus, we may properly understand the impetus of the government to increase spending on police, the military, “public safety” (national security/police state) and prisons: as typical state responses to social crises, throw money at the systems, structures and institutions of oppression so that when the people begin to rise up, the state may have the force available to push them down, oppress them, and imprison them.

The Government of Quebec, which is doubling tuition costs over the next five years, has a current debt of $184 billion or 55.5% of GDP.  Quebec’s current budget, released in March of 2012, projects spending of $70.9 billion, with 42.5% of the budget allocated to healthcare and social services, 22.5% on education and culture, 11.6% on debt servicing, 3.5% on families and seniors, and 19.9% on “other.”

Total expenditures on education, leisure, and sports amount to less than $16 billion, with $1.3 billion being allocated to Quebec’s corporations, $5 billion going to manufacturing, while $8.2 billion of the budget is going to pay the interest on the debt. Meanwhile, the government was announcing major investments in mining, aiming to produce a surplus, with $1 billion in investments in mining and hydrocarbon industries, as part of Quebec’s ‘Plan Nord,’ The Plan includes the creation of Resources Québec, a new Crown corporation that will oversee a $1.2-billion equity portfolio, designed to “help develop the north and exploit the province’s abundant mineral resources.”

The government, in turn, is expecting $4 billion in mining royalties over the next decade. The forestry, tourism, and agribusiness industries are also getting support from the government, creating partnerships between big business, government, and unions. Quebec provides a great deal of corporate welfare. In 2007, Quebec ranked first among Canadian provinces in how much corporate welfare was doled out, at $6 billion, followed by Ontario at $2.1 billion, Alberta at $1.2 billion, and British Columbia at over $1 billion.[11] So, there’s no more money for education, but there’s plenty of money to throw at multi-billion dollar corporations.

For all the screaming and wailing governments engage in over the costs of social programs and benefits for the public, there’s very little discussion over the expenditures of governments which go to corporations, not to mention, tax cuts. Beginning in 2000, under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, the Canadian federal government began implementing massive corporate tax cuts, which “allowed Canadian companies to amass some $477 billion in cash reserves,” with corporate taxes going from 28% in 2000, to 21% when the Conservatives came to power in 2006, to 15% at the beginning of 2012.

While the tax cuts were supposedly to encourage job creation, in reality, the cuts “allowed companies to hoard cash, pay out larger dividends to shareholders and beef up executive salaries.” For each percentage point in a decrease of corporate taxes, the federal government loses $2 billion in potential revenue. Thus, the total loss from the tax cuts beginning in 2000 amount to $26 billion. A report from the Canadian Labour Congress explained, “The government has been borrowing money to pay for its corporate tax giveaways. Now, to pay for tax breaks, the government is planning to make massive cuts to public services, such as meat inspection, that are essential to Canadians.”[12]

So while students, seniors, and the poor suffer, Canadian corporations are doing marvelously well. Reports from Statistics Canada show that Canadian corporations are “sitting on more than $583 billion in Canadian currency and deposits, and more than $276 billion in foreign currency.”

The cash reserves of these companies have climbed 27.3% since 2007, back when Canada’s economy was “booming,” and 9% of the increase in reserves was since last year. Not including financial corporations and banks, Canadian companies saw their cash reserves increase by $33 billion in the last quarter of 2011. While Canadian household debt has doubled since 1990, corporate taxes have been cut almost in half in the same amount of time. Canadian provinces have been lowering corporate taxes as well. Back in 2000, Canada’s combined federal and provincial corporate tax rate was the highest of the OECD countries, at 43%.

Today, it’s around the world average of 26%. So while Canadian corporations sit on hundreds of billions of unused dollars, the Canadian government is continuing to give them more money to put in their bank accounts, which then reduces the government budget by billions each year, and the Canadian people are then expected to pay for this corporate welfare through reduced social services, loss of public sector jobs, increased tuition costs and increased debt.[13]

Corporate welfare is dolled out by provincial governments as well. In 2011, the Province of Quebec and Quebec City each provided $200 million to build a new hockey arena for a for-profit hockey team. Ontario is also a corporate welfare haven, as between 2003 and 2005, the province gave $422 million to GM, Ford, Toyota and Chrysler, and in 2009, the province participated in a Canada-Ontario $15.3 billion bailout of GM and Chrysler.

The last year that government statistics are available, in 2008, Ontario spent $2.7 billion on corporate welfare, while Quebec spent $6 billion.[14] Between 1991 and 2009, the government of Ontario gave $27.7 billion in tax dollars to corporations.[15] Meanwhile, the Government of Quebec increased taxes in 2010, and the provincial sales tax increased by 2% since then, along with an increased gas tax, and of course, tuition increases.[16]

This system is, by definition, corporatist. A corporatist system (alternatively referred to as “corporate socialism” or “economic fascism”) is one in which profit is privatized and risk is socialized. In other words, the state ensures that corporations profit and become more powerful and dominant, while the people have to foot the bill and suffer for it.

As Benito Mussolini reportedly stated, “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism, for it is the merger of state and corporate power.” It is no surprise then, that as the state becomes more supportive to the suckling-pig-like-corporate cancers of our society, they also become more oppressive and totalitarian. The very circumstances demand it.

The Big Five Banks Declare War on the People

In early March of 2012, it was reported that Canada’s big five banks (Royal Bank, CIBC, TD, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal) have recorded “sky-high profits” of $7 billion in the first quarter alone (from November 2011 to January 2012), an average increase of 5.8% since last year. Much of the profits, especially for CIBC, “were mostly due to higher volumes of personal and commercial loans,” or, in other words: debt for people and corporations.[17] Canadian banks are, on the whole, doing better than ever. They are consistently rated as the “world’s soundest” banks by the World Economic Forum, and are even adding some jobs, while U.S. banks cut theirs.[18]

A recent report released by CIBC stated that corporate Canada is as “fit as a fiddle,” as “a health check on Canada’s corporate sector shows businesses across the country passing with flying colours.” In fact, according to economists from CIBC, Canada’s corporate sector has never been better. The major indices of corporate ‘health’ are: “debt-to-equity ratios, cash to credit ratios, profit margins, returns on equity, returns on capital.”

The economists concluded that, “even with public sector retrenchment under way, and indications that consumers may not have the same appetite to spend as earlier in the recovery, corporate Canada could be positioned to pick up the mantle and drive economic growth in the years ahead.”[19] So naturally while Canada’s corporations are as “fit as a fiddle” and the public at large is dominated by debt, the government – both federal and provincial – seek to extend more benefits to corporations (tax cuts and state subsidies), while extending hardships to the majority of Canadians (increased taxes, reduced social spending, increased costs). Again, it’s about priorities.

The banking sector in Canada itself is becoming two-tiered, where the big five banks are vacating the inner cities, and so-called “fringe banks” are becoming the choice banks for poor and low-income Canadians. Professor Jerry Buckland wrote that, “There is something ethically troublesome about a situation where low-income people are paying high fees for low-quality services and middle-income people are paying low fees for high-quality services.”

Unexpected fees, bad banking hours, lack of ID, and other constraints have pushed lower income groups away from the big five and toward the ‘fringe banks’ which also charge big fees but are more accessible. However, the combination of the big five leaving the inner cities and the fringe banks charging high fees and interest rates, “exacerbate poverty and create a two-tiered banking system.”[20]

Canada’s big five banks are rolling in money. CIBC reported $835 million in profits for the first quarter, up 9.4% from last year; Royal Bank reported first quarter profits of $1.86 billion; TD Bank had profits of $1.48 billion; Scotiabank had first quarter profits of $1.44 billion, a 15.2% increase from last year; and the Bank of Montreal recorded profits of $1.11 billion, up 34.5% from last year.[21]

So why are Canada’s banks doing so well? It’s simple: because people are in debt, and getting deeper into debt. As the Globe and Mailreported, “Mortgages and credit card spending have fuelled bank profits for years.”[22] So now what? Well, Royal Bank of Canada and TD both announced in March of 2012 that they will begin to increase their interest rates on mortgages, which means that they are seeking to further sap the wealth and deflate the future potential of the average Canadian household. But the increase in interest rates will increase bank profits, so it’s a good thing for Royal Bank and TD, never mind that it’s bad for everyone else. The other major Canadian banks will likely follow suit in raising their interest rates.

The chief economist at TD Bank estimated that, “more than one million Canadian households, or about 10 per cent of those that currently have debt, will have to devote 40 per cent or more of their income to making their monthly debt payments if rates rise by two-to-three points to more normal levels.”[23]

A Bubble Waiting to Burst?

So what is the Canadian mortgage and housing market doing? Well, it’s replicating the disaster seen in the United States just prior to the 2008 crash. Canada’s banking regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions warned that Canadian banks were offering mortgages very similar to the U.S. subprime loans and that these pose an “emerging risk” to Canadian banks. Now the regulator didn’t just come out and say this, because that might be helpful. Instead, this information was released to Bloomberg news via a Freedom of Information law request, which revealed that Canadian mortgages “have some similarities to non-prime loans in the U.S. retail lending market.”

In 2009, Canada’s housing market began to soar with record-low interest rates on mortgages. This is one of the primary reasons why Bank of Canada governor (and former Goldman Sachs executive) Mark Carney warned that household debt is the greatest threat to Canada’s economic stability.[24]

The state of the Canadian population is abysmal. The average debt for a Canadian household is over $100,000, and the average Canadian household spends 150% of their income. This means that for every $1,000 earned, $1,500 is owed. These debt figures are primarily made up of mortgages, but also student debt, credit card debt, and other lines of credit. A 2011 report indicated that, “17,400 households were behind in their mortgage payments by three or more months in 2010, up by 50 per cent since the recession began. Credit card delinquencies and bankruptcy rates also remain higher than before the recession.”[25]

In March of 2012, the Bank of Canada warned that household debt “remains the biggest domestic risk” to Canada’s economy. While part of the Bank’s role is to set interest rates, it has kept interest rates very low (at 1%) in order to encourage lending (and indeed, families have become more indebted as a result). Yet, the Bank says, interest rates will have to rise eventually. Economists at Canada’s major banks (CIBC, RBC, BMO, TD, and ScotiaBank) naturally support such an inevitability, as one BMO economist stated, “while rates are unlikely to increase in the near term, the next move is more likely to be up rather than down, and could well emerge sooner than we currently anticipate.”

The chief economist at CIBC stated that, “markets will pick up on the slightly improved change in tone on the economy, and might move forward the implied date for the first rate hike.” This translates into: the economy is doing well for the big banks, therefore they will demand higher interest rates on debts, and plunge the Canadian population into poverty; the “invisible hand of the free market” in action.[26]

The Canadian housing market is in a major bubble, “with a run-up in prices, high ownership rates and overbuilding.” A majority of Canadian mortgages are financed through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the equivalent of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the United States (which both went bust in the 2008 crash). The CMHC has an outstanding balance of $132 billion in mortgage-backed securities, $202 billion in Canada Mortgage Bonds, and last year issued a debt of $41.3 billion (compared to $6.5 billion in 2001). The big five banks generally provide the remaining mortgages (again, just like in the U.S.).

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Bankers Association, however, reassured those who somehow still trust bankers that Canadian banks “carefully manage risk in their mortgage portfolios.” Home sales are increasing – another indication of the growing bubble – by 9.5% last year alone, while home prices increased by 7.2%. CIBC reported that Canadian homes are overvalued (that is, their prices are artificially inflated) by 10%, and the heads of the Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank both warned in late 2011 that, “condominium markets in Toronto and Vancouver are at risk of correction,” which is to say, a crash.[27]

The problem is especially large in Vancouver, which was recently rated as the most expensive city to live in across North America, followed Los Angeles and New York. Vancouver is now the 37th most expensive city in the world, whereas just last year it was ranked as 72nd.

The average price for a detached bungalow in Vancouver increased by 17% from the previous year to $1.02 million. The average cost of a condominium in Vancouver rose 5.1% to $513,500 and the “average priced home in Vancouver is now 11.2 times the average family income, a figure many economists call unsustainable.”[28] In certain areas of Vancouver, such as Richmond, West Vancouver and the West End, housing prices have soared nearly 80% in the past five years, and 27% just in the past year alone. This has been raising fears of a housing bubble in Vancouver, and indeed it should be.[29]

In January of 2012, Bank of Canada governor warned – in very subtle and vague terms – that Canada’s property market is “probably overvalued,” meaning that it is heavily overvalued. Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty also hinted that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, stating, “We watch the housing market carefully and we are prepared to intervene if necessary.” So is it a bubble? Yes!

In fact, the Bank of Nova Scotia recently reported that, “At 13 years and counting, Canada’s current housing boom is one of the longest-lasting in the world.” The price of Canadian homes has increased by over 85% since 1998, with a slight stagnant period in 2008, and then continued to rise in 2009, growing by a further 20%. It is no coincidence that household debt has increased as well, with the debt burden of Canadian families at 153% of their income, which is “almost as much debt as American households had at the peak of their bubble.”

In fact, theEconomist magazine estimated that the Canadian housing market is overvalued by more than 70% (which is to say, it’s probably much higher than that). One of the major American banks, Merrill Lynch, issued a report indicating that the Canadian housing market is rife with “overvaluation, speculation and over supply.” According to an international survey of housing affordability, Vancouver is the second-least affordable city in the world.[30]

It seems that 2012 will be the year the housing market bubble begins to pop, with the economy slowing down, unemployment rising, and job creation has virtually stalled, according to CIBC, which explained that, “the job market is currently weaker than any non- recessionary period.” Canada is not alone, of course, as the United States and Ireland were just the beginning. It is expected that the U.K., Australia, Belgium, France, New Zealand, Spain, and Sweden are all set to follow suit.

Within Canada, however, British Columbia and Ontario will be the most affected. But don’t worry, the Canadian banking sector will survive the pop, because it is actually the Canadian government which owns 75% of the mortgages, meaning that this will then pass to Canadian taxpayers, not the poor disadvantaged millionaire and billionaire bankers.[31] Besides, the risk they have will probably be bailed out by our government. As our Finance Minister stated, “we are prepared to intervene if necessary,” which means that they will take all the bad debts of the banks, and then hand them to YOU.

An economist at the Bank of Montreal said not to worry, however, because Canada’s housing market isn’t a bubble, “it’s a balloon,” and therefore, she predicted, “Canada’s housing market is expected to deflate slowly rather than pop.”[32] The argument, however, is one based upon faith: faith that the banks won’t increase interest rates by too much, faith that Canadian household debt won’t inflict as much harm as American household debt, and faith that one can compete in verbal and mental gymnastics in such a way as to convincingly refer to a bubble as a “balloon.” It should be noted that up until the burst of the American housing bubble, all the major players were denying that a bubble even existed.

Patti Croft, a recently retired chief economist from the Royal Bank of Canada warned the Canadian Parliament in January of 2012 that, “the risk of a housing bubble was among Canada’s biggest issues.” The Bank of Canada’s extremely low interest rate (of 1%) has stimulated this growth, just as the Federal Reserve in the United States helped stimulate the housing bubble there through historically low interest rates. The result of such low rates is an excess of speculative actions in the housing market, driving prices up. Croft warned that, “the greater concern is the looming housing bubble that we see, particularly in cities like Toronto and Vancouver, because I think that is where the speculative excesses lie.”[33]

In March, TD Bank warned that Canada’s housing bubble posed a “clear and present danger” to Canada’s economy, and singled out Vancouver as “the market with the greatest risk of a housing price correction.”[34] The effects of the bubble are already evident, as British Columbia is increasingly losing people who are moving to other provinces due to the high cost of living.[35]

It should be noted that, even though this housing bubble in Canada has been inflated since the late 1990s, it is only being talked about, admitted as even existing (though some make absurd claims about magical “balloons”), and acknowledged NOW. This is dangerous.

The fact that it is now being acknowledged by top banks, the finance minister, the Bank of Canada and other major international organizations and banks, implies that they are now preparing for it to burst, and are thus positioning themselves to profit from the coming collapse. Remember, this is not a strange idea: during the housing bubble collapse in the United States, all the big banks which helped create it then bet against the market and profited off of its collapse, not to mention, they were then rewarded by the federal government with trillions of dollars in bailouts for their outstanding accomplishments in causing the crisis in the first place. Criminals are rewarded, and victims are punished. That is for a simple reason: government is organized crime.

Canada’s youth are in a major crisis. The youth unemployment rate in Canada is at 14.7%, compared to an overall unemployment rate of 7.4%, with 27,000 less jobs for young Canadians than last year. As one economist explained, “In addition to the fact that youths are facing competition from their own age cohorts, they are now facing competition from people who just lost their jobs during the recession and have 20 years of experience in the workforce.” Further, the economist added, “the whole process of trying to get to where you wanted to be when you got out of university takes years longer than it used to.

Taking a lower wage than you were initially expecting has significant repercussions for your long-term career.” A one percent increase in unemployment rates leads to a six-to-seven percent decrease in salary, and thus, “It can take anywhere from 10 upwards to 15 years to close that gap of reduced wages. So your lifetime earnings are substantially lower, for the simple fact that you graduated at the wrong time.” The real rates of unemployed are actually much higher than the stated 14% “because a lot of young people aren’t collecting Unemployment Insurance or welfare.” Thus, it is 14% of Canadian youths who are on Unemployment Insurance or welfare, and the statistics don’t include the rest of the unemployed youth population of Canada.[36]

As for the net unemployment rate of Canadians at 7.4%, this too is misleading, because the statistics don’t include the number of Canadians who have simply given up on the job search, amounting to 38,000 Canadians in the past year. The province of Manitoba created 600 new jobs in 2011, while cutting 10,000 jobs in the same amount of time. The Canadian economy has cut 37,000 jobs just since October of 2011, and it’s only going to get worse. While there are 27,000 less jobs for Canadian youth than there were last year, this number grows to 300,000 less jobs for youth than there were in 2008.[37]

The Canadian federal budget, released in late March, set out the government’s priorities for the coming year. Students and youth, who are among the most in need of help, were basically left out of the budget, naturally, since they are not multinational corporations, bankers, or billionaires. What money is going to schools is marked for industry-related research (i.e., a corporate subsidy), and as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty explained, “The plan’s measures focus on the drivers of growth: innovation, business investment, people’s education and skills that will fuel the new wave of job creation.” Again, it’s important to note that when politicians use the terms “jobs” or “job creation,” what they actually mean is “profit” and “profit creation,” invariably for corporations and banks. In regards to education:

The Conservatives placed a clear emphasis on partnerships between businesses and universities when it came to research funding: among their plans, they intend to dedicate $14 million over two years to double the Industrial Research and Development Internship Program, which currently supports 1,000 graduate students in conducting research at private-sector firms.[38]

While the Canadian government announced funding of “$500 million over five years to support modernization of research infrastructure on campuses through the Canada Foundation for Innovation,” as well as through other research granting councils, the funding will actually be reallocated from other areas of education financing, what are deemed “lower-priority programs,” which means that they do not directly support corporate or industrial profit-making potential. The government will also cut 19,200 jobs from the public sector.[39]

The federal government’s budget estimates a $5.2 billion cut in spending, as well as increasing the limit on Old Age Security from 65 to 67, meaning that older people will have to work longer before getting any benefits.[40] That will give the government just enough time to steal everyone’s pension and hand them to corporations before the people actually need them. So while the government cuts social spending, ignores the needs of Canada’s youth, and fires tens of thousands of workers – this is what economists call “fiscal austerity” – it simultaneously is increasing its spending and support to Canada’s corporations (who are already as “fit as a fiddle”), with “direct spending and incentives to help firms expand, invest and export, as well as measures designed to shed some of the shackles on their growth.”

The chief economist at TD Bank stated, “They are trying to create a favourable environment in which businesses can grow.” So while the government provides a meager $50 million to help students find jobs, it hands out billions to corporations. The increased funding for research at universities is also specifically designed to produce products to go onto the market; so again, education funding is being further railroaded into merging business and higher education.[41]

These moves are obviously not taken on the initiative of government alone, but are lobbied for by the corporate and financial elite, whether directly through interest groups, or indirectly through think tanks. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) – formerly the Business Council on National Issues (BCNI) – is an interest group made up of the top 150 CEOs in Canada, and which directly lobbies the government to serve their interests. They played a major role in the efforts to create NAFTA and to pursue the agenda of North American integration, as well as a plethora of other free trade deals. However, their “interests” extend beyond trade, and they seek to lobby the government to serve their interests across the whole society.

The current President and CEO of the CCCE is John P. Manley, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, former Minister of Finance, Industry, and Foreign Affairs. He was the co-chair of a Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on the Future of North America (which set the agenda for the Security and Prosperity Partnership and North American integration). He is also on the board of directors of CIBC and a number of other corporations and non-profits. The Vice Chairman of the board of directors of the CCCE is of course, Paul Desmarais Jr. (of the powerful Desmarais family, who essentially OWN Canada’s politicians and Prime Ministers), and other board members include: William A. Downe, CEO of BMO Financial Group; Gordon Nixon, CEO of Royal Bank of Canada; and a number of other leading corporate executives.

The CEOs of the following companies and business organizations are all represented in the CCCE: Air Canada, Astral Media, Barrick Gold Corporation, BCE Inc and Bell Canada, BMO Financial group, BNP Paribas (Canada), Bombardier, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Canadian Oil Sands Limited, Canadian Pacific Railway, Canfor Corporation, Cargill Limited, Chevron Canada, CIBC, CN, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Desjardins Group, Dow Chemical Canada, E.I. du Pont Canada Company, Encana Corporation, Ford Motor Company of Canada, GE Canada, GlaxoSmithKline, the Great-West Life Assurance Company, HSBC Bank Canada, Hudson’s Bay Company, IBM Canada, Imperial Oil Limited, Manulife Financial Corporation, McCain Foods Limited, Microsoft Canada, National Bank of Canada, Pfizer Canada, Power Corporation of Canada, Power Financial Corporation, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, SNC-Lavalin Group, Standard Life Assurance Company, Sun Life Financial, Suncor Energy, TD Bank Group, TELUS, TransCanada Corporation, The Woodbridge Company Limited, among many others.

Back in October of 2010, John Manley spoke to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada on the issue of making Canada “a leader in the knowledge economy.” Manley stated that Canada needed to ensure that “more of our academic discoveries successfully ‘cross the chasm’ to commercial success,” referring to the need to market what is done in university laboratories. Manley stated that, “there is a need for closer collaboration between post-secondary education institutions and the business community,” as, he explained: “Business-university collaboration is key to Canada’s ability to compete more effectively, to enhance our quality of life and to provide better opportunities for tomorrow’s graduates.” Manley elaborated:

All of us have an interest in achieving stronger partnerships between post-secondary institutions and the private sector, and in overcoming the barriers to commercialization of university research – barriers ranging from “hard” issues of funding and intellectual property ownership, to less tangible considerations such as differences in expectations, culture and behaviour between academia and the private sector.[42]

With the release of the Canadian federal budget for 2012, the CCCE of course praised the budget as “taking steps to promote job creation and business investment.” John Manley stated, “By restraining the growth in public spending, reducing regulatory overlap, improving Canada’s immigration system and enhancing support for business-driven research, the government is helping to build a stronger and more competitive Canadian economy.”[43]

Economists from Canada’s major banks had a good deal to say about the budget. Economists from TD Bank explained that, “When combined, the various measures included in today’s budget are aimed at improving productivity and boosting private sector growth, at a time when public spending is being constrained,” and that, of course, this is a good thing.

An economist at CIBC praised “the path towards fiscal balance,” as “the 2012 budget was as much about Canada’s longer term prospects as it was about squeezing spending.” Economists at the National Bank of Canada praised the budget’s decision to raise the old age security pension eligibility from 65 to 67 years, “While it is a step in the right direction, it could have been implemented earlier.” Economists at Royal Bank of Canada stated that the Canadian government “has delivered on its promise of guiding the Canadian economy towards improved fiscal performance in what are generally difficult economic times globally.” Meanwhile, the National Pensioner and Senior Citizens Federation declared that, “Today’s budget tabled by Finance Minister Flaherty confirmed the worst for our children and grandchildren… This government has attacked the retirement security of future generations as it looks years ahead for dollars to finance other priorities… There was nothing for seniors, not even a discarded penny for the poorest living in poverty.”[44]

But then, that’s the point, isn’t it? Why would you seek to help the elderly and the poor and needy when you can help the multinational corporations and global banks, and thus, when you leave government, get a secure position on their boards (as John Manley did), and live the rest of your days as a jet-setting, globe-trotting, high-rolling elite? As a politician, you get no personal benefit or profit from supporting or serving the poor or the majority, you must only serve a tiny elite, and then your place is ensured among them.

Make no mistake: Canada’s Big Five Banks, the corporations they control, and the federal and provincial governments, which they collectively OWN, have declared class war on the people of Canada. The agenda is simple: get the population of Canada indebted, which is to say, enslaved; then, increase interest rates, cut social spending, increase unemployment, increase tuition, increase consumer costs, increase taxes, and at the same time, give more support and money to corporations and banks, and decrease their taxes. Then, build prisons, fund the military and the police and the police state apparatus of surveillance and control, so that when the people wake up to the fact that their future is being stolen from them, you can put them in their place: under the boot.

So the question for Canadian is this: will you acknowledge the class war taking place against you, your friends, and your families and fellow brothers and sisters, and then seek to fight back; or, will you continue to go into credit card debt, further into student debt, get mortgages and passively accept subservience to a system which treats you like a slave, sub-human degenerates, and superfluous, that is, useless and expendable. It is a question of passive acceptance of an evil system, or active resistance to forge ahead and creatively construct a humane society. The question is for all; the answer is yours alone.

Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is also Project Manager of The People’s Book Project. He also hosts a weekly podcast show, “Empire, Power, and People,” on BoilingFrogsPost.com.

Notes

[1]            Rachel Mendleson, “Canada’s Public Debt Hits $1.1 Trillion, But That May Not Be As Bad As It Sounds,” The Huffington Post, 3 October 2011:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/03/canada-debt-cfib-road-to-greece_n_992480.html

[2]            Bill Woollam And Will Abram, Bank of Canada the answer to tax, debt issue, The Citizen, 23 March 2012:

http://www.canada.com/Bank+Canada+answer+debt+issue/6347095/story.html

[3]            StatsCan, Federal government revenue and expenditures, Statistics Canada:

http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/govt49b-eng.htm

[4]            Brian Stewart, “$30B fighter jets just the start of defence-spending boom,” CBC News, 6 April 2011:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/04/06/f-vp-brian-stewart-navy.html

[5]            Editors, “A tough-on-crime bill that goes too far,” Maclean’s, 25 August 2011:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/08/25/a-tough-on-crime-bill-that-goes-too-far/

[6]            David Akin, Prisons, police top feds’ spending priorities, Toronto Sun, 1 March 2011:

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/03/01/17455551.html

[7]            Barbara Yaffe, Prison spending trumps seniors for Harper government, The Vancouver Sun, 29 February 2012:

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Prison+spending+trumps+seniors+Harper+government/6227615/story.html

[8]            Les Whittington, “Federal Budget 2012: Government not backing down on plan for cuts to Old Age Security,” The Star, 2 February 2012:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1125296–federal-budget-2012-government-not-backing-down-on-future-old-age-security-changes-jim-flaherty-says

[9]            Kathryn May, At least 11,000 local PS jobs on line, study argues, Ottawa Citizen, 23 January 2012:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/least+local+jobs+line+study+argues/6035339/story.html#ixzz1kKdIfxO4

[10]            OECD, OECD Health Data 2011: How Does Canada Compare? Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

[11]            Rhéal Séguin, “Hobbled by debt, Quebec to table budget amid rising public anger,” The Globe and Mail, 19 March 2012:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/hobbled-by-debt-quebec-to-table-budget-amid-rising-public-anger/article2374622/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Politics&utm_content=2374622

Canadian Press, “Quebec 2012-2013 Budget: Read the full document here,” Global Montreal, 20 March 2012:

http://www.globalmontreal.com/Pages/Story.aspx?id=6442604662

Corinne Smith, “Quebec budget curbs spending, explores mining,” CBC News, 20 March 2012:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/03/19/quebec-budget-2012-2013.html

Quebec budget analysis, CBC News, 20 March 2012:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/03/19/quebec-2012-budget-analysis.html

Roberto Rocha, “Quebec budget highlights,” Montreal Gazette, 22 March 2012:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel/Highlights+2012+Quebec+budget/6331845/story.html

Tasha Kheiriddin, “The new ‘Quebec model,’ same as the old,” The National Post, 22 March 2012:

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/Quebec+model+same/6340173/story.html

[12]            Daniel Tencer, “Canada’s Corporate Tax Cuts Prompt Companies To Hoard Cash, Not Hire, CLC Says,” The Huffington Post, 25 January 2012:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/25/canada-corporate-tax-rate-canadian-labour-congress_n_1231089.html#s638444&title=1_George_Weston

[13]            Canadian Press, “Businesses Getting Billions In Tax Cuts Despite Rising Corporate Cash Reserves,” The Huffington Post, 4 January 2012:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/01/tax-cuts-corporations-canada_n_1178382.html

[14]            Mark Milke, “How corporate welfare undermines core services,” Troy Media, 25 February 2011:

http://www.troymedia.com/blog/2011/02/25/how-corporate-welfare-undermines-core-services/

[15]            Mark Milke, “Corporate welfare is a costly shell game,” Financial Post, 28 December 2011:

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/12/28/corporate-welfare-is-a-costly-shell-game/

[16]            Rhéal Séguin, “Hobbled by debt, Quebec to table budget amid rising public anger,” The Globe and Mail, 19 March 2012:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/hobbled-by-debt-quebec-to-table-budget-amid-rising-public-anger/article2374622/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Politics&utm_content=2374622

[17]            Grant Robertson, “CIBC joins big banks’ profit parade,” The Globe and Mail, 8 March 2012:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/cibc-joins-big-banks-profit-parade/article2362579/

[18]            Sean B. Pasternak and Ilan Kolet, “Canadian Banks Gain Jobs, Profit as U.S. Lenders Cut Back,” Bloomberg, 20 March 2012:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-20/canadian-banks-gain-jobs-profit-as-u-s-lenders-cut-back.html

[19]            Tim Kiladze, “Corporate Canada’s finances ‘fit as a fiddle’,” The Globe and Mail, 27 March 2012:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/streetwise/corporate-canadas-finances-fit-as-a-fiddle/article2382736/

[20]            Mary Agnes Welch, “’Unbanked’ residents of inner-cities paying price, author finds,” The Montreal Gazette, 19 March 2012:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/canada/Unbanked+residents+inner+cities+paying+price+author+finds/6326315/story.html

[21]            “How Canada’s Big Five banks stack up,” The Globe and Mail, 8 March 2012:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/how-canadas-big-five-banks-stack-up/article2363455/

[22]            Grant Robertson, “Lending is a bright spot for Canadian banks,” The Globe and Mail, 4 March 2012:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/lending-is-a-bright-spot-for-canadian-banks/article2358252/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Home&utm_content=2358252

[23]            CBC, “RBC, TD hike 5-year mortgage rates,” CBC News, 26 March 2012:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/03/26/rbc-mortgage-rate.html

[24]            Andrew Mayeda, “Canada’s Subprime Crisis Seen With U.S.-Styled Loans: Mortgages,” Bloomberg, 30 January 2012:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-30/canada-s-subprime-crisis-seen-with-u-s-styled-loans-mortgages.html

[25]            CTV News Staff, “Average Canadian family debt hits $100,000,” CTV News, 17 February 2011:

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20110217/family-debt-110217/

[26]            Gordon Isfeld, “Bank of Canada says household debt ‘biggest risk’ to economy,” The Leader Post, 9 March 2012:

http://www.leaderpost.com/business/Bank+Canada+says+household+debt+biggest+risk+economy/6274564/story.html

[27]            Andrew Mayeda, “Canada’s Subprime Crisis Seen With U.S.-Styled Loans: Mortgages,” Bloomberg, 30 January 2012:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-30/canada-s-subprime-crisis-seen-with-u-s-styled-loans-mortgages.html

[28]            Peter Meiszner, “Vancouver now the most expensive city in North America,” Global News, 14 February 2012:

http://www.globaltvbc.com/vancouver+now+the+most+expensive+city+in+north+america/6442580994/story.html

[29]            CTV, “Is Vancouver’s housing bubble about to burst?,” CTV BC, 26 September 2011:

http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110926/bc_story_housing_bubble_110926?hub=BritishColumbiaHome

[30]            Erica Alini, “What happens when Canada’s housing bubble pops?” Maclean’s, 26 January 2012:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/01/26/what-happens-when-canadas-housing-bubble-pops/

[31]            Ibid.

[32]            Robert Hiltz, “Housing bubble is really a balloon: BMO’s Sherry Cooper,” The Vancouver Sun, 30 January 2012:

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Housing+bubble+really+balloon+Sherry+Cooper/6073335/story.html

[33]            Derek Abma, “Under-used labour, pending housing bubble, problems for Canada: panel,” Vancouver Sun, 26 January 2012:

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Under+used+labour+pending+housing+bubble+problems+Canada+panel/6056952/story.html

[34]            CBC, “Housing bubble a danger to economy, TD says,” CBC News, 16 March 2012:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2012/03/16/td-overvaluation-debt.html

[35]            Wendy Stueck, “Storm clouds forming over Vancouver’s real-estate market,” The Globe and Mail, 16 March 2012:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/storm-clouds-forming-over-vancouvers-real-estate-market/article2372362/

[36]            Claire Penhorwood, “Canada’s youth face job crunch,” CBC News, 26 March 2012:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/03/19/f-canada-youth-unemployment.html

[37]            Julian Beltrame, “Jobless picture in Canada grim,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 March 2012:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/jobless-picture-in-canada-grim-142188733.html

[38]            Emma Godmere, “Students largely left out of federal budget,” Canadian University Press, 29 March 2012:

http://cupwire.ca/articles/52529

[39]            Ibid.

[40]            Tamsin McMahon, “Top five things you need to know about the budget,” Maclean’s, 29 March 2012:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/03/29/top-five-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-budget/

[41]            Julian Beltrame, “Federal budget passes the stimulus baton from government to business,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 March 2012:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/federal-budget-passes-the-stimulus-baton-from-government-to-business-144958375.html

[42]            John Manley, “Notes for an Address by the Honourable John Manley,” The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, 27 October 2010.

[43]            CCCE, “Fiscally responsible 2012 budget includes targeted measures to improve Canadian competitiveness, CEOs say,” Canadian Council of Chief Executives, 29 March 2012:

http://www.ceocouncil.ca/news-item/fiscally-responsible-2012-budget-includes-targeted-measures-to-improve-canadian-competitiveness-ceos-say

[44]            Michael Babad, “Jim Flaherty’s budget: Pennywise or attack on our kids’ pensions?,” The Globe and Mail, 30 March 2012:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/jim-flahertys-budget-pennywise-or-attack-on-our-kids-pensions/article2386823/?from=sec434

————————————————————————————————
Sourcehttp://theintelhub.com/2012/04/24/canadas-economic-collapse-and-social-crisis-class-war-and-the-college-crisis-part-5/


NAFTA Partners Take Steps to Boost Trilateral Relationship

by Dana Gabriel
BE YOUR OWN LEADER
April 9, 2012


While bilateral initiatives have dominated North American issues over the last couple of years, the trilateral relationship has suffered. With a series of high-level meetings, the U.S., Canada and Mexico are taking steps to boost the NAFTA partnership. First, the defense ministers met to discuss shared continental security threats. This was followed by a leaders summit which pledged to deepen trade, regulatory, energy and security cooperation. The recent meetings have caused some to once again take notice of the incremental efforts to merge all three countries into a North American Union.

In what was hailed as an historic event, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay, Mexican Secretary of National Defense Guillermo Galvan, and Mexican Secretary of the Navy Mariano Mendoza recently held the Inaugural Meeting of North American Defense Ministers. As part of a framework they agreed to, “ Develop a joint trilateral defense threat assessment for North America to deepen our common understanding of the threats and challenges we face. Explore ways to improve our support to the efforts of civilian public security agencies in countering illicit activities in our respective countries and the hemisphere, such as narcotics trafficking. Explore how we can collaborate to increase the speed and efficiency with which our armed forces support civilian-led responses to disasters. Continue to work together to strengthen hemispheric defense forums.” The ministers also committed to enhancing cooperation in the fight against transnational criminal organizations. The trilateral defense meeting is part of the ongoing efforts to establish a fully integrated North American security perimeter.

On April 2, President Barack Obama hosted Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon for the sixth North American Leaders Summit. In a joint statement they reaffirmed their, “commitment to further develop our thriving political and economic partnership with a consistent and strategic long-term vision.” The leaders acknowledged that, “continued North American competitiveness requires secure supply chains and efficient borders. We remain committed to achieving this through co-operative approaches.” With respect to regulatory initiatives, they agreed to move forward trilaterally in areas such as “vehicle emission standards, railroad safety, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Workplace Chemicals, and aligning principles of our regulatory approaches to nanomaterials.” They also announced the creation of the North American Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza. Following the leaders summit, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk engaged in discussions with Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast and Mexico’s Secretary of the Economy Bruno Ferrari, as part of the NAFTA Commission Meeting.

In their joint communique, the leaders recognized, “the growing regional and federal cooperation in the area of continental energy, including electricity generation and interconnection and welcome increasing North American energy trade.” They emphasized the need to deepen, “cooperation to enhance our collective energy security, including the safe and efficient exploration and exploitation of resources.” There was no mention of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project which would carry oil from western Canada to the Texas gulf coast. President Obama has blocked the plan pending further environmental review. While speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center following the leaders summit, Prime Minister Harper made it clear that even if the pipeline is approved, Canadian oil will be heading for Asian markets. Meanwhile, the U.S. has been pushing Mexico to further open up its oil sector to private investment. In February, they signed an agreement regarding, “the development of oil and gas reservoirs that cross the international maritime boundary between the two countries in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The leaders joint statement also noted that, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) provides an opportunity to further deepen our trade relationship and create jobs. The United States welcomes Canada’s and Mexico’s interest in joining the TPP.” During a press conference with his NAFTA counterparts, Obama confirmed that, “Consultations with our TPP partners are now underway on how new members can meet the high standards of this trade agreement, which could be a real model for the world.” The U.S. is spearheading TPP negotiations which also include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Japan has also expressed interest in being part of the TPP process. The door is also open for other countries to join which is why many consider it to be a building block for an Asia-Pacific free trade zone.

Robert Pastor who has been a leading advocate for deeper North American integration described the TPP as a flawed strategy. He explained Canada and Mexico’s decision to join, “as a defensive measure to ensure that they protect what they gained from NAFTA.” Pastor warned how, “the TPP will divert scarce political capital and attention from North America.” In contrast, the Council of the Americas are of the opinion that it would boost the integrated North American economy. They view the TPP as a “promising vehicle to support the updating of our bilateral and trilateral trading relationships within North America to the high standards of twenty-first century free-trade agreements.” While on a visit to the U.S. in March, Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast proclaimed that, “As neighbours and friends, we can and should build the TPP together. As like-minded allies, we can ensure that high standards are included in the TPP on such issues as investment, regulatory cooperation, state-owned enterprises and labour provisions.” If Canada and Mexico are accepted into the TPP fold, it could be used to renegotiate and expand NAFTA.

The U.S., Canada and Mexico have also agreed to launch a consolidated Central America Integration System-North America Security Dialogue to deepen regional coordination and cooperation. This includes working closer together in the fight against transnational organized crime, arms trafficking and money laundering. During the leaders joint news conference, President Obama praised Mexico’s courage in standing up to the drug cartels, and added, “today each of us reaffirmed our commitment to meeting this challenge together — because that’s the only way that we’re going to succeed.” President Calderon went on to say, “The security of North America is absolutely tied to each of its member states.” The Merida Initiative has expanded the U.S.-Mexico security partnership. It has provided military equipment, training, infrastructure development, along with border security and information technology enhancement. At the 2009 North American Leaders Summit, Prime Minister Harper announced Canadian support for Mexico’s fight against drug trafficking and transnational organized crime.

Mexico’s drug war is increasingly being seen as a continental problem that requires continental solutions which is further pushing the NAFTA partnership into a common security front. This is escalating the militarization of the borders, integration in areas of law enforcement and the military, as well as advancing the development of a North American security perimeter.

Related articles by Dana Gabriel
Canada and Mexico to Join U.S. in NAFTA of the Pacific
Pretext for a North American Homeland Security Perimeter
Indoctrinating a New Generation to Think North American
The North American Leaders Summit and Reviving Trilateral Integration

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: beyourownleader@hotmail.com Visit his blog at beyourownleader.blogspot.com


The North American Leaders Summit and Reviving Trilateral Integration

by Dana Gabriel
BE YOUR OWN LEADER
March 26, 2012

With the demise of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the U.S. has essentially put Canada and Mexico on separate tracks. It has pursued dual-bilateralism with both its NAFTA partners as the primary means of advancing continental integration with regards to trade, regulatory and security initiatives. The upcoming North American Leaders Summit, which will be held in Washington, D.C. on April 2, could be used as a means of reviving the trilateral cooperation model.

While much of my focus has been on the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border and the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) action plans, the U.S. is also pursuing a similar agenda with Mexico. This includes working towards a common security perimeter. In 2010, the U.S. and Mexico issued the Twenty-First Century Border Management declaration. This established the Executive Steering Committee (ESC) to implement joint border related projects to enhance economic prosperity and security. In December of last year, the ESC adopted its 2012 action plan which sets goals in areas of binational infrastructure coordination, risk management, law enforcement cooperation, along with improving cross-border commerce and ties. A press release explained that through the ESC, “we are developing and managing our shared border in an integrated fashion to facilitate the secure, efficient, and rapid flows of goods and people and reduce the costs of doing business between our two countries.” The ESC meeting also acknowledged bilateral accomplishments in expanding the use of trusted traveler initiatives such as the Global Entry Program.

In May of 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon directed the creation of the High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council (HLRCC). In February of this year, the HLRCC released a work plan whereby the U.S. and Mexico will seek greater regulatory alignment in the areas of food, transportation, nanotechnology, e-health, as well as oil and gas development standards. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded the plan for enhanced regulatory cooperation between both countries. The terms of reference for the HLRCC also recognized that, “some regulatory challenges require trilateral cooperation among the three Parties to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the United States and Mexico intend to involve the Government of Canada when it is necessary to focus on issues of common interest in North America.” The U.S.-Mexico HLRCC has similar goals to the U.S.-Canada RCC. At some point, these dual-bilateral councils could come together to form a single continental regulatory regime.

In his article, the road to Washington runs through Mexico, Robert Pastor, who has been a leading proponent of North American integration, criticized Canada’s continental policy. He argued that, “Instead of collaborating with Mexico to persuade the United States to address shared problems and opportunities in North America, Canada has excluded Mexico and approached the U.S. on its own.” Pastor offered potential reasons for this strategy, “Some suggest Canadians fear being tainted by association with Mexico’s violence. Others believe its ‘special relationship’ with the United States gives it an advantage that it would lose if it allied with Mexico. And some think that two countries can walk faster than three.” He further elaborated on his position, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s insistence on bilateralism — or rather ‘dual-bilateralism’ because the U.S. has to deal with Mexico too — has not worked. Regulations will not be harmonized; a uniform set of customs forms and traveller IDs will not be implemented; a continent-wide transportation and infrastructure plan will not be contemplated without a clear vision and strategy by and for North America.”

Robert Pastor’s op-ed which appeared in the Toronto Star also conceded that, “Working the U.S. Congress by itself, neither Canada nor Mexico can secure its goals. Working together, with the support of the Obama administration, the three governments could design a seamless market and eliminate an expensive, inefficient tax based on rules of origin.” He recommended, “Instead of competing against each other to gain access to Asian markets, our three countries should focus on continental competitiveness and approach China together on issues related to currency, unfair trade practices and climate change.” He insisted, “If Canada were to change its ‘divide-and-be-conquered’ strategy to a ‘unite-and-govern together’ approach on the new North American agenda, Mexico and the U.S. would join, as they did with NAFTA. And Canada could achieve its goals and the continent’s at the same time.” Pastor further lays out his plan to rejuvenate trilateral integration in his book, the North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future.

The Woodrow Wilson Center hosted an event in December 2011 entitled the Death of Trilateralism in the NAFTA Neighborhood, which examined the evolution of regional economic cooperation between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. During the proceedings, a panel agreed that the death of trilateralism has been exaggerated, but pointed out that, “dual-bilateralism, in which the United States works with Canada and Mexico separately, has become more common. Participants noted this is particularly apparent when dealing with regulatory, energy, and border issues. Countries are still, however, looking to harmonize and work toward trilateralism.” The meeting called for greater regional engagement and emphasized, “the need to focus on issues such as regulatory cooperation, infrastructure, and border efficiency.” Discussions also centered around whether North America needed a grand new plan to move deep integration forward.

On April 2, President Barack Obama will host the sixth North American Leaders Summit which will include the participation of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. According to a statement by the press secretary, the meeting will, “focus on economic growth and competitiveness, citizen security, energy, and climate change.” While announcing the upcoming summit, Prime Minister Harper praised the NAFTA trilateral relationship, “Canada, the United States and Mexico have forged a strong partnership built on free and open trade and close cooperation on security.” He went on to say, “The government’s number one priority remains the creation of jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians, particularly through trade, including with our close friends the United States and Mexico.” The NAFTA governments are looking to expand trade with other countries. This includes Canada and Mexico’s efforts to join the U.S., along with other nations already engaged in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks. The forthcoming North American Leaders Summit will be the first since 2009, which has caused some to question the current state of trilateralism.

When it comes to continental integration, the U.S. has shifted much of its focus to pursuing dual-bilateral agendas with both Canada and Mexico. This includes efforts to establish a North American security perimeter. At some point, these parallel initiatives could converge into one. While it is unlikely that the upcoming leaders summit will bring about any grand new plan, it could be used as a starting point to revive the whole trilateral process. With the NAFTA framework still intact, the vision for a North American Union has not been abandoned.

Related articles by Dana Gabriel
The Transformation of the U.S.-Canada Border
North American Integration and the Ties That Bind
Expanding U.S.-Mexico Economic and Security Cooperation
Perimeter Security and the Future of North American Integration

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: beyourownleader@hotmail.com Visit his blog at beyourownleader.blogspot.com


Canada and Mexico to Join U.S. in NAFTA of the Pacific

By Dana Gabriel
BE YOUR OWN LEADER
November 28, 2011

At the recent APEC meetings, Canada and Mexico announced their interest in joining the U.S., along with other countries already engaged in negotiations to establish what has been referred to as the NAFTA of the Pacific.

The leaders of the nine countries that are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hawaii and agreed on the broad outlines of a free trade agreement. The current members include the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Peru and Chile. The TPP has been hailed as a, “landmark, 21st-century trade agreement, setting a new standard for global trade and incorporating next-generation issues.” Key features of the TPP are that it would provide comprehensive market access and be a fully regional agreement designed to facilitate the development of production and supply chains. Various working groups have been discussing issues such as financial services, government procurement, intellectual property, investment, rules of origin, telecommunications and trade remedies. The next round of talks will take place in December and there are hopes of concluding negotiations before the end of 2012. Apart from Canada and Mexico, Japan has also expressed interest in being part of the TPP. The door is also open for other countries to join which is why many consider it to be a building block for an Asia-Pacific free trade zone.

Following the APEC forum, President Barack Obama held a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Originally, it was scheduled to be a North American Leaders Summit, but Mexican President Felipe Calderon could not attend due to the death of Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora. According to a Readout by the Press Secretary, the leaders look forward to a rescheduled trilateral summit. During his meeting with Prime Minister Harper, President Obama, “noted the important progress being made on the Beyond the Border and Regulatory Cooperation initiatives.” He invited Harper to Washington in early December where an action plan that would work towards a North American security perimeter could finally be released. Both leaders also discussed the announcement by the State Department to seek additional information regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline project. A final ruling on the pipeline which would carry oil from western Canada to the gulf coast of Texas will not be made until after the November 2012 presidential election. The move has prompted Canada to further diversify its trade ties and shift its focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

FULL ARTICLE HERE…


North American Integration and the Ties That Bind

Dana Gabriel
BE YOUR OWN LEADER
November 7, 2011

After a two year hiatus, the leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico are set to meet for a trilateral summit. While the push for further North American integration continues incrementally, at this time, it is unlikely that discussions will yield any grand new initiatives that involve the participation of all three NAFTA partners. Instead, the meeting could be used to build off of bilateral discussions already underway. This includes negotiations between the U.S. and Canada on a North American Security perimeter deal designed to accelerate the flow of people and goods across the border.

In an article from several months back, Robert Pastor, who has been a leading proponent of continental integration, emphasized that Obama’s jobs strategy should be a North American one. He explained how the U.S. can expand trade faster by focusing on its neighbours and also pointed out that few Americans realize just how dependent the U.S. is on Canada and Mexico. In order to facilitate this approach, Pastor recommended, “We should eliminate restrictive ‘rules of origin,’ which add a tax as high as the tariff that was eliminated by NAFTA, and combine, rather than duplicate, customs’ forms, personnel and frequent-traveler programs.” He also called on President Obama to, “expand his infrastructure fund to be a North American one, with contributions from all three countries.” Pastor went on to say, “The leaders of each nation should then instruct their transportation ministers to develop a North American plan for transportation and infrastructure that would include another trade corridor from the busiest transit point in Windsor, Ontario, to southern Mexico.” This sounds a lot like plans for a NAFTA superhighway.

full article here