Monday, August 20, 2007

Why The SPP Is Bad News

I'm not opposed to trade regimes that work (whether NAFTA does or not is debatable in a number of ways). However, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) bothers me in some very fundamental ways.

First off, unlike NAFTA, this discussion is going on behind closed doors. While Harper, Bush and Calderone sit around "talking", none of these men is taking the results of their discussions back to their legislative houses.

The euphemism used is that the "SPP" is a "dialogue" and not a treaty, and therefore doesn't need to involve the legislative houses. Frankly,any time I see politicians doing things behind closed doors (and there have been several secretive meetings related to the SPP in the last couple of years), and refuse to table anything in the legislative houses, they're up to something ... and I doubt it's "good" for Canada.

The Canadian government SPP website says that "consultations occur at many levels," although the only specific group it mentions having presented recommendations to it is the North American Competitiveness Council.

The NACC is a group of CEOs from each of the three North American countries. Most of the Canadian representatives are members of D'Aquino's group, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

Okay - newsflash for people here, but generally speaking, Corporate CEOs are not the people we want making public policy. Corporations are accountable for one thing only - making a profit, and delivering it to their shareholders. Period. The interest in social issues goes only as far as it impacts the company bottom line.

Attempting to disguise sweeping negotiations that affect the future of three sovereign nations by calling them "discussions" is a bald-faced lie. If they are mere "discussions" and as "boring" as Thomas D'Aquino, of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, claims, then it is high time for our politicians to table what they've been discussing in the legislative houses and make their activities known.

Mere "discussions" don't provoke the kind of security overreaction that we are seeing in Montebello, Quebec this week.

Remember, this little gem is brought to you with the active participation of Canada's Gnu Government - which ran on a platform of being more "open, honest and accountable" to the public.

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