DEEP INTEGRATION: A TIMELINE
September 11, 2001
The Canada-U.S. border closes temporarily after terrorists attack the World Trade Center buildings in New York City.
September 25, 2001
Citing 9/11, Thomas d’Aquino, president of the Business Council on National Issues (now the Canadian Council of Chief Executives), says that Canada “should engage in more fundamental harmonization and integration” with the U.S. if we are going to keep the border open to trade.
November 26, 2001
Thomas d’Aquino and other unnamed “leaders” send a letter to Jean Chrétien and George W. Bush calling for a “smart border” between Canada and the U.S. that would “use technology to enhance both security and the flow of goods and people across the border.”
December 12, 2001
Without legislative or public debate, Deputy Prime Minister John Manley and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge sign the Smart Border Declaration, a 30-point plan to harmonize security and anti-terrorism regulations in the two countries, including the creation of a common no-fly list and passenger surveillance system.
The C.D. Howe Institute releases a report by University of Toronto professor Wendy Dobson calling for “deeper integration” with the United States, including a North American customs union, a common market, a resource sharing pact and full
participation in the U.S. “war on terror.”
June 28, 2002
John Manley and Tom Ridge announce progress on the Smart Border Declaration, including “stepped up intelligence cooperation” and “a common approach to screen international air passengers before they arrive in either country and
identify those who warrant additional security scrutiny.”
September 26, 2002
Canadian citizen Maher Arar is detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and held for 12 days, then deported to Syria where he is imprisoned and tortured for a year. In 2006, a Canadian government commission into the affair blames the hasty sharing of faulty information between Canadian and U.S. security agencies.
The CCCE launches the “North American Security and Prosperity Initiative,” calling on the governments of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. to further integrate their three economies through a “new deal.” The deal would include a “comprehensive resource security pact” covering agriculture, metal, minerals and energy; “sharing the burden of defence and security”; and “creating a new institutional framework” for North American integration.
April 3, 2003
The CCCE establishes a 30-member “CEO Action Group on North American Security and Prosperity.” Its members include leaders from Canada’s largest corporations, including EnCana, Dofasco, CAE, General Motors, TransCanada Pipeline, BMO, Alcan and SNC Lavalin. "North American economic integration is well advanced and irreversible and now, in the face of global terrorism, the economic and physical security of the continent are indivisible," said Tom d'Aquino. "Canada and the United States should take the lead, in consultation with Mexico, in developing a new paradigm for North American co-operation.”
October 15, 2004
The U.S. Council on Foreign Relations launches a tri-national “Independent Task Force on the Future of North America,” which is vice-chaired by CCCE President Thomas d’Aquino and co-chaired by John Manley. Task Force members include prominent integrationists like Wendy Dobson, Pedro Aspe, Luis de la Calle Pardo and Carla Hills, all of whom will later participate in a secret North American Forum meeting to discuss continental integration in Calgary, Alberta from September 12 to 14, 2006.
February 14, 2005
The Council of Canadians releases leaked minutes from an October 2004 Task Force on the Future of North America meeting that describe bulk water exports as a politically “hot” long term goal of integration that should be broached at
a later date. Also being discussed by the task force are: eliminating current NAFTA exemptions for culture; “crafting a North American ‘resource pact’ that would allow for greater intra-regional trade and investment in certain non-renewable natural resources, such as oil, gas, and fresh water”; and a "North American brand name" to portray North America as a sort of "club of privileged members." There are also plans to encourage a North American identity among students in all three countries.
March 14, 2005
The Independent Task Force on the Future of North America releases its final report, calling for the creation of a North American economic and security community by 2010. Although absent of much of the more controversial “hot” suggestions,
including a water-sharing agreement, among the report’s key recommendations are the establishment of a continental security perimeter, a common external tariff, a common border pass for all North Americans, a North American energy and natural resources strategy, and an annual meeting where North American leaders can discuss steps toward economic and security integration.
March 23, 2005
At a meeting in Waco, Texas, George W. Bush, Paul Martin and Vicente Fox issue a joint statement announcing the creation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. The tri-national agreement contains almost all of the recommendations on continental economic and security integration proposed by the Independent Task Force and the CCCE’s Security and Prosperity Initiative before it.
The first North American Forum brings together U.S., Canadian and Mexican government and business representatives to discuss issues related to continental economic and social integration; it is held at a secret location in Sonoma, California. Invitees include John Manley, Mexican ambassador to the U.S. Carlos de Icaza, Chevron CEO David O’Reilly, former head of the CIA James Woolsey, and a host of U.S. policy advisors to George W. Bush. There is one article about the forum in the North American media.
January 10-11, 2006
The Council of the Americas, United Postal Service and the North American Business Committee host a “Public-Private Sector Dialogue on the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America” in Louisville, Kentucky. The meeting is attended by 50 government officials and business leaders from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, including members of the Canadian Privy Council Office, the Mexican Presidency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and corporate reps from ExxonMobil, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Tyco, and FedEx. Attendees discussed “marrying policy issues with business priorities,” musing that, “leadership from governments that recognizes the importance of business issues to the overall social welfare empowers the private sector to engage substantively and pragmatically on trade and security issues
without undue deference to political sensibilities.” A “North American Competitiveness Council” to drive the SPP process is proposed.
January 23, 2006
The Conservatives take office in Ottawa with a minority government as Prime Minister Stephen Harper promises to make Canada-U.S. relations a top priority despite polling data showing that the issue falls well below health care and the environment for the Canadian public.
March 31, 2006
At the second SPP summit in Cancun, Mexico, President Bush, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and then Mexican President Vicente Fox announce the creation of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC). This corporate working group is charged with directing the SPP process and includes at least 10 CEOs from each country, including representatives from Lockheed Martin, Wal-Mart, General Motors, Home Depot Canada, Canfor and Suncor.
June 15, 2006
The NACC is officially launched at a joint press conference held by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Mexican Economy Minister Sergio Garcia de Alba and Canadian Industry Minister Maxime Bernier. According to a report from the Council of the Americas, the purpose of institutionalizing the North American business community's involvement in the SPP process was “so that the work will continue through changes in administrations.” Furthermore, the NACC is to make sure that, “governments look to the private sector to tell them what needs to be done.” According to a Canadian government press release, the NACC “has a mandate to provide governments with recommendations on broad issues such as border facilitation and regulation, as well as the competitiveness of key sectors including automotive,
transportation, manufacturing and services.”
August 15, 2006
The NACC meets in Washington, D.C. to hash out priority issues for the SPP. The business leaders decide that the U.S. members will deal with “regulatory convergence,” the Canadians will handle “border facilitation,” and the Mexican
members will devise a plan for “energy integration.”
September 12-14, 2006
The North American Forum meets for the second time, in Banff, Alberta, this time to discuss “demographic and social dimensions of North American integration,” security cooperation, and a “North American energy strategy.” Once again, the meeting is kept secret, despite the involvement of high-ranking military officials, politicians and top bureaucrats – including Stockwell Day, who refuses to disclose the content of his speech to the media.
November 23, 2006
The Harper government releases a financial outlook document called Advantage Canada: Building a Strong Economy for Canadians. Advantage Canada praises the SPP effort to seek regulatory convergence on border security. It also indicates that the federal government is working with the provinces to speed up and streamline the environmental assessment process, particularly as it affects cross-border infrastructure projects. Furthermore, Advantage Canada emphasizes the importance of huge trade corridors to the economic wellbeing of the country, and looks to the private sector to help with all new infrastructure projects. “For its part, Canada’s New Government intends to establish a federal P3 office that will facilitate a broader use of P3s in Canadian infrastructure projects,” says the document. “The Government will also encourage the development and use of P3 best practices by requiring that P3s be given consideration in larger infrastructure investments that receive federal program funding.” Under the SPP’s transportation agenda is an initiative to “examine the benefits of an intermodal transportation concept for north America,” the goal being to move foreign goods, mostly from Asia, quickly through North America to key markets in the United States.
February 23, 2007
SPP ministers, including Maxime Bernier, David Emerson, Stockwell Day, and their U.S. counterparts Michael Chertoff and Carlos Gutierrez, meet with the NACC to discuss the progress of the integration agenda. The NACC releases a report containing 51 recommendations, including: “Complete negotiations, sign a new North American Regulatory Cooperation Framework in 2007, and ensure consistent application of standards and regulatory requirements within each country.” The corporate body suggests that, “upon signature of the framework, a North American Regulatory
Cooperation and Standards Committee, which includes the private sector, should be formed to survey on a regular basis the variety of standards and regulatory differences by industry that impede trade and seek to reduce the identified
differences or develop other mechanisms to lessen their impact on the competitiveness of North American industry.”
March 19, 2007
The Conservative government releases its 2007 budget – Aspire to a Stronger, Safer, Better Canada – in which it promises to “improve Canada’s regulatory framework” by “moving to finalize a new modern approach to smart regulation,” and by “working with the United States and Mexico through the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America to improve regulatory coordination and cooperation.” At the heart of the government’s strategy is the adoption of a new Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation that will come into effect on April 1, 2007. Budget 2007 provides $9 million over two years to implement this initiative.
March 30-April 1, 2007
Over 1,500 people converge on Ottawa for Integrate This! Challenging the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, a public teach-in on deep integration organized by the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Canadian Labour Congress, Common Frontiers and a host of other groups.
April 1, 2007
The Government of Canada’s new Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation comes into effect, requiring that all government departments take into consideration the “cost or savings to government, business, or Canadians and the potential impact on the Canadian economy and its international competitiveness,” as well as the “potential impact on other federal departments or agencies, other governments in Canada, or on Canada's foreign affairs” before moving ahead with new rules on everything from food and drugs to pesticides to the environment and public health. The directive moves regulation in Canada further away from the precautionary principle and more in line with the U.S. focus on risk assessment and voluntary compliance.
April 13, 2007
Leaked documents acquired by the Council of Canadians reveal that bulk water exports from Canada to the United States are in fact being discussed in relation to the SPP. The North American Future 2025 Project, which is led by the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Conference Board of Canada and the Mexican Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, involves a series of “closed-door meetings” on North American integration dealing with a number of highly contentious issues including bulk water exports, a joint security perimeter and a continental resource pact.
April 24, 2007
The Council of Canadians holds an “open-door” meeting in Calgary to discuss the threat of bulk water exports posed by North American integration and the SPP in light of closed-door meetings of government officials and business reps to discuss continental water management happening that same week.
April 27, 2007
North American transport ministers, including Conservative MP Lawrence Cannon, meet in Arizona for an SPP meeting, "in order to confirm and advance our commitment to developing coordinated, compatible and interconnected national transportation systems." Developing an "intermodal transportation concept for North America" is an SPP initiative. A key milestones under that initiative commits transport ministers to, "work toward establishing an intermodal corridor work plan and a Memorandum of Cooperation pilot project." The Arizona meeting, which the ministers describe as the
first in a series, appears to be the beginning of this pilot project.
May 1, 2007
Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow addresses the Commons Standing Committee on International Trade regarding the SPP, energy and bulk water exports.
May 7, 2007
CanWest News Service reports that Canada is set to raise its limits on pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables as “part of an effort to harmonize Canadian pesticide rules with those of the United States, which allows higher residue
levels for 40 per cent of the pesticides it regulates.” According to the article, which appeared in papers across the country, “the effort is being fast-tracked as an initiative under the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a wideranging
plan to streamline regulatory and security protocols across North America.” The article proves that regulatory harmonization as spelled out in NAFTA and the SPP puts downward pressure on regulations and that higher standards are rarely if ever mutually adopted between harmonizing parties.
May 10, 2007
Conservative MPs storm out of parliamentary hearings into the SPP after the Tory chair of the Commons Standing Committee on International Trade interrupts a presentation from Council of Canadians board member Gordon Laxer linking the SPP to tar sands production. Committee chair Leon Benoit can’t see the link between the SPP and energy security for Canada, despite “energy integration” being a key priority of the SPP and of the NACC. The meeting continues after all but one Conservative MP leaves the room.
June 18, 2007
Transport Canada’s “no-fly” list, called Passenger Protect, comes into effect. Airlines begin checking passenger names against a list of people deemed so dangerous to the flight that they should not be allowed to board. Passengers who appear on the list may appeal mistakes to an “office of reconsideration.” Security experts agree that Canada’s list will inevitably merge with the much larger U.S. “no-fly” list – a key priority of the SPP’s security agenda. Canada’s airlines have already been using the U.S. list, which contains almost 500,000 names, and news reports from late May 2007 indicate they will continue to rely on it rather than Passenger Protect.
August 20-21, 2007
Stephen Harper, George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón to meet in Montebello, Quebec for the planned third summit of the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The Council of Canadians and other groups to plan major mobilization against the SPP to coincide with the event.
Possible third meeting of the highly secretive North American Forum. Leaked ocuments outlining the forum’s 2006 media strategy show a concerted effort to avoid media and public scrutiny, despite the fact that these discussions on North American integration involve high ranking public servants accountable to the citizens of Canada, Mexico and the United States.
For more information visit Canadians.org or call 1-800-387-7177.
The Council of Canadiana - Le Conseil Des Canadiens
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