Barbara L. Minton
Aprill 22, 2008
An internal memo from Canada’s Foreign Affairs and Internal Trade ministry, obtained by World Net News under the Access to Information Act, documents the agenda at the most recent secret summit meeting of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in Montebello, Quebec, held on August 20-21, 2007. The central activity of the meeting was to figure out a way to get the American people to swallow the idea of the collaboration leading to the North American Union, and to squelch the growing criticism surrounding it.
Present at the meeting were U.S. President George Bush, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, and Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The SPP consists of 20 working groups plus the attending cabinet officers from each country and the heads of state.
Also present were members of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), the only participants invited to meet behind closed doors with the SPP bureaucrats. The NACC is a largely secretive advisory council to the SPP consisting of representatives from 30 North American corporations selected by the Chambers of Commerce in the three nations.
The NACC issued no press releases disclosing specific recommendations made to them by the SPP trilateral working groups tasked with “integrating” and “harmonizing” administrative rules and regulations into a unified North American format. However, the memo documents that the NACC was urged to launch a public relations campaign to counter growing criticism of the trilateral cooperative that is seen by many as a major step toward the North American Union, see (http://www.naturalnews.com/022707.html) .
“Leaders had a successful meeting with the members of the NACC, which had been launched at the leader’s meeting in Cancun in March 2006, to counsel governments on how they might enhance North American competitiveness,” the memo begins. As discussion continues, the members of the NACC were urged to “assist in confronting and refuting critics of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America”.
According to paragraph four of the memo, the public relations theme continued during the meeting. “In closing, all leaders expressed a desire for the NACC to play a role in articulating publicly the benefits of greater collaboration in North America.”
Further on, according to the memo, “Leaders discussed some of the difficulties of the SPP, including the lack of popular support and the failure of the public to understand the competitive challenges confronting North America.” The memo continues, “Governments are faced with addressing the rapidly evolving competitive environment without fueling protectionism, when industry sectors face radical transformation.”
The memo documents a comment by the U.S. President. “In terms of building public support, President Bush suggested engaging the support of those who had benefited from NAFTA and from North American Integration (including small business owners) to tell their stories and humanize the impressive results.”
Regarding import safety, the document says, “President Bush underlined the importance of tackling the issue more broadly and showing that governments are ahead of this issue in order to prevent a trade protectionist backlash, especially against China.”
The memo again reinforces the public relations theme, emphasizing, “NACC members should have a role in communicating the merits of North American collaboration, including by engaging their employees and unions.”
Meanwhile, a policy of secret, closed-door meetings where the press and the public is not invited to participate or observe the process continues to characterize meetings of the SPP and trilateral working groups.
A meeting of the SPP that was virtually unreported in the U.S. and Canada on February 27-28, 2008 in Los Cabos, Mexico, was disclosed in the Mexico City newspaper La Jornada. According to the newspaper, the Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez visited Mexico City prior to the Los Cabos meeting “to renegotiate NAFTA” by offering the information to Mexico that undisclosed U.S. corporations and the U.S. government are planning to place as much as $141 billion in new investments in Mexico under the Mexico National Infrastructure Project 2007-2012.
In a press release published February 21 on the U.S. Trade and Development Agency website, the agenda for the February 26-28 meeting in Mexico City was presented. At this meeting Secretary Gutierrez planned to announce United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grants totaling more than $1.7 million made “to promote the development of transportation, energy and environmental projects under Mexico’s National Infrastructure Program”.
Another press release on the USTDA website documents the launching by President Calderon of Mexico’s National Infrastructure Program in July, 2008. Its goal is to create $141 billion dollars worth of new infrastructure investment opportunities for U.S. firms by 2012.
An announcement posted on the homepage of the Department of Commerce’s SPP website on Feb. 28 confirmed that Gutierrez and Department of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff traveled to Los Cabos to meet with ministers from Mexico and Canada in preparation for the fourth SPP annual summit meeting to be held in New Orleans on April 21-22.
This SPP press release also confirmed the presence of the NACC at the Los Cabos closed-door meeting.
Other important points disclosed in a Foreign Affairs and Internal Trade document obtained under the Access to Information request include:
* The concern that the Harper government intended to downplay the SPP summits as part of a strategy to defuse the intense criticism the effort has received from Canada’s political left.
* Prime Minister Harper’s description of the SPP as a worthwhile project driving many low-profile, but important initiatives.
* And Harper’s recommendation that each government appoint a single lead minister with overall responsibility for managing the trilateral bureaucrats involved in the 20 SPP working groups, and the “prosperity minister” in each country being tasked with this responsibility. Prior to the release of this document, the three governments had not clearly explained the tasks or areas of responsibilities of each of the three ministers assigned, to the SPP in the U.S. Canada and Mexico.
As it now appears, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the foreign minister representative in the U.S., and her counterparts in Mexico and Canada represent the top state-level officials of the three countries. This designation clearly places the SPP at the top foreign policy diplomatic level in each country.
Commerce Secretary Gutierrez and his counterparts will be considered “SPP Prosperity Ministers”, with Secretary Chertoff and his counterparts considered “SPP Security Ministers”. Overall management of the SPP would fall under the “Prosperity Ministers'” sphere.
The document also discloses President Bush’s continuing determination to have only a virtual fence, not the placement of a physical barrier, along the U.S. border with Mexico. “President Bush outlined his vision of the border, with a strong emphasis on the use of technology”.
According to a previous World New News report, an amendment by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, gutted the Secure Fence Act of 2006, by leaving the building of a 700 mile double layer fence along the border with Mexico up to the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security and Chertoff.
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