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Activists Across South-West Ontario Say ‘No’ to the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)

4-11-2008

Activists Across South-West Ontario Say ‘No’ to the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)

For Immediate Release

November 3, 2008
Contact – Dan Kellar – 519 616 4462
Regional Day of Action Targets Corporate Power, calls PMO and Cabinet “Anti-democratic”

KITCHENER-WATERLOO — Today has been declared a day to raise awareness about the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), and to take action against the corporations and government ministries responsible for implementation of the continental integration agreement. Protests and demonstrations will be taking place in Toronto, Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Stratford and London.

The SPP is a post-9/11 version of NAFTA that at times has been refered to as a North American Union and a new Fortress [North] America. The SPP Agreement pursues “goals and a framework for alarmingly deep integration of trade, regulatory and military policies between Canada, the United States and Mexico,” said activist Rachel Avery. “The SPP establishes what amounts to a modern corporate oligarchy that has decided that the fate of the continent is to be unified under the banner of extreme capitalism and the Global War on Terror, that it is best achieved by conceiving of ‘security’ and ‘prosperity’ as inseparable and mutually reinforcing,” explained Avery. “The problem is; whose security and prosperity?” Rachel Avery is a member of AW@L, the activist organization that called for the regional day of action. The SPP has been referred to as a militarized NAFTA.

The SPP has never been debated in Parliament. Instead, “the SPP’s only advisory and oversight body is the North American Competitiveness Council” (NACC), said AW@L spokesperson Dan Kellar. He he said this makes the SPP Agreement “inherently anti-democratic.” The Agreement was between the Heads of State and it is implemented, in Canada, through the Ministries of Industry, Foreign Relations, and Public Safety, among others.

The SPP has resulted in impacts ranging from a planned five-fold expansion of Tar Sands production to the creation of Canada Command and the expansion of NORAD in 2006. The SPP will impact everything from the militarization of border services and civil policing, to the harmonization of policies covering issues from pesticides to intellectual property rights to immigration and labour regulation.

Today across the province, activists will be talking about the SPP and taking action against NACC corporations and “Government (Mis)representatives.” In Guelph and London, activists will be flyering and carrying out public education campaigns. A rally in Stratford is scheduled for the afternoon, and in Toronto, there are rumoured to be several direct actions planned. In Waterloo, AW@L will be targeting Manulife Financial, a major player on the NACC.

This morning in Waterloo, AW@L members will be visiting the Manulife building at 500 King St N. There, they will be engaging employees and displaying banners for the public. The goal of the action, according to spokesperson Dan Kellar, is to “educate employees about the anti-democratic actions of board members of their company.” Manulife CEO, Dominic D’Alessandro is a member of the NACC. Also, Thomas d’Aquino, who has been a Board member at Manulife since 2005, is Chief Executive and President of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). He is Chair of the CCCE’s North American Security and Prosperity Initiative, the project which directly led to the SPP Agreement. Finally, Robert J. Harding was brought onto the board of directors of Manulife Financial in 2008. He is also Chairman of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. Brookfield is a fellow NACC corporation. According to Kellar, “all three of these men are part of the corporate oligarchy that is selling out the environment and community and worker’s rights, and all three are guilty of helping to solidify the integration of Canada and the Canadian military into American economic agendas and their Global War on Terror.”

Kellar pointed out that “some people have denied that the SPP exists at all, but government websites and a massive paper trail say that the Agreement is very real and far reaching.” Some members of the NACC, as well as some critics of the SPP, have recently suggested that the partnership is dead. However, both SPP documents as well as critics have also said that…“while the SPP agreement and the NACC’s formal advisory process may come to end, it will only be to have them replaced by newer agreements that pursue advanced versions of the same agenda.” Recently, Liberal and Conservative party advisors have indicated that a major upcoming task for Canada will be to convince the new American President to stick with NAFTA, which means sticking with the SPP. However, “the military agreements and restructuring, the energy plans, the border securitization and law enforcement militarization, the environmental destruction and the waves of deportation and persecution of immigrants and minorities,” said Kellar, “these injustices will not be undone, but hardened by a newer articulation of deep integration policies.”

More info on the SPP is available at www.peaceculture.org. AW@L has a document available, Understanding the SPP – Following the Paper Trail, containing dozens of links to primary source documentation from the SPP as well as links to other commentary and analysis.

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