The White House dismissed suspicions of a coming North American Union as a “silly” conspiracy theory.
By Jon Ward
OTTAWA — President Bush’s two-day summit with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, beginning today in nearby Montebello, is raising fears among some conservatives that the three governments are planning a European Union-style super-government.
Concerns about such an agreement and where it could lead started on Web sites and among talk-radio hosts, picked up by CNN commentator Lou Dobbs and gained traction among some of the House Republicans who successfully derailed Mr. Bush’s immigration-reform plan, which critics described as an amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens in the United States.
“We want you to be aware of serious and growing concerns in the U.S. Congress about the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership you launched with these nations in 2005,” 21 Republican members of Congress, along with one Democrat, said in a letter to President Bush.
The House has adopted an amendment barring U.S. transportation officials from participating in future meetings of the partnership.
The White House dismissed suspicions of a coming North American Union as a “silly” conspiracy theory. “Americans are going to remain Americans, Canadians are going to remain Canadians and Mexicans are going to remain Mexicans,” a senior Bush administration official said on the condition of anonymity.
But the fight over immigration policy, in which some conservatives accused Mr. Bush of siding with multinational business interests to adopt policies undermining U.S. sovereignty, has aggravated fears about cross-border cooperation with Mexico.
“A couple of events I’ve done this week, this question did come up about the issue of open borders, and how much is this country doing to cut these arrangements with Canada and Mexico to basically give free access in and out of this country,” said Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican, who signed the letter of concern.
Rep. Chris Cannon, Utah Republican — who did not sign the letter — said he has heard questions and complaints from many constituents about the three-party talks and how they could affect U.S. sovereignty.