Daily Archives: December 17, 2010

Canadian govt to unveil “North American Perimeter”

Tories to announce deal forming North America ‘perimeter’

 National Post | Dec 8, 2010

by John Ivison

The Conservative government is set to announce a landmark security and trade deal with the United States, designed to create a perimeter around North America and allow people and goods to flow more freely across the border.

Sources suggested that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama will sign the broad-ranging agreement in Washington as early as next month.

“It’s big on ideals but maybe not so great on details,” said one person familiar with the negotiations. “But it does use the word ‘perimeter’ many times…The question is, will it reduce the compliance burden at the Canada-U.S. border?”

The New Border Vision is being billed as a 21st century border management system that will include new common consumer product regulations, a pre-clearance agreement for goods crossing the border to expedite waiting times and the use of advanced technology to utilize biometric data for travelers at airports and land crossings, according to people familiar with the plan.

The new framework will likely be discussed when the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, visits Ottawa this Monday but government sources said the announcement will not be made by Ms. Clinton. A spokesman for the Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews, said: “No such announcement is planned. We don’t comment on hearsay or speculation.” A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa refused to comment.

Colin Robertson, a senior research fellow with the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, said the agreement is an attempt by the Canadian government to link security to improved access to the U.S. for Canadians.

“‘Perimeter’ is a vital word because back in the Chrétien government days we couldn’t use it because we would get caught up in the sovereignty allergy we too often have,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense.”

The U.S. announced a similar deal with Mexico in March. It included moves to expedite travel and commerce such as secure transit lanes for pre-cleared rail and truck shipments, as well as passenger pre-clearance for individuals.

Business is likely to welcome a more coordinated perimeter approach to regulation and security but one exporter remained skeptical. “A vision without money is a hallucination,” he said.

The U.S. and Canada have taken piecemeal steps to coordinate their efforts against common threats like terrorism. Last year, Canada signed on to the NEXUS membership card and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) trusted traveller programs as a valid means of identification at the border. However, more sweeping agreements have foundered in the past, notably the Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement signed in 2005 by former Prime Minister Paul Martin, ex-U.S. President George W. Bush and former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

The SPP was aimed at reducing the cost of trade and improving the flow of people and information but became a lightning rod for criticism on both sides of the border. In the U.S., CNN anchor Lou Dobbs argued the SPP was part of a plan to merge the U.S., Canada and Mexico into a North American Union, while a number of organizations criticized the agreement for its secrecy.

In Canada, NDP leader Jack Layton said the process was not just unconstitutional but “non-constitutional” because there were no oversight mechanisms. By 2009, all three governments had abandoned the SPP, which is “no longer an active initiative,” according to its website.

Mr. Robertson said that increased integration could impact areas like immigration and refugee policy but was unlikely to lead to a European Union-style agreement. “Economic union would mean a common currency and, over the last couple of years, it has been definitively proven that we are far better off with our own currency,” he said.

Obama quietly erasing borders

Dem administration advancing ‘North American Union’ agenda

WorldNetDaily | Dec 15, 2010

By Jerome R. Corsi

Acting quietly, below the radar of U.S. public opinion and without congressional approval, the Obama administration is implementing a key policy objective of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, to erase the border with Mexico and Canada.

The administration is acting under a State Department-declared policy initiative described in a March 23 fact sheet titled “United States-Mexico Partnership: A New Border Vision.”

“Mexico and the United States have a shared interest in creating a 21st century border that promotes the security and prosperity of both countries,” the State Department declared. “The U.S. and Mexican governments have launched a range of initiatives that challenge the traditional view of ‘hold the line’ and are developing a framework for a new vision of 21st century border management.”

At the same time, CTV News in Canada has obtained a draft copy of a declaration between the U.S. and Canada entitled “Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Competitiveness,” to be implemented by a newly created Canadian-U.S. “Beyond the Border Working Group.”

The two documents strongly suggest the Obama administration is pursuing a stealth bureaucratic methodology to establish a common North American border around the continent, encompassing the U.S., Canada and Mexico, while simultaneously moving to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico as well as between the U.S. and Canada.

Under the Bush administration’s SPP, the U.S., Mexico and Canada organized some 20 different “shadow government” bureaucratic working groups composed of agency heads and undersecretaries in the three nations. The groups span a wide range of policy areas, from e-commerce, to aviation policy, to borders and immigration, trilateral travel, transportation, energy, environment, food and agriculture, health and financial services.

WND has reported since 2006 that a blueprint published in 2005 by the Council on Foreign Relations entitled “Building a North America Community” called for the establishment of a common security perimeter around North America by 2010 to facilitate the free movement of people, trade and capital between the three nations of North America.

In his 2001 book, “Toward a North American Community,” American University professor Robert Pastor, a co-chair of the CFR blue ribbon committee that authored “Building a North American Community,” called for the creation of a North American Commission, a North American Parliament, and a North American Court on Trade and Investment.

The language of the documents declaring “A New Border Vision” with Mexico and Canada could easily have been lifted directly from the CFR report or Pastor’s book.

The 2005 CFR report “Building a North American Community” called on page xvii of the Foreword for the “establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security perimeter, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter.”

CTV News reported that the language of the draft agreement specified that “A New Border Vision” for the U.S. and Canada would involve “a perimeter approach to security, working together within, at, and away from the borders of our two countries in a way that supports economic competitiveness, job creation and prosperity, and in a partnership to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people and goods between our two countries.”

Similarly, the U.S. State Department fact sheet calling for “A New Border Vision” with Mexico specified five areas of “joint border management, co-responsibility for cross-border crime, and shared commitment to the efficient flow of legal commerce and travel,” namely: enhancing public safety, securing flows of people and goods, expediting legitimate commerce and travel, engaging border communities, and setting policy.

Under “setting policy,” the State Department fact sheet with Mexico called for achieving rapid policy change through “an agile inter-agency process within each country as well as a means by which both governments can easily coordinate at a bi-national level.”

This provides additional support for the conclusion that the bureaucratic “working groups” established under SPP in the Bush administration will continue to operate under Obama administration.

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