Skip to comments.Will Canada Become the 51st State?
Posted on 08/19/2007 6:40:35 PM PDT by JACKRUSSELL
To some, it is a "corporate coup d'etat," a conspiracy by big business to turn Canada into the 51st state by stealth. Others see it as a plot to destroy the U.S. by forcing it into a North American union with "socialist Canada" and "corrupt Mexico."
It is the Security and Prosperity Partnership, a sprawling effort to forge closer ties among the three nations in everything from anti-terrorism measures to energy strategies to food-safety and pesticide rules.
Launched two years ago by then prime minister Paul Martin, President George W. Bush and his Mexican counterpart, Vicente Fox, at the so-called Three Amigos summit in Waco, Tex., the SPP grew out of concerns that security crackdowns would cripple cross-border trade.
With juggernauts such as China and India looming on the horizon, the three countries agreed they had to act fast to stay competitive. Now the SPP has grown into a mind-boggling array of some 300 initiatives, involving 19 teams of bureaucrats from all three countries.
INTEGRATION BY STEALTH
Its stated mission is "to keep our borders closed to terrorism yet open to trade" by fostering "greater co-operation and information-sharing" in security protocols and economic areas such as product safety.
Little known in Canada, the accord, if implemented, could affect almost every aspect of Canadian life, from what drugs you can access to whether you can board a plane and even what ingredients go into your morning cornflakes.
While you may not have heard of the SPP, you may have heard about some of the controversies it has sparked: Canada's adoption of a no-fly list, negotiations to lower Canada's pesticide standards to U.S. levels or fears the deal will lead to bulk-water exports.
Liberal leader Stephane Dion charged Friday that, "under the veil of secrecy," Harper has let the Americans run roughshod over Canada, covertly using the SPP to impose a U.S. agenda on Canada. That's not what the Liberals intended when they signed the deal, which was meant to give Canada a stronger voice in Washington, not turn it into an"imitation" of the U.S., he says.
Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians says it is big business that is calling the shots, pushing aggressively for the harmonization -- and downgrading -- of everything from security norms to food standards, in a move that will lead to the "integration by stealth" of the three nations.
"Canadians would be shocked" if they knew the true scope of the SPP, says Barlow, whose Ottawa-based organization represents about 100,000 members.
Fringe groups such as the Canadian Action Party and the Minutemen in the U.S. go further, arguing the SPP is a plot to sweep all three nations into a North American union.
"Where are they getting this stuff?" says Thomas d'Aquino, head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, which helped launch the SPP.
"This is a very nitty-gritty, workaday initiative" to make trade safer and more efficient through such steps as expanding border crossings and information-sharing programs on plant and animal safety, he says.
Other SPP projects are no-brainers, such as plans to cooperate in fighting West Nile virus and flu pandemics.
As for fears of a North American union, "anyone who believes that is smoking something," says d'Aquino.
This weekend, the debate hits the headlines across the nation as the three heads of state and their advisers converge on Montebello, Que., 60 kilometres east of Ottawa, for the SPP's third annual summit.
Thousands of protesters are also expected to descend on the area, hoping to confront the "Three Banditos" about a deal they say is a secretive sellout to the cowboy capitalism and militarism of the superpower to Canada's south.
"We always hoped from the outset we could broaden it beyond security," says Roland Paris, a University of Ottawa professor who worked as an adviser in the Privy Council Office when the SPP was launched. He adds that the SPP's architects hoped the "regular high-level meetings" would help "overcome bureaucratic inertia."
SOVEREIGNTY UNDER FIRE
But they also helped big business and its government allies bypass both the public and Parliament to push through a host of controversial changes without debate or scrutiny, critics charge. They say the accord has enshrined and fast-tracked a longstanding effort to quietly harmonize Canadian programs with those of the U.S. in everything from military policy to food and drug standards.
"The SPP is an unacceptable, closed-door process with enormous implications for Canadians," says NDP trade critic Peter Julian.
Roland Paris scoffs at charges the SPP is a grand design. If anything, he says, it is a timid collection of piddling efforts that has become bogged down in bureaucratic red tape.
"This is not a political vision of the future of the continent. If it were, it would be worth the fuss."
Defenders of the SPP dismiss concerns about regulatory change as fear-mongering, saying the accord aims only to cut out minor, needless variations between the three countries.
The goal is to end the "tyranny of small differences" that can turn the border into a theatre of the absurd, says John Kirton, a University of Toronto professor and expert in the environmental effects of free trade.
If fact, the SPP could dramatically raise standards across North America, proponents say, because it promotes information-sharing among the three countries.
Scientists would swap data on everything from car safety to new chemicals, enabling regulators to better evaluate products and react more quickly to public health threats.
The SPP also includes projects with obvious benefits for all three nations, such as reducing sulphur in fuel and air pollution from ships, and coordinating efforts to curb plant and animal diseases.
All three governments insist that the three nations remain sovereign under the SPP: If Canada doesn't like the way the U.S. does something, it can go its own way.
But NDP trade critic Julian is not so sure. He worries about the effect regulatory convergence will have in the future.
If, for example, Canada wants to pass new rules to deal with greenhouse gases, it could mean "Canada would have to go to Washington and lobby for the kinds of standards and protections they want," he says.
Nope. I’d rather fly duty free to Puerto Rico as our Fifty-First State, Thank You!
Nothing against Canadians...who tend to run in my family, Eh! :)
Can we take in Alberta and forget the rest?
I will control ALL BEER!!!!!
NO, only those Provinces which vote to join the USA and are voted in by our population. Actually, I can think of some rather nice "Trades" of States for Provinces!
I thought the Canadians wanted to preserve their current status as a colony like Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.
That’s sounds nice...the voters of a state get to choose what country they want to belong too...US or Canada. But then I suppose you’ll get at least one state voting for outright sovereignty...
I’d rather it not. One: It’s forcing the “no borders” globalist agenda, and two: their health care sucks and it would likely be pushed for in the rest of the country. The hockey’s good though, that’d be the only plus. Though I wouldn’t mind just taking conservative Alberta and leaving the rest.
How about a trade? Massachusetts for Alberta? Toss in San Francisco for Vancouver as well.
Hey, that hurts!
If they came in they wd have to be ready for the Muzzies
I’ll take the western provinces. The rest can join France.
For years and years, The POQ has been trying to break away from Canada and either become their own country or be annexed by the United States. When I was growing up, many moons ago, people were planning this. This is nothing new to Quebec. As far as the rest of Canada, They would rather not have any part or be part of the US. Personally, I believe it would be a mistake to allow Canada to become the 51st state. Many problems would occur due to this. Mostly, an overload on our medical system/ It’s broken now, it would devastate the program if that many people were introduced into it. I think the US has enough problems of her own, not to pick up someone else’s problems like buying a used car.
If Canada were to enter the US, which it won’t, it would be as a number of states, not a single one.
Canada as a single state would be larger than the other 50 combined, which would be kind of silly.
Hey, that hurts!
Don't worry, there are many likeminded Canadians who will welcome you with open arms and admiration for your tax structure (which they ultimately will find to be too "generous" to allow to exist).
In addition, Canada recently had a legal decision which allows its citizens to purchase health insurance policies!
Wait a minute! I thought Israel was our 51st State! Or no, is it Iraq? Or Germany? Or South Korea? Guam? Mexico?
I am sooo confused!