Public Values

Security and Prosperity Partnership: Not a merger made in heaven

We give up the right to decide national policies in food, energy and investment, but it makes the multinationals happy.

The authorby Silver Donald Cameron

January 4, 2009 — WHAT I want to know is, by what authority are these monkeys doing this stuff?

The monkeys are the governments of Canada, the US and Mexico — and what they are doing is stealing our countries, welding them together and giving them to global corporations. Their instrument is the Security and Prosperity Partnership — which, astonishingly, continues to fly below the public radar, though its nature and purpose are well-known.

The SPP began in 2005, in — appropriately — Waco, Tex., where George W Bush met with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. (Remember him?) The three agreed to "fast-track" the economic integration of the continent. In 2006, meeting in Cancun, the trio — Martin now replaced by Stephen Harper — created a North American Competitiveness Council, made up of 10 big-business CEOs from each country who undertook to meet annually with senior government officials to discuss the corporate sector's erotic fantasies about the new continental economy.

Notice that there's no parallel Council of Citizens or Small Businesses. The governments are taking advice only from the CEOs of Ford, Lockheed Martin, Merck, Chevron, General Electric, Wal-Mart, Bell Canada, Scotiabank and the like.

They're movin' right along. Dr Janine Brodie, an Alberta professor, recently presented a paper on "Executive Power and the Privatization of Authority." Now there's a phrase. Brodie quotes Paul Cellucci, the former US ambassador who berated Canada for not going to war in Iraq, as saying that "10 years from now, maybe 15 years from now, we're gonna look back and we are going to have a union in everything but name."

Did you vote for that? No? Then by what authority are these monkeys doing this stuff?

Last fall, my friend Wendy Holm, an agrologist and writer in BC, reviewed the report of a Competition Policy Review Panel that the Harper government appointed to identify the changes Canada needs to make to prepare for full-scale North American economic integration.

For starters, the panel thought Canada should smile upon mergers of large Canadian financial institutions. We were being needlessly cautious, since "appropriate regulatory safeguards already exist to protect prudential soundness, competition and the public interest."

Ah. Right. Those would be the safeguards that worked so well for Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, etc., and so efficiently protected the public interest that the US taxpayer is now on the hook for something like a trillion dollars. The panel also recommended that, when considering big mergers, the "net benefit to Canada" test be dropped.

Breathtaking. Canadian taxpayers are already paying for innumerable corporate bungles — and the government of Canada is not supposed to ask whether such financial engineering is in the public interest?

The panel goes on to suggest that Canada should neuter its Competition Act, welcome increased foreign competition, reduce corporate taxes and open up Canada's airline, uranium and telecommunications sectors to increased foreign investment.

These worthies also thought that Canada should harmonize product and professional standards and legal requirements with the Americans. In other words, if we have tougher health and safety standards than the US, ours should be weakened.

Did you vote for that? I thought not. So by what authority are these monkeys doing this stuff?

As an award-winning agrologist, Holm focuses on food and agriculture. She sees the SPP as a direct threat to Canadian farmers (who would lose the protection of supply-management regimes) and Canadian consumers.

"Canadians have not put a priority on farm and food policy because as a nation we have never gone without," Holm writes. "Embarrassingly, Canada remains one of the few nations in the world that does NOT have a national food policy. But things are quickly changing, and community discussions around peak oil, peak food, food security, food safety, food miles, food sovereignty and food democracy are moving that change forward."

Under the SPP, such discussions would be pointless. Canada would lose the right to create or enforce national policies in areas like food, energy and investment. Removing that right is precisely the objective of the SPP.

Did we elect these monkeys to give away the country? No? Then by what authority are they doing this stuff?

Silver Donald Cameron is a noted Nova Scotian author, speaker and commentator. His web site is

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Posted: January 07, 2009

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