February 16, 2005


Border talks called `Disturbing': Blue-ribbon panel looks at North American integration (SEAN GORDON, 02/14/05, Toronto Star)

An influential tri-national panel has considered a raft of bold proposals for an integrated North America, including a continental customs union, single passport and contiguous security perimeter.

According to a confidential internal summary from the first of three meetings of the Task Force on the Future of North America, discussions also broached the possibility of lifting trade exemptions on cultural goods and Canadian water exports.

Those last two suggestions were dismissed in subsequent deliberations, say members of the task force, an advisory group of academics, trade experts, former politicians and diplomats from Canada, the United States and Mexico sponsored by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.

Members said the task force's final report this spring will focus on "achievable" rather than simply academic questions like that of a single North American currency.

Nevertheless, the initial debates prompted a sharp reaction from trade skeptics and nationalist groups like the Council of Canadians, who fear business leaders and the politically connected are concocting plans to cede important areas of sovereignty at the behest of American business interests.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow said the summary, a copy of which was obtained by the Toronto Star, was "disturbing" and "shocking."

"What they envisage is a new North American reality with one passport, one immigration and refugee policy, one security regime, one foreign policy, one common set of environmental, health and safety standards ... a brand name that will be sold to school kids, all based on the interests and the needs of the U.S.," she said.

She said the discussions have added weight because the panel includes such political heavyweights as former federal finance minister John Manley.

Is he the one that dreamy Mountie on Due South named his dog after?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 16, 2005 6:19 PM

nationalist groups like the Council of Canadians

Oh, geez, the pictures that calls to mind. I'm going to be smiling like an idiot for the next three days.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 16, 2005 6:44 PM

It'd be easier just to annex the both of them, and grab Greenland and most of the Caribbean and parts of Central America while we're at it.

Manifest Destiny II — The Adventure Continues!

And Bermuda. Can't forget Bermuda.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 16, 2005 9:34 PM

The dog's name was Diefenbaker.

Posted by: Bob at February 16, 2005 10:32 PM

Is he on this Council? Not the dog, the guy.

Posted by: oj at February 16, 2005 10:40 PM

I believe that Diefenbaker (the guy)is dead.

Posted by: Dave W. at February 16, 2005 10:52 PM

What about the dog? & how about the Mountie?

Posted by: oj at February 16, 2005 11:04 PM

I've said it before and I'll say it again--best show on network television in the last 15 years (or more). Damn that Ray Romano...

Posted by: jsmith at February 17, 2005 12:20 AM

First Canada. By then Mexico will be empty.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 17, 2005 12:54 AM

What possible benefits to anyone would the EUrofication of North America bring? It's easy enough to exchange currency because we have tons of trade. The U.S. gets most of our (Canadian) doctors and nurses and computer whiz guys.

some examples:
East and West Germany unification -- disaster.
Czech and Slovak disintegration -- party time.

I say, split Canada at the Quebec/Ontario border and make it easier for Mexicans to work legally in the U.S. Leave the United States alone other than splitting California into two states.

Posted by: Randall Voth at February 17, 2005 4:02 AM

Randall has just given you an illustration of why Canada may survive a good long time yet. Everybody thinks a break-up is a swell idea, but no one can agree on the fault lines.

Posted by: Peter B at February 17, 2005 4:22 AM

Don't we prety much have all these things already?

Posted by: Bob at February 17, 2005 9:52 AM

Only when Prince Edward Island and Nunavut start talking separation you will know the end is nigh.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 17, 2005 1:05 PM

the flag industry is behind all this talk of absorbing canadian provinces.

Posted by: cjm at February 18, 2005 11:53 PM