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NEWS: Harper-Obama to meet in Washington, Feb. 4

The National Post reports this evening that, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit President Barack Obama in Washington on Friday and the expectation is that the two leaders will sign a landmark security and trade deal designed to speed the flow of goods and people across the border. …The two governments have been negotiating a deal that would create a security perimeter around North America and allow accelerated movement across borders within the continent. …Government sources would not confirm that the two leaders will sign the deal on Friday but said the issue will be on the table…”

CBC reports though that, “It is not clear whether a rumoured border perimeter security deal will be a topic.”

The National Post article continues, “Government sources said Messrs. Harper and Obama will also discuss the clean energy initiative that was launched when the president visited Ottawa in 2009. At that meeting the two men agreed that environmental protection and the development of clean energy were linked and agreed to work together on a number of initiatives such as carbon capture and sequestration technology at coal-fired coal plants.” They are also expected to discuss “the continuing unrest in Egypt.”

The Toronto Star adds that, “The Harper government is using Twitter to release information, choosing the terse social messaging site over official channels. The Prime Minister’s spokesman used Twitter — which limits messages to 140 characters — on Tuesday to post news of Stephen Harper’s trip to Washington to meet U.S. President Barack Obama. Such trips are usually announced via a formal press release, but as of late Tuesday no such release had appeared.”

The Washington Post simply notes that, ” Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas said Tuesday in a short statement that the ‘discussion will focus on the important bilateral relationship between our two countries’.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has stated that, “Canadians have a right to know the security deal Mr. Harper has been secretly negotiating with the United States. Harmonization, collaboration and information-sharing with the Department of Homeland Security to promote his trade agenda obviously raises sovereignty and privacy concerns.” Barlow has also commented that, “This security perimeter plan sounds like a whole new set of hassles at the border. It sounds like more border security, longer entry/exit lines at the Canada US border, new screening processes for anyone leaving Canada, more security guards and border personnel.”

Council of Canadians blogs on the proposed perimeter security plan can be read at: NEWS: Harper’s communications strategy sees Barlow as threat to perimeter deal, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5701; NEWS: Council faces pundit backlash on security perimeter criticisms, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5738, NEWS: Security perimeter a potential time bomb for Harper, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5729, VIEW: Canadians have a right to be nervous about security perimeter plan, says Calgary Herald, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5744, NEWS: What might the security perimeter agenda include?, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5786, NEWS: Mulroney, five former ambassadors say security perimeter good for Canada, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5809, VIEW: Walkom vs Alden on perimeter security, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5818, NEWS: Harper confirms security perimeter talks, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5830, VIEW: ‘Security perimeter will bring more of the same’, says Yaffe, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5836, and NEWS: Harper-Obama meeting on border security delayed, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5887.

The National Post article is at http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/Landmark+trade+deal+expected+from+Obama+Harper+meeting/4206185/story.html. The CBC article is at http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2011/02/01/harper-obama-meet.html#ixzz1Cjg4pPso. The Toronto Star article is at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/931805–harper-government-choosing-twitter-to-release-information. The Washington Post article is at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/01/AR2011020103220.html.