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NEWS: Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians seen as ‘high risk’ opponents of border deal

The Toronto Star reports this evening, “The confidential (Harper) government (communications strategy) document (prepared last fall) contains a list of ‘high risk’ stakeholders – those in Canada who might raise strenuous objections to stepped-up Canada-U.S. security arrangements. …Advocacy and civil rights groups such as the Council of Canadians, led by Maude Barlow, were…expected to react negatively because of ‘privacy concerns.’ The strategy paper…suggested that cabinet ministers be made available to the media to counteract Barlow’s statements.”

Last December, the Globe and Mail reported that, “The Harper government is bracing for a backlash over a border security agreement it is negotiating with the United States, anticipating it will spark worries about eroding sovereignty and privacy rights, a document obtained by The Globe and Mail shows. The communications strategy for the perimeter security declaration…anticipates criticism from civil rights groups and others such as Council of Canadians chairwoman Maude Barlow.”

It has also been reported that, “Officials surmised that Jennifer Stoddart, the federal privacy commissioner, would be worried by plans to share more personal data on Canadians with U.S. authorities.”

The Toronto Star says, “The 14-page public relations document recommended that talks keep a ‘low public profile’ in the months leading up to the announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama. …The document was prepared last fall, when the Canada-U.S. talks were being conducted without any public notice.”

“A separate list of ‘medium risk’ stakeholders included academics, who will ‘expect proof of economic benefits’ and may be worried about privacy and sovereignty, and the media, which will ‘look for specifics’ that would be announced later. Also considered a ‘medium risk’ are U.S. critics, who will see the new deal as a ‘threat to U.S. jobs.'”

The Toronto Star report is at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/934675–canada-kept-u-s-border-talks-under-wraps-document-shows. The Globe and Mail report from December is referenced at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5701.

To send the following message to the prime minister – “You do not have my support to sign a new perimeter security deal with the United States. It was wrong of you to agree to such a plan without consulting with Canadians first. Before anything else is said or done on this deal you need to seek a real public mandate. Open up the deal to public and parliamentary debate or seek an election on the issue.” – please respond to our action alert at http://canadians.org/action/2011/border-security.html.