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NEWS: North American Leaders summit cancelled

Canoe News reports, “The North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS) on Sunday has been cancelled. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was set to meet with US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon after the APEC summit in Honolulu wrapped up. Calderon cancelled his participation in both summits after learning about the death of his close and personal friend, Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora. Mora died in a helicopter crash Friday along with seven other people about 70 kilometres south of Mexico City.”

“The cancellation of the North American summit could leave Harper without any face time with Obama, though officials says it¹s still possible the prime minister may get a one-on-one meeting.” Postmedia News adds, “Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said it remains uncertain whether the Canadian and American leaders will hold their own bilateral talks on Sunday night when Calderon was to join them. …Obama is slated to hold tete-a-tetes with Chinese president Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. But there is no private meeting with Harper scheduled and the prime minister’s key opportunity to engage Obama on Canada-US issues may have been the Three Amigos summit, which was to be held Sunday evening.”

But another Postmedia News article notes, “The prime minister should get ample time to raise the matters with US President Barack Obama during a series of bilateral talks between various leaders on Saturday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meetings. He could get even more time with Obama on Sunday after Friday’s announcement that Calderon will not appear at the APEC conference or at the planned summit of the three North American leaders.”

“Canada and the US are looking to finalize the Beyond the Border initiative, a bilateral trade and security agreement designed to better coordinate intelligence-sharing at the border and streamline cross-border trade. The Harper government originally said the plan would be ready by the end of summer, but details still haven’t been unveiled. …Kim Richard Nossal, a specialist in Canada-U.S. relations and director of the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen’s University, (says), ‘I don’t think that we’ll really know whether or not that original initiative from February will actually get beyond the difficulties that Canada has continued to experience as a result of the hyper-sensitivity of Americans to concerns along their northern border’…”