On August 14, the Council of Canadians issued a media release noting the announcement on the official U.S. government SPP website that, “The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is no longer an active initiative and as such this website will act as an archive for SPP documents. There will not be any updates to this site.”
This week, Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew writes in rabble.ca that the Security and Prosperity Partnership, “the NAFTA-plus agenda died in Guadalajara, Mexico last week. We killed it.”
His article can be read at http://rabble.ca/news/2009/08/spp-dead-so-wheres-champagne.
THE NORTH AMERICAN COMPETITIVENESS COUNCIL
Stuart notes, “perhaps our most significant victory (is) the end of the North American Competitiveness Council. …Perhaps still waiting for an invite to Guadalajara, and clinging desperately to a powerful but now useless moniker, the NACC meekly offered North American leaders one last five-page report about the evils of protectionism. …(As such) we have successfully robbed these CEOs of their privileged spot inside North American summits.”
Another victory can be found in the leaders’ promise to hold public consultations on the North American agenda in all three countries.
The leaders statement from Guadalajara says, “We recognize and embrace citizen participation as an integral part of our work together in North America. We welcome the contributions of businesses, both large and small, and those of civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, academics, experts, and others. We have asked our Ministers to engage in such consultations as they work to realize the goals we have set for ourselves here in Guadalajara.”
This development appears to have its roots in Barack Obama’s statement in the Dallas Morning News back on February 20, 2008. At that time he stated, “Starting my first year in office, I will convene annual meetings with Mr. Calderon and the prime minister of Canada. Unlike similar summits under President Bush, these will be conducted with a level of transparency that represents the close ties among our three countries. We will seek the active and open involvement of citizens, labor, the private sector and non-governmental organizations in setting the agenda and making progress.”
The leaders statement is at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Joint-statement-by-North-American-leaders/. Barack Obama’s comments in the Dallas Morning News are at http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/viewpoints/stories/DN-obama_20edi.ART.State.Edition1.464da8e.html.
MORE ON THE WIN
On June 3 we wrote, “In the coming weeks we will comment more fully on our view that the Security and Prosperity Partnership initiative has been defeated, while noting that the deep integration agenda continues to pose a serious threat.” At that time we believed that the Security and Prosperity Partnership had been defeated on the basis of the following pieces of information:
1. Former trade minister David Emerson has said “the (private sector working) group, which has not been active since Obama was elected, should not be revitalized.”
May 7, 2009 http://www.vancouversun.com/Business/Emerson+goes+against+tide+push+border+reforms/1571809/story.html
2. Former deputy prime minister John Manley has written “The Security and Prosperity Partnership is a trilateral framework established in 2006. Few would cite this as a formula for progress.”
May 5, 2009 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090504.wconafta05/BNStory/specialComment/home
3. The president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives Thomas d’Aquino told a House of Commons committee that the SPP “is probably dead”.
March 4, 2009 http://www.embassymag.ca/page/view/committees-3-4-2009
4. Sun Media columnist Barbara Yaffe has written that “The Security and Prosperity Partnership, launched in 2005, is so misunderstood by the public and so discredited by opposition groups it should be relaunched and rebranded. That’s the view of Simon Fraser University political scientist Alexander Moens who has just completed a study of the SPP for the Fraser Institute…”
April 1, 2008 http://www2.canada.com/vancouversun/columnists/story.html?id=6953a666-a6f7-42ad-b607-7aa2d558f5c7
5. American Robert Pastor, vice-chair of the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America, has written, “The April (2008) summit meeting (in New Orleans) was probably the last hurrah for the SPP. The strategy of acting on technical issues in an incremental, bureaucratic way, and of keeping the issues away from public view, has generated more suspicion than accomplishments. The new president will probably discard the SPP.”
August 26, 2008 http://canadians.org/integratethis/corporate/2008/Aug-26.html
Congratulations to everyone who worked to defeat the SPP. This is a tremendous win!
Given that the corporations on the North American Competitiveness Council that sought the Security and Prosperity Partnership have not abandoned their agenda, it is important to keep the pressure on Prime Minister Harper to ensure that there is genuine and wide citizen participation in the discussions on the future of North America. To do so, please see our action alert at http://canadians.org/action/2009/14-Aug-09.html.
As Stuart concludes in his rabble.ca piece, “Let’s recognize what we have achieved and then get back to work.”