Secret Meetings and Democracy Don’t Mix

If there had been a high-level meeting two weeks ago, in Canada, between government and business leaders from our country, the U.S., and Mexico, you’d think you’d have heard about it.

Of course, you’d think that our government would have let the media know about such a meeting. Failing that, you’d think that they’d at least acknowledge that there was such a meeting when asked, and give us some idea of what was discussed.

You’d think that, because you’re a reasonable person. And maybe because you have some distant memory of a new government promising to be transparent and accountable.

Well, unfortunately, said meeting did take place, under the banner of the North American Forum. “But Chris,” you’d say, “surely this wasn’t really a high-level meeting.”

Not sure how to break this to you, but according to a list obtained by Mel Hurtig with the Council of Canadians, the attendees included:

From Canada

  • Hon. Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, Government of Canada
  • Mr. Bill Elliott, Associate Deputy Minister, Public Safety
  • Hon. Gordon O’Connor, Minister of Defense, Government of Canada
  • Mr. Ward Elcock, Deputy Minister of National Defence
  • Mr. Peter M. Boehm, Assistant Deputy Minister, North America, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
  • Mr. V. Peter Harder, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Hon. Greg Melchin, Minister of Energy, Government of Alberta
  • General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff
  • Col. Peter Atkinson, Special Advisor to Chief of Defence Staff
  • Rear Adm Roger Girouard, Commander Joint Task Force Pacific, Cdn Forces
  • Hon. Anne McLellan, Senior Counsel, Bennett Jones
  • Hon. Perrin Beatty, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
  • Mr. Thomas d’Aquino, Canadian Council of Chief Executives
  • Mr. Richard L. George, Suncor Energy Inc.
  • Dr. Roger Gibbins, Canada West Foundation
  • Mr. James K. Gray, Canada West Foundation
  • Ms.Sharon Murphy, Chevron Canada

From the United States

  • Sec. Donald R. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, US Department of Defense
  • Sec. Ryan Henry, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
  • Lt. Gen. Gene Renuart, USAF Senior Military Assist. to Sec. Rumsfeld
  • Mr. Eric Ruff, , Department of Defense Press Secretary
  • Dr. James Schlesinger, Former Sec. Of Energy & Defense
  • Sec. Clay Sell, Deputy Secretary of Energy, US Dept. of Energy
  • Dr. Thomas A. Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
  • Maj. Gen. Mark A Volcheff, Director, Plans, Policy & Strategy, NORAD-NORTHCOM
  • Ms. Deborah Bolton, Political Advisor to Commander, US Northcom
  • Admiral Tim Keating, Commander, US Northern Command
  • Mr. George Nethercutt, Chairman, US Section of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, US – Canada (Security)
  • Mr. Ron T. Covais, President, The Americas, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Mr. Bill Irwin , Manager – International Government Affairs; Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Corporation
  • Mr. R. James Woolsey, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton

From Mexico

  • Silvia Hernández , Former Senator and Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on North America
  • Fernando Chico Pardo , CEO, Promecap
  • Juan Gallardo , , CEO, Grupo GEUSA
  • Gerónimo Gutiérrez , Deputy Foreign Minister for North America
  • Luis de la Calle , Consultant. Former Deputy Minister of Economy
  • Eduardo Medina Mora , Secretary of Public Security
  • Carlos Heredia , State Government of Michoacán
  • Manuel Arango , CEO, Grupo Concord
  • Juan Camilo Mouriño, General Coordinator of President Elect’s transition team
  • Ernesto Cordero, Coordinator for Public Policy Issues Ambassadors/Consul General
  • Mr. Carlos de Icaza, , Ambassador of Mexico to the United States
  • Ms. Maria Teresa Garcia Segovia de Madero, Ambassador of Mexico to Canada

This was a secret, high-level meeting. The agenda had the heading “Continental Prosperity in the New Security Environment.” The purpose of the meeting was to further the deep integration of our country with the United States.

I’ve previously suggested that this Conservative government doesn’t seem to know what the word transparency means. I’m becoming increasingly concerned they may also need a crash course in democracy.

When asked about the meeting, Day’s office has been “telling journalists that it cannot comment on the minister’s private meeting and that journalists should understand this.” Those silly journalists. (Of course, Day’s been pretty immature this week. )

To understand more about the details of this meeting and its serious implications, I highly recommend Maude Barlow’s piece in the Toronto Star, as well as this report from WorldNetDaily. Unfortunately, with some small exceptions, the meeting remains largely unreported by the media to this day.

5 thoughts on “Secret Meetings and Democracy Don’t Mix

  1. Hey AG,

    I made a short reply to the G&M editorial you mention on your blog here. Others responded here. Then, the Globe and Mail appeared to change their position.

    As far as I know, the person who’s doing the most detailed analysis of the NAFTA debate right now is The Green Librarian. (Though I notice you’re already involved in the discussion on his blog.)

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