Category Archives: canadian sovereignty

U.S. Army And RCMP Derail Public Forum

There’s a very disturbing news article in yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen:

Police have derailed plans for a public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership that was to take place six kilometres from where the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will gather next month for a summit.

Several weeks ago, the Council of Canadians put down a $100 deposit to rent the community centre in Papineauville, not far from the summit site in Montebello, for the public forum.

The forum was scheduled for Aug. 19, the day before Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon are due to start two days of meetings on the security partnership, a controversial initiative aimed at more closely aligning the three countries in a variety of areas.

But Brent Patterson, the council’s director of organizing, said a Papineauville official called late Tuesday to say the RCMP, the Surete du Quebec and the U.S. army would not allow the municipality to rent the facility to the council for the planned forum.

A citizens group isn’t allowed to meet a day before the conference in a community centre six kilometres away. For security reasons. *cough*

Would a pro-SPP group have also been denied the space? Not likely. Guy Cote of the Quebec police force in Montreal reportedly explained the move by saying the Council of Canadians “is an activist organization opposed to the summit and that it would not be wise to have [them] set up in the community centre.”

What kind of security-hating radicals were planning on attending this public forum? Writers, academics, parliamentarians. You know, your usual group of hoodlums.

In other words, the U.S. Army is now giving orders to working with the RCMP to frustrate freedom of speech in Canada, by Canadians. Hopefully the Council of Canadians will be able to find another venue, though how far away they have to go before the U.S. Army will let them meet (10km? 20km? 100km?) is unclear.

When The Truth Is Off-Topic

The threat of deep integration by stealth with the United States is becoming increasingly concerning. The only thing more frightening than what we do know about the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership is what the current Conservative government and the preceding Liberal one don’t want us to know about it.

In case you think I’m waxing a little too conspiratorial, I refer you to this news story from last Friday:

OTTAWA – Amid heated charges of a coverup, Tory MPs on Thursday abruptly shut down parliamentary hearings on a controversial plan to further integrate Canada and the U.S.

The firestorm erupted within minutes of testimony by University of Alberta professor Gordon Laxer that Canadians will be left “to freeze in the dark” if the government forges ahead with plans to integrate energy supplies across North America.

He was testifying on behalf of the Alberta-based Parkland Institute about concerns with the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a 2005 accord by the U.S., Canada and Mexico to streamline economic and security rules across the continent.

Of note is also this eye-witness account from Liberal MP Mark Holland, including:

The puzzled Mr. Laxer was stopped by the Chair because Leon said he was off topic. He demanded the witness speak only about items linked to the days agenda. Fair enough – except that the witness was doing exactly that. In point of fact, the previous witness was also discussing the same thing – energy security as it pertains to Canada-US trade…

The presentation that Laxer was trying to make when he was cut-off arrived in my inbox yesterday. For the record, here’s what’s at stake, and what the Harper government has demonstrated through their actions that they don’t want us to know:

Presentation on the SPP to the International Trade Committee
Gordon Laxer
Political Economy Professor, and The Director
Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta

May 10, 2007


Parkland Institute is an Alberta-wide research network at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. We are supported by over 600 individual members and dozens of progressive organizations. Parkland Institute conducts research and education for the public good.

My remarks are on the energy and climate change implications of the SPP.

Why No Energy Security for Canadians?

I don’t understand why Canada is discussing helping to ensure American energy security when Canada has no energy policy, and no plans or enough pipelines, to get oil to Eastern Canadians during an international supply crisis. Canada is the most vulnerable member of the International Energy Agency – IEA, yet recklessly exports a higher and higher share of its oil and gas to the U.S. This locks Canada into a higher share under NAFTA’s proportionality clause. Instead of guaranteeing U.S. energy security, how about a Canadian SPP – Secure Petroleum Plan for Canada?

While rising Canadian oil exports help wean America off Middle Eastern oil, Canada is shirking responsibility to Canadians. Rising Canadian exports are perversely leading to greater Middle Eastern imports for Canada.

We import about 40% of our oil – 850,000 barrels per day, to meet 90 per cent of Atlantic Canada’s and Quebec’s needs, and 40 per cent of Ontario’s. A rising share, 45 per cent comes from OPEC countries, primarily Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Imports from North Sea suppliers – Norway and Britain –are shrinking (37 per cent).

Many eastern Canadians heat their homes with oil. Yet we have no plan to send domestic supplies to them. Why not? In which NAFTA country are the citizens most likely to freeze in the dark?

The National Energy Board’s mandate is to “promote safety and security … in the Canadian public interest”. Yet they wrote me on April 12: “Unfortunately, the NEB has not undertaken any studies on security of supply.” This is shocking.

I asked the NEB about whether Canada is considering setting up a Strategic Petroleum Reserve under its membership in the IEA. The NEB replied that Canada “was specifically exempted from establishing a reserve, on the grounds that Canada is a net exporting country whereas the other members are net importers.”

The IEA was set up by industrial countries in 1974 to counter OPECs boycotting power. The 24 members must maintain emergency oil reserves equivalent to 90 days of net imports. Only net-exporters are exempt. Canada shares this status with 3 other members.

Britain and Denmark have been net exporters, but set up strategic reserves, as required of European Union members. That leaves Norway and Canada. Norway doesn’t need a reserve. Sensibly, it supplies its own citizens, before exporting surpluses.

Western Canada can’t supply all of Eastern Canadian needs, because NAFTA reserves Canadian oil for Americans’ security of supply. Canada now exports 63 per cent of our oil and 56 per cent of our natural gas production. Those export shares are currently locked in place by NAFTA’s proportionality clause which requires us not to reduce recent export proportions. Mexico refused proportionality. It applies only to Canada.

As well, we don’t have the east-west pipelines to fully meet Eastern needs. Instead, 5 export pipelines are planned.

Although we have more than enough oil and gas to meet Canadians needs, Canada is the most exposed IEA member. Meanwhile, the U.S. is doubling its Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Natural gas

Nor does Canada have a natural gas plan. At last summer G-8 meetings, Canada began negotiations to send Russian gas to Quebec. It is very risky. Recently, Russia cut natural gas exports to Ukraine and Byelorussia for political reasons.

Why import natural gas, when we could be self-sufficient and energy independent?


Those are official U.S. goals in its 2001 National Energy Policy – NEP. Domestic ownership too – remember Congress blocked a Chinese takeover of Unocal. The US didn’t draw up a continental security plan in 2001, but a national one, as Mexico has, like we should. Most countries have similar national policies.

No one is fooled by SPP talk that ‘North American energy security’ is anything more than US energy security.

I don’t advocate copying the U.S. on all energy policies – finding ‘their’ oil under someone else’s sands – Middle Eastern, and Alberta’s tarsands.

Strategic petroleum reserves help short-term crunches, but not long-term ones. Eastern Canadians’ best insurance is to restore the rule before the Free Trade Agreement – no energy exports before 25 years of ‘proven’ supply, not ‘expected’ supply.

The SPP is taking us in the wrong direction:

  • Quickening environmental approval of tarsands exports
  • More LNG terminals in Canada dedicated for U.S. export
  • Bringing in temporary Mexican workers without permanent resident rights

Paradigm Shift

Instead, Canada needs a paradigm shift to face the new realities:

  • Security trumping trade – means that energy security for Canadians trumps NAFTA
  • Climate change – The production of tarsands oil, ¾ of which is exported, is the single biggest contributor to our rising greenhouse gases. This is the gassy elephant in the living room everyone pretends not to see. Instead, we need a moratorium on new tarsands projects. Then, cut consumption to reduce carbon emissions.
  • NAFTA’s proportionality clause – You won’t convince Canadians to cut fossil fuel use, as we must, if it means that whatever we save is exported to the U.S., the proportional requirement rises, and tarsands carbon emissions remain unchanged.


Instead of the SPP Canada needs a new energy security and conservation strategy. Canada has a NEP – No Energy Plan. It is not helping Alberta or other producing regions. The people of Alberta, the oil and gas owners, receive pitifully low royalties and other economic rents. Alberta and Norway have similar amounts of oil and gas, yet Alberta’s Heritage Fund was started in 1976 and has 12billion US. Norway started their fund in 1996 and has 250 billion US. Much of tarsands oil is shipped out raw without upgrading in Alberta.

Canada must do a national energy strategy differently – as a partnership with the producing provinces and territories. The 1980 National Energy Program had good goals – energy sufficiency, independence, Canadian ownership and security, but it was unilaterally imposed.

A new federal-provincial plan must raise economic rents in all their forms so producing regions can use the funds to transition to a post-carbon economy. Otherwise, in a generation, Alberta will become, not the rust belt like the U.S mid-west, but the fossil belt.


  • No SPP before public hearings, bills before Parliament, the consent of Canadians.
  • No export of raw bitumen
  • No environmental sacrifice zones in northern Alberta
  • Higher economic rents
  • Get a Mexican exemption on proportionality

Finally, a new SPP – Secure Petroleum Plan for Canadians.

Canadian Sovereignty at Risk

A few months ago I wrote about a secret meeting that had taken place between high-ranking officials of the Canadian and American governments, with a view to creating a more integrated continent. This stealth North American union project (known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership, or SPP) is heating up again, though more attention is being paid in the States than here in Canada. Some American legislators are speaking up about the plan’s threat to national sovereignty, as well as the fact that it’s being negotiated undemocratically, in secret.

If the United States government is concerned about a loss of national sovereignty, we should be even more so.

This issue is receiving renewed attention now because of a planned visit to Ottawa by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff this Friday, along with Mexican officials. That visit will be followed up with a trip to Canada by George Bush in June.

Canadians should be paying far more attention to the prospects of deep integration with the United States. This is a country that no longer believes in the right to a fair trial, and that has still not apologized for deporting one of us — Maher Arar — to be tortured. There are things on which we can cooperate, but for the sake of human rights and national sovereignty, the US version of “security” is not one of them.

Or, if there’s nothing to worry about, then there’s no reason to keep having these discussions and meetings in secret.

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.