President Bush with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, left, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper upon arrival Aug. 20 at the SPP Summit in Montebello, Canada (White House photo by Chris Greenberg)
Anticipating public backlash against the recent Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America summit in Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked President Bush to leave Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at home.
A White House official confirmed for WND reports circulating in the Canadian press indicating that prior to the summit, Harper requested Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon downplay the meeting.
As a result of the request, Bush agreed Rice would skip the Montebello, Quebec, summit.
Rice’s absence was especially conspicuous because she had attended the first two SPP summits, first in March 2005 at Waco, Texas, and then in March 2006, at Cancun, Mexico.
At both previous summits, Rice was responsible for conducting press briefings on behalf of the U.S. delegation.
With Rice absent from the Montebello meeting, press briefings were delegated to U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins.
Members of the press at the Montebello summit observed both Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff walking to closed bureaucratic working group meetings with the business leaders of the North American Competitiveness Council.
Gutierrez and Chertoff were not present at the final press conference held by Bush, Harper and Calderon.
Seasoned press present at the summit also expressed skepticism at Calderon’s suggestion that he needed to return to Mexico early because of Hurricane Dean.
Banner by Canada’s New Democratic Party
Even as Calderon gave his reason for leaving early, weather reports were showing the hurricane had diminished in force and the damage suffered in Mexico was likely to be minimal.
The Montebello summit was the shortest of the three SPP summits held so far, lasting less than 24 hours from the time President Bush arrived mid-day Aug. 20.
Despite Harper’s attempt to downplay the meeting, it ended up fueling Canadian opposition to SPP.
Particularly damaging for Harper was the admission that Canadian police had infiltrated protesters with undercover agents who acted as provocateurs.
The controversy began when a video was posted on YouTube.com showing three masked people confronted in Montebello by peaceful protesters and accused of being police infiltrators who wanted to start a riot to discredit the demonstration.
One of the three provocateurs clearly has a rock in his hand.
Analysis of the video showed the footwear of the masked people bore markings on the soles that matched the footwear worn by the heavily riot-geared S?ret? du Qu?bec police at the scene.
On Thursday last week, the S?ret? du Qu?bec was forced to admit the three provocateurs in the YouTube.com video were police officers who disguised themselves as protesters at the SPP summit in Montebello.
A video on YouTube.com shows, in French, the press conference in which the S?ret? du Qu?bec made the admission, ending a three-days of denials by the Harper government .
In Canada, the Montebello meeting is now being called the “Jellybean” summit in reference to Harper’s comment at the final press conference that the closed meetings had discussed standardizing jellybean regulation in Canada and the United States.
In response to a question from a Fox News reporter, all three leaders ridiculed the idea that the SPP meetings were a prelude to a European Union-style North American Union or that there were plans to build a continental NAFTA Superhighway.
Harper referenced a business leader on the North American Competitiveness Council who in the closed meetings indicated he manufactures jelly beans, and the rules for jelly bean contents are different in Canada and the United States, forcing the manufacturer to maintain two separate inventories.
Harper minimized the significance of the closed-door SPP meetings by asking rhetorically, “Is the sovereignty of Canada going to fall apart if we standardize the jelly bean? I don’t think so.”
Murry Dobbin, a Vancouver author and journalist, rebutted Harper on a Canadian webblog, writing if Stockwell Day, Canada’s public safety minister, and Harper “believe they can continue to portray the SPP as the jelly-bean initiative, they may be in for a nasty surprise. All the opposition parties have taken a critical stand on SPP and deep integration in general.”
Canada’s New Democratic Party, or NDP, a progressive party led by Jack Layton, is running on its homepage an article entitled, “Blowing the Whistle on SPP: Deep concern over deep integration.”
The article charges, “The Security and Prosperity Partnership is the latest move toward continental economic and social integration aimed at establishing common policies between Canada, the United States and Mexico in 300 policy areas, including: environmental protection, security, energy, food and health standards, foreign affairs, military and immigration.”
The article is highlighted by a banner with a borderless map of North America revealing throughout a cut-away of an American flag. The banner reads: “Stop the SPP. Canadians deserve a say. Parliament needs to vote.”
The NDP website claims, “The Liberals started SPP, Harper’s Conservatives are implementing it, and Jack Layton and the NDP want to stop it.”
NDP Member of Parliament Peter Julian was quoted by the Canadian Press as telling a Canadian community forum that the Security and Prosperity Partnership does not offer security or prosperity for the majority of Canadians.
According to the Leader-Post in Canada, Julian charged, “SPP is only a partnership for the political leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico and 30 major corporate chief executives gathered around them as their executive advisers. Everyone else, including the elected legislatures of the three countries, has been systematically excluded.”
Julian detailed 10 reasons why the “largely secret, unaccountable and antidemocratic SPP exercise” should be a concern to ordinary Canadians.
Among Julian’s concerns is that regulatory “integrating” and “harmonizing” under SPP has resulted in a lowering of standards for pesticide use in food production. Canada, he said, is giving in to demands by North American multi-national corporations to have SPP adopt U.S. standards. Julian believes that will expose Canadian consumers to chemical toxins in food that had previously been banned in his country.
Other concerns expressed by Julian were that SPP represented a U.S. grab for Canadian oil and fresh water resources that would be redefined as North American instead of Canadian.
Connie Fogal, leader of the Canadian Action Party, told WND her concerns were not just transparency, but sovereignty.
“Even if the public were allowed to observe the closed-door meetings that took place between the globalist business leaders of the North American Competitiveness Council and the SPP working group bureaucrats, it would not be enough,” Fogel explained to WND.
“Our objection is the deep integration that is taking place under SPP, and we would object to that deep integration even if the SPP working group process were taken out from the shadows,” she continued. “What we are seeing here is treason, a bureaucratic working group coup d’etat. SPP would still be a coup d’etat, even if the meetings were opened to the public.”
To make the point, the CAP website now posts a definition of treason from Oran’s 1983 Dictionary of the Law, which describes it as a “citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against or seriously injure the [parent nation].”
On its homepage, CAP then makes the argument, “In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aided or involved by such an endeavour.”
Secretary Rice’s absence from the Montebello summit was considered surprising, given her prominence in the SPP structure.
Documents published on the SPP website indicate the 20 SPP trilateral working groups in the U.S. report to three cabinet secretaries.
Rice apparently is the most senior of the three cabinet secretaries in the SPP structure, responsible for reporting overall SPP working group activity to the White House through the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
Gutierrez and Chertoff appear to have secondary SPP positions to Rice.
Gutierrez has line responsibility for U.S. bureaucrats participating in “Prosperity Working Groups,” while Chertoff has line responsibility for “Security Working Groups.”
Rice attended trilateral SPP meetings preparing for the Montebello summit, including a Feb. 23 meeting in Ottawa, Canada, with Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Patricia Espinosa.
The organizational chart, which has not been published by the U.S. government, was confirmed by documents released to WND through a Freedom of Information Act Request. It can be seen on page 81 of WND Books’ “The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger of Mexico and Canada.”
The SPP website does not reference the formal organizational chart in its “Myths vs. Facts” document, which admits SPP is not a law or a treaty while asserting it is a mere “dialogue” between three neighboring countries.
At the press conference at the Montebello summit, Harper, a conservative currently leading a minority government in Canada, tried to deflect Canadian criticism of the SPP “deep integration” agenda to his Liberal Party predecessor, former Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Ridiculing the idea of continental NAFTA Superhighways, Harper quipped that no “interplanetary” superhighways were being planned either.
Harper then tried to make clear SPP was not started by his government but by the predecessor Liberal Party government headed by Paul Martin.
Trying to downplay the importance of the SPP closed-door working group sessions with the North American Competitiveness Council businessmen, Harper commented, “So these are pragmatic, practical discussions.”
In the next sentence, Harper added, “In fact, it was my predecessor in the Liberal Party who initiated them.”
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