North American Model Parliament

A group supporting North American integration is holding its fourth annual “North American Model Parliament” for 100 university students from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The North American Forum on Integration, or NAFI, began is “Triumvirate” sessions Monday in Montreal’s City Hall with a plan to conclude Friday.

According to the NAFI website, “Triumvirate 2008” brings together the students “to participate in an international negotiation exercise in which they will simulate a parliamentary meeting between North American political actors.”

Participants are assigned to play one of three roles: a legislator, representing a country other than their own; a journalist; or a lobbyist.

Four themes were selected as subjects of the mock parliament’s debate: Fostering Renewable Electricity Markets (in English); Countering North American corporate outsourcing (in French); Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (in English); and NAFTA’s Chapter 11 on investments (in English).

A major goal of the model parliament, according to the NAFI Triumvirate website, is to “develop the participants’ sense of belonging to North America.”

WND contacted the NAFI office in Montreal requesting comment but received no reply.

As WND previously reported, Raymond Chretien, the president of the Triumvirate and the former Canadian ambassador to both Mexico and the U.S., was quoted as claiming the exercise was intended to be more than academic.

“The creation of a North American parliament, such as the one being simulated by these young people, should be considered,” Chretien told WND.

Among the NAFI board of directors are Robert A. Pastor, Ph.D., former director of the Center for North American Studies at American University; and M. Stephen Blank, Ph.D., director of the North American Center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University.

Pastor has written extensively on his proposal for the creation of a “North American Community,” while denying he has intended to form a North American Union modeled after the European Union.”

In January, Pastor resigned his position at American University’s Office of International Affairs amid a reorganization. Pastor announced he was taking a one-year sabbatical in which he planned to work as co-director of The Elders, a group of 13 world figures, including Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter.

As WND previously reported, Pastor’s 2001 book, “Toward a North American Community,” presents an argument that North American integration should advance through the development of a “North American consciousness” by creating various institutions which include a North American customs union and a North American Development Fund for the economic development of Mexico.

Pastor also was vice chairman of the May 2005 Council on Foreign Relations task force report, “Building a North American Community,” that presents itself as a blueprint for using bureaucratic action though trilateral “working groups” constituted within the executive branches of the U.S, Mexico and Canada to advance the North American integration agenda.

Stephen Blank is the driving force behind the North America Works conference.

North America Works II, held in Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 1-2, 2006, was organized by the David Rockefeller-created Council of the Americas to discuss “North American Competitiveness and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP).”″>Critics contend the working groups are pursuing a stealth process to transform the SPP into a North American regional governmental structure.

WND reported last year’s Triumvirate 2007 was held in Washington, D.C.

The Triumvirate 2006 North American Model Parliament was held in the Mexican Senate, and Triumvirate 2005, the first model parliament, took place in Ottawa, Canada.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative emerged from the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which requires all travelers to present a passport or other equivalent documents denoting identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

NAFTA Chapter 11 establishes an international tribunal to resolve disputes in which NAFTA investors claim national, state or local laws in the U.S., Canada or Mexico adversely impact NAFTA investments.

NAFTA Chapter 11 tribunals are empowered under NAFTA to overturn U.S. federal, state or local laws or ordinances that are judged to have harmed the interests of investors under NAFTA.

A Canadian government website lists Chapter 11 arbitrations involving Canadian companies and investors.

The U.S. State Department website lists on a sidebar all current NAFTA Chapter 11 investor-state arbitrations.


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