NEW YORK – The integration of the United States with Canada and Mexico, long deemed by many as little more than a fanciful “conspiracy theory,” was actually an idea promoted by the Council on Foreign Relations and sold to President Bush as a means of increasing commerce and business interests throughout North America, according to a top Canadian businessman.
Thomas d’Aquino, CEO and president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives – the Canadian counterpart to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – confirmed in an interview recently published in Canada the accuracy of what WND first reported over three years ago: namely, that the Council on Foreign Relations was the prime mover in establishing the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.
Published by the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel Oct. 4, the d’Aquino interview verifies that the creation of the SPP was not a “conspiracy theory” but a well-thought-out North American integration plan launched by his organization, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, along with the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States.
According to d’Aquino, President Obama wants to continue North American integration under the renamed North American Leaders Summit, provided the North American Competitiveness Council can be recast to include more environmentalists and union leaders.
In the interview, d’Aquino traced the origin of SPP to his concerns, following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, that “there was a pressing need to keep the border open for commerce while simultaneously addressing the security needs of the United States and North America as a whole.”
With this goal in mind, d’Aquino explained that the Canadian Council of Chief Executives by 2003 had “launched an agenda that we called the North American Security and Prosperity Initiative.”
As WND reported in July 2007, the term “Security and Prosperity” was first used by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives in a January 23, 2003, report titled “Security and Prosperity: Toward a New Canada–United States Partnership in North America.”
Then, in 2003, d’Aquino brought the idea to Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
“I helped convince Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations that we should put together a trilateral task force to look at the future of North America,” d’Aquino said. “We recruited John Manley on Canada’s side, along with William Weld, former governor of Massachusetts, and Pedro Aspe, the former Mexican economy minister, who had been so influential in promoting NAFTA.”
The result was a CFR Task Force on the Future of North America created on Oct. 15, 2004, and chaired by Manley, Weld and Aspe, precisely as d’Aquino had recommended to Haass.
The CFR Task Force on the Future of North America issued an executive summary, titled “Creating a North American Community,” that was issued March 14, 2005, just days before the March 23, 2005, trilateral summit at Waco, Texas, in which President George W. Bush, then–Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and then–Mexican President Vicente Fox declared the Security and Prosperity Partnership on their own authority, without any approval from the U.S. Congress.
The final task-force report, titled “Building a North American Community,” was issued in March 2005, immediately following the Waco summit. (Read highlights of the controversial 59-page CFR report – including calls for increased financial aid to Mexico, the creation of a security border perimeter around all of North America, a reduction in border security between the U.S. and Mexico and the creation of a new North American tribunal to settle disputes.)
D’Aquino agrees that the Council on Foreign Relations task force was instrumental to the trilateral summit in Waco during which the SPP’s existence was declared, saying in the interview: “The result of all these efforts [by the CFR Task Force on the Future of North America] was that in 2005, Prime Minister Martin, President Bush and President Fox decided to sign what they called the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.”
WND has consistently reported that the two reports issued by the CFR Task Force on the Future of North America constituted the “blueprint” for the SPP unveiled at the Waco summit meeting.
The final CFR report included on page xvii a concise statement of purpose: “The Task Force’s central recommendation is establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter.”
D’Aquino also confirmed, as WND had previously reported, that the North American Competitiveness Council was hand-picked by the Chambers of Commerce in the three countries, without any legislative approval from any of the three nations.
“At their next summit meeting, in 2006, the three leaders invited leading members of the CEO communities in the three countries to provide private-sector input on issues related to competitiveness,” he continued. “From that idea, the North American Competitiveness Council was born, to be composed of 10 frontline CEOs from each of Canada, the United States and Mexico.” That plan was implemented.
“We produced 10 of our most senior CEOs while the Americans established an executive committee of 15 representing a broad range of large companies with rotating memberships. The Mexicans produced some heavy-duty people – many names you know well.”
As WND reported at the time, the North American Competitiveness Council dominated the third annual SPP summit meeting held in Montebello, Quebec, in Aug. 2007, a fact confirmed by the interview with d’Aquino.
“The first meeting of the NACC with the three leaders took place in Montebello, Quebec, in 2007,” d’Aquino acknowledged. “Our Mexican and American counterparts graciously asked us to write the first NACC report. It was very well received, albeit heavily criticized by unions on the left and others as elitist: ‘Why did these people have access to the national leaders while everyone else was left out?'”
The NACC continued to advise SPP leaders behind closed doors at the fourth annual SPP summit meeting held in New Orleans, in April 2008, as WND reported and as d’Aquino now confirms: “The second meeting of the NACC with the three leaders took place at their summit in New Orleans in 2008 – we were in the room with the leaders for a full hour and a half.”
Whereas Bush was sold on the SPP initiative as a means of enhancing business and commerce in North America, d’Aquino explained, Obama would continue with the SPP only if more environmentalists and union leaders were included in the private advisory group that had consisted entirely of business leaders under the aegis of the NACC.
“When President Obama came to power, he faced a lot of pressure to shelve the SPP and not follow through with the NACC because his advisers were looking for an institution that would also involve environmentalists, union leaders, et al.”
D’Aquino argued that the NACC should continue, and, as WND has reported, the Obama administration is continuing the previous administration’s pursuit of North American integration.
“But at the North American Leaders Summit in Guadalajara this summer, President Calderon and Prime Minister Harper both told President Obama that the NACC was very useful,” d’Aquino said. “In fact, the Canadian NACC group met with our prime minister and his key ministers for an hour and a half on the eve of his departure for the Guadalajara summit. He said that, regardless of whether the NACC continues formally on a trilateral basis, he welcomes our advice on trilateral issues.”
WND has regularly reported that the unannounced goal of the SPP was to create a North American Union, similar to the European Union, by advancing the trade integration realized in NAFTA into continental political integration through the creation of some 20 trilateral bureaucratic working groups and the North American Competitiveness Council, composed of 30 North American business executives hand-picked, 10 each by the Chambers of Commerce of the three countries.
The Obama administration is continuing the SPP initiative under the “rebranded” and “refocused” banner of the less controversially renamed North American Leaders Summit that first met with Obama in Guadalajara, Mexico, last August.