A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Trk�_ The.Supplement

The First Few Lines of The Last 10 posts in:
Castellano_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Trk�
First few lines of all posts of last 24 hours || of past 30 days | of 2002 | of 2003 | of 2004 | of 2005 | of 2006 | of 2007

Syndication Of A-Infos - including RDF | How to Syndicate A-Infos
Subscribe to the a-infos newsgroups
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) North America, Do you know about the Security and Prospertity Partnership Agreement?*

Date Sat, 28 Jul 2007 10:27:23 +0300


Included below is text from the latest issue of No One Is Illegal's quartely zine "Razorwire". This issue is focused on the Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement. For ongoing organizing with the Stop SPP campaign in Vancouver leading upto the August 20th continental day of action visit www.nooneisillegal.org or email scrapspp@gmail.com. ==> DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE SECURITY AND PROSPERITY PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT? ---- The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) was founded in March 2005 at a summit of the Heads of State of Canada, the US, and Mexico. SPP is not an official treaty; it is not an official law; rather, it is being presented as a vague 'diaologue based on shared values'. Therefore it has been able to escape any public scrutiny and will never be debated in the House of Commons.

The North American Forum sponsored one of the various secretive meetings
in Sept 2006 in Banff Springs. When asked by the media if he was in
attendance, Stockwell Day refused to confirm he was there, but said that
even if he was, it was a "private" meeting that he would not comment on.
Another instance of this secrecy was revealed during hearings of the
Commons International Trade Committee into the SPP in 2007. Gordon Laxer,
head of Alberta's Parkland Institute, was testifying on the energy
implications of the SPP, when Committee Chair Conservative MP Leon Benoit,
demanded that Laxer halt his "irrelevant" testimony. The Committee members
overruled Benoit -- who then promptly (and illegally) adjourned the
meeting and stomped out.

The SPP is a NAFTA-plus-Homeland-Security model. The founding premise of
the SPP is that an agenda of economic free trade and national security
will result in human prosperity. Yet we know that the so-called
"prosperity" of previous free trade agreements such as NAFTA have only
brought corporate prosperity, with increasing rates of poverty and
displacement for the majority of people.

"If we succeed with Mexico in North America, then it becomes much easier
to have a Free Trade Area of the Americas, because the rest of Latin
America will see that free trade has actually been an avenue to the first
world. If we fail in Mexico, I don't think we're likely to succeed
anywhere else in Latin America or, for that matter, in the developing
world."- Robert Pastor, America and the World at a Council of Foreign
Relations Colloquim

==> WHO IS BEHIND THE SPP?

"No item - not Canadian water, not Mexican oil, not American anti-dumping
laws - "is off the table"; rather, contentious or intractable issues will
simply require more time to ripen politically." - Leaked Minutes of a
2004 meeting of the Task Force on the Future of North America

The North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) was launched as part of
the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in June 2006. It is the only
formal advisory board to the SPP and is made up of 30 corporate leaders
from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico with ten advisors from each of the SPP
signatory states.

Minutes from a January 10, 2006 tri-national "Public-Private Sector
Dialogue on the Security and Prosperity Partnership" reveal exactly why
the NACC was created - to "engage substantively and pragmatically on trade
and security issues without undue deference to political sensitivities." A
September 13, 2006 story in Maclean's magazine describes NACC as a
"cherrypicked group of executives who were whisked to Cancun in March by
the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and asked to come up with a
plan for taking North American integration beyond NAFTA."

The NACC has become the concrete reality emerging from proposals by
corporate think-tanks such the Canadian Council of Chief Executives
(CCCE), the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Consejo Mexicano De
Asuntos Internacionels (COMEXI) to have a trilateral corporate body which
would advise the three governments on issues ranging from military
integration to securing energy resources to controlling migration.

In Canada, the CCE is a CEO organization whose corporations administer in
excess of C$2.1 trillion in assets. In January 2003, CCCE launched its
North American Security and Prosperity Initiative to increase investment
and capital flows, integrate security agreements and military defence, and
expedited means of resource (oil, natural gas, water, forest products)
extraction. This has essentially become the template for the SPP.

In short, the NACC, representing private corporate interests, has been
"institutionalized" as a policy-making body, thus formalizing and
deepening the existing patterns of influence that corporations already have.

Harper appointed the Canadian membership of the NACC in June 2006: Dominic
D'Alessandro (Manulife Financial); Paul Desmarais, Jr. (Power Corporation
of Canada); David Ganong (Ganong Bros. Limited); Richard George (Suncor
Energy Inc.); Hunter Harrison (CN); Linda Hasenfratz (Linamar
Corporation); Michael Sabia (Bell Canada Enterprises); Jim Shepherd
(Canfor Corporation); Annette Verschuren (The Home Depot); and Rick Waugh
(Scotiabank).

==> WHAT ARE FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS ALL ABOUT?

"Free trade" is an oft-touted term whose consequences are rarely fully
understood. Free trade agreements include steps to further privatization,
service cuts, and corporate tax breaks. "Barriers to trade" such as public
services, labour standards, and health and environmental regulations are
eliminated. Fifty-one of the world's top 100 economies are corporations.

Since the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1985, wage growth in
Canada has been almost flat and the majority of jobs are un-unionized and
part time. Since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994, the bottom 20% of
Canadian families saw their incomes fall by 7.6%, while the top 20% saw
their incomes rise by 16.8%. In 2004, the average earnings of the richest
10% of Canada's families raising children was 82 times that earned by the
poorest 10% of Canada's families. This is despite the fact that that most
households are clocking in almost 200 hours more than nine years ago.
Similarly in the US, according to Forbes Magazine, the largest employer is
Wal-Mart, whose average wage is $7.50 per hour.

In Mexico, the number of Mexicans living in severe poverty has grown by
four million since NAFTA and the real value of the minimum wage has
dropped by 23%. The costs of environmental degradation have amounted to
10% of the annual GDP. With the rise in agribusiness, more than 50,000
Mexican farmers are expelled from their lands annually. Many of these 1.5
million displaced Mexican farmers have migrated to North America to work
in low-paying sectors such as construction, agriculture and factories.

"Corporate globalization for us is colonization continued without any
letup." - Sharon Venne, Cree lawyer.


==> WHAT IS THE WAR ON TERROR ALL ABOUT?

The "War on Terror" and the beefed-up national security apparatus has
exacerbated insecurity and brought terror on the lives of millions of
people locally and globally through immigrant raids, border
militarization, foreign troop occupations, and repression of civil
liberties and resistance movements. A September 2006 report in The
Independent found that the "War on Terror" has "directly killed a minimum
of 62,006 people, created 4.5 million refugees, and cost the US more than
the sum needed to pay off the debts of every poor nation on earth."

The threat of terrorism has created a sense of its own inevitability and
we take for granted that the quickest and most effective way of responding
is to be "better safe than sorry'. Evan Sycamnias has written that "these
instituted ways of doing things create their own 'regime of truth' which
simultaneously shores up the institutional structure and closes off any
fundamental questions which might undermine it."The ever-expanding
security apparatus is less about protecting society than it is about
creating a culture of fear in the context of the War on Terrorism.
Throughout Canada's history, "national security" has functioned to
legitimize a series of exclusionary policies that have targeted racialized
"non-citizens", communists, socialists, as well as First Nations and black
activists, and sexual minorities. In particular, "national security"
concerns have had a direct impact on Canadian immigration policies and
have been used as a tool of immigration control by creating a discourse of
the threat "outsiders" pose to the Canadian nation.

==> WHAT IS THE SPP SPECIFICALLY ABOUT?

"SPP has three fundamental objectives.to create more advantageous
conditions for transnational corporations and remove remaining barriers to
the flow of capital and crossborder production within the framework of
NAFTA. It wants to secure access to natural resources, especially oil. And
it wants to create a regional security plan based on "pushing its borders
out" into a security perimeter that includes Mexico and Canada."- Laura
Carlsen, International Relations Centre.

The aim of the SPP is to harmonize over 300 common areas of legislation
and regulations, including:

- Integration of military and police training exercises, cooperation on
law enforcement, and the expansion of The North American Aerospace Defense
Command into a into a joint naval and land Defense Command.
- Bulk transfers of water, particularly from Canada to the US. For
example, the North American Water and Power Authority would redirect water
from British Columbia and the Yukon to a huge crater in the Rocky
Mountains inn the U.S. side.
- Privatization of Mexico's nationalized oil sector; and fivefold increase
in tar sands production in Alberta, which is actively opposed by the
Lubicon, Dene, Mikisew Cree and other indigenous communities. The tar
sands are already the largest contributor to the growth of greenhouse gas
emissions in Canada and surrounding indigenous communities have documented
high cancer rates.
- In 2001, without legislative or public debate, Deputy Prime Minister
John Manley and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge signed the Smart
Border Declaration, which includes adoption of coordinated border
surveillance technologies with major contracts provided to military
suppliers, and development of a North American Border Pass. Other
initiatives to militarize the border include fly-overs of the border by
U.S. helicopters and the $101-million plan to arm Canadian border guards.
- Coordination of no-fly lists. The recent implementation of the Canadian
fly-list "Passenger Protect" has raised serious privacy and civil
liberties concerns. The U.S. no-fly list has grown to half a million
names. - Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canadian Border
Services Agency began a field trial of biometrics in October 2006 despite
widespread rejection of their use. The Canadian Advance Technology
Alliance Biometrics Group is predicting that the biometric "market" would
rise to US $2.6-billion by 2006.
-Integration of refugee policies. The Safe Third Country Agreement,
implemented in December 2004 between the US and Canada, has resulted in at
least a 40% decrease in refugee applications in Canada. Under the United
States-Mexico "Voluntary Repatriation Program" more than 35,000 persons
have already been deported.
- Expansion of temporary worker programs. Canada's Seasonal Agricultural
Worker Program is seen as the 'model' to implement, despite widespread
documented abuse in this program including being tied to the employer who
"imports" them; facing deportation if they assert their rights; and
exploitative working conditions including low wages and long hours with no
overtime pay.
- Harmonization of health and environmental regulations to lower standards
and an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol.
- NAFTA Superhighway, a several hundred metres corridor ncluding rail
lines and pipelines from Mexico to the Canadian border.Transportation
companies such as CN Rail have much to gain; in Western Canada alone CN
plans to invest nearly C$350 million in track infrastructure. Historically
and currently, CN Rail has been the target of various blockades by
indigenous communities active in the legitimate defence of their land and
livelihood against the project of Canada's 'nation-building' and resource
extraction.


==> IN DEPTH: THE TAR SANDS IN ALBERTA

The Athabasca oil sands are one of the world's largest petroleum resource
basins. Oil sand operations currently produce around one million barrels a
day. For Suncor- one the corporations on the NACC- that means gross
revenue from oil sands of nearly $6 million a day. By 2015, according to
industry forecasts, the oil sands will account for at least one-fourth of
North America's oil production, expected to produce 3 million barrels a
day by 2015.

The oil sands mines have become the largest contributor to Canada's
increase in greenhouse gas emissions and environmental organizations are
calling for a moratorium on the growth of the mines. To extract one barrel
of oil, corporations mine 2 to 4 tonnes of tar sands and burn 250 cubic
feet of natural gas; then burn another 500 cubic feet of gas to upgrade
bitumen into synthetic oil; use 2 to 4 1/2 barrels of water; and release 2
times as much CO2 as conventional oil production. Alberta accounts for
about 40% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. Six of the top 10 emitters
in the country are based in Calgary, including TransAlta, Syncrude Canada
Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc. and Petro-Canada. Furthermore, the oil sand mines
are being carved out of Canada's vast Boreal forest, a continental swath
of timber and wetlands that ecologists say helps reduce global warming.

Yet the SPP calls for a fivefold increase in tar sands production in
Alberta and an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol since the oil sands are a
clear violation of Kyoto commitments. Plans and procedures for the tar
sands extraction are originating in a SPP tar sands working group that has
been meeting outside of regular government activity, without any public
input, and brings together oil giants CEOs and government officials.

Companies exploiting the tar sands are calling for the expansion of the
temporary foreign worker program as a means of securing hyper-exploitable
labour that will ensure higher profits. Foreign worker programs across
North America have documented widespread abuse, including being tied to
the employer who "imports" them; facing deportation if they assert their
rights; and exploitative working conditions including low wages and long
hours with no overtime pay. In April 2007, for example, two migrants
workers died and four others critically injured at an oil sands project
run by run by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. The Alberta Federation of
Labour reported that the workers who called to report the accident to the
union subsequently had their cellphones confiscated. At the February 2007
SPP meeting in Ottawa, executives from the Canadian and Mexican Oil & Gas
industries laid a framework to encourage their governments to put in place
a guestworker program for Mexican workers to labour in Canada's oilsands.

Indigenous communities around the tarsands, including the Lubicon, Dene,
Mikisew Cree, have been actively opposing the projects. The Dehcho First
Nations has been opposing the 1,200-kilometre Mackenzie Valley pipeline
and industrial development on their unceded traditional territories. The
Mikisew Cree have decided to formally oppose oil sands development because
of their concern over the industry's overuse of water drawn from the
Athabasca River. The Lubicon Nation has also seen their traditional lands
overrun by massive oil and gas exploitation which has destroyed
traditional lands and ways of life. The Lubicon Nation has been seeking a
land rights settlement with the federal and provincial governments for
years, yet corporate development has continued unabated. The Lubicon
Nation estimates that over $13 billion in oil and gas resources have been
taken from Lubicon Traditional Territory since oil and gas exploitation
began 26 years ago. Native residents of Fort Chipewyan, a village of 1,200
on the shores of Lake Athabasca, have experienced abnormally high rates of
rare cancers. Recently, the alarming levels of toxic chemicals in the air,
water and soil near Sarnia Ontario- where crude oil is refined- were
exposed when it was found that these chemicals were likely contributing to
the skewed gender balance in the Aamjiwnaang First Nations reserve near
Sarnia.


==> IN DEPTH: THE NORTH AMERICAN SECURITY PERIMETER

Plans for a common security perimeter include:

* Integration of military and police training exercises and cooperation
on law enforcement.
* Redesign of armed forces for combat overseas. Cooperation in global
wars and occupations are part of the "forward defense" strategy of the
security perimeter.
* Expansion of The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) into
a multiservice joint naval and land Defense Command.
* The Smart Border Declaration passed without legislative or public
debate in 2001 by Deputy Prime Minister John Manley and Homeland Security
Director Tom Ridge. This 30-point plan includes harmonization of border
security technologies and increased border militarization.
* Increased border enforcement against Mexican migrants at the US-Mexico
border and 'sealing' of the southern Mexico border with Guatemala and
Belize through Plan Sur. This measure had the effect of "displacing" tasks
of the U.S. southern border to southern Mexico.
* Militarization of the border including fly-overs of the border by U.S.
helicopters and the $101-million plan to arm Canadian border guards. * A
North American Border Pass with biometric identifiers: the Canadian
government has began a field trial of biometrics in October 2006 despite
widespread rejection of their use.
* Coordination of no-fly lists and passenger surveillance systems.
Transport Canada's no-fly list, which as already raised serious privacy
and civil liberties concerns, will merge with the US list, which contains
almost 500,000 names.
* Harmonized immigration and refugee regimes: the Safe Third Country
Agreement, implemented in December 2004 between the US and Canada, has
resulted in at least a 40% decrease in refugee applications in Canada.
This 'virtual' border wall disallows migrants arriving at the Canadian
border if they have travelled through the United States by land. The
countries have also launched a pilot project to share information on
refugee and asylum claimants based on a comparison of fingerprint
records. * Increased deportations: under the United States-Mexico
"Voluntary Repatriation Program" more than 35,000 persons have already
been deported.

Immigrants and workers of colour face specific threats under the new
internal security regime. A US State Department regulation prohibits
workers in the aerospace industry born in one of 19 'enemy' countries from
working on US defence contracts. Despite human rights laws in Quebec and
Canada, twenty-four workers at Bell Helicopter of Montreal were removed
from their positions. The case of one worker, Mr Jaime Vargas, born in
Venezuela, is being taken up by the Centre for Research-Action on Race
Relations.

The expansion of security initiatives and infrastructure comes with a
great benefit to private industry and the role of the private sector in
this expansion was highlighted as one of the priorities of the North
American Competitiveness Council (NACC) at its Trilateral Private Sector
meeting of August 2006. In September 2006, the U.S. component of the NACC
released its final recommendations. In its recommendations on security
issues, the body wrote that "As 85% of the United States' critical
infrastructure is owned or operated by the private sector, it is vital to
our economic and national security that business is actively involved in
the formulation of homeland security policies".

Within weeks of the 9/11, the chairman of the Cornell Corporations, based
in Texas, told stock analysts, "it's clear since September 11 there is a
heightened focus on detention, more people are going to get caught. I
would say that is positive. The federal businesses are the best business
for us since September 11th." On Sept. 21 2006, Michael Chertoff, the
secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced that a
consortium headed by the Chicago-based Boeing Company had won a
multi-billion dollar contract to install sensors and radars along the
U.S. border. Similarly in Canada, the Canadian Advance Technology
Alliance (CATA) has predicted that "the North American biometric market
could expand ten-fold in the next five years, rising to US $2.6-billion by
2006".


==> IN DEPTH: LABOUR MOBILITY

A central feature of the current phase of corporate globalization is the
increased mobility of capital aided through free trade agreements, as
evident through the goals of the SPP. This increased mobility of capital
is driven by and in turn supports a drive towards increased labor
flexibility as a way of ensuring a cheap devalued labour to increase
profits. Labour flexibility is achieved through attacking labor laws and
employing contract, part-time, and temporary labour. This phenomenon has
been termed the "Walmart-ization" of labour and has meant the
disappearance of secure jobs. Not surprisingly, this type of work is
mostly filled by (im)migrant and non-status workers.

Temporary migrant workers allow for capital interests to have access to
cheap labour that exists under precarious conditions, the most severe of
which is the condition of being deportable. The condition of being
deportable assures the ability to super-exploit and to dispose of migrant
workforce without consequences. Given their unstable legal status, the
government and businesses are able to exercise control through denial of
basic rights and access to social services afforded to citizens. They also
maintain the sanctity of the fortified national security apparatus by
legalizing the 'foreign-ness' of migrant workers, thus continuing to
render them as 'undesirable outsiders'.

The SPP has called for the expansion of guest workers programs that will
bring in more migrant workers instead of immigrant workers with full
permanent residency rights. The number of foreign workers in B.C. has
doubled over the past three years and the Alberta Federation of Labour is
reporting that Alberta has become one of the first provinces to bring in
more people as temporary foreign workers than through the immigration
system.

Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program is seen as the model for
migrant worker programs under the SPP, despite the fact that widespread
abuse has been documented. Common problems include low wages, long hours
with no overtime pay, unsafe working conditions and crowded and unhealthy
accommodations. Migrant farm workers are frequently paid less than
Canadian counterparts, in violation of their employment agreement. Many
migrant farm workers are required to work with pesticides without proper
training or safety equipment. Accommodations may be attached to
greenhouses; creating problems of dampness and seepage of chemicals and
pesticides. Some employers retain passports, health cards, social
insurance cards, and work permits. The workers' complaints are rarely
heard or addressed by their employers or the Mexican consulate and workers
can and have been sent home for filing complaints. Therefore such programs
are inherently designed to provide employers and corporations with a pool
of exploitable labour- without the right to unionize or to assert their
rights.

The deepest hypocrisy and irony of temporary foreign worker programs is
that those who are often to migrate to work in these programs are
displaced from their own lands and their own jobs through these very free
trade agreements such as NAFTA and SPP. For example, as part of its
inclusion in NAFTA in 1994, Mexico was forced to adjust its constitution's
Article 27, which guaranteed rights to communal lands (ejidos). A symbolic
illustration of NAFTA's effects is the fate of Mexican corn: the Mexican
government was forced to eliminate subsidies to corn, meanwhile corn
produced in the US remained subsidized, thus making it cheaper to buy US
corn inside Mexico than Mexican corn. Over 1.5 million Mexican farmers who
subsequently lost their farms migrated North to work in low-paying sectors
and maquila factories. Wages among California's 700,000 farm workers, half
of whom are undocumented, is approximately $6.75 an hour.

Therefore, on the one hand, Canadian government supports international
agreements that allow for the free movement of capital and business across
the globe and such capitalist relocation has created huge areas of poverty
giving people no choice but to migrate in the face of poverty, war and
militarization. Yet, on the other hand, while businesses are free to move
across borders to find thriving economic conditions, free trade and border
agreements deny people the same type of free movement.


==> WHAT YOU CAN DO:

The real face of SPP is to further an agenda of corporate free trade,
border militarization, criminalization of migration, privatization and
theft of indigenous land and resources, repression in the name of national
security, impoverishment and displacement, and cooperation in war and
occupation. SPP is a direct continuation of the colonialist and capitalist
politics that perpetuate and accelerate the carnage, pillage, and
destruction of the planet.

* Contact the various companies that make up the NACC and tell them you do
not support their participation in the NACC. Advise them that will no
longer be their customers unless they publicly announce that they will not
participate in the NACC.

* Let your political representatives know that you do not support the SPP.

* Tell your friends and family about the SPP.

* Contact us to find out more information or to get involved:
noii-van@resist.ca or call 778-552-2099. We are organizing pickets,
boycotts, and actions against the corporations involved in NACC; raising
public awareness on the issue; and building momentum towards the
continental days of action August 19-21 when Bush, Harper, and Calderon
will meet in Montebello, Quebec for a SPP Summit.

Bush-Harper-Calderon Securing corporate Profits and Prosperity for the rich!
===================================
No One Is Illegal is a "label" used all over the world for
antiauthoritarian anticapitalist initiative related to
problems of people crossing borders.
_______________________________________________
A-infos-en mailing list
A-infos-en@ainfos.ca
http://ainfos.ca/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/a-infos-en
http://ainfos.ca/en


A-Infos Information Center