Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America

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Security and Prosperity Partnership
of North America
SPP logo.png
Location map:
Map of NAFTA
Member countries:
 Canada
 Mexico
 United States

The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) was a region-level dialogue with the stated purpose of providing greater cooperation on security and economic issues.[1] The Partnership was founded in Waco, Texas, on March 23, 2005, by Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin, President of Mexico Vicente Fox, and U.S. President George W. Bush.[1] It was the second of such regional-level agreements involving the United States following the 1997 Partnership for Prosperity and Security in the Caribbean (PPS).

Since August 2009 it is no longer an active initiative of any of the original dialogue partners.

Organization[edit]

The initial SPP Working Groups were the Manufactured Goods and Sectoral and Regional Competitiveness Working Group, E-Commerce & ICT Working Group, Energy Working Group, Transportation Working Group, Food & Agriculture Working Group, Environment Working Group, Financial Services Working Group, Business Facilitation Working Group, Movement of Goods Working Group, Health, and Immigration.[2]

These working groups were tasked with implementing the SPP as initiated by the North American Heads of Government and 30 CEOs of the largest corporations from each respective country on March 23, 2005.[citation needed] They were to consult with stakeholders; set specific, measurable, and achievable goals and implementation dates; and issue semiannual progress reports. A 24-month agenda was established to serve as a time line milestone to have the initial framework fully developed.

Goals[edit]

The stated goals of the SPP were cooperation and information sharing, improving productivity, reducing the costs of trade, enhancing the joint stewardship of the environment, facilitating agricultural trade while creating a safer and more reliable food supply, and protecting people from disease.[citation needed]

North American Facilitation of Transportation, Trade, Reduced Congestion & Security (NAFTRACS) was a three-phase pilot project designed to focus on business processes and information as freight is transported from buyers to sellers. The project was intended to create a partnership between businesses and local, state, and federal governments, while claiming to foster cooperation among the same entities.[citation needed]

Announced funding[edit]

On 26 February 2008, Canada's Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, announced his government's 2008 budget, which included "$29 million over two years to meet priorities under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America".[3]

North American Competitiveness Council[edit]

The North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) was an official tri-national working group of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). It was created at the second summit of the SPP in Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico, in March 2006. Composed of 30 corporate representatives from some of North America's largest companies, the North American Competitiveness Council has been mandated to set priorities for the SPP and to act as a stable driver of the integration process through changes in government in all three countries.

Trilateral summit meetings[edit]

The 2006 meeting of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

To date, the following summits have occurred:

A video of the Waco SPP Trilateral Summit News Conference is available online.[4]
Meeting between Mexican President Fox, Canadian Prime Minister Harper, and U.S. President Bush. A U.S. White House press release regarding the Cancun SPP Trilateral Summit is available online.[5]
The meeting went almost unpublicized by local and national media outlet, and its narrow timeframe of announcement meant it was ignored by a vast majority of the public. It did, however, attract protesters who were concerned about excessive secrecy surrounding the event. Redacted meeting minutes of the meeting have been obtained and posted online.[6]
The United States, Canada, and Mexico had a major trilateral summit meeting regarding SPP at the Château Montebello in Montebello, Quebec.[7] This conference was described as a public relations event with the purpose of promoting the SPP among investors and to reassure the public about the consequences of the plan.[8] A protest during the event led to controversy, when labour leaders identified three masked, rock-wielding individuals as disguised police officers and accused them of disguising themselves as demonstrators in order to incite violence.[9] Footage of the clash was shown on YouTube and attracted significant media attention; the Quebec Provincial Police subsequently admitted that the individuals in question had been police officers in disguise, but denied any attempts to incite violence.[10]
In his 2008 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush announced that a summit on the SPP would be held from April 21–22, 2008, in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to the White House, the summit focused on improving the SPP initiatives and on discussing "hemispheric and global issues of importance to North America".[11]

Criticism[edit]

In 2006, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs argued that the SPP was part of a plan to merge the United States, Canada, and Mexico into a North American Union similar to the European Union.[12] At the time, Dobbs claimed that U.S. President Bush, who left office on January 20, 2009, was to have bypassed Congress and ultimately create a Union based on a Texas highway corridor.[13] One variation of this theory was that President Bush would declare a state of emergency to avoid leaving office, which, in fact, never came about; on January 20, 2009, his successor, Barack Obama, who had openly voiced misgivings about NAFTA, the predecessor to SPP, let alone SPP itself, took office as U.S. President, but his anti-NAFTA views soon disappeared from his public persona.[citation needed]

The Council of Canadians claimed that the SPP extended the controversial "no fly list" of the United States, made Canadian water a communal resource, and forced Canada and Mexico to adopt the United States' security policies—one of which would allow foreign military forces to neglect sovereignty in the case of a "civil emergency". In addition, it also touched on the issue of Albertan tar sands expansion to five times its current size.[14]

On May 10, 2007, Conservative MP Leon Benoit, chair of the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade, prevented University of Alberta professor Gordon Laxer from testifying that SPP would leave Canadians "to freeze in the dark" because "Canada itself—unlike most industrialized nations—has no national plan or reserves to protect its own supplies" by saying Laxer's testimony was irrelevant, defying a majority vote to overrule his motion, shutting down the Committee meeting, and leaving with the other three out of four Conservative members; the meeting later continued presided by the Liberal vice-chair.[15] After these disruptions, the National Post reported on a Conservative party manual to, among other things, usurp Parliamentary committees and cause chaos in unfavourable committees.[16][17] The New Democratic Party also criticized SPP for being undemocratic, not open to Parliament, and opaque.[18] New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton described the process as not simply unconstitutional, but "non-constitutional", held completely outside the usual mechanisms of oversight.[19]

Approximately thirty U.S.-based organizations also sent an open letter to Congress on April 21, 2008, criticizing the secrecy and lack of any sort of democratic oversight:

"What differentiates the SPP from other security and trade agreements is that it is not subject to Congressional oversight or approval. The SPP establishes a corporate/government bureaucracy for implementation that excludes civil society participation. ... Facing a worrisome pact pushed forward in secrecy, it is time for Congress to halt this undemocratic approach and establish a process based on openness, accountability, and the participation of civil society.[20]

Cancellation[edit]

In August 2009, the SPP website was updated to say: "The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is no longer an active initiative. There will not be any updates to this site".[21] Subsequent to this the website link does not connect and the cache website links do not work.

The NDP has called this a "victory" which is "the result of the active and sustained efforts across the country, and across North America, of Canadian, Mexican, and American activists from the labour movement, civil society, progressive legislators and all those concerned and committed to build a better quality of life in our Canada and throughout North America".[22]

Renewed discussions[edit]

On February 4, 2011, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama announced a new security and prosperity initiative with plans to "pursue a perimeter approach to security in ways that support economic competitiveness, job creation, and prosperity".[23]

On March 13, 2011, the Canadian government announced it was beginning a five-week consultation process "with all levels of government and with communities, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, as well as with our citizens on the implementation of the shared vision for perimeter security and economic competitiveness".[24]

See also[edit]

Related infrastructure projects:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bennett, Drake (2007-11-25). "The amero conspiracy". International Herald Tribune. 
  2. ^ SPP: Prosperity Working Groups
  3. ^ "Budget 2008 - Budget in Brief" (Press release). Ministry of Finance. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  4. ^ Trilateral Summit News Conference
  5. ^ President Bush Meets with President Fox in Cancun, Mexico
  6. ^ February 23, 2007 Meeting minutes
  7. ^ Campion-Smith, Bruce. "Closed-door talks rile protesters," The Star (Toronto). August 17, 2007.
  8. ^ Showdown Montebello! People versus the SPP
  9. ^ Evidence of Deployment of Provocateurs Mounts
  10. ^ Quebec police admit they went undercover at Montebello protest
  11. ^ "President Bush to Host North American Leaders' Summit" (Press release). Office of the Press Secretary. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  12. ^ "North American Union?". CNN. 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  13. ^ http://www.corridorwatch.org/ttc_2007/CW00000092.htm.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Behind Closed Doors: What they're not telling us about the Security and Prosperity Partnership
  15. ^ Patterson, Kelly (2007-05-11). "Tory chair storms out of SPP hearing". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  16. ^ Martin, Don (2007-05-18). "Tories have the book on political wrangling". National Post. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  17. ^ "Tories blasted for handbook on paralyzing Parliament". Canadian Press (CTV). 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  18. ^ "US Congress demands transparency in SPP agenda - Canadians also deserve to know what Americans will know about continental integration plan: NDP MP Peter Julian". NDP. 2007-07-26. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  19. ^ Sara Falconer (2007-08-16). "Popping the lid off the SPP". Hour Magazine. 
  20. ^ Open letter to the U.S. Congress, April 21, 2008.
  21. ^ http://rabble.ca/news/2009/09/spp-dead-lets-keep-it-way
  22. ^ http://www.ndp.ca/press/new-democrats-celebrates-victory-over-spp
  23. ^ http://actionplan.gc.ca/en/page/bbg-tpf/border-action-plan
  24. ^ http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/news-communiques/2011/099.aspx

External links[edit]