Well, it’s back. The “one security perimeter” deep integration SPP/FTAA zombie, now with new and improved emphasis on security.
You’re shocked, I’m sure.
Like it ever really died. The re-animators just learned not to dig it up and parade it around in parliament too often.
“Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Competitiveness”
“A Declaration by the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Canada.”
“We share responsibility for the safety, security and resilience of Canada and the United States and we intend to address threats at the earliest point possible, including outside the perimeter of our two countries”
reads a draft agreement yet to be signed by Harper and President Barack Obama.
” In what could be the biggest challenge to Canadian sovereignty since free trade in the 1980s, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is secretly cooking up a deal with the Obama administration that would give Washington a much bigger say in Canada’s border security, immigration controls and information-sharing with American law-enforcement agencies.”
Naturally there’s a working group to handle the implementation — isn’t there always some extra-parliamentary working group to handle the implementation? This one — “Beyond the Border Working Group” — is staffed by officials from the Privy Council in Ottawa and National Security Staff in the White House.
The U.S. is also currently negotiating a similar deal with Mexico called “New Border Vision,” and the foreign ministers from all three countries are meeting in Ottawa today.
Chris Sands of the Hudson Institute, and author of Negotiating North America (the closest thing we have to a manual on implementing deep integration security), says it’s all about “trying to boost security by exchanging more information, rather than fortifying the border”:
“But it’s taken us [Canada and the US] a while to see the world in the same way”
Sands is not always this diplomatic. Two years ago he addressed a security conference in Ottawa:
“. . . homeland security is the gatekeeper with its finger on the jugular affecting your ability to move back and forth across the border, the market access upon which the Canadian economy depends.
In exchange for continued visa-free access to the United States, American officials are pressuring the federal government to supply them with more information on Canadians. Not only about [routine] individuals but also about people that you may be looking at for reasons, but there’s no indictment and there’s no charge.”
Sands then recounted a conversation he had with Stewart Baker, the assistant secretary of policy at the Department of Homeland Security:
“Canadians have ‘had a better deal than anybody else in terms of access to the United States and for that they’ve paid nothing.’ Now ‘we want to give you less access, but we want you to pay more and, by the way, we’re standardizing this [with other visa-free countries] so you’re not special anymore.'”
Well certainly that’s an assessment Harper would have no trouble with.
Stuart Trew at Council of Canadians:
“Canada has armed and secured itself to the teeth to satisfy the U.S. but no new perimeter plan can bring the U.S. economy back to life. That’s the real reason trade is down across the border.”
John Manley, former Liberal deputy prime minister and now president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives:
“The real question will be what do we get at the border in exchange for greater co-ordination on security.”
Back in 2005, when he was Canada Chair of the deep integration project, 2005 Independent Task Force on the Future of North America, Manley wrote:
“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.”
Are we going to let them get away with it this time?
WELL, ARE WE?