I guess everyone has their favorite US Ambassador to Canada.
Mine has always been Paul Cellucci, who once suggested building huge aqueducts to carry Canadian water to the US and worried in 2008 that the election of Obama would “imperil the future economic integration of the continent.”
Last month WikiLeaks released one of Cellucci’s 2005 cables from the US Embassy in Ottawa. In it he suggests that “Canadian policy makers” support a “security perimeter” via an “incremental and pragmatic package of tasks” emphasizing “security” and “prosperity” to pave the way for a future North American “single market and/or single currency.”
He also advises that “our governments may always want to keep some kind of land border in place” as it’s useful for “data gathering.” Excerpted:
“An incremental and pragmatic package of tasks for a new North American Initiative (NAI) will likely gain the most support among Canadian policymakers. Our research leads us to conclude that such a package should tackle both “security” and “prosperity” goals. This fits the recommendations of Canadian economists who have assessed the options for continental integration. While in principle many of them support more ambitious integration goals, like a customs union/single market and/or single currency, most believe the incremental approach is most appropriate at this time and all agree that it helps pave the way to these goals if and when North Americans choose to pursue them.
“We believe that, given growing Canadian concern about ‘border risk’ and its effects on investment, a focus on the ‘security’ side could also produce the most substantial economic/trade benefits.”
“At this time, an ‘incremental’ approach to integration is probably better than a ‘big deal’ approach.”
How’s that incremental approach going, by the way?
Unlike Steve who is tasked with selling us on this deal, Cellucci was less sanguine on that whole “jobs, jobs, jobs” angle :
“Some international economic initiatives (such as FTAs) produce across-the-board measures that generate broad benefits for a country’s industries and consumers on a known time-line. This was true of NAFTA but it is less likely to be true of the economic aspects of the NAI.”
“There is little basis on which to estimate the size of the ‘upside’ gains from an integration initiative concentrating on non-tariff barriers of the kind contained in NAI. For this reason, we cannot make claims about how large the benefits might be on a national or continental scale. When advocating NAI, it would be better to highlight specific gains to individual firms, industries or travelers, and especially consumers.”
Steve – Here For Canada.