statism watch

Canada Pursues U.S.-Style Security and Foreign Policy

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

by Dana Gabriel, Be Your Own Leader
October 11, 2011

In the last number of years, there has been a dramatic shift in Canadian security and foreign policy with regards to continental, hemispheric and global issues. While Canada is working with the U.S. on a North American security perimeter deal, there are also efforts to strengthen defense relations with Britain and other allies. Canada has also elevated its status in NATO and is playing a more prominent role in military operations overseas.

Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay recently met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to discuss bilateral security cooperation issues. In a news release, Minister Mackay praised the Canada-U.S. partnership as unique and explained, “Our binational command in NORAD, as well as the daily operation between our military and defence teams is a tangible demonstration of how we stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the defence of North America and in addressing common global challenges.” He went on to say, “We are proud to work alongside our U.S. friends in the Americas, in Libya, in Afghanistan, and as transatlantic partners of NATO.” At a press conference following their meeting, Secretary Panetta acknowledged that both countries are looking to improve their bilateral engagement in the Western Hemisphere. He stated, “If we can develop better capabilities and partnerships throughout the hemisphere, that’s something that I think both of us consider to be a real step forward in our relationship.” Future plans could also include expanding a security perimeter framework beyond North America.

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U.S.-Canada Perimeter Security and the Consolidation of North America

Monday, September 19th, 2011

By Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
September 19, 2011

The U.S. and Canada are very close to unveiling a North American perimeter security deal that would promote greater integration between both countries. This includes expanding collaboration in areas of law enforcement and intelligence sharing which could dramatically affect sovereignty and privacy rights. While there is a need for more public scrutiny, incrementalism has been used to advance North American integration. In many ways this has kept the agenda under the radar. Much like NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity Partnership, a U.S.-Canada perimeter security agreement would represent another step in the consolidation of North America.

During his speech at a recent meeting of northern border states, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told participants that the U.S. and Canada are set to launch a pilot project next year which will allow law enforcement officers to operate on both sides of the border. Holder explained that, “the creation of ‘NextGen’ teams of cross-designated officers would allow us to more effectively identify, assess, and interdict persons and organizations involved in transnational crime.” He went on to say, “In conjunction with the other provisions included in the Beyond the Border Initiative, such a move would enhance our cross-border efforts and advance our information-sharing abilities.” The declaration, Beyond the Border: Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness issued by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper last February, identified joint law enforcement operations and information sharing as a high priority. There are already examples of what we could expect from a security perimeter as some Canadians have been denied entry into the U.S. after their records of mental illness were shared with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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Advancing U.S.-Canada Economic, Energy and Security Integration

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

by Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
September 1, 2011

 

(Image by Darcy St. Amant and NAUresistance)

Much has been made about the secretive nature and lack of transparency surrounding efforts by the U.S. and Canada to create a North American security perimeter. With several high-level meetings in the last month, not to mention all the behind the scenes negotiations, it is expected that an action plan will be unveiled at some point in September. From a U.S. perspective, it is security which is driving the agenda, while on the Canadian side, facilitating trade and easing the flow of goods across the border is the focal point. Any deal reached will build off of past initiatives and be used to advance economic, energy and security integration between the two countries.

During a bilateral meeting in early August, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird discussed issues pertaining to the Middle East and the Western Hemisphere. Also high on the agenda was U.S.- Canada relations. This included the declaration, Beyond the Border: Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness issued by U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper back in February of this year. At a news conference following her meeting with Minister Baird, Secretary Clinton stressed that, “it’s critical that we ensure our border remains a safe, vibrant connector of people, trade, and energy. And today, the minister and I discussed other ways to expand trade and investment; for example, by reducing unnecessary regulations.” It is interesting that Clinton brought up energy as this is also an integral part of North American integration which is being further advanced through the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue, as well as other initiatives.

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U.S.-Canada Perimeter Security and an Integrated North American Command

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

by Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
June 11, 2011

While few details have emerged surrounding talks between the U.S. and Canada on a North American security perimeter, there is little doubt that deeper military integration between both countries will play an important part of any such deal. Plans for a common security perimeter have renewed calls to expand the NORAD bilateral air defence model to include ground and naval forces. There are also efforts to increase security cooperation in the Arctic and further integrate military command structures.

As part of the Tri Command Vision, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), and Canada Command (Canada COM) are working closer together in the defense and security of North America. Moving forward, the Tri Command strategic goals are to, “Improve unity of effort with each other and with our respective mission partners; develop a culture of continuous collaboration and cooperation in planning, execution, training, information management, and innovation; enhance intelligence and information sharing and fusion.” In order to better achieve these objectives, “The Commands shall develop and share comprehensive, situational awareness and a common operating picture, and must strive to interact seamlessly with each other and with our respective civil authorities, non-governmental organizations and other mission partners.” The Tri Command is part of efforts to merge the three commands into one.

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Indoctrinating a New Generation to Think North American

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

by Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
June 3, 2011

Recent WikiLeaks documents confirm what some of us have been warning about for years, that plans for a North American Union dismissed by many as a conspiracy theory are indeed real. With Canada and the U.S. pursuing a trade and security perimeter agreement which could later include Mexico, it has once again highlighted the whole process of North American integration. This deep-rooted agenda has permeated our schools, universities and other learning institutions. Through various initiatives, the future leaders of tomorrow are being indoctrinated to view themselves as North American citizens as opposed to Canadians, Mexicans or Americans.

In 2005, the North American Forum on Integration (NAFI) a Montreal based think tank pushing for closer continental ties organized the Triumvirate, a North American Model Legislature which meets once a year. The exercise brings together university students from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. with participants assigned the roles of legislators, journalists or lobbyists. Over the years, the mock parliament has debated and drafted resolutions concerning trade corridors, consolidating North American governance, immigration, NAFTA’s Chapter 11, along with the creation of a continental investment fund and a customs union. Many of the issues discussed mirror plans for deeper integration. In a press release from the first Triumvirate, NAFI proclaimed that a North American Parliament is Born. With efforts to establish a common security perimeter, future steps towards political union could bring about the creation of an actual North American Assembly made up of representatives from all three countries. This could also include the adoption of a continental charter of rights.

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U.S. Dictating North American Air Travel Security

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

By Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
April 21, 2011

Without much fanfare and overshadowed by Canadians heading to the polls on May 2 for the fourth election in seven years, a controversial bill that would further comply with U.S. aviation security practices became law. The measure supports plans for a North American security perimeter and illustrates how the Canadian government is more interested in appeasing U.S. interests than protecting the privacy and freedoms of its own citizens.

In November of 2007, the Conservative government expressed concerns over privacy implications associated with the U.S. Secure Flight Program and filed objections with the Department of Homeland Security. They were urging an exemption on a measure that would require Canadian airlines to turn over information on passengers flying over the U.S. en route to other destinations. Despite their grievances being dismissed, they eventually caved in to U.S. demands. In a move to further bring Canada in line with American air travel security rules, Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act was introduced in Parliament on June 17 of last year. With little media attention, it passed through the House of Commons on March 2, 2011, by a vote of 246 to 34. On March 23, it received royal assent and became law. Under Bill C-42, Canadian airlines are required to send traveler information through the Secure Flight Program 72 hours before departure. The Transportation Security Administration checks the data against security watch lists which could result in passengers receiving extra screening or even being barred from boarding their flight.

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Canada-U.S. Deep Integration Agenda Continues Unabated

Monday, March 28th, 2011

By Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
March 28, 2011

Canada and the U.S recently issued a joint threat and risk assessment as part of ongoing efforts to further enhance security on the northern border. This initiative supports a declaration by the leaders which will work towards facilitating the movement of travel and trade between the two countries. The Canadian government has announced that they are seeking online public consultation on the security perimeter arrangement. Meanwhile, the country has been thrust into an election with the defeat of the ruling Conservative party in a non-confidence vote. During the campaign, sovereignty concerns associated with the proposed trade and security deal could become a hot-button issue.

On March 10 of this year, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews unveiled a Joint Border Threat and Risk Assessment. The report focuses on national security, criminal enterprises, migration, agriculture and health threats to the border. A press release described how the joint initiative, “is a part of a shared vision for border security that Secretary Napolitano and Minister Toews outlined during meetings held throughout 2010, and reflects their mutual commitment to working together to safeguard both nations’ vital assets, networks, infrastructure and citizens.” The assessment addresses common threats to the border such as, “terrorism and transnational crime articulated by President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in February. Their historic declaration — ‘Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness’ — sets forth how the United States and Canada will manage our shared homeland and economic security.”
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Continental Integration: Expanding U.S.-Mexico Economic and Security Cooperation

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
March 14, 2011

There were growing concerns over drug violence prior to the recent U.S.-Mexico summit, along with other issues which have been a source of friction between the two countries. Despite any perceived tension, both leaders showcased their bilateral partnership and vowed to enhance collaboration. They focused on immigration, along with economic issues and took steps to end the long-standing dispute over cross-border trucking. The leaders also agreed to further deepen their cooperation in combating drug cartels.

During a Joint Press Conference following their bilateral meeting, President Barack Obama praised Mexico as a valued partner and thanked President Felipe Calderon for, “being here today to deepen the cooperation that is so essential to the prosperity and security of both of our countries.” He noted, “we’re moving ahead with plans for a 21st century border so people and goods can cross securely and efficiently. We’re working to coordinate and streamline regulations and get rid of unnecessary trade barriers to make it easier to do business together.” Obama also announced, “we finally have found a clear path to resolving the dispute over trucking between our two countries.” He added, “I look forward to consulting with Congress and moving forward in a way that strengthens the safety of cross-border trucking, lifts tariffs on billions of dollars of U.S. goods, (and) expands our exports to Mexico.” Under NAFTA, the border was to be opened to Mexican trucks, but safety concerns blocked the provision’s implementation. In the coming months, negotiators are expected to table an agreement that will include a phased-in program to settle the issue.

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Perimeter Security and the Future of North American Integration

Monday, February 28th, 2011

by Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
February 28, 2011

Out of the ashes of the defunct Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), the U.S. has pursued simultaneous bilateral agendas with both Canada and Mexico, in an effort to further deepen North American economic and security integration. While the NAFTA framework remains intact, a recent announcement by Canada and the U.S. to work towards a trade and security perimeter agreement without Mexico, has some questioning the future of the whole trilateral process.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon recently addressed the Council on Foreign Relations where he emphasized Canada-U.S. bilateral achievements and called for greater integration between the two countries. In his speech, Minister Cannon praised the February 4, Beyond the Border declaration issued by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper as, “a bold new step, intended to bring our economic competitiveness and our security perimeter to a higher level of joint commitment.” In regards to shared engagement in the hemisphere, he added, “Our Americas strategy is focused on promoting prosperity, democracy and security.” Cannon acknowledged, “We are working with the U.S. to help Mexico strengthen its police forces and judicial institutions to combat transnational, organized crime.” He also added, “The problems on the U.S. southern border are real but fundamentally different from those on your northern border.” Some have blamed the failure of the SPP on the trilateral approach and believe that it also prevented more meaningful Canada-U.S. bilateralism in areas of security, trade and energy.

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A North American Security Perimeter Threatens National Sovereignty

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

by Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
February 10, 2011

Canada and the U.S. have officially launched negotiations on a trade and security agreement which would take continental integration to the next level. A declaration issued by the leaders follows months of secret preliminary talks. The deal would work towards facilitating the movement of travel and trade across the northern border. This includes pursuing a perimeter approach to security in an effort to better address common threats. The agreement sets in motion an agenda with the aim of going beyond NAFTA and further expanding on the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), but in the context of a bilateral framework.

On February 4, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a declaration which, “establishes a new long-term partnership that will accelerate the legitimate flows of people and goods between both countries, while strengthening security and economic competitiveness.” Beyond the Border: a Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness will, “focus on four areas of co-operation: addressing threats early; trade facilitation, economic growth and jobs; integrated cross-border law enforcement; and critical infrastructure and cyber-security.” According to the declaration, both nations will, “develop a joint action plan on perimeter security and economic competitiveness that will set out a range of initiatives in the four key areas to improve both countries’ ability to manage security risks, while facilitating the flow of people, goods and services.” The newly formed Beyond the Border Working Group will, “report to their respective Leaders in the coming months, and after a period of consultation, with a joint Plan of Action to realize the goals of this declaration.” The agenda set forth is nothing more than a rehashing of some of the SPP’s security priorities, but without Mexican involvement.

President Obama and Prime Minster Harper also addressed ways to coordinate and harmonize regulations in order to ease red tape for businesses that do trade on both sides of the border. They announced the creation of a United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) which will, “promote economic growth, job creation, and benefits to our consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination.” According to a joint statement, the leaders, “are committed to working through the RCC to provide early notice of regulations with potential effects across our shared border, to strengthen the analytic basis of regulations, and to help make regulations more compatible.” Both countries will also, “work through the RCC to determine sectors on which to focus its work that are characterized by high levels of integration, significant growth potential, and rapidly evolving technologies.” Improving regulatory cooperation was a key element of the SPP’s prosperity agenda. Its stated goals are laid out in the SPP Regulatory Cooperation Framework.

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