A hose by any other name: 'NAU' and 'SPP' promoters contemplate 'rebranding' to clean up tarnished image
Heavy criticism of continental integration prompts plan to save flagging movement
Poster urging protest of North American Security and Prosperity Partnership
April 15, 2008
By Jerome R. Corsi
On the verge of next week's North American summit in New Orleans, a Canadian think tank has suggested renaming the "North American Union" to renew progress toward continental integration in the face of mounting criticism.
A paper entitled "Saving the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership", published last month by the Fraser Institute in Canada, contends President Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have decided to expend no more political capital in pursuing "the bust" that has occurred because of the "brand" of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America or SPP.
The solution, the authors argue, is a public relations makeover in which the goals of North American political and economic integration remain the same but the names get changed to keep trilateral arrangements between the U.S., Mexico and Canada on track.
While the paper continues to dismiss critics of the SPP as "conspiracy theorists," Fraser Institute political scientist Dr. Alexander Moens and his co-author Michael Cust, a Fraser Institute intern, proposes the name "North American Union," or NAU, be dropped in favor of a declaration that the three countries now want to create a "North American Standards and Regulatory Area," or NASRA.
Moens and Cust write that the attacks of SPP critics "are starting to hurt."
"In the wake of the Montebello Summit (in Quebec last summer), one Canadian commentator declared the SPP 'dead' and 'defunct,'" Moens and Cust noted. "Another stated recently that the SPP has 'collapsed under a heap of conspiratorial rubbish."
But the authors argue the SPP is "far from dead."
Acknowledging the SPP has a "low profile" currently, the Frasier Institute authors stress that trilateral talks in the bureaucratic working groups constituted under SPP by the three governments are continuing on both security and competitiveness policy issues.
"Its critics may have tarnished the 'SPP brand,'" Moens and Cust concede, "but the precise areas of its work – to follow where NAFTA left off and to do so by incorporating post-9/11 security criteria as well as public safety and quality of life issues (pandemic illnesses and food safety) – are key Canadian interests."
The Fraser Institute paper also encourages the SPP working groups to develop "a better communications strategy," so that the public "can begin to understand its benefits."
The authors, however, are opposed to expanding the list of SPP advisers to include public interest groups or the media, preferring to stay with the closed-door advice offered by the 30 corporations picked by the chambers of commerce in the three countries to serve as members of the North American Competitiveness Council, or NACC.
They also concede that Mexico has been a "drag" on border security talks, especially since illegal immigration into the U.S. has continued, if not accelerated, under the SPP. They admit "there is an enormous problem of illegal entry, drug smuggling, and violent incidents on the Mexican border," while continuing to argue "there is also a very large legal and orderly flow of goods between Mexico and the United States."
In 1999, economist Herbert G. Grubel of the Fraser institute wrote a paper entitled, "The Case for the Amero," presenting the first arguments in print that a North American currency should be created on the model of the euro in the European Union as a replacement for the U.S. dollar, the Canadian dollar and the Mexican peso.
WND reported the third SPP summit, held last August in Montebello, Quebec, involved a series of closed-door meetings attended only by the three state heads, the cabinet members in attendance, the SPP trilateral bureaucrats assigned to head the 20 working groups established under the SPP and the NACC business leaders.
Next Monday and Tuesday, President Bush will meet in New Orleans with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Harper.
The White House has changed the name of the meeting from the "Fourth SPP Annual Summit" to simply the "North American Leaders' Summit."
WND has applied to the White House for press credential to attend next week's New Orleans meeting.
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