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12/15/2004 Archived Entry: ""

[REPOST from 7 December 2004]

I received an interesting email from R.W. who followed up on my blog entry Bush-whacked in Canada in which I commented upon the U.S.'s clear intentions to bull through a "joint" anti-missile shield with Canada: joint in name only, of course. America would be in full charge of everything except, perhaps, of footing the bill.

He writes, Michel Chussudovsky at Global Research has a somewhat alarmist article out, speculating that Bush intends effectively to annex Canada for security purposes, but another view is that the extension of NAFTA borders to the whole of the North American continent will amount to the same thing. QUOTE: A tri-national committee is studying the creation of a common NAFTA border, which is another way of saying that it is studying how to eliminate America's borders with Canada and Mexico. A logical extension of the NAFTA accord, it neatly sidesteps unease about illegal immigration, by eliminating the troublesome border across which the illegals travel. Then too, it will push the security border of the US out to formally include all of NAFTA space, which means formally applying US security rules to both Canada and Mexico. This will, in effect, mean the end of both Mexican and Canadian sovereignty. To compare this to Europe's Schengen rules is to ignore the vast difference in internal power relationships in NAFTA and the EU. Germany is the first among equals in Europe; the US is first and last in North America. Sovereignty being only worth as much as the ability to defend it, neither Canadian nor Mexico are going to be left with much.

My commentary: The article is not altogether alarmist. The U.S. clearly wants control of the Canada-US border and is already imposing its own terms -- e.g. Canada will certainly adopt the biometric passports demanded by the States and it will do so for no other reason than it has been demanded. The article is quite correct in stating that Canada has been turning over to the States information and files on its citizens for the purpose of allowing America to evaluate and deal with them as security threats. The most notorious case is that of Maher Arar in which the RCMP clearly turned over documents on a Canadian citizen to the US authorities who used the information to deport him to Syria (and torture) when he had the misfortune of stepping on American soil for the sole purpose of making a plane connection home to Canada.

The U.S. also wants control of Canadian air space in order to institute the anti-missile shield. Prime Minister Martin is showing all the signs of wanting to wag his tail like a good little Bush-poodle but he's encountering problems. For example, during a speech to the labor union Canadian Auto Workers in Toronto, Martin pushed the advantages of the anti-missile shield. The report I saw did not mention how the PM lumped the shield in with labor concerns but it was probably along the lines of, "if you want trade concessions from the States, we'll have to give them something in return. Son of a Gun! I just remembered what Bush wants for Christmas." CAW president Buzz Hargrove reportedly told Martin that Canada shouldn't be part of the U.S. "militarization of space. We should defend our own borders." According to Hargrove, Martin and he "agreed to disagree." Martin is trying to calm such criticism by repeating Bush's assurance that there would be no offensive weaponry in the satellites circling Canadian skies; this assurance is important because the Canadian public is strongly opposed to the "weaponization" of their air space but are unlikely to protest against mere self-defense. At this point, Bush has no credibility in Canada so no one seems to credit his warranty. After all, in the same speech in which he surprised Martin by raising the spectre of the shield, Bush also declared, "Defence alone is not a sufficient strategy. There's only one way to deal with enemies who plot in secret and set out to murder the innocent and the unsuspecting. We must take the fight to them."

It is not often these words escape my lips but Thank God for Quebec! As one news report states, "The pressure on Prime Minister Paul Martin to reject the U.S. proposal for a ballistic missile defence shield increased yesterday after members of his own party's Quebec wing voted for the government to abstain from the controversial project." (Martin himself is part of the Quebec wing so the rebellion is a particularly sharp slap in the face.) The Bloc Quebecois is also raising stakes by linking the anti-missile shield with rhetoric about Quebec sovereignty. (People should not read too much into this, however, as the Bloc links the rising of the sun each morning with calls for sovereignty and has done so for decades.) Reaction in Quebec guarantees one thing, however; the anti-missile shield will not sneak through the House without vigorous debate. According to the Globe and Mail, "The issue [the anti-missile shield] will be debated at the party's national convention in March 2005 and Prime Minister Paul Martin has promised to put the divisive issue to a vote in the House of Commons." As I mentioned in my earlier blog, I expect such a measure would pass.

The other parties -- other than Martin's Liberals and the Bloc -- are busy agitating for transparency on the issue. The Edmonton Sun states, "The Opposition [the generally pro-shield Conservatives] charged yesterday that the Liberal government is hiding crucial information about Canada's possible role in the program and stalling on taking a stand.... NDP [the adamantly anti-shield New Democratic Party] MP Libby Davies said her caucus was promised a briefing by the federal government a month ago and is still waiting for it. '(Prime Minister) Paul Martin is dilly dallying around,' she said. 'I think it's about time that he says where he's at on this issue'."

The most compelling reason why the Chussudovsky article may not be alarmist has nothing to do with happenings in Canada. It has to do with attitudes in the States. When dealing with the sovereignty of other nations and the human rights of other nationalities almost literally knows no bounds. Why should Canada and Canadians be any different?

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