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Task Force on North America recommendations


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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 15, 2005

Task Force on North America recommendations appalling and self-serving

OTTAWA - Deeper economic, security, and political integration of North America would be severely damaging to Canadian sovereignty and to Canadians generally, said the Council of Canadians.

The Council of Canadians was responding to the recommendations of the Task Force on the Future of North America, a group of Canadian, American, and Mexican big business representatives.

"This task force is advocating nothing less than a surrender of vital areas of public policy to the United States, and more specifically, large corporate interests," says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians.

"Frankly, it’s appalling that the Task Force - and more particularly, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives - would shamelessly exploit insecurities that have arisen from the tragic events of September 11 to argue that we need even more economic and political integration," says Guy Caron, campaigner on Canada-U.S. Relations for the Council of Canadians. "That’s the last thing we need."

A leaked summary of the first meeting of the Task Force in Toronto last October states that "Members generally agreed that Task Force recommendations will be taken most seriously to the extent that they are placed in the context of heightened concerns about security..."

"By the sheer economic, political and demographic power of the United States, any North American integration will be dominated by the U.S.’s values and priorities, not Canada’s or Mexico’s," says Caron. "In effect, Canada would be abandoning any independent role in international trade, foreign affairs or the management of its resources."

The Task Force’s recommendations include a North American common market, common security policies, common immigration and refugee systems, and a harmonized border system with biometric screening. The Task Force also recommends a North American energy and natural-resource security strategy.

"In this case, 'natural resource' is code for water. The U.S. already has a stranglehold on our oil and gas reserves. Further integration would only do for electricity and fresh water what NAFTA’s already done for oil and gas," says Barlow.

The Task Force released its recommendations yesterday in the hopes of influencing a meeting of the leaders of Canada, the United States, and Mexico in Texas next week.

"Martin should be listening to Canadians, as he did on Ballistic Missile Defence, not bowing to the political and corporate pressure from powerful special interest groups like this Task Force. The Texas meeting will be a crucial test for Paul Martin and the Liberal government," says Barlow.

The Council of Canadians has just wrapped up a cross-Canada Inquiry on Canada-U.S. relations and the final report will be available in April 2005. The summary of the Toronto meeting of the task force is available at:

www.canadians.org.

For more information, contact:

Laura Sewell, Media Officer: (613)233-2773 x234; cell (613)795-8685; lsewell@canadians.org

--

The Council of Canadians

700-170 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, ON K1P 5V5.

Tel: (613) 233-2773; Toll-free: 1-800-387-7177

Fax: (613) 233-6776

inquiries@canadians.org

www.canadians.org

***************************

Robert S. Rodvik

Author/media analyst

***************************

"Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth."

George Orwell - 1984

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:: This is really scary stuff! ::

And now for something totally off topic...

Has anyone in here read the "Brain Games" article in the March/April issue of Utne?

Imagine that your daughter's school has called to inform you that her annual mental health exam suggests she has a mood disorder. What's more, her treatment requires each family member to fill out a psychological questionnaire. The survey is deeply personal, ranging from family history to drinking and sexual habits. Some of your answers could, if they're misinterpreted, indicate a higher risk factor for your daughter. Should you lie about being treated with anti-depressants? And if you tell the truth, who will see your records, now that they're permanently archived?

MORE scary business in there. Anne Geske goes on to examine how mandatory mental health screening (and the future posssibily of mandatory medication?...which, luckily, is illegal) could affect personal rights and freedoms. The article will be available free online when the next issue is out. Just one more example of how the US is trying to exercise their "control". Read it and weep... :(

Way to go Council of Canada for having a spine!

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