Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SPP: Move Along, Nothing to See Here

Given my abiding interest in continental integration issues, and the Security and Prosperity Partnership initiative in particular, I was looking forward to traveling to the site of the next SPP Summit in Montebello, QC this August to express my displeasure. I was especially excited about taking my teen-aged son with me to give him an education in political issues and a taste of activism at work.

This might be harder than I thought:
RCMP, U.S. Army block public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership

The Council of Canadians has been told it will not be allowed to rent a municipal community centre for a public forum it had planned to coincide with the next Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) summit in Montebello, Quebec on August 20 and 21.

The Municipality of Papineauville, which is about six kilometres from Montebello, has informed the Council of Canadians that the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) and the U.S. Army will not allow the municipality to rent the Centre Communautaire de Papineauville for a public forum on Sunday August 19, on the eve of the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership Leaders Summit.

"It is deplorable that we are being prevented from bringing together a panel of writers, academics and parliamentarians to share their concerns about the Security and Prosperity Partnership with Canadians," said Brent Patterson, director of organizing with the Council of Canadians. "Meanwhile, six kilometres away, corporate leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada will have unimpeded access to our political leaders."

As well as being shut out of Papineauville, the Council of Canadians has been told that the RCMP and the SQ will be enforcing a 25-kilometre security perimeter around the Chateau Montebello, where Stephen Harper will meet with George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón on August 20 and 21. According to officials in Montebello, there will be checkpoints at Thurso and Hawkesbury, and vehicles carrying more than five people will be turned back.

I’m stunned. Twenty-five kilometres?! You’ve got to be kidding! Even the G8 Summit in Alberta in 2002 only had a 6.5 km security perimeter - and that had eight world leaders, not just the Three Amigos. Additionally, the G8 Summit was expecting hordes of anti-globalization and other protesters from around the world. This event isn’t likely to attract anywhere near the numbers, or the potentially violent passions. After all, we’re Canadians!

Also, what the hell does the U.S. Army have to do with security on Canadian soil? The RCMP, the SQ - even the Secret Service I can see being involved. But the U.S. ARMY? Did someone mis-speak? Or was this the real purpose behind Harper deciding to start letting armed Americans into our country?

This just pisses me off, to the point where I’m more determined than ever to make the trip. And I suspect that once I give my son this latest bit of news, he will be even more anxious to come with me.

Who’s with us?

(Update: This story actually made the front page of the Ottawa Citizen! Wow - you mean that somebody other than me and a few other bloggers is following this? Good luck keeping us out now!)


  1. Thanks for putting the word out. Every Canadian should be outraged. Permission to pass along?

  2. What is SO frightening to me, a U.S. Citizen, is that NOT ONE person I've tried to talk to about the SPP here in the states has even heard of it!