Category Archives: SPP

News, information, resources and links related to #spp Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

#Harper’s War(s): #Harpernomics, #C51 and the #NATO Cruz Missile! #cdnpoli #pnpcbc #ctvpp

Much can be gleaned about the rise and tightening grip of the far-right globally if one dares to look outside the box that is framed by the media conglomerates. The repetition that the “media” is somehow a soapbox for the “left” has run it’s coarse as is evident with the rise of the far-right phenomenon that finds the media on board, full steam ahead. At best the media may be a few steps away from the ultra-far right but it is closer to the far-right than ever and is certainly going along to get along. One question may be, are they willingly going along or have they been secretely legislated?.

This mashup summary will be a somewhat long rant that will pose some seriously neglected questions, expose some uncomfortable gaps and potential connections and exploit some rather historical similarities. This summary may be updated but more than likely will branch off into further research. If anything it should prompt many to delve deeper into any of the issues that are connected.

We intend to additionally explore if we are actually in an “official” state of war that has been secretly declared. Is it possible for a War Measures Act to be secretly or subversively implemented? If so, how do we actually know if this is the case and who the “enemy” is? Or is this where “Harper’s Enemies Lists” somehow fits in? This may explain the virtually one-sided presentations across the various conflict zones and hot spots that emanate from the same handful of global conglomerates. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for a much bigger glacier.

How can an ideological war between the ultra-far-right and the far-right politically or a cultural/tribal/civil war pitting nationalists vs ultra-nationalists militarily, be fought simultaneously at home and abroad?

How far to the “right” must one travel and give up personally to acquire perceived safety and security provided by the oppressive Harper Regime over real life freedom and liberty in the pursuit of prosperity provided by democracy and credible market based capitalism?

How much further to the “right” will the Liberal Party creep and how far will the NDP choose to follow behind?

We only ponder this because some circles are harder to square than others. The further to the right you travel, you’ll notice that moar war and less freedom are on the agenda while the less war factions simply go along to get along for the most part.

We are also beginning to contemplate how the destabilization in Ukraine and Iraq are not being used as some sort of “incentive” to members within the E.U. with regards to expediting and completing the pending cross-Atlantic Free Trade Agreements. Cutting of access to Eurasian markets under the cover of sanctions against Russia seems like a good strategy as is the display of how quickly organized violence against any State can be launched. Add that with the secret TPP and it gets much clearer but we might have to ask Nigel Wright since he has his fingerprints all over the place. The Duffy scandal forces one to consider how much access and influence really had and how he used it to further his own financial portfolio.

How do all of these tie in with the SPP and Bill C-51?

Who are Harper’s advisors anyway and who advises them?

Are these the same type of ideological “foreign policy” advisors that the G.W. Bush Iraq team “employed” to cherry pick reams of intel for a needle in a haystack, pie in the sky, unsubstantiated documents/clauses to fabricate the conditions that justify immediate and massive military intervention?

“We the People” are certainly being groomed for a war of unimaginable scale and consequences, but it will be very, very good for some global investors. The “Police State” conditions are being arranged via the Trojan Horse Bill C-51 to “legally” stifle any/all anti-war and/or anti-austerity protests. There will be no Ottawa Maidan, period. If we were to boil it down to it’s murky base, we would notice that all of the current conflict zones that require liberation are concentrated along various pipelines, energy, transportation, shipping and rail corridors. When the long dust settles, new borders will be redrawn to consolidate and secure trade routes. The real problem is that no State can control what it’s oligarchs invest in or how they invest it, move it, offshore it or divest it. Another thing that is certain is that professional mercenary alliances and the black market only serve those that provide the necessities of war and are loyal only to those that can provide them financing and armaments.

The key fact is that through the various narratives being weaved about Bill C-51, it is a massive Trojan Horse with the anti-war movements in it’s sights. All of the others that will be caught up in this dragnet operation that fall on the “left” side of the political spectrum will be either considered a “bonus” or as acceptable collateral damage and cannon fodder. Keep in mind that fear, intimidation and propaganda plague all cultures/regions and are utilized by multiple overlapping players with their own ultimate agendas. while violent persecution attempts to solve dissent abroad, the “West” achieves this control of dissent easily by way of economic persecution. In either case, the “life” of the individual involved is lost, one by loss of blood, the other by loss of assets/income/credibility/career.

One of the key provisions of Bill C-51 that needs to be examined is the “language” about the censoring of the interwebz of “terrorist” propaganda. If we harken back to WWI and ponder the implications of how propaganda and censorship are used to sell wars and interventions, we need to ask ourselves one fundamentally important question, who decides this opaque definition. Then we need to ask ourselves, where, why and how opaque definition based declarations are decided. The logical follow up question would be who has the most to benefit from the proceeds of the declaration?

If we look at the deteriorating situation in Ukraine from beyond the lens of the AP/Reuters reports, we see a nation that is spiraling into chaos and various oligarchs have their own loyal “volunteer” battalions. Many estimates put these far-right extremist “anti-Russia” mercenary groups at approx 17, each with it’s own vision, mandate and source of funding. The same might be presumably said for the “pro-Russian” side as well. These would be players that are being employed to either secure business interests or expand land claims.

Some other interesting points to ponder may be related to the bursting of the Commodities Super Cycle during a highly concentrated, uncertain, oversupplied and illiquid global market based upon unsustainable debt.

Have we reached peak energy?

How low can the price of oil/energy go before the serviceable-debt bubble pops?

Are these wars being waged to assure that the flow of energy profitability increases in an otherwise oversupplied market?

Since no Central bank or amount of austerity can ever balance the costs of misguided military interventions and the effects of previous omnibus budgets yet to be felt, let’s review a small segment of what has transpired since debt based Harpernomics has replaced surplus based economics.

Even with the massive downloading of costs onto the Provinces without balancing the tax system and revenue sharing, the Federal Debt has exceeded $600 Billion, with debt servicing alone growing daily at a steady clip. Since those costs are immediately download to the Municipalities/etc. the costs to service existing debts becomes an issue that rapidly prevents proper infrastructure maintenance and upgrade investments.

Since Harpernomics has replaced economics with selective inflation based shell-game budgetary tricks to acquire a magical surplus of everything just before an election, the fact remains that job creation continues to lag far behind the amount necessary to accommodate new entries into the work force, wages are stagnant at best and according to the Harpernomicists themselves, the average hours worked per week is in a steady decline and is projected to continue the trend downward.

Will the drop in oil and commodities afford the Harper Regime the “right” to encourage wage reductions throughout the energy sector like they did to the non-outsourced manufacturing sector?

At what point does using a sliding scale for the hours worked considered “full time” for job numbers presented by the Harpernomicists become a purely mythical and unreliable set of digits to an actual number?

Other than the Harper Loyalists, Harpernomicists and apologists, who actually thinks that misguided war waging is free?

Even though the Harper Regime cannot provide a final figure for the Afghanistan intervention, the costs estimates thus far range between $20-30 billion CDN + uncountable collateral damages. The results of the intervention, other than the huge short term gains by military contractors, are far from conclusive. No matter how hard anyone tries or how many times it is invaded and/or occupied it, Afghanistan is going to be whatever it wants to be based upon their own best interests within boundaries on a map that they had no voice in drawing. In the overall case of the invasion, on paper it looked all good and noble and just, but not far under the surface the truth existed. The entire process was manipulated and intelligence was distorted so that one of the more sinister and nefarious minority groups were given authority over the majority. Surely a group will accept “aid” to gain their own syndicate a competitive advantage but there will always be shifting of the balance of power between tribal alliances as power is gained. This is not the first rodeo of this kind for Afghans and they know that any “foreign” presence will be short  sights and short lived in the big picture and have pretty much decided where the boundaries lie between themselves.  The greatly under-reported violence that we see now in Afghanistan is the end result of external military intervention and occupation that allowed certain tribes to immediately fill the vacuum and consolidate “legal” authority by force. Not only that but, the blowback from the flourishing Poppy boom and trade is already being felt globally and the negative effects will be long lasting across the board.

In much the same way the Afghanistan costs were budgeted, contrary to the initial “estimates” provided by the Harper Regime, the Libya intervention Harpernomiced out several times higher at approx. 1/2 billion + uncountable collateral damages that has resulted in a completely insecure failed state embroiled in a civil/tribal war intermixed with various mercenary groups seeking weapons and training. The fact that there were no attempts by Canada or other NATO Allies to secure cooperation with the remnants of the Libyan Military to secure the armories and military facilities is highly suspicious at best. Has anyone pondered the thought that maybe John Baird was communicating about Libya/Syria with Hillary Clinton via her unsecured private email server? What happens if those communications get leaked?

Who is ultimately paying for this high, long-term debt-servicing-cost agenda?

What is the motivation, and what are the true long term costs in blood, currency value and purchasing power, behind the fascinating objective of creating an “invisible” self-perpetuating unsustainable debt burden?

How can Harper promise that 2 wars, in Ukraine and Syria/Iraq, can be fought and funded on the backside of lower oil revenues, stagnant at best wages, massive looming job losses, deflationary housing market pressures and lower tax revenues.

As the debates surrounding war and electioneering take center stage, Bill C-51 and the “delayed” budget simmer away. One affects our assets and the other affects our liberties bad both are being looted by the pro-war insiders. This brings us to a rather oddly timing of the NATO meeting, the U.S. Presidential campaign bid that was declared by Canada’s own export, far-right winger Ted Cruz and the devious election tactics used by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to court, fear-monger and rally the farther-right elements to assure his grip on power. These “faces” present the sell-siders of apocalyptic evangelical wars in their respective domains and propose, foster and initiate discontent within and interventions abroad to protect opaque “national” interests. Ultimately, since Cruz has zero chance just based upon the amount of cash he has, we conclude that he is simply strategic investment in the global game of consensual election engineering and a political pawn that posed no threat to the U.S. status quo. His entry is a pre-election campaign aimed at intended to influence and engage Canadians to bolster far-right support for the Harper Party in the short term from beyond the realm and jurisdiction of Election Canada. Since Cruz is staunchly anti-Obama, pay attention to which slogans and taking points get highlighted, accentuated and repeated by whom, on this side of the border. Then pay closer attention to how the media in the U.S. respond to hostile rhetoric from the anti-Obama/pro-Bibi Harper Loyalists. Then pay attention to how the Liberals respond.

This combination sets the stage for Harper’s  sell-side that supports NATO’s expansion into sovereign Syrian territory against “darker” ultra-far-right mercenaries for hire with the bonus prize of additional Ukraine territory to train “lighter” ultra-far-right mercenaries for hire that will eventually become a battle hardened menace to the E.U. and the West. Fear not, Harper’s Bill C-51 will protect us.

Is widespread war and discontent the Harper Regime’s reverse Soylent Green Solution for youth unemployment and lack of opportunity?

Are these strategic regions being justifiably destabilized in order to profitably reduce the stockpiles of Cold War era armaments and battle-harden the next generation of unaccountable and subcontract-able mercenary units?

What about the Yemen powder keg that is exploding and what about the current and ongoing collateral damages, dislocations and refugee crisis?

In one instance, international law isn’t relevant as Harper Loyalists proclaim that they are defending the autonomy of “Kurdistan” against a threatening “darker” ultra-far-right terrorist threat emanating from Syria that has no legal standing. One that, oddly enough, is fully armed with American equipment, hardware and armaments and has secured funding from several regional players with varied agendas. We need to remember that “Kurdistan” is a province within Iraq in what amounts to a breakaway region that has been planning and forming an independent State since at least 1991. It is rather obvious that the Sykes-Picot concept over and the position and/or agenda of the Kurds and that of the Iraq Government in Baghdad are not necessarily in sync. Their ultimate vision is the combination of the greater Kurdish regions that span across Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq or maybe the recreation of Assyria. This which would provide “space” for the Kurds to consolidate authority as well as provide regional protection for the remaining Christians and other targeted minorities. The only way for that to unfold would be if the primary players decided to seriously negotiate satisfactory representative regional agreements that settles the power/land dispute between the Sunni and Shiite populations in Iraq and Syria, below Kurdistan. These primary players would have to coordinate with Baghdad and Damascus and consider splitting off Sunni chunks into an independent state that lies between Syria and Iraq. With the hidden civil war in Iraq bubbling over and the chaos in Syria putting more pressure on the border, this seems like the most plausible end-goal as this strategically concentrated and central swath would be able to control the flow of resources and mercenaries between all of the surrounding nations and let the Sunni/Shiite and Islamaphobia battles ensue.

In another instance, in a quasi-mixed role reversal as far as international law is concerned, the autonomy of “Novorossiya” within the Ukraine is being denied to it’s inhabitants while they are being attacked by far-right mercenary groups funded international and regional players with diverging, converging and overlapping interests. Another odd twist with regards to interpretations and reinterpretations of international laws is in the way Crimean autonomy post 1991 has been interpreted

In a coinciding instance in Syria itself, much like the propaganda campaign to bomb freedom into Libya, an actual far-right terrorist threat was detected from a very small and problematic region and was identified as emanating from the same roots as the armed insurrection in Libya. In these cases, the media portrays these known terrorists as peaceful liberators and gives them a free pass to do their dirty deeds without question.

Then we have the Yemen civil war being reignited in what is a very strange play with regards to the loose application regarding international law, violating sovereignty and crossing borders. In this case, unlike Ukraine, the President that fled to safety abroad is given authority over the security situation. In some ways it almost seems as if there are some interesting energy power alliances behind the scenes that may be trying to isolate the House of Saud by drawing them into a trap in Syria or is the House of Saud is pursuing more calculated and nefarious deeds by isolating it’s own allies into convoluted quagmires with it’s adversaries and enemies.

Maybe Gaddafi was right, over the years he repeatedly told all of the Arab leaders that eventually they will all be deposed and replaced eventually, just like Saddam. It is probable that some of those leaders realized this threat existed, or quickly became aware with the prophetic demise of Gaddafi, and have been engaged in developing solid contingency plans for the stability of the most vital economic regions while destabilizing others in-between the regional economic hubs. This situation has the potential to close vital sea traffic between the Red Sea and Arabian Sea and if it accelerates quickly may well put the traffic thru the Persian Gulf at risk/mercy of counter measures since port and seaway blockades are typically dealt with with military means.

All of this will of coarse, allow the price of oil to rise. the problem is that the overall fuel savings did not provide any real measurable “spending the savings” injection into the economy. The price of fuel and energy went way up too fast and for far too long that it was a drain on the overall disposable income of everyone all along. We can now see what a negative effect the post economic crisis energy boom was really having. Considering actual inflation for necessities, Canadians have not seen any measurable savings in the retail, supply chain or transportation sectors due to the reduction in fuel costs, we know that any increases at the pumps, scales or meters will be felt hard by everyday Canadians.

The odd denominator is that even if we were still able to ignore the armed foreign factions, the peaceful anti-regime factions that were caught in the crossfire were all declared terrorists by some and/or liberators by others. Either way, with complete disregard to civilian casualties entire villages and communities are being bombed into ruins by their own government forces vs foreign funded mercenaries that are both engaged in scorched earth policies. Whomever keeps fighting for the most piles of rubble the longest, wins and eventual gains access to various economic aid and stimulus packages with the high interest portion of the debt shifted off as a Government obligation and the next to zero interest portion to the private interests

These facts along countless fronts and lines in-between sides and within context “paints” pretty much anyone and everyone as a hostile target, enemy and/or terrorist threat. It’s only a matter of time before someone/something of importance is downed and the tragedy and chaos that follows. It’s only a matter of time until some politico spouts off the wrong thing that lights the fuse.

Does any of this sound familiar? What about the “geographical” turf being disputed? Look at the “lines” and former boundaries of nations and empires after the tumultuous 1800’s that were drawn on paper pre-WWI. Look for connections to the competing oligarchs, moguls, robber-barons and profiteers that supported the pro-war expansionist parties and lobbies, some of the links still exist today.  and then follow whomever eventually held/holds the war debts of the winners and losers for more insight.

As in the past, the financial structure will be recalculated based upon the final holdings of the competing oligarchs and the division of power that will have afforded themselves. With these “rights” they will reserve the “right” to redraw secure trade routes, “lines” and boundaries in order to forcibly open new markets for some and close them to others. As far as Iraq is concerned, Harper advocated, without question, the deceptive 2003 strategy and subsequent invasion and destabilization of Iraq. Harper Loyalists and apologists ideologically accepted the potential for collateral damage and to this day are committed to pursing an opaque end goal of Middle East liberation and democratization, by hook or by crook. The plan is several years behind and like ll government projects, grossly over-budget and rife with corruption.

Has anyone considered that the “national” interests in Libya that Harper sent the Military to protect were none other than those of Canada’s former spy watchdog, Arthur Porter and other SNC Lavelin insiders? The timing of it all behind the backdrop of the “Arab Spring” that followed the financial “crisis” is rather intriguing. War provides a very effective duck, dust and cover opportunity for those with the inside power to wage war to their own benefit. It is also rather revealing how deep the plot(s) really are and how many of Harper’s current and past advisers and insiders have run amuck or gone rogue.

Moving back a bit to Ted Cruz and the upcoming Harper campaign, let’s ponder a few facts/fictions. The first point is that, in case anyone has not noticed, the far-right Ted Cruz will never win, period, but his “views” on Iraq/Syria, NATO and Ukraine will provide a nice background for Harper’s campaign with it’s shared agenda of instigating hostilities and division and discrediting honest questions, dialog and diplomatic/political compromise. His entry will serve to rally and kettle the far-right fringe groups into more manageable small subgroups that can/will be pigeonholed within the current North American Conservative/Republican base. They will, at least in the short term, be given maximum exposure followed by a carefully controlled rhetoric that mimics the views of the far-right in Canada. This is important because these are the far-right fringe groups that have felt betrayed by the Harper Regime. This propaganda tactic cements them into the Conservative caucus and this empowerment and coverage gives the formerly fractured fringe groups a vast illusion that they will ultimately benefit if victory is achieved, which will further radicalize them. This of coarse, will only radicalize and encourage other far-right-wing anti-elements to thrive. This sets the stage for the able, mobile and nimble enemy of the future to be created and fostered in much the same way as how, what was framed initially as an al Qaeda offshoot, IS/ISIL/ISIS has mystically conquered the Middle East. Strip out the foreign fighters and interventionists and one might be surprised that “We the People” know how to live side by side for the most part and what our regional and national interests are based upon facts on the ground, not dreaming and pondering of right-wing thinktanks.

To truly this perspective one must, at least partially, appreciate how intricate these apparatuses are linked, since this pro-war vs anti-war propaganda phenomenon has often been repeated. One only needs to look back to the pre-WWI era though the various national lenses, media presentations and political rhetoric compared to the rush into the Afghanistan and Iraq quagmires and fiasco in Libya. Keep in mind that the declared military campaign was to be “over by Christmas” and lasted years beyond and effectively set the stage for the Stock Market Crash and WWII that set the stage for the Cold War, etc. Since most publications are/were heavily censored depending upon the “official” states of war in each of these cases, one does need to differentiate between the sell-side war players, the active-side war players and the instigating, agitating warmongering and escalation sided players. Combine those sides together and the un-holy trio radicalizes into an axis with the powers of the Wall Street insider syndicates behind them.

Is it possible to acquire a true cost vs benefit to overall society analysis that is not based upon the ideological zero-sum economy that transforms sovereign state wealth into publicly subsidized debt and then concentrates the usury proceeds to the upper percentile? When one considers the above it seems as if the governments of “sovereign on paper” Nations are really nothing more than fronts for various financial criminal cabals and those that require capital.

Until next time, we’ll leave you with the following press release that pretty much sums up the state of the “independent” and “free” press…

News Release Article from  Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Statement by Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO of the CRTC, on journalistic independence

March 25, 2015 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

One of the pillars of Canada’s broadcasting system—and, in fact, of our country’s democracy—is that journalists are able to report news stories independently and without undue editorial interference. This principle, along with other fundamental journalistic values, is enshrined in the Code of Ethics that was developed by RTDNA Canada (The Association of Electronic Journalists).

Further to section 2(3) of the Broadcasting Act, the CRTC has been entrusted by Canadians, through Parliament, to defend the principles of fair comment, freedom of expression and journalistic independence.

That a regulated company does not like one of the CRTC’s rulings is one thing. The allegation, however, that the largest communication company in Canada is manipulating news coverage is disturbing. Holding a radio or television licence is a privilege that comes with important obligations that are in the public interest, especially in regards to high-quality news coverage and reporting.

An informed citizenry cannot be sacrificed for a company’s commercial interests. Canadians can only wonder how many times corporate interests may have been placed ahead of the fair and balanced news reporting they expect from their broadcasting system.

The RTNDA Code of Ethics is administered by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. Canada’s private broadcasters, including CTV, are members of this independent body and must adhere to its codes of conduct. Complaints about this matter should be directed to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council for investigation.

We expect Canada’s broadcasters to live up to their responsibilities and adhere to a high standard in their news and information programs.

– 30 –


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Tel.: 819-997-9403; Fax: 819-997-4245

General inquiries:
Tel.: 819-997-0313, TDD: 819-994-0423; Fax: 819-994-0218
Toll-free No.: 1-877-249-CRTC (2782)
TDD – Toll-free No.: 1-877-909-CRTC (2782)
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Is #Harper’s #CPC a modern day #cdnpoli #Fascist Party or is #NeoQaeda a better term?

Please note that the Harper Regime Loyalists and their globalist investors have been equating the term “fascists” as well as “communists” and “socialists” and “terrorists” towards those that support anything other than their neo-consesrvative/neo-liberal/zionist ideological positions for quite some time but this compilation is a very good comparison indeed. Below this segment we will share a lesser know article by George Orwell from 1944 titled “What is Fascism?” that is worth consideration as it is our opinion that the Harper Regime is a hybrid of all of the worst that encompasses all of the colonialist/imperialist/interventionist “isms” combined with some anglo-white supremacy sprinkled on top. Maybe they are a new breed that requires an entirely new defining term so we shall take this opportunity to coin one that may well fit the bill: Neo-Qaeda

The word fascism has been bandied around a lot by people angry with Mr. Harper, so let’s take a look at the 14 defining characteristics of fascism to see if they’re truly relevant to the situation Canada finds itself in.

Once we’ve done that, we can ask whether the Harper government demonstrates those indicators of fascism. It turns out there’s more than a few damning examples.

Powerful continuing Nationalism

This link speaks for itself

Identifying Enemies/Scapegoats

The term terrorism gets slung around a lot to justify all sorts of things

Rampant Sexism

Mr Harper’s government is surprisingly sexist.

Obsession with National Security

Canada’s new National Security state

and here

It is in fact unsurprising that more than one journalist is connecting the dots on the national security state’s-national-security-state

Here’s extensive spying on activists

and on First Nations

Corporate Power is Protected

Oddly enough, corporations don’t seem to be struggling like ordinary Canadians in Harper’s Canada. Why do you think that is?

and he is a cheerleader for new corporate super-rights that surpass and override those of citizens and indeed even the nation

Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Arts? Seriously? Who cares about arts?

let’s cut the arts

but the arts aren’t nearly as much a target as intellectuals, science, and evidence.

with cutbacks to research

And it’s apparently not enough to suppress modern research, we are also destroying decades of previous research, to impoverish the entire scientific community with but only book burning, but effectively whole library burning

In fact, just watch this, it’ll break your heart if you care about facts entering our decision making process at all

Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

Ah yes, mustn’t forget the rampant cronyism.

We’re actually reaching for cronyism on an international scale

Disdain for Human Rights

The Harper government has nothing but disdain for human rights.

FIrst nations rights violated here

Trying to keep human rights out of CETA

and more about how for Mr Harper, trade trumps human rights across the board

or how about the right to protest?

In fact, it’s clear he really doesn’t care for First Nations people at all

Supremacy of the Military

Harper’s military policy is decidedly imperialist

Here Harper refuses to sign an arms trade treaty to combat militarism out of control

Controlled Mass Media

Here we’ve got taxpayers funding Harper’s own version of ‘journalism’

which is a little North Korean-esque in its obsessive message control

and taking control of the CBC

Religion and Government Intertwined

Religion and politics together again in Canada

You might even say he’s on an evangelical mission,

Labour Power is Suppressed

And here’s an ongoing war on unions.

more union bashing here

and clearly more to come

Obsession with Crime/Punishment

So obsessed with crime and punishment that even Texas says “whoa, that’s a bit much”

to the extent that we’re making prisons unsafe

but if we point out that the evidence doesn’t support the policy, there’s no sanity on that front

Fraudulent Elections

Not only did fraud absolutely take place, but the Harper government engaged in “trench warfare to prevent the case from coming to a hearing on its merits.”

Feeding into a mindset that they have the right to whatever they can get away with

Thanks to Shaun Fryer for compiling most of these links which saved me a ton of time when I yoinked his list. Please, if you’ve got more links to share to back this up, share them in the comments. Every checkmark on the fascism list brings our country closer to the equivalent of Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, Suharto’s Indonesia, Pinochet’s Chile, and yes, even Hitler’s Germany. Even one is a problem. Buckle up, Canada

screen reader text

What is Fascism?

George Orwell – TRIBUNE 1944

Of all the unanswered questions of our time, perhaps the most important is: ‘What is Fascism?’

One of the social survey organizations in America recently asked this question of a hundred different people, and got answers ranging from ‘pure democracy’ to ‘pure diabolism’. In this country if you ask the average thinking person to define Fascism, he usually answers by pointing to the German and Italian régimes. But this is very unsatisfactory, because even the major Fascist states differ from one another a good deal in structure and ideology.

It is not easy, for instance, to fit Germany and Japan into the same framework, and it is even harder with some of the small states which are describable as Fascist. It is usually assumed, for instance, that Fascism is inherently warlike, that it thrives in an atmosphere of war hysteria and can only solve its economic problems by means of war preparation or foreign conquests. But clearly this is not true of, say, Portugal or the various South American dictatorships. Or again, antisemitism is supposed to be one of the distinguishing marks of Fascism; but some Fascist movements are not antisemitic. Learned controversies, reverberating for years on end in American magazines, have not even been able to determine whether or not Fascism is a form of capitalism. But still, when we apply the term ‘Fascism’ to Germany or Japan or Mussolini’s Italy, we know broadly what we mean. It is in internal politics that this word has lost the last vestige of meaning. For if you examine the press you will find that there is almost no set of people — certainly no political party or organized body of any kind — which has not been denounced as Fascist during the past ten years. Here I am not speaking of the verbal use of the term ‘Fascist’. I am speaking of what I have seen in print. I have seen the words ‘Fascist in sympathy’, or ‘of Fascist tendency’, or just plain ‘Fascist’, applied in all seriousness to the following bodies of people:

Conservatives: All Conservatives, appeasers or anti-appeasers, are held to be subjectively pro-Fascist. British rule in India and the Colonies is held to be indistinguishable from Nazism. Organizations of what one might call a patriotic and traditional type are labelled crypto-Fascist or ‘Fascist-minded’. Examples are the Boy Scouts, the Metropolitan Police, M.I.5, the British Legion. Key phrase: ‘The public schools are breeding-grounds of Fascism’.

Socialists: Defenders of old-style capitalism (example, Sir Ernest Benn) maintain that Socialism and Fascism are the same thing. Some Catholic journalists maintain that Socialists have been the principal collaborators in the Nazi-occupied countries. The same accusation is made from a different angle by the Communist party during its ultra-Left phases. In the period 1930-35 the Daily Worker habitually referred to the Labour Party as the Labour Fascists. This is echoed by other Left extremists such as Anarchists. Some Indian Nationalists consider the British trade unions to be Fascist organizations.

Communists: A considerable school of thought (examples, Rauschning, Peter Drucker, James Burnham, F. A. Voigt) refuses to recognize a difference between the Nazi and Soviet régimes, and holds that all Fascists and Communists are aiming at approximately the same thing and are even to some extent the same people. Leaders in The Times (pre-war) have referred to the U.S.S.R. as a ‘Fascist country’. Again from a different angle this is echoed by Anarchists and Trotskyists.

Trotskyists: Communists charge the Trotskyists proper, i.e. Trotsky’s own organization, with being a crypto-Fascist organization in Nazi pay. This was widely believed on the Left during the Popular Front period. In their ultra-Right phases the Communists tend to apply the same accusation to all factions to the Left of themselves, e.g. Common Wealth or the I.L.P.

Catholics: Outside its own ranks, the Catholic Church is almost universally regarded as pro-Fascist, both objectively and subjectively;

War resisters: Pacifists and others who are anti-war are frequently accused not only of making things easier for the Axis, but of becoming tinged with pro-Fascist feeling.

Supporters of the war: War resisters usually base their case on the claim that British imperialism is worse than Nazism, and tend to apply the term ‘Fascist’ to anyone who wishes for a military victory. The supporters of the People’s Convention came near to claiming that willingness to resist a Nazi invasion was a sign of Fascist sympathies. The Home Guard was denounced as a Fascist organization as soon as it appeared. In addition, the whole of the Left tends to equate militarism with Fascism. Politically conscious private soldiers nearly always refer to their officers as ‘Fascist-minded’ or ‘natural Fascists’. Battle-schools, spit and polish, saluting of officers are all considered conducive to Fascism. Before the war, joining the Territorials was regarded as a sign of Fascist tendencies. Conscription and a professional army are both denounced as Fascist phenomena.

Nationalists: Nationalism is universally regarded as inherently Fascist, but this is held only to apply to such national movements as the speaker happens to disapprove of. Arab nationalism, Polish nationalism, Finnish nationalism, the Indian Congress Party, the Muslim League, Zionism, and the I.R.A. are all described as Fascist but not by the same people.

* * *

It will be seen that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.

Yet underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning. To begin with, it is clear that there are very great differences, some of them easy to point out and not easy to explain away, between the régimes called Fascist and those called democratic. Secondly, if ‘Fascist’ means ‘in sympathy with Hitler’, some of the accusations I have listed above are obviously very much more justified than others. Thirdly, even the people who recklessly fling the word ‘Fascist’ in every direction attach at any rate an emotional significance to it. By ‘Fascism’ they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.

But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one — not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.




George Orwell: ‘What is Fascism?’

First published: Tribune. — GB, London. — 1944.

— ‘The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell’. — 1968.


Machine-readable version: O. Dag

Last modified on: 2013-08-30

[The book cover page]

George Orwell

The ‘CEJL’

© 1968 Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

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Secret #TPP, #cdnpoli & Intellectual Property: Wake UP all 3 –> #CPC + #NDP + #LPC!

So, what does the intellectual Harper Regime have to hide from “We the People”, aka: individual citizens, aka: taxpayers? Or, are “We the People” simply the property of faceless corporations? Why is the entire Canadian MSM establishment MIA with regards to TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP?

Secret TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership)
What are the Secrets in the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership)?

If it weren’t bad enough that “We the People” are force fed diversionary neo-conservative scandal after scandal after scandal, while they secretly huddle away in their secret globalist enclaves with their secret globalist committees and secretive globalist cabals. Having to wait for “Anonymous” sources and WikiLeaks for leaked drafts of secret long term “trade” agreements that affect everyone is criminal in the opinion of many. That being stated, we thought we would provide a beginning point, a primer if you will, for those that may be concerned and/or interested. Do NOT allow this to “agreement” to pass blindly and unnoticed! If you care about anything at all upon reviewing the information below, feel free to comment, share, build upon and distribute it in the most expeditious manner possible…

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Secret TPP treaty: Advanced Intellectual Property chapter for all 12 nations with negotiating positions WikiLeaks release: November 13, 2013

Today, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.

The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP.

Read full press release here:

Description: This is the confidential draft treaty chapter from the Intellectual Property group of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks between the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei Darussalam. The treaty is being negotiated in secret by delegations from each of the 12 countries, who together account for 40% of global GDP. The chapter covers proposed international obligations and enforcement mechanisms for copyright, trademark and patent law, and includes the combined positions of all of the parties as they were by the end of August 2013. The document was produced and distributed to the Chief Negotiators
on August 30, 2013, after the 19th Round of Negotiations at Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.


Leak of TPP text on copyright Limitations and Exceptions Knowledge Ecology International 03 August 2012

Below is a leak of the negotiating text from the TPP trade agreement, on copyright limitations and exceptions. For some additional context on this issue, see: “What does the secret TPPA text say about copyright exceptions?”

Malaysia Rejecting TPP as Agreement Causes Political Turmoil in Australia Written By Drew Wilson August 14, 2012 – The Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that would, among other things, institute a global ISP level regime and three strikes law, allow corporations of any kind to operate above a countries local laws so long as their headquarters is located outside the country and further restrict limitations afforded to consumers in various countries (and that’s likely just the tip of the iceberg), has been back in the news once again for a number of reasons. We begin with the more dramatic developments coming out of Malaysia where the country is reportedly getting increasingly sceptical of the agreement altogether. From The Sun Daily:

Civil Society Groups Oppose US and Australias TPP Proposal on Exceptions and Limitations | Electronic Frontier Foundation BY CAROLINA ROSSINI AUGUST 28, 2012

Civil Society groups from around the Pacific Region join forces to oppose the exceptions and limitations framework in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) proposed by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) in a new joint statement [PDF] [TXT]. It reads:

We, the undersigned public interest organizations, oppose the current framework for exceptions and limitations proposed by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) as the language stands in the August 3rd leaked text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). It uses the most restrictive three-step test language, extends the test to exceptions and limitations not currently under the test and jeopardizes countries’ ability to set what best fit their needs. The US proposal misses opportunities to use the TPP to strengthen limitations and exceptions further.

The language in Paragraph 1 of the US proposal, specifically the excerpt “shall confine”, limits nations’ ability to seek a flexible exceptions and limitations system. This language would cause numerous potential problems for the kind of balance in copyright systems that the new USTR proposal claims to advance. Additionally, while the language in Paragraph 2, focused on copyright exceptions and limitations for the digital environment, may appear to reflect progress, the unintended consequences of the proposed three-step test language are many and will create chilling effects in the ability of users and entrepreneurs to innovate. This is a worse problem for those nations that do not adopt fair-use-like systems.

We firmly believe that countries should be able to tailor copyright exceptions and limitations to their domestic needs, and extend such limitations into the digital environment to create new exceptions as they find appropriate. We consider that the proposal pushed forward by New Zealand, Chile, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei—which also leaves to each country to decide what is appropriate for their digital environment—is a better solution.

Prominent Academics Respond to the TPP BY CAROLINA ROSSINI AUGUST 30, 2012

We asked several academics to let us know their thoughts about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The TPP is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement, and it will do so in a way that will have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, privacy, access to information, and ability to innovate. Their responses are below.

Hollywood Gets to Party with TPP Negotiators, Public Interest Groups Get Thrown Out of Hotel from the yeah,-that-doesn’t-look-corrupt-at-all dept – We’ve been talking about the ridiculous levels of secrecy around the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement — a trade agreement that is being designed to push through basically everything that Hollywood wants in international copyright law. Last week, we mentioned that various civil society groups were planning to hold an open meeting about TPP in the same hotel where the negotiations were being held (in Hollywood, of course). However, it appears that once the USTR found out about this, it got the hotel to cancel the group’s reservation at the hotel. According to Sean Flynn, the Associate Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at American University:

The TPP is a corporate coup d’état Kristinn Hrafnsson 15 November 2013, 23:51

The transparency site WikiLeaks has recently released part of a secret trade agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty (TPP) being fast-tracked through the US Congress by US President Barrack Obama. What is astounding about the treaty, other than the fact that it is being pushed through without allowing US Congressmen access to the full text, is that only 3 people in each of the 12 prospective signatory countries, have access to the full text. Given that the treaty will affect countries which account for about 40% of the world GDP and over 800 million people, the fact that 600 corporate bankers are effectively hi-jacking the governments of the member countries and that only 3 people in each country know the full contents of the treaty, the document is a true step toward corporate fascism. The Voice of Russia spoke to WikiLeaks number 2 Kristinn Hrafnsson on the section of the TPP which they released.
Download audio file:

Outcry Follows Leak Of Secret Trade Negotiations Emma Woollacott, Forbes Contributor I cover internet piracy and copyright. Tech | 11/14/2013 @ 5:02PM

With two previous versions leaked, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) was already causing rumblings of concern. But Wikileaks’ release this week of the latest draft has brought controversy to a peak.

The deal is currently being negotiated in secret between the US and Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – and there are proposals to extend it further.

However, the 30,000-page draft agreement published by Wikileaks reveals intellectual property protection being broadened in an astonishing number of areas – from strengthening the rights of pharmaceutical companies to allowing the patenting of plants and animals. It is, unsurprisingly, supported by more than 600 large corporations, from Nike and Walmart to General Electric and Pfeizer.

Wikileaks does the work Congress and the media won’t – How can this tool believe what he’s saying? The “Free Trade” scam has helped the US in the last 50 years? How? Personal income has been in steady decline since the 1970s and whole industries have entirely disappeared. The latest scam is called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The negotiation of this treaty-level trade agreement has been “fast tracked” so Congress hasn’t been involved. The negotiations have been held in secret. But Wikileaks comes to the rescue. A 95-page draft from the TPP agreement was released by WikiLeaks this week. We may not have a news media and we may not have a government, but we have have Wikileaks and the Internet.

Trade deal could be bitter medicine by Phillip Dorling Technology News Political News November 14, 2013

WikiLeaks has exposed details of secret trade negotiations that could leave Australians paying more for drugs and medicines, movies, computer games and software, and be placed under surveillance as part of a US-led crackdown on internet piracy.

A leaked draft of a controversial chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement reveals the negotiating positions of 12 countries – including Australia – on copyright, patents and other intellectual property issues, with a heavy focus on enforcement measures against internet piracy.

Intellectual property experts are critical of the draft treaty, which they say would help the multinational movie and music industries, software giants and pharmaceutical manufacturers to maintain and increase prices by reinforcing the rights of copyright and patent owners, clamping down on online piracy and raising obstacles to the introduction of generic drugs and medicines. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated that he is keen to see the trade talks pushed to a conclusion next month, saying “there’s always horse-trading in these negotiations, but in the end … everyone is better off”’.

Patent plan to push up cost of medicines by Julia Medew Health Editor November 13, 2013

Australians are likely to pay more for medicines in coming years if intellectual property proposals contained in the powerful Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement go ahead.

The leaked treaty being negotiated by Australia and the US with 10 other Asia-Pacific countries reveals a range of measures that would enhance the ability of drug companies to extend and widen patents on drugs.

It also proposes compensation for companies that face delays in the granting or extension of patents, along with measures to ensure data exclusivity for companies so they can prevent competitors, specifically manufacturers of generic medicines, from using past clinic data to support new products.

The leaked TPP negotiations suggest drug companies will also be able to extend patent protection beyond the general 20-year limit by patenting different aspects of their products, such as an active ingredient, for a new use later. This process is called “evergreening”.

Australia backs the US at every turn against its own consumers Peter Martin Economics correspondent November 14, 2013

In public the Australian government is on the side of consumers. Yet behind closed doors it is siding with the US government to block them at every turn.

The extraordinarily detailed information on negotiating positions released by WikiLeaks shows Australia repeatedly backing the interests of the US against the objections of countries including Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam on questions involving intellectual property. Australia is often the only one of the 12 parties to the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations to do so.

In 2005 the High Court ruled that it was legal for Australians to use so-called ”mod chips” to bypass the copy-protection measures in Sony Playstations. In June this year a committee made up of both sides of Parliament unanimously recommended Australia amend its copyright law to put beyond doubt ”consumers’ rights to circumvent technological protection measures that control geographic market segmentation”. In other words, Australians would be completely free to modify their DVD machines to play discs made for use anywhere in the world. And to defeat the technologies that allow US giants such as Amazon and Apple to geographically segment their markets and charge Australians more than almost anyone else.

The committee’s report: ”At what cost? Information technology pricing and the Australian tax”, found Adobe software was 42 per cent more expensive than in the US, Microsoft products 66 per cent and hardware 46 per cent more expensive.
Yet in closed-door negotiations so secret the media was excluded from Australian briefings on their progress, Canberra has backed the US in trying to criminalise such measures. An amendment proposed by Canada and Singapore to the effect that it is legal to sell and import devices whose sole purpose is to defeat region coding, does not list Australia among its backers.

Canada and seven other countries want to make it clear that internet providers such as Australia’s iiNet cannot be held legally responsible for copyright infringement on their networks. In 2012 iiNet went to the High Court to enforce that right. But Australia and the US are listed in the negotiating document as opposing it.

In only one set of clauses does Australia consistently side with other countries against the US and those concern health. The US is pushing for even stronger patent rights for drug companies.

Wikileaks Release: Secret TPP Treaty. Text of Negotiated Draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter By Global Research News Global Research, November 13, 2013

Today, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.

The Trans Pacific Partnership IP Chapter Leaks: The Battle Over Internet Service Provider Liability Thursday November 14, 2013

The leak of the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property chapter generated global coverage as full access to the proposed text provided a wake-up call on U.S. demands and the clear opposition from many TPP countries. My first post highlighted Canada’s opposition to many U.S. proposals, but nowhere is that more evident than in the section on Internet service provider liability. In fact, ISP liability in the TPP is shaping up to be a battle between Canada and the U.S., with countries lining up either in favour of a general notification obligation (Canada) or a notice-and-takedown system with the prospect of terminating subscriber Internet access and content blocking (U.S.).

The Canadian approach, which enjoys support from Chile, Brunei, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Mexico, establishes a general obligation to limit liability for ISPs for infringements that occur on their networks (the U.S. and Australia oppose this approach, Japan and Peru are undecided). The Canadian proposal includes more detailed descriptions of the limitations of liability, an exclusion for services primarily for enabling infringement, and a reminder that ISP liability is still subject to copyright limitations and exceptions. Under the Canadian model, ISP limitation of liability is conditioned on creating a notification process and “legal incentives for ISPs to comply with these procedures or remedies against ISPs that fail to comply.”

The U.S. proposal, which enjoys support from Australia (and support for some provisions from Singapore, New Zealand, and Peru) features far more conditions for ISP limitation of liability that could lead to subscriber service termination and content blocking (Canada, Brunei, Vietnam, and Mexico oppose the approach). Under the U.S. model, specific actions are required for specific limitations of liability. For example, a limitation of liability for automated caching is subject to four requirements, including “removing or disabling access, on receipt of an effective notification of claimed infringement, to cached material that has been removed or access to which has been disabled at the originating site.” Limitation of liability for network storage or linking users to online sites are also subject to compliance with notifications.

However, all forms of ISP limitations of liability are subject to several additional conditions (which Malaysia and New Zealand oppose):

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) The Council of Canadians

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is 12-nation (and counting) free trade and corporate rights deal that is being led by the United States but also includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Thailand, The Philippines and South Korea have also expressed interest in joining the talks, which would eclipse the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the ways democracy would be constrained in the interests of multinational corporations.

Of the 26 chapters currently being negotiated in the TPP, only two have to do with trade. The other 24 deal with issues as diverse as how a government regulates corporate activity, what Crown corporations can and cannot do, how long pharmaceutical patents or copyright terms should be, how the Internet is governed, the sharing of personal information across borders, banking and taxation rules, and when a company or investor should be compensated when environmental or public health policies interfere with profits.

The TPP is also considered a geopolitical weapon of the U.S. government, which is trying to isolate China in the Asia-Pacific region, and to block alternative, and more successful, forms of development than the “free trade” model has to offer. But the TPP is being resisted by people across all participating countries because of how it will lock-in a myopic type of corporate globalization that is the main cause of runaway climate change and which has done little to create good, sustainable jobs or reduce poverty worldwide. People working across borders fought and defeated the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Our goal is to make sure the TPP suffers the same fate.

What Canadians need to know about the TPP’s Internet Censorship Plan By Noushin Khushrushahi | November 15, 2013

After years of pushing for greater transparency around the ultra-secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), global citizens finally caught a break when Wikileaks released the full text of the TPP’s Internet censorship chapter on November 13, 2013.

The TPP is an extreme trade agreement being negotiated behind closed doors by Canada and 11 other countries. Until this latest leak, all we knew about the TPP was from previously leaked documents in February 2011 – and what we knew was not good. The 2011 leaked text showed that the TPP could end the open Internet as we know it by criminalizing our online activity, invading our privacy, and making our ability to access the Internet far more expensive.

We knew it was bad for the open Internet. We didn’t know it was this bad.

According to privacy expert Professor Michael Geist, Canada (with the support of a number of other countries) has taken a strong stand against extreme U.S. proposals around Internet Service Provider (ISP) liability. While Canada suggests instituting a general notification obligation for ISPs, the U.S. demands that ISPs institute notice-and-takedown regimes. What does this mean? If the U.S. has its way, it means:

What startups need to know about TPP, the secret global trade agreement Eva Arevuo, Engine November 16, 2013 8:00 AM

In the name of “individual rights and free expression,” WikiLeaks this week released the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement — an international trade agreement with the stated aim of liberalizing the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. Among other problems, this agreement may have an adverse impact on U.S. startups.

Negotiations over this trade agreement began in secret in December 2012 between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, and the United States. Together, these nations are responsible for 40 percent of global production and one third of worldwide trade. Despite the secrecy, we know (from a previous leak) that discussions have covered intellectual property, competitive and State-owned enterprises, environmental policy, services and investment, and government procurement, among other issues.

New Bill Targets Patent Trolls Stunting Economic Growth Mike McGeary Oct. 23, 2013 – Today, several members of the House Judiciary committee released the Innovation Act of 2013 as an attempt to curb the pernicious growth of the patent troll business model.

Entrepreneurs, young businesses, and emerging, high-growth technologies are powering what resurgence there is in the American economy. But these businesses are subject to an arcane, onerous system of patent regulation that leaves them vulnerable, and that vulnerability is abused by patent assertion entities and their allies to leverage that system against innovators. With this reality, we are faced with two options: a broken system, or the chance of a reformed system that champions innovation and growth.

At Engine, we completed groundbreaking research this year on technology entrepreneurship in America. Our findings highlight that these young companies create more and better jobs with higher wage premiums than any other industry and that they do so in a way that strengthens communities, creating 4.3 local jobs alongside their own. Moreover, it has become clear that these young, high-growth businesses have created all net new job growth since the time of Ronald Reagan.

Meanwhile, the patent troll racket is directly responsible for $29 billion per year in lost capital and investment. It is this lost capital that could otherwise be used to create the next great American companies that would rejuvenate the American economy.

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – Threat To National Sovereignty by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar – Editor’s Note: The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement represents the economic arm of the US pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, and threatens to undermine the sovereignty of participating countries. Washington lacks a fundamental economic vision, and as its influence in the world continues to wane, the TPP is an attempt to harness the growth and dynamism of South East Asia’s tiger cub economies as a counterweight to China’s influence in the region. The trade deal imposes familiar neoliberal policies written by and for the benefit of US multinational conglomerates. As the participating countries prepare to meet for trade negotiations in Malaysia later this month, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar lays out exactly what is at stake for countries who bend to US pressure and sign the TPP.

Op-Ed: Leaked draft of TPP agreement provisions on intellectual property By Ken Hanly Nov 16, 2013

The draft sections of the Trans=Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement dealing with intellectual property rights has been leaked by Wikileaks. They show that the deal protects the rights of corporations while curtailing the rights of the public.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been under negotiation since 2010 and would expand the earlier agreement to many new countries:

TPP: Videos

Wikileaks Exposes the TPP as a Capitulation to Corporate Interests

Kevin Zeese: Obama administration’s Fast Track authority plan derailed by bipartisan outrage.

Published on Nov 15, 2013
TheRealNews []

Category: News & Politics
License: Standard YouTube License


TPP Exposed: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret Trade Text to Rewrite Copyright Laws, Limit Internet Freedom

WikiLeaks has published the secret text to part of the biggest U.S. trade deal in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). For the past several years, the United States and 12 Pacific Rim nations have been negotiating behind closed doors on the sweeping agreement. A 95-page draft of a TPP chapter released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday details agreements relating to patents, copyright, trademarks and industrial design — showing their wide-reaching implications for internet services, civil liberties, publishing rights,and medicine accessibility. Critics say the deal could rewrite U.S. laws on intellectual property rights, product safety and environmental regulations, while backers say it will help create jobs and boost the economy. President Obama and U.S. trade representative Michael Froman reportedly wish to finalize the TPP by the end of the year and are pushing Congress to expedite legislation that grants the president something called “fast-track authority.” However, this week some 151 House Democrats and 23 Republicans wrote letters to the administration saying they are unwilling to give the president free reign to “diplomatically legislate.” We host a debate on the TPP between Bill Watson, a trade policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Published on Nov 14, 2013
democracynow []

Category: News & Politics
License: Standard YouTube License


Trans-Pacific Partnership: Corporate Global Domination (Long Version)

This video is a long version of the event that occurred on May 28, 2013, when a group of panelists and activists assembled at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in New York City to learn about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and to organize opposition to it.

Published on Jun 24, 2013
TheEnvironmentTV []

Category: Nonprofits & Activism
License: Standard YouTube License


Anonymous : What is The TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (or TPP for short) is being negotiated in secret between more than 12 countries around the Pacific region. Find out why it poses a huge threat to your digital freedoms.

Published on Nov 11, 2013
Anonymous []

Information & Credit

For more information to find out how you can take action, visit:

Category: Nonprofits & Activism
License: Standard YouTube License


Trans-Pacific Partnership overview via US Congressman Dennis Kucinich

"The negotiations over the multinational Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the TPP Free Trade Agreement, lack transparency. The U.S. Trade Representative denies members of Congress and the public access to the classified text of the agreement.

"This policy of secrecy undermines public trust and denies members of Congress the opportunity Congress has historically been afforded to provide input on trade deals. According to Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, the U.S. Trade Representative has consulted with 'over 600 mostly corporate advisors on the context of the classified TPP text,' while continuing to deny access to policy makers whose constituencies will be greatly affected by the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"From what has been leaked of the TPP, it is shaping up to be worse than NAFTA. The North American Free Trade Agreement's (NAFTA) legacy of deregulation, the outsourcing of American jobs, and the undermining of U.S. environmental and health laws is legendary."

"The devastating track record of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) thus far is clear, and recent reports confirm the fears of those of us who opposed the NAFTA-style FTAs with Korea, Colombia and Panama last year. Colombia continues to be the most dangerous place in the world for trade unionists. Our trade deficit with Korea in the auto sector has grown to nearly $8 billion, a 28% increase over the same period from last year.

"In June of this year, I joined over 100 Members of Congress in asking U.S. Trade Representative for more transparent negotiations and to provide Congress with the vital opportunity to provide input for the agreement. Our voices join thousands of people across the country and a broad range of civil society groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Medical Student Association and the AFL-CIO that are calling for increased transparency and accountability in the TPP negotiation process.

"When will the U.S. Trade Representative listen? Why is the process so secret? Shouldn't we know the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership before the election?"

Published on Oct 18, 2012
DJKucinich []
Category: News & Politics
License: Standard YouTube License


Trans-Pacific Partnership Needs to Protect American Jobs

Published on Oct 25, 2013
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter []

On Friday, October 25, 2013 Louise spoke with Ed Shultz about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the need to end the era of giveaway trade. Louise has been a vigorous opponent of failed trade agreements and opposed her own party in voting against NAFTA when it was proposed in Congress. She is the author of the Reciprocal Market Access Act which would fix our trade negotiation process and protect American manufacturers from flawed trade deals that favor foreign countries.

Category: News & Politics
License: Standard YouTube License


Japanese Movement Against TPP Growing

Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership say it’s an attempt to impose an American system on Japan and would threaten Japanese public healthcare system

Published on May 6, 2013
TheRealNews []

Category: News & Politics
License: Standard YouTube License


A Conversation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Stratfor Analysts Karen Hooper and Matt Gertken discuss the strategy behind the United States’ latest push for a trans-Pacific free trade agreement, and the challenges it faces.
For more analysis, visit:

Published on May 24, 2013
STRATFORvideo []
Category: News & Politics
License: Standard YouTube License


Fighting The Trans-Pacific Partnership – Nile Bowie on GRTV

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is a proposed free trade bloc involving twelve Asia-Pacific countries, including the world’s first and third largest economies. As delegates prepare to descend on Kuala Lumpur for the next round of secretive negotiations, Malaysia-based journalist Nile Bowie joins us to discuss the proposed treaty and its ramifications. Find out more in this week’s GRTV Feature Interview.

Published on Jul 15, 2013
GlobalResearchTV []

Category: News & Politics
License: Standard YouTube License


The TPPA will destroy NZ Industry Murray Horton CAFCA MR NEWS

This is a must see for every country who is entering into free trade deals!
Murray Horton from the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa CAFCA lays out how the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) will destroy New Zealand’s economy and undermine our sovereignty.

Published on Apr 18, 2011
Vincent Eastwood []

Category: Nonprofits & Activism
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What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?

Learn more about corporate America’s latest power grab — the TPP — and sign the petition at

Published on Mar 14, 2012

Category: Nonprofits & Activism
License: Standard YouTube License


Expose The TPP
ExposeTheTPP []

What you don’t know WILL hurt you. So learn more about the Trans-Pacific Partnership at

further reading:

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Another CFR Conversation with Stephen Harper

A Conversation with Stephen Harper

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper discusses trade and the economy, current and future energy issues, and security concerns.

SPEAKER: Stephen Harper
PRESIDER: Robert E. Rubin

Published on May 17, 2013
Council on Foreign Relations

Category: Nonprofits & Activism
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Transcript: A Conversation with Stephen Harper
Speaker: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, Canada
Author: Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations
May 16, 2013ROBERT RUBIN: All righty. Welcome. I’m Bob Rubin, co-chairman of the council. And we welcome you here today. We are absolutely delighted to have with us our distinguished guest, the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. I will not recite from his resume; as you know, it’s council practice to simply welcome our distinguished visitor. But it’s worth looking at that resume. It’s extremely impressive and this is an extremely accomplished prime minister.

Let me just make one personal observation. I had the good fortune to be at breakfast with the prime minister this morning. We discussed — or the group that was there discussed economic issues, we discussed the Mideast, about which he knows an enormous amount. And he is very, very thoughtful, as you will quickly find out.

So we again, Prime Minister, are just delighted to have you with us. Our program will be as follows: I’ll spend about, oh, the first half of the program posing a few questions to the prime minister and then we’ll open it up to all the participants. And then we will adjourn on time.

If you do ask a question, raise you hand. Somebody will come to you with a microphone. State who you are, your affiliation, and be very brief so we can get as many questions in as possible.

Let me start you off in this way, Prime Minister — as I mentioned at breakfast, I happen to have a very small investment account, so it kind of interests me — (laughter) — what do — what do you — and I think, you know, I do, because I think Canada has a very strong position. But as you look forward over the next five or 10 years, what do you think about when you think about risks, problems, concerns, issues that Canada needs to address?

PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER: Sure. Well, first of all, thank you for the kind introduction and thank you, everybody, for having me today. I’m delighted to be back here.

Bob, let me just say this, what I said this morning, you know, we can point to little things, there’s always things you want to see better in your economy. But the fundamentals of the Canadian economy are very strong. Our growth is slow, but it has been extremely steady — the best overall since the end of the recession in the G-7. We continue to create jobs. We have the lowest tax rates at the federal level we’ve had in 50 years. And our debt and deficit levels are lowest in the G-7 by a long way — by a long way.

RUBIN: Can you tell people what they are? I think —

HARPER: Well, at a federal level we’re now peaking at about 33 percent. So it’s a very, very manageable level.

I can point to little things, but all of the risks to Canada are really external. There were never in Canada any of the fundamental problems that led to the recession globally — the banking problems, the housing market problems, the sovereign debt problems. None of these things were present in Canada in any significant way.

And our recession came about entirely due to our external markets, our export markets and the effect of commodity prices. And these things remain our significant risks in the — in the near and medium term. What I have told Canadians repeatedly in the last few years is those risks are there, they’re going to continue to be with us. And our finance minister, Mr. Flaherty, will continue to dialogue with his partners around the world, our central bank will try and deal with those things.

What we have to do in Canada is, quite frankly, simply look past those things and ask ourselves what can we do to try and increase the growth potential of our economy over time going forward. And that’s why we are working on trade agreements, including completing the one we’re in — negotiating with the EU right now; why we’re keeping our taxes down, getting our budget balanced; why we’re making investments in long-term economic infrastructure and innovation; why we’re focusing — are trying to focus our training programs increasingly on economic and labor force needs; why we’re reorienting our very — I think very positive immigrations programs even more towards the labor force. We’re trying to do all the things we can to deal with the growth potential of the Canadian economy, and as I say, not that there are no risks in Canada, but the real significant risks are all external.

RUBIN: May I ask you a question, Prime Minister? My impression — I think this is right — is that with all the great strengths of Canada, productivity still has not increased at the rate that it has in some of the competitive countries — for example, ours.


RUBIN: And what would you think, if that’s right — and I think it’s right — what would you think the reasons would be? And what can be done to address that?

HARPER: Yeah, it is — it is true. I don’t think we entirely know why it is true, but you know, we’re doing a couple things that are important. In terms of particularly our manufacturing sector, we’re doing things to encourage innovation and investment in that sector. We’ve had accelerated capital cost allowance write-downs for new machinery and equipment. We’ve eliminated all tariffs, incoming and outgoing, on manufactured goods. And we’re putting more money into — government money into the commercial side, commercialization side, of research and development.

These are all things on which we’re starting to see some improvements in productivity, particularly in that — I think that’s the really key place where it has to be done.

The other thing we’re doing more going forward is looking at — you know, given that we’re — like all big Western economies, we have large government, what can we do to improve productivity and efficiency in government. As we’re trying to balance our budget, rather than cutting services left, right and center, we’re trying to look at ways we can reduce back office overheads, we can find more efficiency through application of new technology, how we can improve our performance management system for our public servants, to make sure that we’re getting the highest levels of results.

So those are some of the things we’re trying to do on productivity, and I think I see some sign it’s starting to have some effect. But it’s something we’ll have to watch going forward.

RUBIN: You obviously are an enormous producer of energy — gas, oil, coal and so forth. How do the environmental versus the production of energy forces weigh out in Canada? You’ve got the gateway pipeline —

HARPER: Right.

RUBIN: — which I think now has run into some difficulty in British Columbia, if I remember correctly.

HARPER: Well, then the Northern Gateway is still — it’s still part of a regulatory review process. I — as I tell people repeatedly, we in Canada — you know, we have a market-driven energy system; the government does not fund or invest in particular energy products — projects, outside of the hydroelectric sector.

We have vigorous regulatory systems to look at the economic, environmental and other impacts of environmental — of energy projects.

I’ll repeat what I said this morning: to repeat kind of what you said, Bob, that, you know, whether it’s coal, hydroelectricity, uranium, natural gas, oil, you name it, Canada is one of the largest producers in the world, and in almost every case with some of the largest reserves in the world. So whatever the energy mix of the future, as I tell people, Canada will be a major provider.

Look, environmental challenges are real. They have to be dealt with. You know, in terms of the one that — probably one I do want to talk about today, the Keystone pipeline in particular —

RUBIN: (Chuckles.) Thought you might.

HARPER: — and the oil sands, let me just talk a little bit about the environmental side of that, because I know that’s something we’re going to be focused on.

Oil sands — first of all, one needs to put this in a global perspective. Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of global emissions are in the oil sands. And so it — it’s, you know, almost nothing globally.

Now obviously it’s a significant part of the — of our own pressures in terms of our targets, the targets we share — we share a Copenhagen target with the United States. We have the same target and obviously constraining emissions there in the oil sands is going to be important.

We’ve had a 25 percent reduction over the past decade or so in emissions intensity out of the oil sands — 25 percent down.

The province of Alberta already has a technology fund, a regulatory approach in the oil sands that is going to lead to even more investments in technology that will continue to reduce our emissions. So look, truth of the matter is heavy oils out of the oil sands — yes, there still are emissions issues, but no — no more so than heavy crudes in other parts of the world, including Venezuela. And I don’t have to tell you there are probably reasons beyond just emissions why you would want to have your oil from Canada rather than from Venezuela.

You know, this project — well, if I can just take a second, four things. I talked about the environment. You know, on the economic side, 40,000 jobs in this country alone over the life of the project — I don’t think, given the growth and job record in North America, we can afford to turn down — turn up our nose at that. Energy security — this project will bring in enough oil to reduce American offshore dependence by 40 percent. This is an enormous benefit to the United States in terms of long-term energy security. And finally, of course, I think when you weigh all these factors, including the environmental factors, it explains why there is such overwhelming public support for this pipeline in the United States and why the — in the — particularly in the regions affected, there’s such broad bipartisan support.

So I think this absolutely needs to go ahead, but you can rest assured that making our emissions targets, including in the oil sands sector, is an important objective of the government of Canada.

RUBIN: This may be an unfair question. You don’t have to respond to it. But you’ve obviously been touched with the — or involved with the — our government quite a bit on this subject. What would your prognosis be for approval? You can not respond to that, and you can say that — (laughter) — you can say it’s complicated — (inaudible) —

HARPER: (Inaudible) — ask Ambassador Jacobson that question. (Laughter.) Look —

RUBIN: I don’t think he wants to take personal responsibility for this. (Laughter.)

HARPER: I think — you know, as I say, I think all the facts, including the recent — you know, recent State Department had a pretty thorough analysis of this, including the environmental impact. And the immediate — the only real immediate environmental issue here is that we want to increase the flow of oil from Canada via pipeline or via rail. If we don’t do the pipeline, more and more is going to be coming in via rail, which is far more environmentally challenging in terms of emissions and risks and all kinds of other things than building a proper pipeline. I think all the facts are overwhelmingly on the side of approval of this, but there is a process in the United States. As I’m told by those who know, the process is subject, as in everything in this country, to a massive potential litigation on either side, so the — I know the administration will do a thorough analysis before arriving at the right decision.

RUBIN: Let me go back to my first question. (Laughter.) That was what — that’s what I thought you were going to say. Let me go back to the first question again. It really — I’ve spent a fair bit of time on this. It’s hard to see internally — for the external difference — internally, where Canada could go wrong. Yet every economy has its risks. So if you were to identify the 1 percent risk that would worry you, what would it be?

HARPER: Well, as I say, they are — they are external. That’s what keeps me up at night. We’ve had — I think there’s been some comment on it here. We have had, as you know, growth of household debt in Canada. I think it’s — it — the assets behind it still speak to the fact that it’s well-supported. The financial institutions lending are the most solid in the world. But household debt has risen. We’ve taken some important steps in Canada to cool that trend through changing some mortgage rules, which is having a noticeable impact. You know, there’s always risks you can’t predict in this world. There are security risks. There are terrorist attacks. As you know, we just have been working with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation working to make arrests on a particular incident we had not long after the Boston bombings. So there’s political risks. There’s always the risk of — there’s always the risk of people picking the wrong government, but my primary job is to make sure that doesn’t happen. (Laughter.)

RUBIN: Well, since you raise that, I wasn’t going to. But you do have — (laughter) — you have to have an election within the next 2 1/2 years sometime.

HARPER: Yeah, actually, we have a date set for October 25th.

RUBIN: Oh, you do? OK, I didn’t realize that. What will the issues in that election likely be?

HARPER: (Chuckles.) You know, I — look, I tell — in fairness, Bob, I tell people that my focus right now is the economy. And I am not — you know, I’m trying to — trying to stay out of campaign mode as long as I can. The — that’s one of the differences between our system and your system. The campaign mode is not perpetual in Canada, although when we had minority governments, it sometimes seemed that way. I believe that in the foreseeable future, to most people, the economy, the future of jobs and opportunities for themselves and for their children — those will continue to be the major issues. I think they’ll be the major issues for some time to come.

I think — look, I think, in the developed world, we’re going to have some ongoing challenges, particularly in Europe, and, for that matter, U.S. fiscal situation is likely to remain challenging for a while. But I think we’re at a crossroads as I think we all recognize there is a — there really is a shift, an unprecedented shift of power and wealth away from the Western world.

And in many ways, that’s a good thing, because we’re seeing hundreds of millions of people come out of poverty who never had opportunity before, and it’s something we want to see continue. But at the same time, if these trends continue, they will be a real threat to our standards of living. And what we keep telling Canadians, and I think all Western governments need to tell their people, is we can maintain and increase our standard of living and opportunity for our children and grandchildren, but we have to govern ourselves responsibly, we have to live within our means, and we have to not develop a mentality that somehow, the wealth we have today is a right, and it is simply going to be taken as a given. It’s going to be earned in a very competitive world. We’re prepared as government to make the investments and decisions necessary to grab that future. And I think we have to keep working with our people to make sure they understand those challenges, not just in their communities but obviously business leaders as well.

RUBIN: Look, I think that’s a very good statement of the challenge that faces all of us. Would you like to comment is another question you might want to be diplomatic about. (Chuckles.) As you look south — you obviously have a very strong economic relation with our country — what is — how does it strike you that we’re doing —

HARPER: Well —

RUBIN: — in the context of the framework you just set out?

HARPER: Look, we’ve made — you know, Canadians are very — you know, very proud of the fact that the country has performed so well over the past seven or eight years. And, you know, for the first time in a very long time, maybe ever, we now have numbers on standard of living that are at or exceed the numbers of the United States as a consequence of some of the trends of the last few years. And Canadians always — I tell people from around the world, Canadians always compare themselves to the Americans because you’re our only real neighbor, and it’s the only real comparison that matters to us. And we’re proud of that comparison.

But we also know that for our country to realize its potential, the United States has to do better. I’m encouraged by growth signs I see in the United States. As I mentioned here earlier today, I have enormous — first, I’m an enormous admirer of this country. And in spite of the fact I value the differences we have as Canadians, I’m an enormous admirer of this country, and I have enormous faith in the ability of the American people and particularly the American business community to always find opportunity, always seize it and always create a better future. That’s been the history of this country. I think it requires a hell of a lot of effort by everybody in Washington to make that not true. (Laughter.) And I just — I just don’t think they can sustain that kind of effort indefinitely, so — (laughter) —

RUBIN: Boy. Well, that’s a — (chuckles) — that, Prime Minister, is very well said. I hope that — (inaudible) — I hope that your bet on their inability to maintain that indefinitely has turned out to be right. (Laughter.)

Before we turn to everybody else, let me ask you, I had not realized, actually, until you were coming here just how deeply you’ve been involved with the Mideast and how constructively, from our point of view, at least. Why don’t you tell people a little bit about your involvement, how much you’ve been involved and what you’ve done and what your views are, including in — with respect to your views, if I may, on Israel, Syria and Egypt?


Well, look. I think like everybody we’re very concerned about what’s happening in the Mideast. I was criticized somewhat at home for maybe not as enthusiastically embracing the Arab Spring as some, not because I didn’t see positive there, but because I also saw enormous risks. And in some countries like Egypt, I think we’re starting to see the implications of maybe unrealistic expectations, both foreign and often on behalf of the populations themselves.

We were very supportive of our allies on the Libya mission. In fact, it was a Canadian commander, actually, in charge of that mission, with, obviously, our American, British and French and other allies, a mission I think, notwithstanding the problems we see today, was still worthwhile for all kinds of reasons.

Look, the one that’s on everybody’s mind is Syria. And I will just say this: You know, all joking aside about Washington, I — you know, we’ve — I have a really good relationship with the president. And, you know, obviously, think within the constraints of the American system, he’s doing what he can do on all kinds of issues. On Syria, I see a lot of criticism about inaction. I look at Syria over the past couple years, and I would urge the president and everybody else extraordinary caution in jumping into this situation. This is a terrible regime. Canada has some of the toughest sanctions in the world against the Assad regime. We believe, as everybody believes, that he should step down and there should be a transition.

But we should not fool ourselves about what is happening in Syria. The overwhelming complexion of the events in Syria is that of a sectarian conflict on both sides, with brutality and extremism on both sides. And to just start talking about, you know, as some do, arming unnamed people whose objectives — whose identities we don’t know and whose objectives we do not understand I think is — I think is extremely risky. So I think we are best to try and continue to work — we’re making — doing humanitarian aid, as I know the United States is. Best that we keep doing that nonlethal aid, that we assist the neighboring countries, particularly Jordan, who are threatened by this and that we continue to try and do what we can diplomatically, notwithstanding the obstruction of some at the United Nations, that we continue to do what we can diplomatically to try and see if we can’t bring the sides together and lead to a more peaceful transition. I think those are still the best options. Even if they don’t appear attainable, none of the other options, to me, are very pleasant.

I think it is also important — and I’ll use this opportunity to say it again, as I think many of you know, our government has been very well known for its strong support of the state of Israel. I think there is nothing more short sighted in Western capitals, in our time, than the softening support we have seen for Israel around the globe. This is the one strong, stable, democratic, Western ally that we have in this part of the world, and the worst possible thing we could do in the long term for any of our governments is to be anything less than fully supportive of Israel. As long as I’m prime minister, this government will remain very supportive, you know, and — of that country in what is a very challenging neighborhood.

RUBIN: As soon as you said — we’ll turn to everybody else, but now you lead me to a follow-up question, if I may. One would think that, in some respects, they have a very difficult situation right now. If you were Israel, how would you navigate in this — in this water?

HARPER: (Chuckles.)

RUBIN: And you may also — on that one our may find some equal answer, like saying it’s complex.

HARPER: Yeah, you know, it’s so hard. I speak frequently with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and it’s so hard for me to put myself in that kind of environment. As president — or Prime Minister Netanyahu always says to me, he says, I have the worst neighborhood in the world and you have the best neighborhood in the world, because you know where I am and you know all the turmoil around me. And he says, you have three oceans — you have oceans on three sides and the United States on the other. There is no possible better arrangement any country could ask for — (laughter) — in the entire world, and I think he’s absolutely right on that.

You know, obviously first and foremost — first and foremost, Israel has to be preoccupied with its own security, given all the risks — the immediate risks of — in the immediate neighborhood and the farther off but very real risks of places like Iran and its nuclear weapons ambitions, which I consider to be the biggest single threat to the globe today.

At the same time, obviously we encourage Israel to try and work with its neighbors to establish workable relationships, as it has with a couple. And we encourage Israelis and Palestinians to return to the peace table and try and make some progress there. But we should — I really think we should back away from a mythology that there is some kind of magic bullet in Palestinian-Israeli talks that would affect the wider region. The wider region is in turmoil for reasons that go way beyond the Palestinian question or, for that matter, the existence of Israel.

RUBIN: Prime Minister, thank you.

Now we will take questions from anybody who would like to begin the process of asking questions.

Yes, ma’am. Just state who you are and what your affiliation is.

QUESTIONER: Hello. Peggy Hicks with Human Rights Watch. Prime Minister, your government has looked at the issue of violence and murders against indigenous women, and it has been supportive of a parliamentary — special parliamentary committee that’s been set up but so far hasn’t been willing to take up the recommendation of a national commission of inquiry to address that very desperate problem, with hundreds of women missing or dead. This featured prominently in Canada’s UPR, Universal Periodic Review, in Geneva, and now some provinces and territories have come out in support of National Commission of Inquiry. Is it time for the government to support it as well?

HARPER: Yeah, I remain very skeptical. You know, I, first of all, tend to remain skeptical of commissions of inquiry generally. Not to say they never work or never produce good recommendations, but my experience has been, they almost always run way over time, way over budget and often, the recommendations prove to be of limited utility.

This issue has been studied; the government itself — the federal government itself — it’s been studied in several different venues — the federal government itself provided funding or multi-years of study within various branches of our government. We do really think it is time to pass to action.

We have been funding increasing elements — a number of elements in the justice system to increase the efficacy of both prevention programs as well as investigate techniques on behalf of the police. You know, we’re talking about a large number of cases, many of which bear no resemblance to each other whatsoever. And a lot of it is just a matter of getting — getting better processes to both prevent and investigate these kinds of disturbances.

But I think the other thing, more broadly, that is required — and something we have been battling in parliament for some years — is to really enhance the status of women in aboriginal communities. For instance, something we have been trying to pass for some years, when we were a minority, without success, and now advancing — we’re a majority is matrimonial property rights on reserve — women on Canadian reserves, for various reasons — historical reasons — don’t enjoy the same kinds of property and other rights that women off reserves enjoy.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission was, for all intents and purposes — its authorities were not applied on reserves until a couple of years ago when this government managed to amend legislation. So I think there are practical things besides, obviously, enhancing the efficacy of police work. There are things we have to do to increase and raise the status of women in aboriginal communities. And this has been a bit of a pitched battle, because there are forces within aboriginal communities and outside who have been resisting those kinds of changes.

RUBIN: Yes, sir.

QUESTIONER: Ralph Bertrands (ph), New York University. Prime Minister, in recent times, ethnic problems around the world have risen — ethnic separatism has risen. But in Canada, it seems to have declined. Why is that so, and what are the mechanisms the Canadian government has used in this process, and are there any lessons that the rest of the world can learn from this?

RUBIN: That’s a good question.

HARPER: You know, broadly — I won’t comment at great length on the issue of Quebec separatism. As you know, we have a separatist government in Quebec right now, primarily because it was the principal opposition, and Quebecers wanted to change the government, but in fact, support for their actual option of separation is at historic lows.

Look, I think one of the things we’re very proud of in Canada is the general approach we’ve had to diversity. It obviously has origins in the country, because almost from the outset, we’ve had two national languages. We’ve had a policy of multiculturalism for some years. The approach we have used in Canada that I think has been very effective — it’s not perfect — is that we have always taken the view that when people are prepared — people who have lived millennia in other nations pull up their roots and come to Canada, that this is a very dramatic decision they are taking.

And in wanting to do that, we should be very clear that in almost every case, they really want to become Canadians. And so as much as we want and expect them to integrate, we also view that it is our role as the country they’re coming to to make that integration process easier and to accept that when immigrants and when people of different cultures come to Canada, they will not only change to suit the country, but the country will, in some — in some measure, also evolve to reflect them.

And so I think, in understanding that this is a two-way street and that we accept diversity as a positive, this is a deeply-rooted, across the political spectrum in Canada. I think it’s been something that’s served us very well. And I say, notwithstanding problems that arise from time to time, I think it’s fair to say that there’s probably no country in the world with greater cultural diversity, but also greater cultural harmony than Canada, simultaneously.

RUBIN: In that context, Prime Minister, do you have an illegal immigrant problem in Canada of any dimension?

HARPER: We have — we certainly have illegal immigrants in Canada, but nothing like the problem in the United States. Our problems in Canada have tended to be more problems of people coming and making bogus claims in what is a very generous refugee system, as opposed to mass migration from across the border. So we certainly have illegal immigration, but it is — it would be a fragment of the phenomenon in the United States.

QUESTIONER: Mr. Prime Minister, Gordon Giffin, a lawyer from Atlanta, Georgia, proud graduate of Richview Collegiate Institute.

HARPER: My high school, same high school. (Laughter.)

QUESTIONER: And a former ambassador to Canada. Welcome, sir.

I hope I can formulate this question where it is coherent. 1988, Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement; 1994, NAFTA. Almost 20 years later, some significant, I’ll call them incremental initiatives, largely led by the two gentlemen sitting in front of me here, to improve how we work at the border together. But no big moves to try and make a difference in North America to make us more efficient economically. I’m not talking about in any way political integration or even currency integration, nothing like that.

But I even look at the Keystone debate right as evidence of the issue. The only reason we’re having this debate is because of an anachronistic provision in our law that relates to a permit to take infrastructure across the 49th parallel. Why we need that in North America, I’m not sure, when all of the jurisdictions along the route get to approve it or not under their own state laws.

So my — really, my question is, is there a chance of a much bigger initiative between our two countries at some point, to break down the anachronistic rules that impede economic efficiencies in North America, some of which have been done in Europe? I’m not talking about creating an EU with a large governance or anything, but the economic efficiencies.

Last thing I’ll say, when I was in Canada working on things like this, I found the impediment to that to be an insecurity in Canada about dealing with the United States, that we were somehow going to assimilate Canada. I don’t see that anymore. I think Canada’s much more self-confident in dealing with the United States and the world. So if that’s the case, is there a chance at doing a bigger deal going forward?

HARPER: Well, Gordon, let me just begin by just repeating — I know you’re familiar with it — some of the things we are doing, because I think we do have some significant initiative going forward.

We have the — what we call the Beyond the Border Initiative where we are attempting through a series of individual initiatives and investments and closer cooperation between border authorities, to make things more seamless at the border and to push a lot of — you know, inspections out around the perimeter of North America to try and arrange our affairs so that, as we say things, are — things are — you know, may enter twice, but are inspected only once. And we’re doing some of those things.

We also have a parallel initiative called the Regulatory Cooperation Council, where we’ve identified 29 areas to create greater consistency and harmonization of regulations and more importantly, in my judgment, especially for our side, is to find ways in those areas where we will prevent regulatory — unnecessary regulatory difference and duplication going forward, where we try and identify some of those things in advance, try and change some of the processes.

And I should mention one very specific project of international cooperation, which is the president just issued a permit for the Detroit River International Crossing, which this is financed largely by Canada, but this will be — this is a huge piece of infrastructure in what is — and we often forget the size of this relationship — what is the largest single trade corridor in the entire world, the Detroit-Windsor trade corridor.

So we have some important initiatives going forward. Could they lead to something systemically more integrated? Look, I think on our side, they could. I think on our side, they could. I agree with your assessment. I think the view — we had a watershed election in 1988 over the free trade agreement with the United States, and the opponents argued that whether economic integration with the United States — greater economic integration and trade would lead to wealth or not, it would cause Canada to lose its political independence and identity.

What we’ve seen is it has led to vast increases in cross-border trade without any such loss of political independence or identity. In fact, this past year, as you know, we’ve been celebrating the War of — the War of 1812, which —

RUBIN: I know. (Chuckles.)

HARPER: — permanently established this — (laughter) — this independence and separate identity. So I think that — there will always be opponents in Canada, but I think that is a real minority view now.

I think the resistance to this kind of thing’s far more in the United States than in Canada, for reasons that — and maybe, Bob and others, for reasons you would better fathom than me.

Some of it’s post-9/11 security concerns, but I’ve never seen — the United States in the past decade is — the sensitivity here about sovereignty and the negative assessments I often read of NAFTA — completely counterfactual assessments of NAFTA — I think, are the real barriers. I think the real barrier to making some of these arrangements broader and more systemic in terms of the integration are actually on this side of the border.

RUBIN: (Chuckles.)

HARPER: So I leave that to you guys to work out.

RUBIN: To the best my knowledge, Prime Minister, there’s never been a serious study of NAFTA that has shown it not to have been positive, but it lives in the politics of the United States in a very powerful way, because I think it symbolizes a lot of other issues that people are concerned about. That would be my impression, anyway.

HARPER: That’s — it — I don’t think there’s any evidence that it’s been anything but positive. And it’s one of these things — you get this sometime in politics — you get odd things where nobody would repeal it, yet nobody will admit it works.

RUBIN: (Chuckles.)

HARPER: And I don’t know why that is. In Canada I say the — there were many people opposed. It was a very close election, 50-50, Canadians’ original support, on the Canada-U.S. trade arrangement. Any political party that advocates backing away from this trade relationship or from NAFTA would never a general election in Canada, would never be a serious contender.

So that was a watershed, and people understand that this trade is necessary, essential and beneficial.

RUBIN: We’ll go back again. Right there. Yeah.

QUESTIONER: Stephen Blank, Fulbright professor, University of Ottawa. Back to risk. Three factoids: Canada’s increasingly a commodity-driven economy now. We see a decline of Canadian manufacturing competitiveness. And the trick — Canadian dollar trades about 10 to 15 cents higher than we always thought was appropriate. Do these pieces connect with each other? And is this a risk?

HARPER: I wouldn’t want to say they necessarily connect with each other.

We talked earlier today about commodity prices. I’m not sure I agree that we’re more commodity-dependent than ever. In fact, I think what distinguishes us from some countries like Australia is we’re actually less commodity-dependent.

But look, commodities are important. My own view is that commodity prices are likely over any significant period of time to track the general level of global economic activity. Obviously if there’s — if we were to see a recession or vast slowdown in the emerging economy, that would have a real impact on Canada through commodity prices, but it would have a real impact on everybody, whether you were commodity-dependent or not.

So I — you know, as I said earlier, I think — I think the fact that Canada actually is an advanced economy with a commodity side is actually one of our strengths. The fact that we have both traditional and nontraditional industries distinguishes us from some other developed countries where the kinds of problems you see in manufacturing and elsewhere are much more fatal in the long term.

We do need — as I said earlier, we do need to do more to make our secondary manufacturing sectors more competitive, more effective. We are working with the manufacturing sector through a series of sectoral initiatives as well as general tax policies to make that happen. I think those sectors are very supportive of what we’re doing in Canada to make that happen.

And on the research side, as you know, we have been making significant changes to try and make sure the vast — as we — you know, we are a very big funder of public R&D in Canada — to make that connect better with private R&D and to have better results on commercialization.

So look, those things are all — we can point at all kinds of things in Canada where things are not ideal or where there are weaknesses. And they’re all true. We have strengths and we have weaknesses. I don’t think any of these things individually would say that Canada, in isolation, is suddenly going to have a major economic problem. They’re all weaknesses we would have that — on which we would be susceptible, if there were a continued general global economic lowing. So I think our risks primarily (really ?) are external.

RUBIN: Over here.

QUESTIONER: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Daniel Arbess, Parella Weinberg Partners. I wanted to take the opportunity to ask about universal health care. You know, I was born and grew up in Montreal and had the experience of living with universal health care as an adolescent, and my family did. It provided full access to health care, but it always — it wasn’t always to the highest-quality health care and to the most accessible when you needed it. As you know, the United States is moving in this direction. And getting universal health care right is probably the most important economic imperative. I’m sure Bob Rubin would probably agree with that assessment. Being able to create a universal health care system in this country where costs will be managed but so will the quality and accessibility of service balanced against that is critically important as the demographic advances here. So I wondered whether you could illuminate lessons in the Canadian experience with universal health care that would be applicable to our experience here?

HARPER: You know, in all fairness, probably not. (Laughter.) And the reason — the reason I say that is my experience with the health care system is similar to yours, and that — as you know, in Canada, the federal government doesn’t run the health care system. We provide some significant funding through transfer payments to the provinces, but we actually have very little to do with actually running a health care system. And I don’t proclaim any particular expertise in running a health care system.

I would agree with your assessment that we have a system of — a system of universal access. I would actually say that I think, in my own experience, the quality of care is actually quite high. Timeliness is sometimes an issue and becoming more of an issue as we face some of the demographic pressures on that system. And sometimes a system that’s publicly dominated innovation is also — may also be a bit more of a challenge in some areas.

But look, as you know, the fact of the matter is, Canadians across the political spectrum, including our party, we are very supportive of the fundamental premise of the Canadian health care system, which is that when somebody is sick and needs medical care, their ability to pay should not be a factor in them being able to access medical care. And that is a principle that Canadians believe in and, I know, one that remains a matter of some debate in the United States.

I would also made the following observations — when I say that I can’t give you an easy answer — I’d make this observation. In spite of the differences between Canadian and American health care and the health care systems in many other Western countries, it seems to me that health care systems around the world, regardless of how they’re structured, seem to have a lot of the same problems, the more I actually look at them.

And a lot of the reason for the problem is actually a positive thing. It is that with the — with the great strides we’ve made in both the professions, professional training, and especially technology and drugs, that there is just more and more and more we can do to improve people’s lives and to keep them living longer. But these things all come with price tags and, in some cases, with enormous price tags.

And the fact of the matter is it is very difficult for systems to assess, however they assess it, where you’re going to put these resources. Resources are never unlimited. And the demands and the ability to treat in many cases are virtually unlimited. And so decisions have to be made, and however those decisions are made, whether they’re through queuing or through pricing or whatever they are, are very difficult decisions. And I just think those are challenges.

And they’re going to be compounded, as we all know, because of the demographics in Western countries, where the population’s aging, people will need more health care, and more health care professionals themselves are aging, there will be less and less practitioners. So those are going to be some of the common challenges.

In our country, previous federal governments — well, not running a health care system — made a point — our ambassador was a former premier — they made a point of periodically picking fights with the provinces over health care to demonstrate that somehow we were going to be great defenders of the system. I think that was an entirely negative dynamic. The approach we now take is we try to work with the provinces to assist them in tackling what are very real challenges going forward.

RUBIN: Prime Minister, if a province decided they didn’t want to have a single-payer system, would they be in a position where they could move away from that?

HARPER: They — technically yes, but they would not be receiving significant transfer payments from the federal government if they did that. And in fairness, there is no political appetite that I’m aware of in any province in any segment of — significant segment of political opinion to do that.

RUBIN: The gentleman over there. Yeah, that’s it.

QUESTIONER: My name is Andrew Gumlock (sp) from — (inaudible). You’ve had some recent bruising battles on economic nationalism. In the fertilizer sector you chose not to allow foreign investors in. In two recent energy deals, you debated it a lot but you ultimately allowed them in, ring-fenced some assets.

How do you see this playing out in the short term with the election? But more broadly, and perhaps more importantly, how do you see Canada attracting in the surplus countries into very capital-intensive industries? Frankly, they need capital well in excess of the savings of Canada.

HARPER: Yes, that’s true. We need — we need foreign investment and, at the same time, you should be under illusion that we want foreign investment in Canada. And in fact, although we screen all major foreign investments, only twice in our history have we actually rejected foreign investments.

I just want to talk briefly about the two issues you raised. The one where we did not allow the investment, this was a case of the potash industry, where currently it’s a Canadian/American company, and Canada is a dominate producer. And through a Canadian/American organization, it’s headquartered — or, you know, partly headquartered in Canada.

Canada has significant market power in that industry. In one single transaction, what was going to occur was that that significant market power as going to shift out of the country and towards a foreign, private investor. Our judgement was that, because we do screen foreign investments, that that simply was not in the long-term interests of the Canadian economy. I’d say that was fairly unique circumstances.

The second case you raise was our decision to allow certain state-owned investments — one by a Chinese state-owned corporation, another by a Malaysian state-owned corporation — into the energy sector. And we allowed those after considerable deliberation.

And while we allowed those, we were very clear going forward that in areas of the economy — like, for instance, the oil sands — where we see now a significant risk that if we did not restrict foreign ownership that we would have in — essentially have that sector be nationalized by some other state-owned enterprise.

Our view is that is not the direction we want for the Canadian economy. We want to have foreign investment. This government — in fact, it’s conservative governments in our country, like mine, who have opened up the economy for foreign investment and have privatized crown corporations. We did not privatize state corporations in order to see other governments nationalize our industry.

So while some foreign state-owned investment is desirable, we would not want it at a level at any critical part of the economy where essentially we began to put that sector of the economy under a foreign state management system, rather than having it essentially run by commercial forces. So as they say, it’s a matter of level and degree. And we’ll deal with that going forward.

The risk Canada actually has, given the attractiveness — we’re now rated — I forget — was it Forbes who said now Canada’s in the best place in the world to make an investment. We get that kind of rating elsewhere. Given the relative smallness of the Canadian economy and the relative size of some potential investors, I do think that if we don’t — if we don’t have this concern in mind, we could see our economy morph in a way we don’t intend.

And as I say, it’s not about foreign or domestic. It’s about the nature of state-owned enterprises versus genuinely commercial operations. And that’s the thing we’re keeping an eye on.

RUBIN: Yes, sir.

QUESTIONER: Jeff Laurenti with The Century Foundation.

Mr. Prime Minister, the gradual melting back of the ice cap over the Arctic Ocean, attributed usually to global warming, raises two issues, as you now have long, frozen territorial claims suddenly heating up as well. And I wonder if you might elucidate for us, first, on the mega-issue of global warming, on which Canada has taken a somewhat more nuanced stand — walking back from Kyoto — whether — for Canadians, perhaps the prospect of having a climate more like New Jersey’s is so appealing that, you know, it doesn’t seem to be urgent. So where do you see the global climate change issue going on the mega level?

And then, on the Arctic territorial claims question, what are the major claims and dispute that affect Canada, and do you see that as resolved by the six countries adjacent to the ocean relative to their bargaining power with each other, or under broader principles of international law like the Law of the Sea? What’s the interplay between those?

HARPER: First of all, on the issue of climate change — our government’s position from the outset is that we need a mandatory international protocol that includes all significant emitters, and that if we do not get that, we will not be able to control global emissions. Part of the reason our government was not supportive of the Kyoto protocol is it controlled one-third of global emissions and a shrinking proportion of global emissions. Even if the Kyoto protocol had — every country in it had realized their targets, which, of course, most weren’t — they would have had no impact whatsoever on the growth of global emissions.

So we need — we need some of the big emitters outside the developed world — not just the United States — China and others — to be part of a — of a global system. And I do believe a couple of things going forward if we’re going to make that global system effective. It’s not just a matter of setting targets. We actually have to have ways of reaching them. You know, many countries have tried simply setting a target as a way of demonstrating that they’re going to achieve something. We need a couple of things.

I think, first and foremost, we do need technological change. I am convinced that over time, we are not going to effectively tackle emissions unless we develop the technology — lower emission technology in energy and other sectors. And that is the thing that will allow us to square economic growth with emissions reduction and environmental protection. And I’m convinced that if we cannot square those two things, we’re not going to make progress globally.

And I don’t just say that about developed countries like ours, where people are still saying they need jobs as a consequence of the recession, but certainly, in the developing world, we’re not going to simply be able to put caps on economic growth as a way of achieving environmental targets. So that’s the framework we’re approaching it from, but look, there’s a lot of — there’s a lot of work to be done. There is still not — the reality is, there is still not an acceptance in many countries of the need for mandatory targets at all.

On the — on the issue of territorial claims, you know, with one — with one small exception, from our standpoint — with one small exception, there really aren’t significant land and territorial claims. There are some disputes, including with your country, on some offshore claims. We have some with the United States on the Beaufort Sea, we obviously have an ongoing dispute about the international status of the Northwest Passage; we have some dispute in the Lincoln Sea area with Denmark.

I think these are things that can be resolved bilaterally. We are obviously, at the same time, big supporters of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the process that’s going on there to deal with the — you know, the much farther offshore. And we will continue to support those international efforts. But I actually think the immediate territorial disputes, if they are to be resolved at all, can be resolved or managed bilaterally.

RUBIN: We have time for half a question more — (laughter) — and I’m going to — I’m going to take the liberty, if I may, of asking the question, because it relates to the question just answered. How do — can you see any way that the international community is actually going to effectively reach some kind of way of dealing with global climate change before it becomes a crisis that forces action? And in that context, is the G-20 an effective vehicle for dealing with transnational issues?

HARPER: Boy, that’s a big question.

RUBIN: Well, I — it’s a half a question, if you have a half an answer.

HARPER: Yeah. Well, look, I think the answer to the first question is yes. I think it’s going to be difficult. I think that — I think that most countries understand not just the question of climate change is serious, but understand that the price of having no effective environmental framework is already causing significant impacts and will cause greater impacts in the future.

I think even with marginal progresses in standard of living in places like China and India, there will be overwhelming public demand for environmental improvement in those countries. You know, it’s incomprehensible to me, when I look at the growth of China and India and I see the kind of environmental challenges that exist today, how those challenges could be tolerable if they became five or 10 times as bad. So I do think everybody will — will come to the realization, whether it’s on climate change or these broader economic problems of pollution and other such matters, that these things do have to be tackled.

I — I really do think that we’ll — we’ll get farther on these things if we take serious approaches. And serious approaches, Bob, means that we admit that not just they are big challenges, but they are also difficult ones. It is not a matter of just getting on a street corner and yelling and that will somehow lead to a solution. These are real challenges that — where environmental needs intersect and often appear to be at cross-purposes with economic and social development. And unless we realize that, take those things seriously, we’re going to keep talking around the real issues. So I think if we admit they’re real problems with real, difficult solutions and real, difficult choices that have to be made, that everybody has to contribute to, then I think we’ll make progress.

And I do think as time wears on and as we’ve had, you know, failures as we have through Kyoto and failures at some of these international conferences, I do think it will increasingly dawn on actors that we’ll just keep failing unless we actually get together and realize this is a — these are issues that — that don’t have simple, quick answers.

That was the first. What was the —

RUBIN: Oh, I’m just curious whether you think the G-20 is an effective mechanism for —

HARPER: Well, look, I don’t know. I — you know, I don’t — I wish I could tell you yes to that one. The G-20 was extraordinarily effective when President Bush first convened it in late 2008. It was extraordinarily effective at that meeting, at the subsequent ones in London and Pittsburgh, at arriving at a consensus on a series of issues that had to be addressed. And you know, we did a global stimulus. We worked for — we all worked together on — we shared, in fact, the panel on working together in more effective financial regulation. There’s been another — a number of other agreements.

What my observation would be, that going forward — when we all faced exactly the same problem, which was a collapse in economic activity, it — it — it sure led much more quickly to a consensus on what to do. Now that countries find themselves — you know, we talk about two three — two-speed, three-speed developed world, emerging economies on a different trajectory. As the situations and needs of these different countries diverge, getting consensus on these issues is proving to be more and more difficult. I don’t know whether it will be — whether it will be as effective going forward as it needs to be.

I do know this, that I think it’s the only mechanism at our disposal. I don’t think you’d want more than 20 players in the room. Unfortunately, the G-20 tends to mean, in practice, G-20 — something like G-35. But with 20 to 30 to 35 people in the room, I think you’re squeezing the — the bounds of effectiveness anyway, and — and there is nothing else that I see as a plausible substitute, other than the major sovereign players getting together and trying to — to work through some global needs.

What — what we lack — I would say often the real crucial problem is this. It’s — it’s not that — it’s not that — just that we have divergent paths and — and different situations. It’s that there is still often in these discussions a failure of many people around the table to fully grasp the holistic nature of the approach we need to take.

And look, we — Canada, like everyone else, we defend our national interests and our national perspective. But given that we are part of a global economy, effective — for lack of a better words, effective global governance through the G-20 — and that’s the closest thing we got — is only going to work if a lot of people around the table bring a holistic and global perspective to that economy and to — to what needs to be done globally. And that is still an area where we’re deficient, where I don’t think there’s still enough of a realization that the best we’re going to do — even in some of the largest economies, the best we have is coping mechanisms, unless we actually work together on how we address some of these challenges.

RUBIN: Prime Minister, we thank you for being with us and — (applause) — you were terrific.

(C) 2013 Federal News Service

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Had Enough?

Welcome to the Dump Harper weblog brought to you by the Canadians Against the Harper Regime Collaboration. The purpose of this article/doc/essay/collaboration weblog is to examine the various aspects that influence the major policy decisions along with the development of a timeline and players behind the scenes of the Harper Regime. As development continues on this platform, the best way to access the archives is by utilizing the search function until an outline and “site map” can be created. Please keep in mind that the majority of the information and data that was factored into this document can be found throughout this site along with various background sources and resources that are not formally referenced in individual components. This is a micro-project that is a part of a deeper investigative volunteer collaboration based upon decades of historical research and data gathering and loosely associated with a trend analysis resource titled: 15% RULE™.

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You, Me and the SPP

You, Me and the SPP:

?You, Me, and the S.P.P: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule? is a feature length documentary which exposes the latest manifestation of a corporatist agenda that is undermining the democratic authority of the citizens of North America.

Tougher foreign policy vital to Canada: Baird

By Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News
December 28, 2011

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird knows some of his government’s positions on the world stage are unpopular. Supporting Israel and walking away from the Kyoto accord earlier this month are two examples.

Baird won’t apologize for either.

“We don’t develop foreign policy to be popular around the world,” he says in a recent interview with Postmedia News. “Sometimes you’re alone saying something, and then a number of years later, it’s conventional wisdom.”

The refusal to concede on issues of importance to the government is one of the clearest marks that Canada’s approach to world affairs has undergone a dramatic change since the Conservatives first came to power nearly six years ago,

Gone is the so-called “soft power” and “human security agenda” of the previous Liberal government, symbolized by consensus building at the United Nations and diplomatic initiatives like peacekeeping.

In its place is a clear pursuit of interests linked to an uncompromising projection of values backed up by a strong military.

The government’s top concern, says Baird, is Canadian economic prosperity.

“It is a lens through which we view almost anything,” he says. “Foreign policy has become even more important to the economy. It’s really essential.”

The Foreign Affairs Department budget has increased by about $700 million since 2006 to $2.8 billion. Where it has resulted in more feet on the ground, those have largely been trade commissioners in trade offices opened in China, India, Brazil and other economic hotspots.

At the same time, Baird is quick to list the number of free trade and foreign investment agreements being pursued by the government. Perhaps not by coincidence, when Canada’s embassy in Tripoli, Libya reopened in September, the first officials deployed were trade officers, not political and human rights experts.

But nothing is bigger than the United States, and Baird identifies the recent Canada-U.S. border security agreement as the best example of “traditional diplomacy” from the last year.

“It took a solid, personal relationship at the top between the prime minister and the president in order to initiate something, successfully see its conclusion and announce it,” Baird says.

The same is true with the mission in Libya, he adds.

“I think Libya’s a big success because of strong leadership on behalf of the prime minister,” Baird says, though he also praises Gen. Charles Bouchard, the Canadian commander who oversaw the NATO operation.

In fact, the foreign affairs minister describes Libya as Canada’s biggest diplomatic accomplishment in the past year.

“No doubt the diplomatic work, the coalition-building and the military success in Libya was a big one for Canada,” he says. “How many thousands, tens of thousands, of civilian lives were saved? It’s just a remarkable accomplishment. (Moammar) Gadhafi was just the worst of the worst.”

The Canadian military has emerged as a major player in Canadian foreign policy in recent years, bolstered by the fact the Defence Department budget has increased nearly $5.6 billion to $20.3 billion since the Conservative government came into power. This has included the purchase of new aircraft, ships and armoured vehicles, as well as heavy combat roles in Afghanistan and Libya.

Critics have lamented what they say is the Conservative government’s prioritizing of military power over Canada’s traditional strength, diplomacy.

Sitting in his 10th-floor office at Foreign Affairs headquarters, known in Ottawa circles as Fort Pearson, Baird says the government is simply undoing years of damage wreaked by Liberal governments in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“The military was gutted for 13 years,” he says. “Hollowed out. Even the man the Liberals appointed to be chief of defence staff (Rick Hillier) called it a ‘decade of darkness.’ That didn’t happen here at DFAIT.”

But while the government is preparing to spend billions on new F-35 fighter jets, Baird refuses to rule out the closure of Canadian embassies abroad through budget cuts next year.

“I’m confident within the department we can achieve our mandate,” he says. “If spending is unsustainable, that’s the biggest threat to the public service, that’s the biggest threat to the department.”

Baird’s appointment to the Foreign Affairs portfolio in May came as a surprise to many. Known for his bombastic style in the House of Commons, many wondered whether he would be able to make the transition to becoming Canada’s top diplomat.

Baird says the biggest lesson he’s learned is that nothing matters more in Foreign Affairs than personal relationships.

“When we have an issue, whether it’s in the United States, whether it’s in Turkey, being able to pick up the phone and talk to my counterpart directly about it,” he says.

The country’s failure to land a UN Security Council seat in October 2010, ultimately losing to Portugal, has called into question whether the Conservative government has squandered the goodwill built up over the decades by previous Canadian governments.

Baird initially tries to blame North Korea and Iran, but eventually acknowledges some of the unpopular positions taken by Canada in recent years were a factor in turning away countries in the Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world.

When asked how he reconciles the importance of strong relationships with the fact a number of positions adopted by the government are unpopular with the international community, Baird indicates those who are most critical of Canada’s stances aren’t likely to be friends anyway.

“We’ve taken a tough stand on human rights in some parts of the world, and that makes some people feel very uncomfortable,” he says. “If you’re a government which doesn’t respect human rights, you’re probably not keen on Canada talking about the rights of women, the rights of religious minorities, the rights of gays and lesbians.”

In recent weeks, Canada has been called out by many nations, including European allies, for abandoning the Kyoto Protocol.

Baird says only a few countries have brought the issue up with him personally, adding that the government is simply leading where other nations will eventually follow.

He says this is exactly what happened with Canadian calls several years ago for all major emitters to be included in whatever climate change agreement is negotiated after Kyoto.

“People may not have liked our position on climate change in 2007, but they’ve adopted it almost wholly across much of the world today,” he said

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Security Perimeter: Harper government’s Big Lie To Canadians… And Americans

By Terry Wilson – November 30, 2011

By: David Stein

I am a retired teacher in law warning both Canadians and Americans who would like to defend their independence as sovereign peoples, about the so-called “Security Perimeter”. It appears that both the Stephen Harper government in Canada, an the Barack Obama ‘regime’ in the United States, are purusing an agenda to decieve people on both sides of the “current border”.

Legally, there is no such thing as the kind of “common security border arrangements” which these leaders describe, that would affirm the independence of Canadians and Americans from each other, in international law.

It is apparent that Stephen Harper and Barack Obama are talking in deceptive legal fictions designed “fool the masses” who are not schooled in law.

Just as colonial elites of Europe sought to fool the First Nations of Canada, and the United States with “treaties” with no legal integrity, the descendants of those elites have sought to hatch a similar scam.

It is apparent to borrow words of the First Nations, that these leaders and their operatives “are speaking with forked tongues”.

When Stephen Harper and Barack Obama refer to “common security border arrangements” they actually mean ‘NO BORDER’.

There would no longer be an international boundary between the United States and Canada, if the United States government through Homeland Security effectively controlled the Canadian border, along with national security arrangements and the oversight of the implementation of domestic laws including those on privacy.

The Harper government is selling-out the complete package of the remainder on Canadian sovereignty, while having the audacity to claim the Agreement they pursue with the American president, “has nothing to do with sovereignty”.

The Harper government’s claim according as defined by the Canadian Criminal Code, is nothing short of ‘treason’.

Wikipedia notes than in Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as “…[a]…citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation].”

For Americans, the so-called North American Union would amount to the replacement of the American Constitution with a continent-wide neo-fascist state presided by the elites who act as the puppeteers of the Obama regime.

It is apparent that both Stephen Harper and Barack Obama are students of the technique which Leo Strauss called the “Big Lie”. Leo Strauss was ironically a Jew, who was inspired by the “Big Lie”. Accordingly, tell a lie that is so big, that no one would believe you could ever be lying.

Stephen Harper’s claim that the legal fiction of the so-called “North American Security Perimeter” has “nothing to do with sovereignty is laughable. The Stephen Harper government according to Dr. John Lash’s insights on could be considered a government of ‘archons’ which in turn is being propped-up by opposition parties infiltrated by archons, and a mass-media under the apparent spell of archons.


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Understanding cables

Every cable message consists of three parts:

  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05TORONTO2778 2005-10-21 10:13 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Toronto
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.


E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/20/2015


Classified By: Acting Consul General Michael Schimmel for reasons 1.4 (
b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: On October 20 the Detroit Free Press reported that the Ambassador Bridge owners have proposed giving the City of Detroit $30 million to &extend the lease8 on the Detroit Windsor Tunnel and buy some land at the foot of the bridge. Ambassador Bridge owners say they plan to construct a 200-acre super inspection plaza for U.S. and Canadian border enforcement officials. This article was published one day after the latest meeting of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) Study, evaluating possible sites for a new border crossing. Although the Ambassador Bridge owners are publicly stating that there is no need to construct a new crossing between Detroit and Windsor, they appear to be quietly moving behind the scenes toward construction of a second privately-held bridge span. END SUMMARY.

Ambassador Bridge Owners Unveil &Big Plans8 for Detroit
——————————————— ———-

2. (U) The Detroit Free Press reported on October 20, 2005, that the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC), operator of the Ambassador Bridge, proposes giving the City of Detroit $30 million to &extend the lease8 on the Detroit Windsor Tunnel and buy about 25 acres of land near the bridge. Officials in the Detroit Mayor,s office touted the benefit to the city budget, and Ambassador Bridge owners emphasized the economic development benefits, estimating that up to 3,000 jobs would be created by the project. Some Detroit City Councilors, however, expressed reservations about the proposal.

3. (U) The proposal involves creation of a 200 acre super inspection plaza for both U.S. and Canadian border enforcement officials in Detroit at the foot of the existing bridge (at an estimated cost of $150 to $200 million). Under this proposal, which would require the concurrence of the Canadian government to station Canadian officials on U.S. soil, all existing border inspection facilities on both sides of the border at the bridge and tunnel would be closed, all inspections would be consolidated on the new site, and a secured two-lane road would be built from the new super inspection plaza to the entrance to the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. Ambassador Bridge officials claimed the resulting efficiencies would dramatically reduce crossing times, enabling the existing crossings to handle more traffic and pushing the need for another bridge span or tunnel expansion 20 to 25 years into the future.

3. (C) Neal Belitsky, Vice President of Operations for the Detroit and Canada Tunnel Corporation (DCTC), told PolOff the DCTC lease with the City of Detroit to operate the tunnel runs through 2020. He noted that the DCTC joint operating agreement with Windsor runs through 2007. Belitsky said he was not certain whether Detroit could legally sell its operating lease with the DCTC.

Is A New Detroit River Crossing In The Cards?

4. (C) The Detroit Free Press article was published one day after the latest meeting of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) Study, evaluating possible sites for a new border crossing (NOTE: PolOff attended the meeting and will send a report on its conclusions via septel. END NOTE). U.S. participants in the closed-door meeting noted that constructing a second span parallel to the existing Ambassador Bridge, would probably be acceptable from a U.S. standpoint, if the new crossing were publicly owned. But David Wake, from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, said he expects the Canadian side will shortly rule out this possibility for social and environmental reasons because it would result in an increased volume of truck traffic running on already congested local roads through downtown Windsor. DRIC meeting participants agreed that, if the bridge span twinning proposal is rejected by Canada, the U.S. side will drop it from consideration.

5. (C) An Army Corps of Engineers representative at the DRIC meeting, said the Ambassador Bridge owners have in recent weeks come to the Corps offices in Detroit to discuss how to obtain the permit required to construct a second bridge span. She, and the Coast Guard representative at the meeting, noted that the U.S. permitting process is basically technical, rather than policy-oriented, and must be completed within 90 days (for the Coast Guard) and 120 days (for the Corps of Engineers). Wake said the bridge owners have been in similar discussions with Canadian government officials. He observed that the Canadian permitting process is similarly technical, noting that it may also be difficult for the Canadian government to avoid issuing a permit if/when they are asked.

6. (C) Comment: Although the Ambassador Bridge owners are publicly stating that there is no need to construct a new crossing between Detroit and Windsor, they appear to be quietly moving behind the scenes toward construction of a second privately-held bridge span. Today,s article in the Detroit Free Press shows the funds the Ambassador Bridge owners are willing to expend to protect their revenue stream (estimated at $1 billion per year by the Detroit Free Press) and gain political support for their plans on the Detroit side of the river. Opening a new span on the Ambassador Bridge site could bring some benefits to the Detroit side of the river where a highway construction project will soon provide the needed road infrastructure to smoothly funnel additional cross-border traffic onto I-75. But adding a bridge span in downtown Windsor would present a difficult challenge for officials on the Canadian side of the river. End Comment.



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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05OTTAWA3103 2005-10-17 20:18 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Ottawa
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Introduction and Summary: Treasury DAS for International Monetary and Financial Policy Mark Sobel led the U.S. delegation to the first Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) Working Group meeting and the 11th NAFTA Financial Services Committee meeting near Ottawa on October 4, 2005. The session was chaired by Gerry Salembier, Director for Financial Institutions at Finance Canada and the Mexican delegation was led by Guillermo Zamarripa Escamilla, head of the Bank and Savings Unit at the Ministry of Finance (Hacienda). Canada will draft a record of the meeting for clearance by Mexico and the U.S. in which the report on SPP issues will be covered in a format that can be presented as a separate report to the leaders, highlighting completion of the first items in the work plan. There was agreement that the U.S. will host the 2006 meeting, with details to be confirmed later. End Introduction and Summary.

NAFTA Chapter 14

2. The meeting opened with a review of NAFTA Chapter 14 issues, with most discussion on nominees for the Financial Services roster. Canada and Mexico have proposed five roster members each; the US has proposed four and confirmed that we hope to be able to reveal the fifth nominee within a few weeks, after Congressional consultation. There was consensus on exploring the possibility of flexibility in the length of nominees’ terms. There were no legislative notifications relating to federal reservations in Section A of the Schedules to Annex VII.

SPP Work Plan

3. The morning session was devoted to reviewing progress on the SPP work plan for the Financial Services Working Group. Following is a brief and by no means comprehensive summary of some of the major points raised in the discussions. (Numbers are keyed to the June 2005 SPP Report to Leaders.)

— 1. Further collaboration on training programs for bank, securities and insurance regulators and supervisors: The parties will report to Leaders that two items in the work plan have been completed. These items comprise an inventory of existing technical assistance training programs for financial regulators, their value, and whether there is need for more extensive training programs. It was agreed that the existing program is comprehensive and should be continued. The parties also outlined initiatives to boost financial literacy and financial education, agreeing that things are on a positive track and can continue independently of the SPP process.

— 2. Automatic Clearinghouse Issues: The U.S. and Mexico reported progress, but agreed more work will be needed before making the ACH process bi-directional.

— 3. Tax issues: Negotiations are underway between the U.S. and Canada and the working group will evaluate progress at the end of the year. The Canadian side flagged concerns about a non-agenda item – the 30% withholding tax on clients of branches of U.S. insurance companies in Canada.

— 4. Banking/Tax issues: On tax issues, the FSWG recognized that U.S. and Canadian negotiators are working on revision of the bilateral tax treaty, and it was agreed to update those elements of the work plan towards the end of this year. The FSWG will report that an item regarding information sharing on interest income by Canadian nationals will be dropped from the work plan as it has progressed as much as possible.

— 5. Banking and insurance issues: the Mexican delegation noted that the sectors are very distinct in Mexico. The fact that 80% of bank capital is foreign changes the dynamic. On insurance issues, experts will be meeting later this month and their findings will be incorporated into the FSWG’s final meeting report.

— 6. Securities issues: Salembier reminded WG participants that in Canada regulatory jurisdiction is provincial and stressed the Federal government’s commitment to remedying that “piece of unfinished business.” The Finance minister met last week with provincial counterparts to discuss evolution towards a single national securities regulator. Salembier noted that Quebec has temporarily exempted the London Stock Exchange from recognition requirements as a step towards facilitating exchange access. The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) continues its strong advocacy for access to U.S. trading screens. The SEC invited the TSX to meet with the new chairman to explain their proposal. Salembier, in an aside, noted that firms would welcome clarification from the SEC on when contacts in the U.S. trigger the “solicitation” recognition threshold.

— 7 With regard to reciprocity/harmonization of insurance requirements for motor carriers, the GOC side hoped that “in the spirit of progress” they would see a more forthright response from the U.S. to get the process underway. The U.S. side responded that the Insurance Trilateral Working Group would follow up on this and other issues in the near future, and their results could be incorporated into the report.

— 8. Annuities: The issues under this category remain bracketed. The Mexican delegation stressed that reform of Mexico’s social security system is a thorny domestic issue that will be handled in channels other than the SPP.

— 9. Supervisory and Regulatory Standards: There was some discussion of the nature of this item on the work plan, but agreement that the parties will continue to cooperate in facilitating application of standards and, where appropriate, working towards convergence.

— 10. Financing for Development: The Canadian chair of the FSWG explained that despite efforts to interpret the scope of the working group as broadly and comprehensively as possible, establishing a grant to fund development in Mexico fell outside his area of jurisdiction and might be more usefully pursued by another SPP working group. The U.S. expressed similar views. It was agreed that although this item is bracketed and is unlikely to progress under the auspices of the FSWG, it will remain on the work plan unless or until the Mexican Presidency decides it should be removed.

NAFTA Financial Services Committee

4. The meeting continued in the afternoon with updates by each party on regulatory and legislative developments and the financial services aspects of other international agreements. Mexico provided a preview on plans for changes in bank regulation, covering complementary services companies, capitalization standards, multiple scope financial institutions and bank investments. Other plans include a project on sanctions implementation on financial institutions, a new securities market law and reform of the insurance laws.

5. Canada reviewed upcoming legislative initiatives including the 5-year review of financial sector legislation, enhancements to the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime and changes in private defined benefit pension plans.

Update on Fireman’s Fund

6. Mexico provided an update on the status of this NAFTA Chapter 11 case, and Canada, stressing its neutrality in matters of fact, provided copies of its submission on the prudential carve-out.

Visit Canada’s Classified Web Site at



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  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.

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If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at the paragraph symbol).
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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07OTTAWA1192 2007-06-20 20:03 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Ottawa
DE RUEHOT #2048/01 3112037
R 072037Z NOV 07
DE RUEHOT #1192/01 1712003
R 202003Z JUN 07




E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2017

1. (SBU/NF) Summary: In a recent Border Caucus meeting with the Ambassador and in one-on-one meetings with Emboffs, MPs have expressed a wide variety of issues about the border and cross border travel and trade. Most of the MPs from border provinces say they have as one of their key issues (not just key bilateral issues, but key issue period), the implementation of WHTI. They continue to press for any relief they can get on the passport requirement, arguing that it will hurt trade, tourism, and long-standing relationships between border towns. There is also concern by MPs who live in the Windsor area about bridge expansion and management and a desire for clarity and strategic planning between the U.S. and Canada on this key issue. Finally, it is interesting to note concern among some MPs, notably in the NDP, over the course of SPP. They focus on perceived negatives in NAFTA in the areas of labor and the environment and extrapolate that things can only get worse with the SPP. Embassy is well tooled to push back against these arguments and continues to meet with all comers to explain our positions. End Summary
2. (SBU/NF) Ambassador met with some 12 members of the Border Caucus recently for a luncheon and Emboffs have met recently with eight or so other MPs to discuss bilateral and border issues. The following is a compilation of the issues they raised and their views:

— France Bonsant, BQ – Stanstead, Quebec, Closure of Streets in Stanstead: Ms. Bonsant raised an issue which hit the press June 20 — the closure to through traffic of three streets in a village in her riding that abuts a Vermont village on the other side of the border, thus dividing what is effectively one town (Stanstead, QB and Derby Line, VT). This is apparently one of those towns where building and streets are literally split by the border and pedestrians who cross into the U.S. while traversing the street are instructed through signboards to report themselves to US Customs. The local community has received reports that the streets will soon be closed by US authorities in order to channel people through the nearest port of entry. TV reports indicate that this would have to be voluntary as the open streets are protected by treaty. Bosant wrote the Ambassador asking for his help in keeping the streets open and maintaining the flow of the towns as they are.

— Bonsant, Scanner for Christmas Trees: It was clear from these exchanges that Canadian MPs are interested in down-to-earth issues of commerce and travel that affect their constituents. Bonsant also expressed concern about the lack of a scanner for one of the crossings in her riding where hundreds of thousands of Christmas trees are shipped to the U.S. each year but are delayed at the border for inspection. She asked us to look into the issue of increasing efficiency at key border posts, in this case, by the addition of better technology.

— Judy Sgro, Liberal – York West, Ontario, Management of Ambassador Bridge: In a meeting with Poloff, Ms. Sgro asked for reassurance about how the Ambassador Bridge was being managed in terms of security and expansion. She was uncomfortable with the private sector management of the bridge in an era of rising threats and sought assurances that there was strategic planning being conducted by our two governments on the future of the bridge. Qgovernments on the future of the bridge.

— Jeff Watson, Conservative – Essex, Ontario, Ambassador Bridge Expansion: Like Sgro, Watson covers a riding whose current economy depends on the smooth operation of the Ambassador Bridge, and whose future economy depends on the expansion of the bridge. He is very interested in the ongoing negotiations over twinning and the third span and the various options for this, and wants to see a better bilateral planning process for the future of the cross border infrastructure. He is concerned by recent indications that the U.S. may not be fully supportive of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) planning process. “If the DRIC is undermined,” Watson said, “there will be a free for all and the required infrastructure upgrades will be delayed,” with potentially negative consequences for the cross border economy. NDP MP Brian Masse from Windsor similarly is concerned with rumors he has heard that officials on the Michigan side of the border are considering abandoning the bi-national planning process.

— Watson, Pre-Clearance Negotiations: Watson would also like to see negotiations on pre-clearance continue. He basically expressed interest in anything that would help the border to function more efficiently and for vehicles and

OTTAWA 00001192 002 OF 002

cargo to move more smoothly.

— Gord Brown, Conservative, Leeds-Greenville, Ontario, Future Travel under WHTI: Brown said he owns hotels in the Greenville area and watches bookings closely. He said to date things are not bad and he has not seen an impact from WHTI jitters on cross border travel. He is concerned, however, with the impact of the WHTI requirements on group travel, and hopes that if we cannot change the passport requirement we will at the very least clarify the requirement so that groups and individuals can plan with certainty.

— Peter Stoffer, NDP, Sackville, Eastern Shore, NS, SPP Impact on Labor and Environment: Stoffer is one of the more conservative of the NDP members, but nonetheless expressed concern to Poloff about the direction the SPP is headed. The NDP, he said, is primarily concerned about the impact on labor and the environment and has some detailed issues it would like to ensure are considered throughout the SPP process. He complained about lack of inclusiveness on the Canadian side during the discussions — the NDP critic, Peter Julian was not invited to the Calgary talks, for example, nor were representatives of the Canadian Labor Congress. Stoffer said they would like to ensure that no one is left out of the discussions. He also said the NDP position is to keep some things off the table altogether as the process moves forward. Finally he suggested we not use the word “integration” when discussing SPP, since people on his side of the political fence have a major problem with anything that smacks of Canada being pulled into the American orbit.

3. (SBU/NF) Comment: In these and other discussions with MPs we get a good sense for the range of issues they are facing in border ridings. They leave us with several observations. First, there is a need for constant dialogue on key issues. Canadians want to feel like they are part of the planning process and resent when we simply make decisions and inform them. Second, they appreciate clarity. On WHTI and the Ambassador Bridge what hurts us most if simple lack of clarity about what will happen and when. Third, there is considerable disinformation about SPP and beating this back will take a concerted effort. On the Canadian side there may be more work to do to expand the circle of shareholders who are part of the process, ensuring all voices are heard as decisions are made.

Visit our shared North American Partnership blog (Canada & Mexico) at



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If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs.

Understanding cables

Every cable message consists of three parts:

  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables

If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at the paragraph symbol).
Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09OTTAWA434.

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09OTTAWA434 2009-06-05 21:03 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Ottawa
DE RUEHOT #0434/01 1562103
O 052103Z JUN 09





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary. DHS Secretary Napolitano held productive
meetings in Ottawa on May 27 with PM Harper, National Security
Advisor Morin, Public Safety Minister Van Loan, and Citizenship
Minister Kenney, at which Canadian officials pledged cooperation on
border issues, especially in facing threats from terrorism and
crime, which affect both our countries. She heard concerns from
business leaders that U.S. border measures were hindering trade.
She signed the landmark “Shiprider” agreement — integrated maritime
law enforcement operations — during a stop to the Detroit/Windsor
border on May 26, and announced an agreement on a framework for the
movement of people and goods across the U.S. Canada border during
and following an emergency. Secretary Napolitano and Minister Van
Loan agreed to meet at least twice a year in the future. End

The Prime Minister

2. (SBU) During a May 27 visit to Ottawa, Secretary of Homeland
Security Janet Napolitano met with a range of high level Canadian
officials, accompanied by Charge d’Affaires Breese. The meeting
with Prime Minister Stephen Harper focused on the implementation of
the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), Canadian concerns
about U.S. security measures at the border, and land preclearance.
PM Harper reiterated his statement from the joint press conference
with President Obama on February 19 that threats to the United
States and Canada are shared. However, he expressed concern about
U.S. statements regarding “parity” between the Mexican and Canadian
borders. He highlighted Canadian perceptions that the borders are
significantly different and insisted that they should not be treated
the same. The Prime Minister stated his overall security concerns
were similar to those of the United States, but underlined
particular concern about any emerging nexus between organized crime
and terrorism.

National Security Advisor

3. (SBU) In a separate meeting, National Security Advisor
Marie-Lucie Morin emphasized that the interagency group of Deputy
Ministers she leads is focusing on borders and all modes of entry
into Canada, not just the land border. She pointed out that
Canada’s air and sea border security directly impacts the U.S.
because of the shared land border. She expressed Canada’s interest
in undertaking joint threat assessments. She also expressed her
belief that intelligence sharing between our countries is “back on
track after some unfortunate cases;” CDA Breese commented that the
Embassy still sees significant problems. She confirmed that
Minister Van Loan has the broad policy lead for information sharing
issues on behalf of the Government of Canada, but that those issues
also involve Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Justice Canada,
Transport Canada, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade. Ms. Morin pledged that Canada would like to
work with the United States on security cooperation with Mexico, and
expressed appreciation for the strong U.S.-Canada-Mexico
collaboration to address the recent H1N1 virus, underscoring the
value of having protocols in place to address similar situations.

4. (SBU) Ms. Morin commented that a secure, stable border is
important and that, among the serious threats we face, the economic
threat is high as well. Ms. Morin said she would lead a delegation
of senior officials to Washington in September; Secretary
Napolitano offered to have DHS officials (specifically DAS Silver)
QNapolitano offered to have DHS officials (specifically DAS Silver)
work with her staff and State Department officials on an exchange of
letters to set up an agenda for this visit. Ms. Morin asked that
DHS and her office work together to establish a set of priority
issues for discussion at the August 2009 North American Leaders
Summit (NALS). She emphasized that collaboration needs to focus on
concrete issues and deliver rapid results.

Public Safety Canada

5. (SBU) In a meeting on May 27 following the shared Ambassador
Bridge tour, signing of the Shiprider agreement (see para 14), and
joint press conference in Detroit the day before, Secretary
Napolitano met with Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan in Ottawa.
She assured Minister Van Loan of DHS’ readiness for the
implementation of WHTI. She and Van Loan agreed to advance
discussions at the senior officials’ level on developing a joint
threat assessment, potentially including the private sector in
particular on threats to critical infrastructure and consequence
management issues. Minister Van Loan strongly urged the reopening
of discussions on land preclearance, but Secretary Napolitano
cautioned that potential efficiencies were unclear and suggested
instead discussion on other outstanding preclearance-related issues,
including private aircraft, marine and rail, and cargo. Deputy
Minister Suzanne Hurtubise said she had recently completed

OTTAWA 00000434 002 OF 003

consultations with other departments and that Canada would be
willing to discuss General Aviation/private aircraft preclearance.

6. (SBU) Minister Van Loan agreed to look into the issues on an
expedited basis raised by CDA Breese, notably the possible provision
by Canada of status under the air preclearance agreement to CBP
personnel working in Container Security Initiative Ports in Canada
and CBP officers conducting preclearance for ferries at Canadian
terminals. The Secretary and the Minister agreed to have CBP and
CBSA conduct a review of the trusted shipper programs — C-TPAT
(CBP) and PIP (Canada) — to see if they could be further
integrated. Minister Van Loan indicated his preference to pursue
with Canadian airlines obtaining “informed consent” from passengers
overflying the United States to provide their information to the
United States for Secure Flight. The Secretary suggested looking at
subsets of data on arriving passengers that we could share.
Minister Van Loan discussed collaborating on issues relating to
domestic radicalization and suggested Canadian Security Intelligence
Service (CSIS) should meet with DHS officials to discuss outreach
they have done to diverse populations in Canada. The Secretary and
the Minister agreed that the two departments should work together on
cybersecurity. They agreed to meet again in late October/November
2009 — and at least twice a year thereafter — and expressed the
hope of seeing substantial advancement of specific elements of the
joint agenda at that time.

7. (SBU) Following their meeting, the Secretary and the Minister
conducted a joint press conference at which they announced agreement
on a framework for the movement of people and goods across the
border during and following an emergency. They also released a
joint border statement, in which they outlined six shared goals that
they would work toward during their agree-upon twice-yearly
meetings. The goals included developing joint threat and risk
assessments, advancing initiatives to manage risk while facilitating
the movement of legitimate goods and people, sharing information to
prevent people or goods that threaten our safety from entering
either country or crossing the border, expanding integrated law
enforcement operations along the shared border and waterways, and
exploring models for joint or shared border facilities, equipment
and technology as well as cross-designation of personnel as

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
——————————————— ——–

8. (SBU) In a separate meeting, Minister for Citizenship,
Immigration, and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and the Secretary
discussed immigration, asylum and refugee programs and processes,
and ways to share additional information to prevent criminals and
terrorists from entering our immigration or refugee systems. (This
was the first time that a DHS Secretary had met with an immigration
minister.) Minister Kenney emphasized Canada’s desire to look
closely at visa screening and security in its immigration program.
He discussed challenges in Canada’s refugee and asylum system, in
particular high numbers of “inland refugee claims” (those made by
immigrants who travel to Canada by other means and then claim asylum
after arriving), stating that he was “very concerned about abuse in
this system.” He admitted that 55% of these inland refugee claims
are rejected, but because of appeal delays and applications for
Qare rejected, but because of appeal delays and applications for
humanitarian exceptions, many are not removed for many years.
Minister Kenney explained that CIC was preparing a package of
reforms to the system to address these delays and increase resources
for removals that would be put forward in the fall.

9. (SBU) Minister Kenney admitted that Canada was behind the
United States and the United Kingdom in its fingerprint program, and
said that CIC was looking to accelerate its implementation in Canada
ahead of the current 2013 target date. CDA Breese offered to host
the Minister at the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section to view the visa
and fingerprint process at his convenience. Deputy Minister Fadden
raised concerns about the difficulties of sharing information,
including biometric information under the current MOUs between the
United States and Canada which predate both the creation of CIC and
DHS. The Secretary and the Minister agreed to put together an
appropriate group of officials to discuss the MOU and the legal and
policy impediments to sharing information for immigration and
security screening purposes on a more systematic basis, with a goal
of updating the MOU.

10. (SBU) Minister Kenney expressed interest in the U.S. Enhanced
System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program for Visa Waiver
entrants. He admitted that Canada needs to do more in screening
visitors from Visa Waiver countries. The Secretary offered to host
CIC officials in Washington with the DHS ESTA team to brief them.
Minister Kenney also discussed differences in admissibility criteria
(in particular on national security issues), stating there have been

OTTAWA 00000434 003.2 OF 003

cases where the United States has admitted persons Canada has kept
out, and objecting that Canada is somehow “softer on immigration.”
(Comment: The reference was to British MP George Galloway, who was
denied entry to Canada because of his support for Hamas but was
admitted to the U.S. for a speaking tour. End Comment) The
Secretary and the Minister agreed to have a group of officials meet
to develop a matrix to compare and contrast the screening process
and admissibility criteria between the U.S. and Canada and report

11. (SBU) Minister Kenney expressed his strong desire to enhance
information sharing between Canada and the United States, and
emphasized that his government is ready to explore legislative
changes to make greater information sharing possible. CIC has asked
that DHS alert CIC when ICE is preparing significantly to ramp-up
interior immigration enforcement actions, as U.S. enforcement
activities impact Canada’s refugee claimant numbers. The Secretary
asked in return that CIC alert DHS to any anticipated changes in
immigration policies related to Haiti. Minister Kenney asked to
meet with the Secretary on an annual basis to further the
relationship and ensure coordination and communication on
immigration and visa policy issues, which she agreed would be

Private Sector

12. (SBU) At a May 26 dinner hosted by Canadian-American Business
Council (CABC) Executive Director Maryscott (“Scotty”) Greenwood,
the Secretary had an opportunity to meet with CABC board members
from cross-border Canadian business associations and some Canadian
politicians, including Senator Pamela Wallin and Member of
Parliament Bev Shipley, as well as former Canadian Ambassador to
Washington Michael Kergin. Ambassador Kergin noted his belief that
the “future of cooperation is real transparency in our intelligence
and security agencies.” Janet Lambert, former President of
BIOTECanada, noted that improved security can have economic benefits
for any sector, and common policies between the countries on
security measures would be helpful. She emphasized there does not
need to be a trade-off between security and trade. Ron Covais,
President for the Americas of Lockheed Martin, recommended that DHS
review recommendations made under the North American Competitiveness
Council (NACC), a trilateral private sector council of CEOs from
Canada, Mexico, and the United States, formed several years ago to
advise the leaders of the three countries under the Security and
Prosperity Partnership (SPP). He suggested some of these
recommendations may be worth considering and that the government
should ask the private sector to see how technology can make it

13. (SBU) Shirley Ann George of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
recommended a joint set of recommendations that the Canadian and
U.S. Chambers of Commerce developed with “practical ideas” for
facilitating trade along the border. Others advised that “language
matters” when speaking to the Canadian public, and suggested that
“sovereign border” was a better phrase from the Canadian perspective
than “real border” and that “convergence” was a better term than
“harmonization” between U.S. and Canadian policies. Senator Wallin
suggested that the current government under PM Harper and in
particular Minister Kenney were more open to discussing issues of
immigration policy between our two nations than was previously the
Qimmigration policy between our two nations than was previously the
case. Dave Leach of Greyhound described the difficulties his
company has with regular bus service at Buffalo; the Secretary asked
for more details to learn whether the issue is occasional or
systemic. (DAS Silver and DAS Kraninger subsequently met with Mr.
Leach and obtained get additional information for follow up.)


14. (SBU) The Secretary and Minister Van Loan, in a public event
on May 26 at the Detroit/Windsor border crossing, signed the
long-awaited “Shiprider” agreement, which will enable integrated
maritime law enforcement operations to deal with cross-border crime.
They also announced an agreement on a framework for the movement of
people and goods across the U.S. Canada border during and following
an emergency.

15. (U) DHS Attach has cleared this message.



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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05OTTAWA268 2005-01-28 15:56

2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Ottawa
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
281556Z Jan 05










E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: (A) 04 Ottawa 3431 (Regulatory agenda)

(B) 04 Ottawa 066 (Canadian trade policy)



2. (SBU) An incremental and pragmatic package of tasks for a new North American Initiative (NAI) will likely gain the most support among Canadian policymakers. Our research leads us to conclude that such a package should tackle both “security” and “prosperity” goals. This fits the recommendations of Canadian economists who have assessed the options for continental integration. While in principle many of them support more ambitious integration goals, like customs union/single market and/or single currency, most believe the incremental approach is most appropriate at this time, and all agree that it helps pave the way to these goals if and when North Americans choose to pursue them.

3. (SBU) The economic payoff of the prospective North American initiative – in terms of higher incomes and greater competitiveness – is available, but its size and timing are unpredictable, so it should not be oversold. Still, a respectable economic case has been made for such an initiative, and this message spells it out. We believe that, given growing Canadian concern about “border risk” and its effects on investment, a focus on the “security” side could also produce the most substantial economic/trade benefits.



4. (SBU) Canadian economists in business, academia and government have given extensive thought to the possible options for further North American integration. Nearly all of this work assumes that each of the three countries is pursuing standard economic policy goals – growth, productivity and competitiveness (rather than more specific concerns raised by Mexican analysts such as migration management, regional development, or environmental protection). Since 9/11, Canadian economists working in this area have generally endorsed a comprehensive initiative with the United States on security, trade, and immigration. Following is our summary of the professional consensus:

PROCESS: At this time, an “incremental” approach to integration is probably better than a “big deal” approach. However, governments should focus on choosing their objectives, and not on choosing a process.

BORDER VS. PERIMETER: Even with zero tariffs, our land borders have strong commercial effects. Some of these effects are positive (such as law enforcement and data gathering), so our governments may always want to keep some kind of land border in place. Canada and the United States already share a security perimeter to some degree; it is just a question of how strong we want to make it.

BORDER RISK: The risk that business will be obstructed at the border by discretionary U.S. actions, such as measures to defend against terrorism or infectious disease, in addition to growing congestion, have become major risks to the economy, inhibiting investment in Canada. For small businesses, the complexities of navigating the border are apparently even more intimidating than the actual costs. Reducing this risk is Canada’s top motive for pursuing further integration.

LABOR MARKETS: Many Canadian economists point to labor markets – both within and among countries – as the factor market where more liberalization would deliver the greatest economic benefits for all three countries. They advocate freeing up professional licensing laws, and developing a quick, simple, low-cost work permit system, at least for U.S. and Canadian citizens.

REGULATION: Canadian economists agree that Canadian regulations (if not their standards, then their complexity) are needlessly restricting foreign investment and impeding food, communications and other industries. (Inter-provincial differences are important here, since Canada’s federal government does not have the benefit of a U.S.-style “interstate commerce” clause). While much of the problem is domestic in nature, an international initiative could help to catalyze change.

CUSTOMS UNION: A common external tariff, or a customs union which eliminated NAFTA’s rules of origin (ROO), is economically desirable. NAFTA’s ROO are so restrictive that importers often prefer to pay the tariff rather than try to prove North American origin. However, economists differ on the size of the benefits available and on whether these would justify the effort of negotiation. One study estimated that a full customs union which eliminated ROO would only raise national income by about one percent.

CURRENCY UNION: Canadian economists are split on whether a return to a fixed exchange rate, or adopting the U.S. dollar, would benefit Canada in current circumstances. (Canada last tied its dollar to the U.S. dollar from 1962 to 1970). The central bank governor has taken the position that “monetary union is an issue that should be considered once we have made more progress towards establishing a single market.”


5. (SBU) Past integration (not just NAFTA but also many bilateral and unilateral steps) has increased trade, economic growth, and productivity. Studies suggest that border efficiency and transportation improvements (such as the lower cost and increased use of air freight) have been a huge part of this picture. Indeed, they may have been more important to our growing prosperity over the past decade than NAFTA’s tariff reductions. Freight and passenger aviation are critically important to our continent’s competitiveness, and businesses are very sensitive to the timing, security, and reliability of deliveries – hence the “border risk” which so concerns Canadian policymakers.

6. (SBU) A stronger continental “security perimeter” can strengthen economic performance, mainly by improving efficiency at land borders and airports. It could also facilitate future steps toward trilateral economic integration, such as a common external tariff or a customs union, if and when our three countries chose to pursue them. Paradoxically, the security and law enforcement aspects of the envisioned initiative could hold as much – or more – potential for broad economic benefits than the economic dimension.


7. (SBU) Some international economic initiatives (such as FTAs) produce across-the-board measures that generate broad benefits for a country’s industries and consumers on a known time-line. This was true of NAFTA but it is less likely to be true of the economic aspects of the NAI. Non-tariff barriers such as standards and regulations generally must be tackled one- by-one. This is a piecemeal process and the ratio of payoff to effort is likely to be lower than with across- the-board measures. Governments naturally focus on resolving the problems which their firms or citizens bring to their attention. While this approach has merits, it tends to deliver the payoffs toward particular interests. If there are hidden costs, there might be little impact on national performance. As we move toward a list of barriers to tackle, it will remain important to balance those interests. For example, some Canadian economists have suggested that NAFTA fell short of expectations with respect to increasing consumer choice in Canada; that may be a theme we should stress as efforts to promote further integration take shape.

8. (SBU) In contrast, cooperative measures on the “security” side, a critical focus of current bilateral efforts, can deliver substantial, early, and widespread economic benefits. Security and law enforcement within North America have evolved rapidly since 9/11, leading to many less-than-perfect processes for handling legitimate international traffic. Collaboration to improve these processes could yield efficiency improvements which would automatically be spread widely across the economy, leading to general gains in trade, productivity, and incomes.


9. (SBU) There is little basis on which to estimate the size of the “upside” gains from an integration initiative concentrating on non-tariff barriers of the kind contained in NAI. For this reason, we cannot make claims about how large the benefits might be on a national or continental scale. When advocating NAI, it would be better to highlight specific gains to individual firms, industries or travelers, and especially consumers.



Perimeter Security Deal – Canadian MP’s Warn About Threat To Sovereignty And Rights

0NAU- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and American President Obama recently announced the finalization of their common security perimeter deal for North America. When asked where the funds will come from to implement this fortress north america scheme, the Canadian government responded that it would come from money saved via cuts to public services. The cost has been initially reported to be $1-Billion but we all know how these things work, expect that price to skyrocket out of control fast!

Continue reading Perimeter Security Deal – Canadian MP’s Warn About Threat To Sovereignty And Rights

Minority Report

Minority report
In their first year in power, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives managed to undo years of work that came before—rejecting the Kelowna Accord, scrapping the national daycare program and turning their backs on Kyoto. Lest we forget, here are eight reasons to turf the Tories the next chance we get

BY Mitch Moxley
Photography by Lyle Stafford/Reuters
THIS MAGAZINE » January-February 2007

Harper’s makeover campaign largely failed. Attempts to make him look likeable were awkward and often ridiculed. During the fingerpainting photo-op with kindergarteners, for example, the old Stephen Harper—stiff and bitter—shone through. A youngster with gooey fingers approached the Opposition leader, eliciting the response, “Don’t touch me.”

“The West is in,” trumpeted the Calgary Herald after Election Day 2006, when Canadians gave the Harper Conservatives a trial run in government, a slim minority to punish the scandal-plagued Liberals. It was heralded as a new era in Canadian politics. Harper was able to take a party born of western alienation and broaden its appeal to a national audience. The Conservatives ran a disciplined campaign, pitching Canadians a party that was centrist and moderate, led by a man who had softened and evolved. Many Canadians bought it.

Call it a bout of temporary insanity. Over the past year, the puzzle has come together, piece by piece, revealing a party far to the right of the Canadian mainstream. The Conservatives have attacked social programs, enraged supporters of same-sex marriage, abandoned Kyoto, and more. It hasn’t gone unnoticed: polls show chances of a Conservative majority growing slimmer by the day. That’s good news, because a Harper majority is a frightening prospect. “On almost every front you look at, Harper has proceeded with a right-wing agenda,” says Toronto Star columnist and author Linda McQuaig. “And that is with a minority. With a majority government, it would be this on steroids.”


Meet Stephen Harper: Canadian neo-con, policy wonk extraordinaire and the most right-wing prime minister this country has seen. A brief history lesson: Harper entered politics in 1984, in his mid-20s, as an aide to Tory MP Jim Hawkes. Before long, young Harper grew disillusioned with the Mulroney Conservatives. He quit in 1987, but was soon recruited as chief policy officer to Preston Manning, founder of the Reform party, a grassroots populist movement out of Alberta that arose from frustration with Brian Mulroney’s attempts to give Quebec “distinct society” status. Taking its cues from Manning’s father’s Social Credit party, Reform’s main goal was to drastically limit the role of government in public life. Harper ran for the House of Commons with Reform in 1988, losing badly to his old mentor, Hawkes, before winning the seat in 1993. He soon grew tired of party politics, frustrated he wasn’t able to freely speak his mind. He resigned his seat in 1997 to lead the National Citizens Coalition, a far-right, anti-government lobby group. In 2002, he returned to the political arena to lead the Canadian Alliance, the party formed by the 2000 merger between Reform and some Progressive Conservatives. Leading up to his election as prime minister, and during his first months in power, Harper was able to successfully present himself as moderate and appeal to middleclass voters. It’s instructive, however, to take a look at Harper’s ideological roots, from which he has never strayed too far.

Harper is a product of the so-called Calgary School, a clique of academics from the University of Calgary. Members include historian David Bercuson, and political scientists Barry Cooper, Rainer Knopff, Ted Morton (also a politician) and one of Harper’s closest advisors, Tom Flanagan—all of whom share an affinity for free markets and small government.

The group’s most famous figure is Flanagan, an American-born professor who was Harper’s national campaign director in the 2004 election. After studying at Notre Dame and Duke, Flanagan accepted a post at the fledgling U of C in 1968, and in the early 1990s became involved with Manning’s Reform movement. No stranger to controversy, he set tempers ablaze with his book First Nations? Second Thoughts, in which he dismissed Canada’s Aboriginals as merely “first immigrants” and argued for their assimilation. Another Flanagan work, an introductory political science textbook he co-authored, was removed from Ontario’s list of approved textbooks because of alleged biases against Jews and women.

The Calgary School has striking similarities to the American neo-conservatives who have the ear of George W. Bush (think World Bank president and Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz). Both the Calgary School and U.S. neo-cons have been heavily influenced by Leo Strauss, a one-time political scientist at the University of Chicago who is considered a founding father of the neo-conservative movement. Strauss, who died in 1973 and has gained a weighty posthumous reputation, was deeply suspicious of democracy, arguing that the public is not capable of making intelligent political decisions. Neo-cons, both American and Canadian, use democracy to turn citizens against their own liberties, says Shadia Drury, a Strauss expert and political philosophy professor at the University of Regina. Drury, who worked alongside the Calgary School until 2003, warns that Canadian neo-cons want to remake Canada in the image of the United States. “Their values are not Canadian values,” Drury says of Harper and his pedagogical influences. “Fortunately, Canadian values are still too much on the side of freedom.”


May 31, 2003: In a room at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Toronto, next door to the Tory convention, Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay scribbles a pledge to rival David Orchard on a piece of paper. MacKay’s promise to Orchard, a PC veteran who held the second-most delegates, was that if chosen as leader he would not merge the party with the Stephen Harper-led Canadian Alliance. In return, Orchard promises the support of his delegates, ensuring a MacKay victory. Unfortunately for Orchard, in less than six months, MacKay shakes hands with Harper, and the Conservative party of Canada is born. “It was a remarkable takeover and theft of the Progressive Conservative party,” says Orchard, who went on to fight the merger in court. “Here we have a very narrow, ideologically driven [party] that’s connected to the U.S. religious right on a whole number of different issues. There’s an ideologically driven narrow-mindedness that was not part of the Progressive Conservative party at all.”

It was a defining moment in Canadian politics, and one often forgotten. The formation of the Conservative party of Canada marked the end of a moderate tradition of conservatism in Canada and replaced it with a U.S.-style version. Today’s Conservative party is very much a product of the ones that preceded it—Reform and Canadian Alliance. Some of the more inflammatory voices have been softened, but many policies and faces remain the same. Think of Harper’s obsession with building a new relationship with the provinces, and stripping the federal government of its responsibility for social services, or the party’s social conservative agenda and connection to the religious right. “The Conservative party, historically, always had a full spectrum of centre to far right. It was just that the centre was always fully in charge,” says Allan Gregg, chair of the Strategic Counsel, a national market- and publicopinion research company, and former PC pollster. “Now you have a guy in charge who comes from the more orthodox right wing of the party. This is a guy who leads that party with an iron fist. His way is the dominant way within the Conservative party.”

The Red Tory element of the PC party has all but disappeared. It may be called the Conservative party, but progressive it is not. “The media do them an enormous favour every time they call them ‘Tories,’ ” says Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada. “They are not the Tory party.”


Remember Harper’s summer 2005 makeover campaign? Sometime between the 2004 and 2005 elections, the Tories tried to transform Harper from a scary social conservative accused of harbouring a hidden agenda to a likeable dad and political moderate with broad vision and admirable determination. Suddenly images of Stephen Harper participating in events usually reserved for ordinary people appeared in print and on television across the country. Remember Stephen Harper clumsily throwing a football? Or Harper fingerpainting with children? How about the cross-country BBQ tour, when they dressed him up in cowboy hat and vest and sent him out flipping burgers? Happy times.

Harper’s makeover campaign largely failed. Attempts to make him look likeable were awkward and often ridiculed. During the fingerpainting photo-op with kindergarteners, for example, the old Stephen Harper—stiff and bitter—shone through. A youngster with gooey fingers approached the Opposition leader, eliciting the response, “Don’t touch me.”

Where the Tories did succeed, however, was in controlling the debate. In the 2004 election, the Liberals were able to run a campaign that successfully vilified Harper. In the last campaign, however, Harper turned the table, attacking Liberal corruption while staying strictly on message. This focus on controlling the message is a page out of the U.S. Republican playbook. In fact, the party had Republican help. In May, a group of Canada’s foremost conservatives gathered in Kanata, Ontario, to receive some words of wisdom from Frank Luntz, a GOP pollster and the brains behind the Republicans’ sweep of Congress in 1994. Luntz spoke to 200 members of the Civitas Society, a conservative group whose members include Harper’s chief of staff, Ian Brodie, as well as Tom Flanagan, a founding member.

Luntz, who has previously done work for Preston Manning, is a master of tailoring a conservative message and selling it to moderate voters. His strategy is called “language guidance”—the use of simple messages, which are carefully tested and often repeated. He advocates the use of key words, images, pictures and national symbols to deflect suspicion of unpopular policies. Instead of “tax cuts,” use “tax relief.” Tax code simplification as opposed to tax code reform. Don’t privatize a program, personalize it. And so on. Canadian Conservatives have made Luntz’s strategy their own. Think of the Tories’ “five priorities,” the oft-repeated insults about Paul Martin, and the “made in Canada” solution to global warming.

By staying on message and focusing the attack on the Liberals, Harper was able to deflect attention from his past. And what a past it has been. The Harper of the last election seemed to be an entirely different person than he’s been in the past 20 years—the one who has railed against universal health care, social programs and a strong federal government. No matter what he told us in the last election, Stephen Harper is no national leader.


Considering the Harper Conservatives’ roots, the way they have governed should hardly come as a surprise. Once in office things went smoothly; Harper and his cabinet focused exclusively on its five priorities: the GST cut, daycare credit, health-care wait times, government accountability and crime. But since getting elected, the government has revealed the depths of its true colours, governing like a farright party, beginning with an attack on equality.

First, there was the cancellation of the Kelowna Accord, an agreement negotiated under the previous Liberal government to help bridge the gap between Aboriginals and other Canadians by earmarking $5 billion to improve education, housing, economic development, health and water services on reserves. Then, the government voted to reject the draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the UN Human Rights Council. According to Angus Toulouse, Ontario regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, the Harper Conservatives have sent a message to Canada’s Aboriginal people that they do not care. “It clearly told us this government is going to step on the poorest of the poor, which is the Aboriginal people in Canada,” Toulouse says.

Native people are not the only target of the Harper government’s attack on equality. In September, the government lopped 40 percent off the budget of Status of Women Canada, an agency that promotes gender equality. And same-sex marriage advocates have long been a favourite target of the Conservative party. Harper himself voted against extending hate propaganda legislation to include homosexuality, and in the last election campaign said a Conservative government would hold a free vote on same-sex marriage.

Conservative opposition to same-sex marriage makes sense given the party’s religious base. The evangelical set considers Harper, a self-confessed born-again Christian, to be one of their own. “I want to make it clear that Christians are welcome in politics,” Harper said on the Drew Marshall Show leading up to last year’s election. “And particularly welcome in our party.” Some MPs come straight from the religious right. Stockwell Day once famously declared that Adam and Eve roamed with dinosaurs. David Sweet, MP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, is past head of the Christian group Promise Keepers Canada, which helps “men grow and mature into Godly men,” according to the group’s website. And Harold Albrecht, MP for Kitchener-Conestoga, once wrote a letter to the editor of his local newspaper saying, “These same-sex marriages would succeed in wiping out an entire society in just one generation.” Then there was the news that Justice Minister Vic Toews wants to table a Defence of Religions Act, legislation that would protect critics of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and ensure the right of officials to refuse to perform gay marriages. Many of the Canadian right’s fiercest opponents of same-sex marriage remain influential within the Conservative party. For example, Harper recently named Darrel Reid chief of staff to Environment Minister Rona Ambrose. Reid is the former president of Focus on the Family Canada, the Canadian branch of the U.S.-based anti-gay-marriage group. Reid has made a career out of fighting against equality for same-sex couples, and once said that the decision to legalize gay marriage made him “ashamed to be called a Canadian.”

“We have to connect the dots,” says Gilles Marchildon, executive director of Egale Canada, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transidentified people. “This is not a government that supports equality and justice.”


Among the Conservatives’ original five priorities was an accountability law to make government more transparent—a move Canadians welcomed in the wake of the sponsorship scandal. They tabled the Federal Accountability Act in April, which banned corporate and union donations to federal parties, cracked down on lobbyists, protected whistle-blowers and gave more power to officers of Parliament, such as the ethics commissioner and auditor general.

But Harper’s own administration has been anything but transparent. After taking office, the prime minister wasted little time declaring war on the media. He insisted members of the press gallery sign a list if they wanted to ask questions, he rarely participates in scrums and he often leaves the Parliament Buildings through the freight exit instead of the front door to avoid media attention. “Unfortunately, the press gallery has taken the view they are going to be the opposition to the government,” Harper complained to a London, Ontario, TV station, the same week two dozen reporters walked out of a Harper event after he refused to take their questions.

According to a national press gallery reporter, who spoke anonymously, interview requests with ministers are frequently denied or simply unaddressed. Reporters are also banned from the floor on which ministers hold meetings, and ministers rarely scrum after cabinet meetings, a common practice under the Liberals. “Everybody’s hands are tied from a journalistic point of view. It’s extremely difficult to get answers from this government,” the reporter says. “It’s Harper’s mandate to treat us like this and it’s not going to change. It’s very disheartening.”

Harper has also gone to great lengths to silence his ministers. What happens behind closed doors stays there, and the PMO insists ministers stay on message. An April 2006 scheduled interview between the National Post’s Don Martin and Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, for example, was cancelled because the PM didn’t want his ministers to stray from the Conservatives’ five priorities. In mid-October, Ontario MP Garth Turner was expelled for regularly criticizing his party’s policies on his blog, and Conservative Senator Anne Cools was yanked from three committees in September for asking hostile questions about the Accountability Act, according to a Post article by Martin.


Stephen “Steve” Harper, Bush’s favourite Canadian, has been busy cozying up to the Americans since taking office last year. Hardly a surprise, since Harper has been advocating for closer ties to the United States for years. He has beefed up Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, committing troops for an additional two years, and has promised a $5.3-billion increase in military spending over the next five years. “Ideologically, the people who are driving the Conservative party—Harper and his entourage—are very much attuned to and aligned with the Bush Republican-style conservatism,” says Bruce Campbell, executive director of Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) in Ottawa.

Harper’s been ending his speeches with “God bless Canada” since last year’s campaign, but his emulation of the United States is more than just symbolic. Paul Martin’s Liberals laid the foundation for deep integration—the harmonization of U.S. and Canadian trade and border policies—and the Harper government has carried this agenda forward. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives, which lobbies government on behalf of big business, is spearheading the movement, arguing that the economies of the two countries are already so closely linked that most individual domestic laws aren’t needed. It may sound like a conspiracy theory, but for several years, task forces, working groups, commissions and cross-border consultations have been taking place on both sides of the border with the goal of harmonizing Canada-U.S. programs and procedures. In September, for example, Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day attended a top-secret meeting in Banff, Alberta, that discussed North American security and prosperity. The North American Forum was hosted with the help of the Canada West Foundation and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and drew corporate executives and government officials from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Reporters were kept in the dark about what, exactly, was discussed and who was in attendance.

Supporters of deep integration say it’s the only way Canada can stay competitive. Critics call it a threat to Canadian sovereignty that will lead to lopsided trade agreements and a loss of control of Canadian resources. Campbell notes that we are already feeling the impact of deep integration. Canada and the U.S. are at work integrating energy markets, and Canada is ramping up production of the Alberta oil patch to meet America’s growing energy needs. The bulk of Alberta oil goes to the United States, Campbell says, while the Maritimes and Quebec import about 90 percent of their oil needs and Ontario imports 50 percent. “It’s all about securing supply to meet U.S. energy needs,” he warns. “Here we are, this great energy superpower, as Stephen Harper likes to call us, and we’re importing 55 percent of our oil needs. That’s not an integrated national energy market.”

Canada has also followed America’s lead on the domestic front. In the area of crime and punishment, Canada has made a marked shift toward an American style of justice, with “serious time for serious crimes.” In October, Justice Minister Vic Toews unveiled his “three strikes and you’re out” legislation, which is based on similar U.S. legislation. The bill puts the onus on the defendant, proposing that anyone convicted of three violent or sexual crimes would have to convince a judge why he should not be classified as a dangerous offender. If he fails to do that, he faces a minimum seven years in prison before being eligible for parole (in contrast to the American law, Canada’s three-strikes legislation focuses on serious third offences only). The U.S. legislation has done little to deter crime south of the border and has cost an enormous amount of money. “A large amount of research in the U.S. has been overwhelmingly consistent in showing that these changes have no effect,” Tony Doob, a criminology professor at the University of Toronto, told The Globe and Mail last October. “Whether you bring in threestrike laws, or jump up and down and say ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ three times, it has the same effect…. The fact is that crime will sometimes go down. It has nothing to do with legislative changes.”


Last September’s $1-billion “trimming the fat” exercise was a subtle but definitive attack on social programs. The Youth Employment Strategy, which helped 50,000 young people find jobs last summer, was cut in half. The Conservatives also chopped $17.7 million off adult literacy programs, ended a $9.7 million program to encourage Canadians to volunteer and did away with the $5.6-million Court Challenges Program, which has funded legal action by human rights advocates.

The cuts don’t mark the end of the Canadian welfare state, but they do show a sign of what may be to come—major cuts, despite a major surplus ($13.2 billion in 2006). McQuaig points to the Conservatives’ withdrawal of $5 billion in child-care spending by the Liberals. “It had taken advocacy groups, women’s groups, decades to finally pressure and pin down government to set up that program,” McQuaig says. “The Tories just scrapped it as soon as they got into office. It’s absolutely, totally irresponsible.”


The Conservative record on the environment has been nothing short of catastrophic. Consider: The axed $1-billion Climate Fund has so far only been replaced by an incentive-based transit tax credit, which saves the average transit user a paltry $12 a month. The EnerGuide program, which helped people retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient, has been eliminated. The list goes on. The Conservatives have also forced layoffs at Natural Resources Canada and cut the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network. Their biggest crime, of course, has been to abandon Canada’s Kyoto Protocol targets. They’ve opted instead for the Clean Air Act, an initiative with the laughable target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. (Meanwhile, the federal government continues to send $1.5 billion a year in subsidies to the Alberta oil patch.)

Perhaps most alarming is the Conservatives’ ho-hum attitude toward the climate crisis. Many environmental experts interviewed for this article say Harper and his advisors may not even believe in climate change, despite overwhelming evidence and the endorsements of a plethora of leading scientific organizations. For example, the scientific consensus on climate change is clearly expressed in reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for policy decisions. The panel concluded that the scientific consensus is that the Earth’s climate is being affected by human activities. Another recent study, conducted by researchers at NASA, Columbia University and the University of California at Santa Barbara, found the world is the warmest it’s been in 12,000 years—and humans are largely to blame.

But the Conservatives aren’t buying it. In November, the government appointed University of Western Ontario physics professor Christopher Essex, a climate change skeptic and Kyoto critic, to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, which controls $900 million a year in funding. Essex was one of 20 Canadian academics who signed an open letter to the prime minister in April that urged the government to scrap Kyoto, calling it an “irrational” squandering of billions of dollars. “There will always be people who say climate change isn’t happening,” says Dale Marshall, climate-change policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation. “But the question is, what is the body of evidence telling us? Overwhelmingly the science is saying climate change is happening. There’s no real dispute in the scientific community.”


“There is greater reason to feel comfortable with Mr. Harper today,” a Globe and Mail editorial declared last January. “He has shown himself to be an intelligent man and one, in this last campaign at least, who has learned to master his emotions. He has gained control of a party inclined to fly off in all directions, moved it to the centre and proposed a reasonable if imperfect governing platform.”

Forgive us if we’re skeptical. “This is a guy who will never change,” says Murray Dobbin, Vancouver-based journalist and author of Paul Martin: CEO for Canada? “The notion that Stephen Harper would change his fundamental values is just delusional. He is still viscerally contemptuous of his own country, and I think that puts him in a unique position of any prime minister in the history of the country. I can’t think of any other prime minister who actually hated his own country.” After all, Stephen Harper is the same man who, only a decade before, was head of the National Citizens Coalition, perhaps the most virulently right-wing organization in Canada, a group that was founded to oppose publicly funded, universal health care. He’s the same man who has advocated a firewall around Alberta to protect itself from a hostile federal government. The same man who has mocked Canadians’ understanding of their own country and who has called America’s conservative movement an inspiration. This is the same man who has made a career out of consistently and ardently criticizing Canada and its values. “Canada is a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it,” Harper told the Council for National Policy, a right-leaning American think tank, at a June 1997 meeting in Montreal.

There is reason for optimism, however. Canadians’ dissatisfaction with the Conservative government is showing in recent polls. In a November CBC News and Environics Research Group poll, 29 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Conservatives if an election were held today, compared to 28 percent who would vote for the Liberal party—which did not have a leader at the time. Perhaps more tellingly, respondents said health care, the environment and the war in Afghanistan were the most important issues facing the country, while conservative pet topics— same-sex marriage, Canada-U.S. relations and government corruption—ranked near the bottom. That does not bode well for Conservatives. “Unless the Liberals are extremely incompetent after they choose their leader,” Dobbin says, “this will be the end of Harper.”

Here’s hoping.


Mitch Moxley is a freelance journalist based in Toronto, by way of Saskatchewan. His work has appeared in Maisonneuve, Toro, Geist, the Kyoto Journal and elsewhere.

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