Monday, April 21, 2008

SPP brought to you by the Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute has a nifty little pdf, downloadable for your reading enjoyment.

It's entitled:
Saving the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership
The Fraser Institute puts' forth an interesting conspiracy theory, one that blames "left-wing economic nationalists in Canada and right-wing protectionists in the United States" as culpable for the fact that the"SPP is losing momentum in the public realm" Amazingly, the Fraser Institute doesn't even consider that the entire SPP process is flawed, as just one reason the SPP is losing momentum. It is conducted behind closed doors, without citizen oversight. Or, the fact that citizens in all three countries have no wish for deeper integration with one another, as another reason for the SPP's downfall. No, instead we have a shadowy right & left nationalists and protectionists, causing the loss of momentum.

There are plenty of citizens groups from the three countries that would love to participate directly. They are not allowed to, in fact they are shut out completely. Citizen groups surrounded and imprisoned by heavy security on the outside of the fence, resigned to wave placards and protest. While the participants , government and big business, move freely, discuss freely on the inside. An odd contradiction isn't it?


The report goes on to say "A list of results from the SPP talks since 2005 shows modest but useful outcomes." Modest but useful outcomes? In 3 years of this move towards integration the outcomes have been modest? I wonder, does the Fraser Institute , when claiming "modest outcomes " really mean, they would have preferred a done deal by now?


More from the Fraser Institute report: "This paper concludes that the Canadian government must create both shortand long-term strategies to expand and speed up the SPP goals. Re-branding the SPP talks and making them more productive, as well as explaining the specific objectives"

Speed up the SPP goals? Why would the Fraser Institue urge that? It's quite obvious there is alot of opposition in all three countries, is this why the report wants to hurry things along?
To reduce opportunities to oppose the SPP? To reduce the ability to get more information out to the public?

"Re-branding the SPP", well we should know what this is about, I hope? Rebranding has apparently become necessary, since the SPP has garnered, and rightfully so, abundant negative publicity in it's present form. What will rebranding include, a new name, new logo, a new angle of presentation, a fancy and expensive public relations campaign? Likely all of the above and more.

To save the SPP, the Fraser Institute has these proposals:

1) Define SPP or its successor as a process to create a NASRA but not a North
American (Political) Union.
2) Keep SPP as a working agreement among the executive branches, but provide
it with a better communications strategy and with more deliverables
both in terms of competitiveness and in terms of streamlined security regulations
so that the public can begin to understand the benefits.
3) Build a long term Canada-United States agenda on SPP issues.
4) Connect security and prosperity in the SPP so that the economic cost
becomes an essential part of the security calculation.
5) Explore a larger role for the private sector in finding regulatory convergence
and standards compatibility.
6) Create a “Vision for a New Border.” A vision of a “needs-based” border is
founded on the premise that only those features that cannot be done better
or more efficiently away from the border should be done at the border. This
vision includes:
 A gradual move toward a common external tariff by adopting the lowest
tariff between the two countries starting with industrial products that will
lead to the elimination of the Rules of Origin process.
 Gradual liberalization of temporary labor mobility for citizens of both
countries.
 Regulatory compliance reporting to be done at shipping points, which
can be administered by business itself and monitored electronically by
government.
 Dedicated border crossings for all goods that comply on regulatory and
security requirements.
 Mutually recognized security criteria for clearance for all persons entering
the two countries.
 A single, bi-national method of recording and securing biometric and
other secure electronic data, such as radio-frequency identification chips
to facilitate border crossings by speeding up inspections.
 Enhancing the Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET) and closer
collaboration between intelligence and law enforcement agencies on
crime, smuggling, and terrorism to monitor potential border traffic well
before the threat may appear at the border.
 Final layer of inspection and supervision to be done at the border.

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