Wednesday, April 23, 2008

SPP business sets agenda

Powerful council helping free-trade supporters win Round 3 of talks

Prime Minister Stephen Harper might have reminded the U.S. yesterday how much it depends on Canadian energy imports – and thus, on NAFTA – but he neglected to mention the onerous terms for Canada. Or that an even greater grab for northern energy continues apace, without public consultation.

Rather, elaborate machinery set up to facilitate greater "harmonization" with U.S. policy hums along, its creators coming from the most powerful conglomerates in the United States and its successes independent of such trilateral leaders' meetings as this week's confab in New Orleans among Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexico's Felipe Calderon.

There's already an energy downside for Canada. Under the terms of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada can't ease up on energy exports to the U.S., even temporarily and including in times of shortage. NAFTA partner Mexico said no-go.

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