Security and Prosperity Partnership
has been an important year for labour's political action, from the
fight for Bills C-55 and C-257, to our latest Better Choice campaign,
to the recent launch of our Made-in-Canada Jobs campaign. For those of
us engaged in political action, however, there is an important moment
next weekend where Canada's labour movement will be present.
US President George W. Bush, Mexican
President Felipe Calderon, and Canada's own Prime Minister Stephen
Harper are meeting in Canada to discuss the latest trade deal being
pushed through the back door by the continentâs corporate elite.
called the âSecurity and Prosperity Partnershipâ� or simply the SPP.
The SPP has been called NAFTA on
drugs. According to the corporate elites behind the scheme, itâs
shot of what business needs to perform better and make corporate
profits higher, faster and stronger. The only problem is they wonât
tell us what this involves.
Ask any of the hundreds of thousands
of workers in Canada who no longer have a good job in manufacturing or
forestry and theyâll tell you that life is hard enough under NAFTA. Ask
the millions of people who can see how fast our standards for
everything from protecting the environment, to retirement security to
transportation infrastructure like trains and bridges have fallen
recent times. Theyâll tell you the SPP is just the latest corporate
Either way, the federal government
been doing its best to keep the SPP off the publicâs radar screen.
will change after next weekend.
A rally against this latest attempt
pass a trade deal by stealth will happen on August 19 on Parliament
Hill in Ottawa. This rally will be followed by a teach-in on the SPP at
the University of Ottawa. The organizers are expecting well-known
speakers from Mexico, the US and Canada to address the teach-in .On
Monday morning, August 20, shuttle buses will leave Ottawa and Hull to
bring protesters to a "family friendly" demonstration on the Western
perimeter of the SPP Summit.
We invite all labour activists to
participate in these events to show their opposition to the SPP, the
latest corporate assault on the environment and workers' rights. At the
very least, people should give their local Member of Parliament a call
â Parliament isnât sitting, so they should all be working in their
local offices. Tell them they canât let the SPP become law until
Canadians know what itâs all about.
Remember back in 1988, when the
government actually printed copies of the Canada-US Free Trade
Agreement for everybody to read? Remember when you actually knew who
was negotiating that trade deal, and when they were appointed by the
If this was really about making NAFTA
better for us all, we would all be included in these negotiations. Itâs
time to put the brakes on the SPP and tell the people behind it
respect our democracy.
Aug 18, 2007 09:00 ET
REMINDER: SPP Not About Working Families
Canadian Labour Congress obtains Access to Information documents
ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 18, 2007) - The Canadian Labour Congress
wants working people to call their M.P.s and demand they put an end
the government's participation in the Security and Prosperity
Partnership (SPP), a security-centred redrafting of trade relations
the continent. Barbara Byers, executive vice-president of the Canadian
Labour Congress, will make the call while speaking at a rally on
Parliament Hill on Sunday.
"We have proof to show that the SPP is completely an initiative of
Canada's top-earning CEOs, and their counterparts in the United States
This has nothing to do with raising the standard of living
of working families nor promoting stronger democracies," says Byers
showing a stack of documents obtained by the Canadian Labour Congress
under the federal Access to Information Act.
"If this is really about improving NAFTA for all of us, we would
all be included in the process. Instead, everything is being done
secret, behind closed doors," says Byers.
The Security and Prosperity Partnership, which is often referred to
as NAFTA on drugs, is at the centre of next week's meeting between the
leaders of the three countries that belong to the North American Free
Trade Agreement - Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Included on the agenda of the Montebello meeting between the three
national leaders is a lobby session with a group of hand-picked CEOs
from Canada, the United States and Mexico. The ten people chosen to
speak on Canada's behalf were selected from a list provided by lobby
groups representing the country' s highest paid businessmen. Making the
cut for "Team Canada" at the summit: Manulife Financial, Power
Corporation, Ganong, Suncor Energy, Canadian National Railway, Linamar,
Bell Canada, Canfor Corporation, Home Depot, and the Bank of Nova
"They don't speak for Canada. Canadians don't even know who they
are. Their shareholders did not send them there, so they are there to
represent nobody but themselves. Private interests holding private
discussions about their own business with public officials - that's
lobbying. The Prime Minister might want to give his own Accountability
Act a read before allowing this meeting to proceed," says Byers, Byers
says the federal government has to learn that if it wants to pursue new
trade deals, it has to do so out in the open, where Canadians can see
what's going on and have their say. High security, top secret,
discussions that give access to only a few of the wealthiest special
interests are doomed to fail.
"Remember the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and the
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)? They all came flying apart as
soon as people found out what was really going on. The same thing will
happen to the SPP unless the process gets opened up," she says.
Byers says that until the big corporate interests and their friends
in government learn this lesson, summits like the upcoming meeting
between the Prime Minister and the two Presidents are an insulting
waste of taxpayers' money.
"Our hard-earned tax dollars are being used to shut us out of a
public policy decision-making process." Byers adds that Canadians
outraged at the double standard being show the small, elite group of
CEOs who get access to the summit while everyone else is forced to
stand behind fences and police barricades.
"This is why we are asking people to phone their M.P.s and insist
they put a stop to the SPP the instant they get back to work in
Ottawa," concludes Byers . . .
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour
movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings
together Canada's national and international unions along with the
provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district
labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca
For more information, please contact
Canadian Labour Congress
Director of Communications
Canadian Labour Congress