Opponents of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) are celebrating a preliminary victory in reaction to the announcement on the official U.S. government SPP website that the pact "is no longer an active initiative" says the Council of Canadians.
While the 'deactivation' of the SPP is a significant victory, the Council of Canadians cautions that opponents of deep integration must remain vigilant, given that many of the SPP's key priorities - energy integration, regulatory convergence, security policy harmonization - cropped up in the final leaders' declaration from the Guadalajara summit this week.
"Trade and the economy must serve people and communities. The SPP was an attempt to turn that upside down so that people and communities would have to serve the interests of large corporations," says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "Widespread opposition to this profoundly undemocratic model of globalization has brought the WTO to its knees, killed the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and now halted the SPP. It's time for our governments to abandon this agenda and not just try to rebrand it again under a new name."
Another victory can be found in the leaders' promise to hold public consultations on the North American agenda in all three countries:
"We recognize and embrace citizen participation as an integral part of our work together in North America," says the joint statement from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Mexican President Filipe Calderon, and Barack Obama. "We welcome the contributions of businesses, both large and small, and those of civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, academics, experts, and others. We have asked our Ministers to engage in such consultations as they work to realize the goals we have set for ourselves here in Guadalajara."
The Council of Canadians is insisting that the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the US keep this promise to consult publicly and widely, and that they take a hard look at NAFTA's impact on quality of life, jobs, public services, energy policy and environmental protections in all three countries.
"Leaders cannot meaningfully talk about Mexican migration or refugee applications, let alone the current economic crisis, greenhouse gas reductions, or food safety problems without bumping straight into the reality that NAFTA has failed to produce real security or prosperity for the people of this continent," says Stuart Trew, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians.
"North Americans deserve more than platitudes about fighting protectionism from their leaders," says Trew. "We badly need an open, societal dialogue on whether the 'free trade' model is in fact a barrier to job creation, environmental protection, and public health and safety."
The next North American Leaders' summit is expected to take place in Canada in 2010.