Wednesday, November 17, 2004

New Plan Virtually Eliminates U.S./Mexico/Canada Borders

New Plan Virtually Eliminates U.S./Mexico/Canada Borders
Meet NAFTA On Steroids
© 2004

WASHINGTON - North American national borders would be virtually eliminated
under plans being considered by senior business and political leaders from
Canada, the United States and Mexico for a "NAFTA-plus," continent-wide,
customs-free zone with a common approach to trade, energy, immigration,
law enforcement and security.

A tri-national task force, chaired by former Liberal Party deputy prime
minister John Manley, with the full backing of all three governments, is
plotting the roadmap for this new, bolder alliance meant to compete with
the European Union. William Weld, former governor of Massachusetts and
Pedro Aspe, former Mexican finance minister, join Manley on the panel that
reports directly to the Council on Foreign Relations.

The mission has the formal blessing of Tom Ridge, U.S. Homeland Security
secretary, who is close with President Bush.

The committee is scheduled to issue its report next spring.

The elimination of borders along the lines of the EU experiment seems to
be high on the agenda of the panel.

"I think we've had 11 years of incrementalism, and during that time we've
seen the EU expand its borders, eliminate borders among (member) countries
and launch a common currency," explains Manley in the diplomatic magazine
Embassy. "We're going to have to provide a vision that is more bold than
incrementalism. What's the choice? Europe has made enormous steps in the
years since NAFTA was signed. China has been going through a
transformative process. In Canada, our only leverage is access to the U.S.
market. If we're not going to develop and pursue how we use our advantage
of location to be the foundation for future prosperity, then we are going
to have to figure out another vision."

The "NAFTA-plus" plan has also been referred to as "deep integration."
Skeptics see it as a plan to eliminate national sovereignty and erode the
American concept of representative government accountable to the people
under the framework of the Constitution.

Discussions so far indicate that Canada, under the new agreement, would
immediately sign on to the U.S. strategic missile defense initiative.
Canada would also make its vast lumber resources available to the U.S. and
Mexican markets and provide more open access to the northern neighbor's
oil, natural gas and hydro-electric power resources.

Other members of the task force include: Canadian Finance Minister Michael
Wilson and Nelson Cunningham of Henry Kissinger's consulting firm,
Kissinger McLarty Associates.