The Push for a Single Unified North American Regulatory Regime
By Dana Gabriel
It was surprising that bilateral relations with the U.S. did not play a more prominent role during the recent Canadian election considering that both countries are pursuing a trade and security agreement. In fact, the issue did not really surface until the dying days of the campaign. After winning a much coveted majority government, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are moving ahead quickly with perimeter security and regulatory harmonization negotiations. NAFTA and the defunct Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) both addressed issues such as regulatory cooperation. The push for a single unified North American business-friendly regulatory regime continues on different fronts.
In the final week of the Canadian election campaign, consumer advocate and four-time candidate for President of the United States, Ralph Nader warned about Canada-U.S. deep integration. In an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he raised concerns over the lack of transparency regarding talks between the two countries on a trade and border security deal. Nader cautioned that a, “North American Security Perimeter Agreement will wrap many Canadian concerns — your Arctic, water, energy, anti-monopoly and foreign investment reviews — in a bi-national security blanket.” He added, “The corporatist lobbies and what President Eisenhower warned Americans about in his farewell address 50 years ago — ‘the military-industrial complex’ — will favour this lucrative and anti-democratic initiative.” Nader also explained in his letter to Harper, that, “Canada’s prudent bank regulation prevented a Wall Street style collapse of your economy.” North American deep integration is a corporate led agenda designed to foster privatization and deregulation.