ibbitson: spp is dead

A perspective on the so-called Deep Integration, from the Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson.
The Security and Prosperity Partnership is dead.

The Trilateral Commission is an assembly of political and academic eminences, mostly retired, from Pacific Asia, North America and Europe. As one delegate to last week's North American regional meeting in Cancun joked: "We used to run things, and now we get together to complain that the new crew isn't doing as good a job."

At the Cancun meeting, Paul Volker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, John Deutch, former director of the CIA, Tom Foley, former speaker of the House of Representatives, and half a dozen cabinet secretaries from the Clinton and first Bush years roamed the halls. The Canadian contingent included John Manley, Allan Gotlieb and Raymond Chr├ętien.

All sessions were off the record. But on North American trade, consensus was emphatic: The Security and Prosperity Partnership, launched two years ago in an effort to harmonize the regulatory regimes of the member states of NAFTA, is defunct.

Reaffirming the SPP's goals at the August summit in Montebello, Que., was mere political butt-covering. Having failed to make a breakthrough despite two years of trying, President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Felipe Calderon punted the mess to some line bureaucrats, who are to pretend to work on the file. But in reality, the file is closed.

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