Lest we Forget – The new Can-US Regulatory Co-operation Council and Perimeter Security Accord is the next generation of NACC and the SPP.

By Janet M Eaton, Sierra Club Canada,  Trade and Environment
Campaigner,   May 10th, 2011
A  Vancouver Sun May 9th article entitled “Is ‘harmonizing’ code for
cutting standards?”  cites the Canadian government, industry
representatives and consumer group reaction to a  new Canada-US
Regulatory Cooperation Council. [1]  
It should be noted that this new Regulatory Cooperation Council Is
part of an initiative formally entitled “Beyond the Border: A Shared
Vision for Perimeter Security and Competitiveness” “A Declaration by
the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister
of Canada” sometimes called the  Perimeter Security accord.   Less
formally this initiative has been referred to as the Son of SPP, and
Fortress North America.  [2]
Those who followed the fate of ‘deep integration’ with the US under
the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America [SPP] will
recall a parallel initiative under that agreement i.e – the North
American Competitiveness Council [NACC] which was charged with, among
other things: “Regulatory/Standards issues – Harmonization and
Sharing of Best Practices”   [3]
NACC prepared a lengthy report for the Leaders Summit in Montebello,
Quebec in August 2007, ” Building a Secure and Competitive North
America”. In the area of standards and regulatory cooperation, the
report supported the intention of governments to work toward a
framework for trilateral regulatory cooperation in 2007, which it saw
as an essential tool for ensuring the compatibility of new
regulations while reducing unnecessary differences in existing rules
and standards.  4]
It should also be remembered that the SPP was discredited by broad
civil society opposition as well as online and political reaction
which peaked around the Third leader´s Summit held in Montebello,
Quebec in August 2007.  The lack of transparency,  its anti-
democratic nature  and  other factors led to its demise in 2009.  [5]
And yet the new Perimeter Security accord and Regulatory Cooperative
Council have been introduced in the same  anti- democratic manner.
Paul Dewar, NDP foreign affairs critic in the last Parliament
confirmed that Parliamentarians were kept in the dark. And the
Toronto Star reporting on a leaked copy of the strategy, said the
government purposely kept negotiations on the border deal secret
while it planned ways to swing public opinion in favour of the deal.
[6]
According to the Vancouver Sun article referred to above the
Regulatory Cooperation Council received a big boost this week when
President Barack Obama talked up the initiative during his
congratulatory phone call to Prime Minister Stephen Harper after
Harper’s election victory. “
As to its purpose, the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade said the intention of the newly launched
initiative, which is expected to take two years, is to eliminate
“unnecessary burdens” on cross-border trade by coordinating and
simplifying regulations where possible. Not unlike the purpose of the
NACC regulatory process under the SPP, which according to Thomas
D’Aquino, then head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives,  was
to eliminate the “tyranny  of small differences”.  [7]
D’Aquino  referred to the new Regulatory Cooperation Council in a
recent address to the  Canadian Defence Associations and CDA
Institute March 2011 Conference on Defence and Security: ” I was
especially pleased to see a commitment from the Prime Minister and
the President to the creation of a Regulatory Cooperation Council
(RCC) composed of senior regulatory, trade and foreign affairs
officials from both governments. The Council´s mandate to eliminate
unnecessary burdens on cross-border trade, reduce costs, faster cross
border investment, and promote certainty by co-ordinating,
simplifying and ensuring the compatibility of regulations is worthy
of strong support.” [8]
Meanwhile the Ottawa-based Centre for Science in the Public Interest,
says talk of harmonization by multinational companies is just code
for something nefarious. [9]
======================================
REFERENCES:
[1]
4749493/story.html
fortress-na -leaked-docs-reveal-border-security-deal
proceeds-in-secrecy/
office-perimeter-security-talks-20110412-120927-328.html
[7]
107.pdf
[8]
da-United%20States%20Relationship.pdf
[9]
4749493/story.html

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