Competitiveness Council Begs Bush At SPP Summit: Don't Leave Us

Posted on Wednesday, April 23 at 07:04 by sthompson

Don't leave us! begs Competitiveness Council at 2008 SPP summit

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April 22, 2008
Posted by Stuart Trew in New Orleans

Oh what a depressing summit this was for the North American Competitiveness Council. Like last August, the all-corporate advisory body to the SPP has just tabled a "report to leaders" outlining its hopes and dreams for continental integration in 2008. Unlike last year, there's nothing new in this one beyond a sense of desperation that, for all the CEOs have achieved in public policy setting, the SPP's days are numbered.

"Unless we work together to turn around public misperceptions, other specific recommendations to improve North American competitiveness will become largely irrelevant," complain the CEOs, who received Bush, Harper and Calderon's undivided attention for an hour or so today. "To the extent that the NAFTA itself continues to be a target, efforts to “deepen the NAFTA” will be largely unsuccessful."

Well, crack out the champagne. Because it will take a lot of brainwashing to convince us that deepening the NAFTA relationship should be a priority. Poll results prove that Canadians are opposed to the idea of deep integration and the policies it has entailed so far: energy integration, regulatory harmonization, and the possibility of bulk water exports to the U.S.

Unfortunately, listening to the peoples of North America still isn't a priority for the NACC or the executive branches of government they now frequently consult on dozens of policy areas.

"Some of the most effective paths toward a more competitive and prosperous North America will require discussion of measures that will generate controversy," admits the NACC in its 2008 report. "Security-related issues, in particular, can be complex and controversial. This should not impede progress, however, toward finding reasonable and effective solutions."

The NACC report recommends expediting the creation of "Enhanced Driver's Licences" (EDLs) across Canada which would be compatible with Homeland Security's harmonized state driver's licence system. Canada's Privacy Commissioner is opposed to the EDLs because of how much personal Canadian information will necessarily be shared with U.S. officials and stored for who knows what purposes.

The corporate reps also recommend (go figure) giving the private sector more control over the continental energy market. But according to poll results, Canadians would rather put limits on exports and foreign ownership, even if it means reduced trading opportunities with the U.S.

As if Bush, Calderon and Harper are listening...

"One of the challenges for the North American Competitiveness Council is to find unnecessary regulations that prohibit the free flow of trade," Bush told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce yesterday. "And so tomorrow the leaders at the Council will come forth with specific recommendations, and I'm looking forward to hearing them, and I'm looking forward to implementing them."

Once again, the relationship between the corporate sector and the SPP is laid out in plain view: CEOs recommend, Bush and gang implement. It's as simple as that.

And yet there are tremors under the surface. NAFTA is coming under attack in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. While some chalk it up to "protectionist sentiment" among U.S. Democrats, the truth is that most North Americans would probably agree that environmental standards and strong labour policies should trump the ability of corporations to make a profit. Political interest in the SPP as the venue for trilateral harmonization is waning, and so new venues are being explored.

"While the ultimate goal for regulatory cooperation should be to aim for North American or global standards, this should not prevent the negotiation of bilateral accords in the interim. The idea that 'three can talk and two can do' has been ingrained in the SPP from its beginning, but will become even more important in the context of discussions on more controversial and asymmetric issues."

The "three can talk and two can do" line could be Tom d'Aquino's because he used it in a speech in Ottawa last month. But it's so hard to tell when he has made a career of promoting U.S. corporate interests in Canada. Still, the threat (for the NACC) appears to be from Bush this year.

"We strongly urge the new United States administration to continue to seek progress on SPP priorities," says the NACC report. "On behalf of the private sectors of our three countries, we offer our full support and stand ready to help in any way possible. This could include the direct engagement of interested NACC members with advice on pragmatic, short-term action plans to address in full the remaining NACC recommendations and to deepen cooperation in the five priority areas established by the Leaders at Montebello."

In other words, "We're here for you, Bush. Please don't leave us now."

Your 2008 NACC are:


Dominic D’Alessandro, President and CEO, Manulife Financial
Bruce Flatt, President and CEO, Brookfield Asset Management Inc.
David A. Ganong, President and CEO, Ganong Bros. Limited
Richard L. George, President and CEO, Suncor Energy Inc.
Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar Corporation
Jacques Lamarre, President and CEO, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.
Gordon Nixon, President and CEO, Royal Bank of Canada
Nancy Southern, President and CEO, ATCO Group
Marc P. Tellier, President and Chief Executive Officer, Yellow Pages Group Co.
Annette Verschuren, President, The Home Depot Canada and Asia


Armando Paredes Arroyo, President, Consejo Coordinador Empresarial
Luis Berrondo Avalos, Chairman of the Board, MABE
Ismael Plascencia, President, Confederación de Cámaras Industriales (CONCAMIN)
Claudio X. González Laporte, Chairman and CEO, Kimberly- Clark de México, S.A. de C.V.
Jaime Yesaki Cavazos, President, Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (CNA) and CEO of several poultry companies
Eugenio Garza Herrera, Chairman and CEO, XIGNUX, S.A. de C.V.
Daniel Servitje Montull, CEO, Grupo BIMBO, S.A.B. de C.V.
José Luis Barraza, Chairman, Aeroméxico
César de Anda Molina, President and CEO, Avicar de Occidente
Guillermo Vogel, Vice Chairman, Tubos de Acero de México (TAMSA), Chairman, North American Steel Council

United States

Campbell Soup Company
Chrysler LLC
Con-way Inc.
FedEx Corporation
General Motors Corporation
Kansas City Southern
Lockheed Martin Corporation
NBCU/General Electric
Procter & Gamble
Whirlpool Corporation

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  1. Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:11 pm
    The most interesting part of this story are the names and corporations in the NACC, while they're closing down factories in North America and opening them in China. For the sake of "competitiveness" of course, which is supposed to "bring wealth" to everybody.

    One of these days humanity may just wake up to the sordid fact that the main purpose of "competitiveness" is the legalization of forced expropriation, collectivization and enslavement, to "cut costs", while raising prices.

    All forms of competition work on the physical laws of speed, demanding ever increasing energy inputs to achieve lesser and lesser increases, until the system burns out. The history of every empire, past and present.

    Look at the speed increases in Olympic "sports", now nothing more than professional show biz, in the past 50 years, and the comparative resource and monetary inputs into the training of the competitors during the same years.

    Exactly the same has been happening in global economics since the criminal neoclassical market economy theory was forced on Earth 35-40 years ago.

    Lower costs, prices and higher wellbeing can only be achieved with cooperation, not competition, which destroys every aspect of civilization.

    After WW2, the US government sent a top statistician/economist, by the name of
    Edwardes Deming, to Japan to reorganize the country's economic system, which he has done in flying colours.

    Deming's work has become among of the most important against economic competition and in praise of cooperation. Because he was using real facts and figures and not fraudulent theories legalizing crime waves for the benefit of a power elite, lour economic systems have become.

    Real, genuine competition is the search for excellence under controlled conditions and the neutral protection of life and property.

    Monetary economic competition, crime and war are for the purpose for the acquisition of benefits, and properties against the owners' will.

    Which means that this NACC is nothing more than a gang of pirates on their way to enslave and rob. So is everybody else who supports their criminal intentions and plans.

    Ed Deak. Big Lake, BC.

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