SPP deal makes allies of ideological opponents
Published Monday, August 20, 2007 5:44PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 6:45PM EDT
OTTAWA - The adage about strange political bedfellows rises to a new level of strangeness when the John Birch Society and Pat Boone make common cause with anarchists and Maude Barlow.
The North American Security and Prosperity Partnership, a project of Canada, the United States and Mexico, has united a disparate opposition of left and right. They may have little in common otherwise, but this issue trumps other differences.
The partnership is seen as an effort to bring in a kind of super-NAFTA that will steal jobs, erode freedoms and change Canadian (or American) life forever.
A Monday news conference of the Coalition to Block the North American Union - which included an inspirational message from crooner Pat Boone - brought together a number of right-wing American groups including the John Birch Society, the Conservative Caucus, Veterans for Secure Borders and the American Policy Center, along with the fledgling Canadian Action Party.
The event was timed to coincide with the start of a two-day meeting of the three North American leaders at Montebello, Que.
The American critics see a looming threat to liberty and the bill of rights. Canadian Action Party leader Connie Fogal sees a threat to Canada's existence as an independent country.
They are united in opposition to what they see as a "secret cabal" planning a "hostile takeover" of all three countries by a shadowy corporate and governmental "elite."
And they make no bones about siding with people on the opposite side of the traditional political spectrum.
"I'm not going to kick someone out of my bed who agrees with me," said Howard Phillips, chairman of the Conservative Caucus. "That doesn't mean we agree with them on other issues, but if they agree with us on this issue, we welcome them with open arms."
Fogal said political labels lose their meaning against the danger of losing Canada in a North American Union.
"It speaks to the reality of today's politics that the old categories of left, right, middle don't really apply," she said. "We're an issues-oriented party on the issues of nationhood, nationalism, sovereignty."
She and her colleagues railed against what they say is a long-lived conspiracy by "the faceless minions of the new world order" to subvert the United States (and Canada and Mexico) and create a Western Hemisphere version of the European Union, complete with a new currency - the Amero - and a superhighway stretching from Mexico City to Whitehorse, Yukon, and Fairbanks, Alaska.
They called it a stealthy coup d'etat carried out without the knowledge of legislators.
John McManus, president of the John Birch Society, said plotters have been trying to establish a world government for years, but have failed.
"So the master planners have turned to misnamed free trade and seemingly innocuous economic unions to reach their independence-cancelling design," he said.
McManus denied being a conspiracy theorist, saying he's " a conspiracy factist."
Tom Weese of the American Policy Centre said public-private partnerships between corporations and governments are the Trojan horses of a move to eliminate free enterprise.
These deals allow corporations to use government powers to enrich themselves at the expense of the public, he said.
"Some call such policy corporatism," he said. "Another term would be corporate fascism."
But Texas congressman Ron Paul, who sent a message of support read at the news conference, saw another sort of threat from closer co-operation among the three governments.
"It sounds like a recipe for transnational socialism," he said.
The U.S. embassy issued a news release Monday dismissing "myths" about the security and prosperity partnership. It said there's no plan for a North American union, legislators aren't kept in the dark and there's no secret plan for a superhighway.
That cut no ice with McManus, who said U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins "is making Pinocchio look like a piker."