The refusal to receive the petitions of the Council of Canadians does not seem to have received much press. This just shows how the SPP thumbs its nose at any opposition. Harper's comments about demonstrators were similarly dismissive. At least a number of trade unions joined in these protests but they get very little publicity usually. The apparent use of cops to provoke violence actually presented the protesters with their best coverage! New North American trade proposal draws fire at Montebello
Proposed Security and Prosperity Partnership is described as NAFTA on drugs
Montebello (21 August 2007) - Police and protestors clashed in this small Quebec resort town as Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed George Bush and Felipe Calderon to a North American leaders' summit to discuss Canada-U.S.-Mexico issues behind closed doors, especially the secrecy-shrouded Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).
Described by critics as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on drugs, the SPP is the latest trade initiative that the corporate world is attempting to push into law with the co-operation of the three leaders.
Everything possible is being done during the summit to minimize opposition to the SPP. For example, Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians, was prevented Monday – despite prior arrangements – from delivering a 10,000-signature petition at the gates of the Montebello resort.
Police in riot gear, armed with batons, shields and gas masks, fired tear gas and jostled with protesters after 20 busloads of demonstrators arrived in Montebello, approximately 70 kilometres east of Ottawa. The protesters marched toward the historic log resort, ringed in advance of the summit by a four-metre-high steel security fence.
Demonstrators shouted slogans and carried banners, one reading, "Say no To AmeriCanada." The marchers included numerous labour representatives, headed by the Canadian Labour Congress.
"According to the corporate elites behind the scheme, the SPP is just a shot of what business needs to perform better and make corporate profits higher, faster and stronger. The only problem is they won’t tell us what this involves," the congress says.
"Ask any of the hundreds of thousands of workers in Canada who no longer have a good job in manufacturing or forestry and they’ll tell you that life is hard enough under NAFTA. Ask the millions of people who can see how fast our standards for everything from protecting the environment, to retirement security, to transportation infrastructure like trains and bridges have fallen in recent times. They’ll tell you the SPP is just the latest corporate party drug."
Harper greeted Bush warmly when he arrived at the resort early Monday afternoon. Asked for his reaction to the demonstrations, Harper was dismissive. “I’ve heard it’s nothing. It’s sad,” he told reporters.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring that our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE