I await with bated breath the decision of the U.S. not to buy oil from the oilsands because it is dirty oil produced by methods that pollute the environment.
Sustainable energy development probably means ensuring that Canada and Mexico continue to produce enough energy for U.S. needs! It would be really quite a great idea should the next U.S. president re-open NAFTA.
This is from the Star.
NAFTA the hot tune for amigos' last dance
TheStar.com - Canada - NAFTA the hot tune for amigos' last dance
OTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made it clear that Canada should not be playing an active part in the U.S. presidential race.
But Harper, President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon are expected to use their meetings in New Orleans tomorrow and Tuesday to speak out in favour of the North American Free Trade Agreement –which has become a political football in this year's presidential contest.
"It's an institution, a creation well worth preserving," a Canadian official told reporters at a background briefing in advance of the New Orleans meeting.
A U.S. official, speaking in Washington on Friday, was more blunt.
"We are aware that some of the statements that have been made here (in the U.S.) have made actually bigger headlines in Canada and Mexico than they have here. And we expect the leaders to talk about it. We think NAFTA works. We think the record of its past 14 years shows that it works," said Dan Fisk, a director with the National Security Council.
"We want to find ways to, frankly, convince the American people from our perspective, first and foremost, that this is an arrangement that's worked for us and it's also worked for our neighbours. It's been a win-win situation," said Fisk, who was also briefing U.S. reporters in advance of this week's summit.
NAFTA burst into the U.S. presidential race in a large way more than a month ago, during the Ohio primaries, when both Democratic contenders – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – mused openly about reopening the trade deal.
That blossomed into a controversy here in Canada when the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Ian Brodie, told some reporters that Canadian officials had been assured that all the Democratic talk of NAFTA was simple campaign rhetoric. A leak of briefing notes from consular officials on this same question – which whipped up a small news storm in the U.S. – prompted Harper to announce an investigation had been launched into the whole affair. And the Prime Minister reasserted that Canada should be staying out of U.S. presidential politics.
Officially, the upcoming meetings are known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership summit, named after the agreement launched in March, 2005, under the previous Liberal government in Canada.
Critics of the SPP – some of whom were due to stage protest marches in Ottawa over the weekend – charge that the agreement is really a thinly veiled attempt to advance Canada-U.S. integration.
"If the entire spectrum of SPP policies are implemented, I worry about what Canada will be like in 20 years," Seamus Wolfe, a vice-president of the student federation at the University of Ottawa, said in a release issued last week to announce the weekend protest.
With Bush's term in office winding down this year, this will be his last appearance at the meeting that's been nicknamed the "three amigos" summit.
Canadian officials said last week that there probably will be some note made of this fact in New Orleans – some way to thank Bush for his enthusiastic backing of greater North American co-operation.
As for details, though, of what's to be achieved this week, officials were not revealing any hints of progress expected.
When they last met, at Montebello, Que., in August, the three leaders agreed on five priority areas in which to pursue greater "collaboration" by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. These include: food and product safety; sustainable energy and the environment; "smart and secure" borders; emergency management and preparedness; and "enhancing the global competitiveness of North America."
But more generally, officials were saying that this week's meetings were being kept open deliberately, in terms of agenda, so that the three leaders could be more freewheeling about the topics they want to discuss.
Canada, for instance, will want to use this opportunity to once again see where opportunities can be found to enhance access at the Canada-U.S. border – a continuing issue since the U.S. introduced stricter passport requirements at all its entry points.
As well, Canadian officials told reporters that this country will be pressing to know more about potential implications of a recent U.S. congressional move to limit purchases of energy from sources with high output of greenhouse gases. That measure could harm Canadian exports of energy to the U.S. from the Alberta tar sands and have serious consequences for the Canadian economy, the official said.
Harper has private, one-on-one meetings tomorrow with Bush and Calderon and the full, three-way summit doesn't really begin in earnest until Tuesday. In Canada-Mexico dealings, the issue of Canadian citizen Brenda Martin has been looming over this meeting. That's the woman who has been jailed in Guadalajara for two years – her court case only formally unfolding last week. It had been assumed and hoped that the judge in the case would issue a ruling before the summit. As it turns out, the judge said Friday he would issue his ruling at 2 p.m. Tuesday, about an hour or two after the summit ends.