For our own good, give Canada away

The 'deep integrationists' plan one happy continent, but we must teach the little ones.

As Canadians watch their daily news — the same sex marriage debate, thecontinuing saga of equalization payments and the fight over splitting theDepartment of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in two — the future ofthe country is being decided elsewhere by unelected corporate power brokers.

This particular future is called “deep integration” and is backed by themost powerful business groups, think tanks and foundations in the country.The most recent manifestation of this betrayal of Canada is called the Task Force on the Future of North America. Its leaked report shows the plan in its most refined form to date.

The “team” backing this annexation initiative is politically ambidextrous,which signals the élites' unanimity. Two of the heavy hitters on the TaskForce are John Manley, quite likely the next leader of the federal Liberals,and Michael Wilson, former Tory finance minister. It also includes formerQuebec Premier Pierre Mark Johnson. Two of the six Canadian members areenergy CEOs — just to indicate to George Bush that the oil companies runCanada, too.

The fact that Canadians are more anti-American now that any time in the past50 years has had no impact on the plans of the annexationists in our midst.It doesn't matter that huge majorities of Canadians want nothing to do withmore integration with the rogue nation to the south of us. The democraticimperative is well and truly dead amongst the high rollers who, havingfailed to meet the competitive challenge of free trade, have adopted a newslogan: If you can't beat 'em, join em.

Water, power, culture on the table

The deep integration initiative was publicly launched in early 2002 with anopinion piece in The Globe and Mail by the C.D. Howe Institute's Wendy Dobson. A former staffer in Paul Martin's finance department, she described the thrust of the initiative this way: “Instead of waiting to be told what'sexpected of us [by the Americans], Canadian governments and industry shouldprepare for this possibility in a proactive way.” She discussed the “BigIdea”: that in order to get the Americans' attention we should give themeverything we think they might want and then pray they give us real,unimpeded access to their market.

The Task Force — co-chaired by John Manley — is trilateral and reports notto governments but to the Council on Foreign Affairs (CFA), one of the mostinfluential think tanks in Washington. The CFA is one of three co-sponsorsof the Task Force along with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE)and the Mexican Council on Foreign Affairs. The ubiquitous Tom d'Aquino of the CCCE (formerly the BCNI) is a vice-chair.

There isn't much new in the summary report of the Task Force's firstmeeting, held last October in Toronto. But it does focus in on