Sunday, August 19

Photos of anti-SPP demo on Parliament Hill today

From August 20-21, Stephen Harper will welcome his American idol George W. Bush and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon to Montebello, Quebec.

The security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) was launched two years ago by then-prime minister Paul Martin, President George W. Bush and his Mexican counterpart Vicente Fox at the so-called Three Amigos summit in Waco, Texas.

The SPP grew out of concerns that security crackdowns would cripple cross-border trade.

With juggernauts such as China and India looming on the horizon, the three countries agreed they had to act fast to stay competitive.

Now the SPP has grown into a mind-boggling array of some 300 initiatives, involving 19 teams of bureaucrats from all three countries.Its stated mission is "to keep our borders closed to terrorism yet open to trade" by fostering "greater co-operation and information-sharing" in security protocols and economic areas such as product safety.

Little-known in Canada, the accord, if fully implemented, could affect almost every aspect of Canadian life, from what drugs you can access, to whether you can board a plane and even what ingredients go into your morning cornflakes.

While you may not have heard of the SPP, you may have heard about some of the controversies it has sparked: Canada's adoption of a no-fly list; negotiations to lower Canada's pesticide standards to U.S. levels; or fears the deal will lead to bulk-water exports.

This weekend, the debate hits the headlines across the nation as the three heads of state and their advisers converge on Montebello, Que., 60 kilometres east of Ottawa, for the SPP's third annual summit.

Thousands of protesters are also expected to descend on the area, hoping to confront the "Three Banditos" about a deal they say is a secretive sellout to the cowboy capitalism and militarism of the superpower to Canada's south. Today - there was a rally on Parliament Hill

LINK: Slideshow

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