Bush-Martin-Fox Texas summit: Civil society condemns closed-door talks

March 22, 2005

OTTAWA and MONTREAL – On the eve of the summit between George W. Bush, Paul Martin and Vicente Fox at
Bush’s ranch in Texas, civil society networks in all three North American countries have a message for the “three
amigos”: “ Move beyond ‘homeland security’ and focus your agenda on t he damage done by NAFTA to
‘human security’ in our continent.”

Common Frontiers and the Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC) have joined forces with civil society
networks in the United States and Mexico to fight the three leaders’ deep integration plans for North America. They
adopted a common statement that has been sent to the leaders
On March 23rd, Bush, Martin, and Fox are expected to discuss the idea of turning the 11-year-old North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into “NAFTA-plus”. The ultimate goal of NAFTA-plus is the integration of the policies
and regulations in the three countries to create a unified standard for the continent. This would include creating a
North American energy pact, harmonizing immigration policies, and creating common security policies under the
guise of protecting citizens against terrorism.

Unfortunately, these talks are held away from the public eye, and are not subjected to public debate in any of
the three countries. This lack of transparency ignores the fact that an increasing number of Canadian Members of
Parliament are supporting a fundamental review NAFTA, especially the chapters on investment and dispute
resolution settlement (Chapters 11 and 19). On February 16, 2005, following testimony from RQIC and Common
Frontiers, the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on International Trade requested that the Standing Committee on
Foreign Affairs and International Trade undertake a review of NAFTA.

“It’s unthinkable to start negotiating a “NAFTA-plus” without first addressing the social damage done by NAFTA and
conducting an exhaustive review of the accord that needs to include civil society’s inputs. It is undeniable that
promises made by our governments on the benefits of NAFTA for the citizens of the three countries have not been
kept,” state representatives of the North American networks.

Common Frontiers and RQIC will continue to lobby the Canadian government to ensure that social, cultural, and
environmental as well as economic rights are respected, so that the living and working conditions of all citizens will be
improved. The networks will maintain their pressure on the Canadian government to change its approach to
integration in North America, to prioritize social and human rights over private sector interests.

Common Frontiers and RQIC were co-organizers of the People’s Summit in April 2001 in Quebec City, and are
members of the Hemispheric Social Alliance that has played a central role in opposing ‘free trade’ negotiations
throughout the Americas. In Canada and Quebec these two networks are representative of a range of organizations
including church, labour, students, women, environment, international development, human rights and other social
justice sectors.

The declaration is available on the RQIC and Common Frontiers web sites
at: rqic.alternatives.ca and www.commonfrontiers.ca