Allowing CEOs to set the foreign policy agegnda for North America endangers democracy in Canada
March 6, 2005

On March 7th and 8th a delegation of CEOs, all members of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives
(CCCE), an organization made up of 150 of Canada’s largest corporations, will arrive in Mexico City to
seek out ‘new business opportunities’ according to the February 16 editorial in the Mexican daily

In another time or place perhaps this could have been construed as nothing more than a straight
forward business meeting, were it not for the fact that it was the very same CCCE that developed the
agenda for the Fox-Martin-Bush gathering at the latter’s Texas ranch on March 23rd, 2005.

At this supposedly ‘informal’ meeting the three heads-of-state signed the far-reaching Security and
Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) program despite having no mandate from their
respective citizenry to do so. Just prior to that Texas get-together, a CCCE supported task-force had
released a proposal that received considerable press at the time. Not only did the three leaders borrow
extensively from the CCCE-sponsored report, they used virtually the same title in their Texas press
release. Not surprisingly, under this SPP accord the “three amigos” had agreed to deepen NAFTA
(North American Free Trade Agreement), the problem-plagued free trade deal whose only clear
beneficiaries have been multinational corporations.

As part of their mission this time, these Canadian CEOs will be meeting on March 8th with prominent
Mexican businesspeople under the honourary chairmanship of Mexican President, Vicente Fox.
Featured among the participants at this meeting will be Luis Tellez of the Washington based Carlyle
group, a giant in the US military–industrial field with close connections to the Bush administration. The
military connection at this Mexico City gathering of CEOs is alarming given Washington’s resolve to
ramp-up its military presence in the Americas. And once again this year the corporate CEOs are
holding their session shortly before the March 30 and 31 Fox-Bush-Harper Summit in Cancun.

Common Frontiers and the Quebec Network on Hemispheric Integration (RQIC) are concerned that the
Canadian Parliament has been sidelined in the face of an agreement that binds Canada’s future to the
security imperatives of the Bush administration. It is unacceptable that in a democratic society like
ours information critical to the future direction of our country is being withheld from the public. We are
also concerned that decisions such as those related to energy supply and military policy will be
determined by Washington in sync with North American mega-corporations.

It is imperative that the Canadian government reveal its intentions with regards to this ‘partnership’.
As citizens we deserve to be fully informed in order to debate the merits of the SPP and decide on
whether Canada should proceed down this road, or not. At the very least Parliamentarians should be
knowledgeable about the SPP in order to vote on an issue so critical to Canada’s future.

For Common Frontiers and RQIC, the SPP is, under the guise of security, a militarization of North
America; under the guise of prosperity, an expansion of NAFTA to further benefit a few at the expense
of the majority. Deprived of any opportunity for public debate on this secretive accord, we will be
forced to conclude that it is corporate CEOs who are setting the agenda for Canada and the other two
governments. Lack of transparency on this file will call into question Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s
promise of greater government accountability to Canadians. (en francais)