Author Topic: A North American road to nowhere: Ron Paul Confirms NAFTA Superhighway Goal  (Read 2461 times)

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A North American road to nowhere
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070821.wamigosprotests21/BNStory/Front
GLORIA GALLOWAY

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

August 21, 2007 at 3:40 AM EDT

OTTAWA — It's a threat that has left-wing Canadian nationalists and right-wing U.S. congressmen in rare and dismayed agreement: a freeway, four football fields wide, stretching from Mexico to northern Manitoba.

Groups on both sides of the political spectrum say the corridor - dubbed the NAFTA superhighway - is a primary goal of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America established two years ago by the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

At separate press conferences in Ottawa yesterday, the road was held out as an example of the potentially repugnant effects of the trilateral partnership.

There's just one thing: Officials in Canada and the United States say no plans for any such freeway are in the works. The concept, they say, is part urban myth and part fear-mongering.

But the detractors of the SPP are convinced that the road's construction has already been approved. They argue that plans are being kept secret, a lament they extend to the discussions taking place behind closed doors this week in Montebello, Que., between U.S. President George W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

"The chief project thus far of the SPP is the so-called NAFTA superhighway which would connect Mexico, the United States and Canada, cutting a wide swath through the middle of Texas and up through Kansas City," warned Republican Congressman Ron Paul in a statement read at one of the morning news events in Ottawa yesterday.

"Millions would be displaced by this massive undertaking which would require the eminent domain actions [expropriations] on an unprecedented scale. ... A Spanish construction company, it is said, plans to build the highway and operate it as a toll road."

Just a few minutes earlier, a collection of antiwar activists and civil-rights spokesmen led by the Council of Canadians, a non-profit group that fights against corporate integration with the U.S., offered a similar message.

They warned that a Trans Texas Corridor being built in Mr. Bush's home state that "will be four football fields wide and include lanes for cars, trains and trucks headed from the Mexican coast" will not end in the United States.

"Through public-private consortia like the North American Super Corridor Coalition, which counts the province of Manitoba as a proud participant, plans are under way to extend the Texas pet project right up past the Canadian border to an expanded port in Churchill," warns a Council of Canadians pamphlet entitled Behind Closed Doors that features pictures of the three leaders on its cover.

The U.S. embassy in Ottawa issued a press release yesterday calling the superhighway a myth.

A spokesman from the Prime Minister's Office scoffed at the claim, saying a simple denial that plans for the project are in the works would be "an understatement."

Even the North American Super Corridor Coalition (NASCO) says the superhighway is not one of its goals.

"We are concerned with improving the efficiency and security and safety of existing transportation infrastructure," said Frank Conde, the director of communications for NASCO.

The need for those improvements was made clear with the bridge collapse in Minneapolis earlier this month, Mr. Conde said. But there is no move by NASCO to create a separate international highway, he said.

Even if there is no specific proof that the highway is going ahead, the Council of Canadians says there is a plan to fortify trade corridors through North America that transport Canadian water to the United States while damaging the environment by putting more trucks on the road.

And, said Stuart Trew, a council spokesman, "it's fortifying this kind of pattern of the economy where goods are made in areas where civil liberties and human rights are lower and where you can make them cheaper."

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What is the SPP?

The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America is a framework for a trilateral relationship by the leaders of the United States, Canada

and Mexico.

It resulted from a get-together involving U.S. President George W. Bush, Canadian prime minister Paul Martin and Mexican president Vicente Fox, when they met in March of 2005 in Waco, Tex.

It states that the three countries will establish a co-operative approach to advance their common security and prosperity.

While the partnership talks about securing North America from internal and external threats, it also promises a streamlining of legitimate, low-risk traffic across the shared borders, as well as the promotion of economic growth, competitiveness and quality of life.

Critics in both Canada and the United States argue that it will infringe on national sovereignty and promote the import of cheaper goods from such places as China, and that the agreement was reached in secret without broad consensus.

Advocates dismiss those concerns as conspiracy theories of protectionists and say that the partnership will promote cross-border trade that is vital to the economies of all three nations.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately