That’s the attitude I take away from the Canadian press accounts of this weekend’s North American Union planning session:
Top North American ministers deflected criticism that they had consulted only big business for their talks on trade and security rules, suggesting Friday there are “different venues” for public interest and labour groups to raise their concerns and suggestions.
The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) is an ongoing dialogue between Canada, the United States and Mexico to find more common ground on issues ranging from border security to emergency preparedness. The group has an arm of business leaders that provides myriad recommendations, but has no formal mechanism for consulting the public at large.
The SPP’s business arm, called the North America Competitiveness Council, rejected the criticism as misguided, saying that there was nothing secretive about their work or that of the partnership. Tom D’Aquino of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives said there hasn’t been public input because most people aren’t clued in to the issues.
I don’t recall voting for “an arm of business leaders” to represent my personal interests here on the continent.
This only heightens my suspicion that real political power lies with unelected “business leaders” who see themselves as North America’s board of directors. Politicians such as Condoleeza Rice, who’s in Ottawa for this get-together, are middle management, the people who actually do the organizing and write the reports.
You and I are the mail room clerks.