Quick Note: In an effort to provide better resource material, I have begun the process of fixing any broken hyperlinks found in my articles.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Perimeter Security and the Future of North American Integration

By Dana Gabriel


Out of the ashes of the defunct Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), the U.S. has pursued simultaneous bilateral agendas with both Canada and Mexico, in an effort to further deepen North American economic and security integration. While the NAFTA framework remains intact, a recent announcement by Canada and the U.S. to work towards a trade and security perimeter agreement without Mexico, has some questioning the future of the whole trilateral process.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon recently addressed the Council on Foreign Relations where he emphasized Canada-U.S. bilateral achievements and called for greater integration between the two countries. In his speech, Minister Cannon praised the February 4, Beyond the Border declaration issued by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper as, “a bold new step, intended to bring our economic competitiveness and our security perimeter to a higher level of joint commitment.” In regards to shared engagement in the hemisphere, he added, “Our Americas strategy is focused on promoting prosperity, democracy and security.” Cannon acknowledged, “We are working with the U.S. to help Mexico strengthen its police forces and judicial institutions to combat transnational, organized crime.” He also added, “The problems on the U.S. southern border are real but fundamentally different from those on your northern border.” Some have blamed the failure of the SPP on the trilateral approach and believe that it also prevented more meaningful Canada-U.S. bilateralism in areas of security, trade and energy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A North American Security Perimeter Threatens National Sovereignty

By Dana Gabriel


Canada and the U.S. have officially launched negotiations on a trade and security agreement which would take continental integration to the next level. A declaration issued by the leaders follows months of secret preliminary talks. The deal would work towards facilitating the movement of travel and trade across the northern border. This includes pursuing a perimeter approach to security in an effort to better address common threats. The agreement sets in motion an agenda with the aim of going beyond NAFTA and further expanding on the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), but in the context of a bilateral framework.

On February 4, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a declaration which, “establishes a new long-term partnership that will accelerate the legitimate flows of people and goods between both countries, while strengthening security and economic competitiveness.” Beyond the Border: a Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness will, “focus on four areas of co-operation: addressing threats early; trade facilitation, economic growth and jobs; integrated cross-border law enforcement; and critical infrastructure and cyber-security.” According to the declaration, both nations will, “develop a joint action plan on perimeter security and economic competitiveness that will set out a range of initiatives in the four key areas to improve both countries’ ability to manage security risks, while facilitating the flow of people, goods and services.” The newly formed Beyond the Border Working Group will, “report to their respective Leaders in the coming months, and after a period of consultation, with a joint Plan of Action to realize the goals of this declaration.” The agenda set forth is nothing more than a rehashing of some of the SPP's security priorities, but without Mexican involvement.