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For nearly two years now, Ottawa has been quietly negotiating a far-reaching military cooperation agreement, which allows the US Military to cross the border and deploy troops anywhere in Canada, in our provinces, as well station American warships in Canadian territorial waters. This redesign of Canada's defense system is being discussed behind closed doors, not in Canada, but at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado, at the headquarters of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM).

The creation of NORTHCOM announced in April 2002, constitutes a blatant violation of both Canadian and Mexican territorial sovereignty. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced unilaterally that US Northern Command would have jurisdiction over the entire North American region. Canada and Mexico were presented with a fait accompli. US Northern Command's jurisdiction as outlined by the US DoD includes, in addition to the continental US, all of Canada, Mexico, as well as portions of the Caribbean, contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the Mexican, US and Canadian coastlines as well as the Canadian Arctic.

NorthCom's stated mandate is to "provide a necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical support for [the] nation’s civil authorities in times of national need."

(Canada-US Relations - Defense Partnership – July 2003, Canadian American Strategic Review (CASR), http://www.sfu.ca/casr/ft-lagasse1.htm

Read more here http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO411C.html

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Good move in military terms. Bad move for sovereignty. With the right political leadership this could strengthen our position, however this means we will need to have some real balls at the table. Under the terms of this agreement we lose command and control of our own forces.

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It should be done as a joint command, like NORAD, and NOT include Mexico in the joint command. The US and Canada are relatively similar countries; US and Canada on one hand and Mexico on the other are not.

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Another little tidbit from 2002 - we should remember Chretien could say no to the Americans, can Harper?

Last month, U.S. President George W. Bush confirmed the fears of the most vocal opponents of bulk water shipments. Mr. Bush told reporters the United States would be interested in piping Canadian water down to the thirsty southwestern states and that he would raise the issue with Prime Minister Jean Chretien at the G8 Summit in Genoa.

The federal government immediately responded by insisting bulk exports of water from Canada weren't on the table.

The Council of Canadians, which has led the campaign against water exports with the support of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Canadian Environmental Law Association, pounced on Mr. Bush's statement. Maude Barlow, the chairwoman of the council, said Mr. Bush had been candid enough to tell the truth, and that Mr. Chretien has suggested he is willing "turn the tap."

"Canadians wanted bulk exports banned and the Liberals are opening the floodgates," she said.

The crux of the argument from the opponents of bulk water shipments is that under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, water is not protected, and that if Canada permits the sale of bulk water, it becomes a tradable commodity. Once water is a commodity, a giant water valve will be turned on and stuck in that position.

The council has called on the Chretien government to pass legislation prohibiting the export of water, and has linked the trade of water with the trend across North America to hire private firms to deliver water services.

"What is more fundamental to democracy than control over the water we drink?" asks Judy Darcy, CUPE's national president. "Access for all Canadians to a basic source of life is what's at stake. Multinational corporations are trying to privatize water services in hundreds of Canadian municipalities and turn our water resources into an export commodity. They can't buy the air we breathe, so now they want to buy and control the water we drink. What we are saying is simple: No water for profit." ............

..........Groundwater withdrawals at rates high enough to warrant concern" are already happening, particularly in the Chicago area, where aquifer levels have been dropping for more than two decades. Chicago is also withdrawing surface water from the Great Lakes basin at a rate of 4,300 cubic feet per second. Half the water is for drinking and the rest is used to reverse the flow of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Excess water winds up in the Mississippi River.

The NAWAPA Project shown here, was drawn up by the Pasadena, Calif.-based firm of Ralph M. Parsons Co., and favorably reviewed by Congress in the 1960s for completion by the 1990s, but it was never begun. The idea is to divert southward some 15% of the MacKenzie River (northern Canada) runoff now going towards the Arctic, channelling it through the 500-mile Rocky Mountain trench, then along various routes, eventually reaching even Mexico. The broken lines show new, navigable canals.

The principle--on a grander scale--is the same as that of the Tennessee Valley Authority of the 1930s, and the 1950s St. Lawrence Seaway, both shown on the map. NAWAPA could supply an additional 135 billion gallons of fresh water to the United States, Canada, and Mexico, plus power, and vast new areas of cultivation. It would involve thousands of skilled jobs to construct and operate.

Do some research on a little thing called "NAWAPA", more plans for Canada from the US

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Another mega-canal proposal was the NAWAPA — the North American Water and Power Alliance — designed to carry bulk water from Alaska and northern British Columbia for delivery to 35 U.S. states. By building a series of large dams, water from the Yukon, Peace, and Liard rivers would be trapped in the Rocky Mountain trench, a giant reservoir about eight hundred kilometers (about five hundred miles) long, flooding approximately one-tenth of British Columbia. Through this reservoir, a canal would, in effect, be created from Alaska to Washington state, where it would be rerouted to supply water through existing canals and pipelines to customers in the 35 states. The annual volume of water to be diverted through the NAWPA canal scheme would be roughly equivalent to the average total yearly discharge of the St. Lawrence River system.

Initially planned by a group of California entrepreneurs, the NAWAPA canal would have cost an estimated one-half trillion US dollars to build. Although both the GRAND and the NAWAPA canal schemes have been put on the back burner, largely because their huge costs made them financially nonviable when they were first conceived, there are signs that they may soon be revived. As the Canadian Banker magazine put it in 1991: “The concept of NAWAPA . . . remains a potentially awesome catalyst for economic and environmental change.” In market terms, it is the extent of U.S. demands for water that will determine whether these canal schemes are financially viable or not in the future. Yet the potential ecological costs of these mega projects are staggering. As Marq de Villiers writes in his book Water, the proposed NAWAPA itself “would do as much damage to the environment as all the river diversions combined in America.”

Lets not forgot that Mulroney supported and was completely ready to comply with this scheme , even if it meant flooding the Rocky Mountain Trench in BC (settled areas) and displacing most of Canadians along the border and throughout the southern "trenches" of the country .... it would also mean relocating all of Canada's infrastructure ... rail lines, Trans Canada highways, hydro etc.

This scheme had Canadians "shaking in their boots" bank in the 1960's and it isnt dead yet, I saw a reference to it within the last couple of months by Bush and I am unable to find it again .......... :(

A lot of the dams that are critical to the NAWAPA plan have already been built in Canada .... on a smaller scale, if memory serves me right, there are only two, maybe three dams left to build and then the pipelines -the smaller scheme would avoid flooding the valleys and agricutural/settled areas of the country, but control of the water flow would be in the hands of the US. A questionable thing with their record on environmental issues.

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It has never failed to amaze me that the Council of Canadians is angry if Americans won't buy our lumber but it is also angry if Americans want to buy our water.

In the eyes of some Canadians, the Americans are damned whatever they do. They are damned for merely being American.

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As to the OP and NorthCom, I read quickly the linked article and there is nothing extreme or sensational. Since September 2001, the US understandably wants to review North American security arrangements. This means changing NORAD. Any involvement of Canada would require the agreement of teh Canadian government.

Kindred, I frankly don't know what sinister actions you see in all this.

Underneath it all, Canadians and Americans share a similar interest in protecting the rights of an individual to choose freely. Canada and America are both civilized societies.

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Command and control is an issue. Unless of course Canada gets some balls and does something smart. North American Defense is in our own best interest. That is a given, but the real question is how to integrate an operational plan to provide for the defense of both Canada and the United States. Considering that we here in Canada are not capable of defending our northern territory, we must make some decisions rather quickly in my view. Either we spend the necessary funds to get the job done ourselves or we look at the option of becoming a partner in a multinational strategy to get the job done. Either way you look at it the responsibility to defend this nation rests with our government. By doing nothing they are failing in their responsibilities.

Having said all of this, there are a number of distinct advantages in becoming a partner in continental defense. For one, we could stipulate that we share in the productive efforts of providing infrastructure on Canadian soil. By this I mean providing the military hardware for the bases of operations. To do this we could get some license agreements to produce the armament necessary. This means industrial development and employment. Although it does mean participating in the military industrial complex we could at least do so with open eyes and setup some political firewalls to help us out with the problems that will be encountered.

I could see any command and control issues being put to rest as a trade off for economic benefit.

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The formation of NorthCom has revived familiar disputes regarding the need to cooperate with the US in continental defence, weighed against the likely impact of such cooperation on our nation's sovereignty.
the Second World War also alerted Canadian decision-makers to the need to be cautious in dealing with the United States. Early in the war, in an effort to build the Alaskan Highway, and man the Northeast Staging Route to Europe, the United States stationed a formidable number of its forces on Canadian soil.

Unsurprisingly, Canadian officials regarded this American presence with alarm. For instance, the Canadian High Commissioner in London, Vincent Massey, was unapologetic in his sentiment that "Canada has been too preoccupied with her own war effort to cope with the Americans who unfortunately, under the cover of the needs of war, are acting in the Northwest as if they owned the country." Luckily, before the war's end, Ottawa obtained guarantees of an American withdrawal. While Canadian officials did not question that these deployments had been made in good faith, the ease with which they had occurred signalled that concrete steps were needed to prevent a similar strain on Canadian sovereignty. .....

....................Canadian Armed Forces under US Command

Foremost among the academic detractors of further continental defence collaboration is Michael Byers of Duke University. In his May 2002 report, Canadian armed forces under U.S. command, Byers provides several cautionary warnings about Canadian involvement in an expanded joint continental defence with the United States.

Most prominent among his warnings are the degradation of Canadian sovereignty and undue American influence in the foreign and defence policies of Canada . For Byers, the notion of American operational control of Canadian forces – foreseen by the Binational Planning Group in the event of a cross-border aid to the civil power mission – is problematic.

To be precise, Byers believes that the line between operational control and national command is too easily blurred. In fact, in his estimation, the distinction between operational control and command is merely an exercise in semantics. With respect to the conduct of Canadian foreign policy, Byers contends that the United States might also use the force requirements of continental defence to prevent Canada from engaging in unilateral endeavours which go against American policy aspirations, such as an airlift to Cuba. In opposing greater Canada–US defence cooperation, therefore, Byers and the Canadian press are revisiting sovereignty apprehensions that have plagued Canadian participation in continental defence since World War II.

Most prominent among his warnings are the degradation of Canadian sovereignty and undue American influence in the foreign and defence policies of Canada
We are seeing this now ....
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Having said all of this, there are a number of distinct advantages in becoming a partner in continental defense. For one, we could stipulate that we share in the productive efforts of providing infrastructure on Canadian soil. By this I mean providing the military hardware for the bases of operations.
Jerry, you state one of the most ignorant ideas I have ever seen - and it is also frighteningly common.

The efforts to provide defence are a cost to society. A country is richer when fewer people are involved in policing and defence. If a country doesn't need police or soldiers, then those people can do something else useful with their time. Canada benefits because we rely on Americans for our defence. Canadians can do something else useful instead of being soldiers.

Wars (and hurricanes) are not good for a country's economy. Wars and hurricanes destroy. They kill. They make people waste their time preparing for the destruction, trying to avoid it or fixing the destruction afterwards.

Foreign wars are not good for domestic economies or corporations. If Canada made cruise missiles and dropped them in the Atlantic Ocean, would this make Canada rich?

This simple ignorance, and lack of common sense, frightens me sometimes.

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Well August what can I say. I am well aware of the fallacy of INVESTING in the military industrial complex. There are however several practical realities to factor into the equation. First of all the simple fact of the state of our military and current global conditions. Secondly the current direction of our government with respect to its position on undertaking a program to begin to re-equip our military. It has been announced that we will spend 15 billion dollars over the next ten years, which is not a huge expenditure in military equipment but it still taps the tax payer for 1.5 billion a year. Now where is that money going? How much will be spent here in Canada and how much will head south to the American military industrial complex?

Canada currently manufactures very little military equipment. Ship building we do, aircraft building we don't. Lots of money is going south and we get zero benefit from the expenditure. Now turn things around, buy the stuff we need here and the tax payer then employs Canadians and claws back at least some of that expenditure in taxes. Now think of the impact of becoming a full partner in continental defense. The reality is that there would have to be a massive expenditure of capital to upgrade continental defense. Canada would have to cover a lot of the cost of that effort but under the right conditions we may be able to recoup some of that expense through a Canadian content clause.

It boils down into a simple question of what is it that Canada wants to do? Defense is not cheap but the costs can be mitigated with or without benefits to citizens.

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