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Monday, February 19, 2007

Deep Integration equals Deep Penetration

I’ve seen more and more talk on blogs and some financial web casts about the drive for North American Deep integration. Deep integration is a drive to open continental borders and harmonize policies and regulations regarding trade, security, labour mobility and many other factors in order to facilitate trade. What deep integration will eventually lead to is the equivalent of a North American EU where things like common currency, shared security, shared passports, and workforce mobility will make Canada, Mexico and the U.S one big happy family. Bullshit is the Green Assassin Brigade short answer, the slightly longer answer is below.

First of all we have to look at the real EU to see what such a move really means to Canada.

EU laws affect all members and can super cede the indigenous laws of each nation, which is a loss of sovereignty. The added level of bureaucracy is costly and the attempts at law making become ever more difficult as the divergent views of the various countries makes easy unified laws difficult to achieve. The views of some countries are often steamrolled by the others.

One contentious EU issue is that of monetary policy where the needs of the old have states and the needs of its new have not states are causing great strain between the nations. The booming economy of Germany demands one interest rate to thwart rampant inflation while many of the new members and France with its stalling economy need low rates to spur on growth. The inability of these countries to manage their own interest rates is causing economic problems in many member states. The desirable value for the Euro is a similar problem to interest rates in that it’s totally dependant on which country you live in. Exporting countries want it low, importing countries want it high again causing strife and inequity between the members. While Germany and France strive for control of the EU it leaves the smaller countries without any control of their own destiny and even the big two cannot always get their own way. There have even been rumours this winter that the French and Germans with their different economic needs have printed and stockpiled indigenous national currency in case a dead lock forces them to break ranks and drop the EURO. The rumours with the recent inability of some governments to receive public ratification for the new EU constitution is a strong sign that all is not well in paradise.

The Mobility of workers from the new east bloc countries is driving down wages and standards of living in the western states. The reality of this kind of employment mobility is that it destroys a countries right to manage immigration and its own workforce. Waves of poor ex Warsaw pact immigrants have over strained social housing, job markets, and medical facilities in some countries. Easy immigration has increased the exploitation and importation of sex workers, brought in new crime organizations, and made firearms, mostly outlawed in places like England more and more common place.

These are just a few of the problems of the EU, but what would Deep Integration mean to Canada?

Like the EU, we would be required to allow workforce mobility and since we do not have enough clout to make the U.S. and Mexico adapt our minimum wages, our workplace safety, our social safety net, we will eventually be forced to accept theirs much to the detriment of Canadians. If we do not conform to their standards hundreds of thousands manufacturing jobs would head for the Rio Grande. Wheat boards, milk marketing boards, food health standards could all be put in jeopardy as they would be seen as anti competitive to the new North American Union. The suing of governments over “anti competitive” rules by companies as we’ve already seen under NAFTA will become rampant as all levels of government lose the ability to manage commerce in its jurisdiction. Towns could even lose their rights to control zoning and block the “Wal-Marts” of the world from building whatever monstrosities wherever they choose. If the U.S. forced its interpretation of Eminent Domain onto us we would find that no private property would be safe from commercial development.

Deep integration would continue the NAFTA drive to give corporations the right to challenge the sovereignty of Governments. While I have little use for our government at the best of times I’d much rather they be in charge than the CEOs of Corporate America.

Resource and water rights will change such that we will not be able to outlaw the mass exportation of water to the U.S. neither will we be able hoard any other strategic resource for the benefit of Canadians.

It can only be guessed what Deep Integration will do to environmental protections in the U.S. and Canada , simply because I have to believe that industry will be lobbying for the lowest common denominator in this and many other areas of negotiation and this would mean everyone sliding towards the standards of Mexico.

Canada will lose the right to control the use of GM products, (not that we seem to be doing much about it right now)

We would become more tied to the international policies of the U.S. a country apparently intent on becoming a social pariah. As their threats became our threats we would share continental security with them on all levels, eventually we would not have the choice of opting out of the missile defense system for example.

It’s conceivable we could be required to join a North American common currency (Amero?) that would require we take our interest and monetary creation cues from the U.S. Fed. Like the EU our three countries will not have the same monetary needs but it should surprise no one if the U.S. always gets the rates it wants.

One of the least mentioned problems with such a union is the state of the U.S budget. The U.S. is currently verging on a fiscal crisis because its debt plus its internal liabilities to supply pensions, Medicare, and a number of other obligations equals 53 Trillion dollars or over 4 times the entire GDP of America. The U.S. cannot allow its dollar to drop much further in case it starts a panic with its Asian creditors which leaves the U.S. in a quandary. If it does not lower interest rates the domestic economy led by housing will implode into deep recession, if it does lower interest rates the dollar will collapse risking a chain reaction and a dollar crisis. The U.S. is in a no win situation and I for one do not want to tie ourselves to a dying empire.

The U.S. wants integration for several reasons in my opinion:

Access to our markets without any pesky laws to curtail their activities.
Gain economic control in order to support their ever increasing and unplayable debt.
To guarantee compliance for their destructive foreign policy.
Energy, energy, energy.
Access to cheap Mexican labour to produce goods and the ability to ship to all of North America duty free.

The U.S. has been a pretty fair neighbor for the most part but knowing they are prone to excess, occasional bullying, and blind egotism I’m rather keen to keep a fence between us. The American Empire is in decline, politically, economically and socially and the last thing Canada needs is to tie ourselves to these bloated, bankrupt buffoons.

While we share the continent, our histories, our values and our social institutions are so different that no satisfactory agreement could ever be achieved that would do anything more than pander to the greed of CEOs. This is not an issue driven by the people but rather big business and the forces of Globalization. No integration agreements can be allowed, speak loudly and make it clear that any move towards Deep Integration will be lead to the deep punishment of politicians.Recommend this Post

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