Treaty Needed to Protect Canada's Interests. (Security and Sovereignty)

By Roussel, Stephane | Canadian Speeches, September-October 2002 | Go to article overview

Treaty Needed to Protect Canada's Interests. (Security and Sovereignty)


Roussel, Stephane, Canadian Speeches


Closer integration of Canadian and American national security is inevitable, and could be used by the United States as a pretext to affect Canadian economic and social policies. To protect its interests, Canada is urged to seek a formal security treaty that sets forth long-term objectives. From evidence present in Toronto, May 7.

What do we mean by this concept of a security perimeter? I must say that there are no definitions that have been unanimously agreed to. Generally speaking, the definitions are based on statements made by American ambassadors: Paul Cellucci, who is currently ambassador, and his predecessor, Gordon Griffin, clarified what was meant by this concept.

This concept involved, first of all, closer co-operation between the two states. Secondly, it means strengthening already existing measures. Thirdly, the concept involves the systematic use of new technology to enhance border control and speed up the border crossing process. Fourthly, and this is the most important point, it means harmonizing the policies of both governments in areas that include, in particular, immigration, border control, intelligence, defence and security, and, in particular, law enforcement...

There are three problems that pertain to the evolution of the security concept. The first difficulty is the limitation of operational sectors covered by this concept. This means immigration, border management, intelligence but, as well, many other sectors where there is a great deal more ambiguity.

For example, on December 19, American Ambassador Paul Cellucci talked about the need to cooperate more closely in the energy sector, tying this cooperation to the strengthening of security in North America. So he is using the pretext of security to call for negotiations in the sectors that are quite far removed from security. This also applies to the health sector. Preparation in the event of a bioterrorist attack can be used as a pretext for greater co-operation between the two countries in health matters, and, as a result, this could eventually have an impact on the Canadian health system. This is also true for the carrying of weapons, and, as well, if we want to carry the argument even further, the sale of potable water. Indeed, very few sectors are excluded from the pretext of security, explaining why it is so important for Canada, in particular, to define the limitations of cooperation between the two states very carefully.

The second question that arises from this concept of the security perimeter is, obviously, that of geographical limitations. The question that we must ask ourselves is as follows: should we invite Mexico to be involved in the security perimeter? Opinions vary on this issue. Some stress the fact that the problems found at the Canadian-American border are totally different from those found at the Mexican-American border, and if we were to invite Mexico to participate in the security perimeter, we may well find ourselves forced to Mexicanize the process at the Canadian border, which would involve much more rigorous restrictions and controls than we currently have.

The opposing argument, and one that I agree with, is that it is not possible to have a two-tier free trade agreement. It is not possible to have a second-class member. And by that I mean Mexico. Economic integration requires security integration. The two are closely linked, and I do not think that we can leave Mexico on the sidelines for very long.

I think that the Canadian government should look into this matter because my discussions with my Mexican colleagues reveal that Mexico is somewhat uncomfortable about Canada's attitude.

The third and final issue that I would like to raise this morning, and which, in my opinion, is perhaps the most important one, pertains to the way that the security perimeter is organized. Very briefly, I would say that this perimeter could evolve in four different ways. …

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