Bush Denies Planning for a Superstate; Calls Mexico, Canada Pact Talk 'Scare Tactics'
Byline: Jon Ward, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
MONTEBELLO, Quebec - President Bush and the leaders of Canada and Mexico yesterday ridiculed the notion that their countries are conspiring to create a regional supergovernment similar to the European Union.
"I'm amused by the difference between what actually takes place in the meetings and by what some are trying to say takes place," said Mr. Bush, responding to concerns raised by conservative and liberal groups and some U.S. lawmakers.
"It's quite comical actually, to realize the difference between reality and what some people on TV are talking about."
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper joked that a superhighway rumored to be in the works linking the three countries could also be "interplanetary."
The two leaders and Mexican President Felipe Calderon spoke at a press conference here in a countryside resort, halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, to cap two days of meetings.
Mr. Bush said it is important for the U.S. to work with Canada and Mexico on facilitating trade while securing their borders, under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), a series of negotiations started in 2005.
Mr. Bush said the charges of a plot to form a North American Union were "political scare tactics."
"You lay out a conspiracy and then force some people to try to prove it doesn't exist.
That's just the way some people operate," Mr. Bush said.
Mr. Harper said the trade talks were far more mundane than many realize, citing a morning meeting with business leaders at which one CEO complained that "the rules for jelly bean contents are different in Canada and the United States."
"They have to maintain two separate inventories. Is the sovereignty of Canada going to fall apart if we standardize the jelly bean? You know, I don't think so," Mr. Harper said.
Mr. Calderon said there were "myths" about the SPP, and joked, "I'll be happy with one foot in Mexicali and one in Tijuana."
The rumors of an EU-style plot, which started out on obscure Web sites and talk radio, have since been picked up by CNN anchor Lou Dobbs and have now gained traction among some of the House Republicans who successfully derailed Mr. Bush's immigration-reform plan.
A group of 21 Republican congressmen and one Democrat - Rep. …