The Guardian July 14, 1999


Canada to become 51st state of US?

A decade after the first North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 
drastically weakened Canadian sovereignty, news reports indicate the 
country's Liberal Cabinet will hold discussions on adopting the US dollar 
and a customs union opening the border between the two countries.

Some leading Liberals downplayed the reports, calling the discussions at 
their annual summer retreat "theoretical", but there are many signals that 
the Canadian Government is seriously considering closer integration with 
the USA.

Demands for a so-called "common North American currency" have been raised 
repeatedly over the last year from several directions, ranging from the 
Bloq Quebecois and the Reform Party to the right-wing think tank, the CD 
Howe Institute.

Perhaps more revealing in terms of the Government's direction, Raymond 
Chretien, Canadian ambassador to the US, speaking in Washington on April 
29, asked whether Congress would be "prepared to consider new treaties and 
political arrangements that would further codify our future together?"

In reality, as Council of Canadians executive director Peter Bleyer quickly 
pointed out, "Adopting a common North American currency can mean only one 
thing  adopting the US dollar. This is not what Canadians want.

"Canada's monetary policy would be set by the US Federal Reserve. In 
effect, we would become the fifty-first US state."

Argentina and Mexico are already engaged in serious debates about 
"dollarisation" of their currencies.

It was the post-war Canadian Liberal Government which brought in the 
"Abbott Plan" in 1947. Under this policy, US investment in key sectors of 
the Canadian economy was stimulated, leading to massive US ownership of 
natural resources and manufacturing.

At the time, Communist leader Tim Buck warned that "If the policy now being 
developed is persisted in, we, as a nation, will pass into servitude to the 
United States through economic colonialism and Canada will be inextricably 
enmeshed in the war plans of US imperialism regardless of the people's 
will."

That warning rings true today, as Ottawa gives virtually total support to 
US foreign policy, including the savage bombing of Iraq and Yugoslavia, and 
growing hostility towards Cuba.

"This is a grave assault on our independence and sovereignty", said 
Communist Party of Canada leader Miguel Figueroa. "Just as opponents of 
free trade warned, we are on a slippery slope towards total integration 
with the United States.

"The World Trade Organisation talks in Seattle later this year will be 
another step in the same direction. The Liberals may send out mixed signals 
to conceal their intentions, but nobody should be fooled."

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People's Voice, (Canada)

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