Exposing the Continentalist Agenda

Security & Dollarization: The CBC as a Public Propaganda Machine

The following is a transcript from CBC's THE NATIONAL from April 16, 2002

PETER MANSBRIDGE: The fight against terrorism is not confined to Afghanistan and the Middle East. It continues in North America as well. Tomorrow the Pentagon will unveil a major new weapon in that fight. The new northern command will be responsible for all defense within the U.S. But who will defend those areas where the U.S. meets Canada, at border, on the water and in the air. The National senior correspondent Brian Stewart went looking for answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (1): Three navy vessels on your starboard side. Recommend you come up and get out of navy vessel's way.

BRIAN STEWART: Just off North American shores, tense operations of counter terrorist patrol continue non stop. To guard the approaches to Norfolk Harbor, Virginia even high speed U.S. navy patrol crafts have been brought back from overseas to hunt for seaborne threats.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (2): And we came back about a little less than a month after the attacks to a different country. I mean a different mentality, you know a different world and it all happened overnight. So it wasn't surprising that we're doing this but it's a little disheartening to see that our coast lines needs defending in this way.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (3): Good afternoon, captain. Request to know the flag of your vessel, over.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (4): The flag in Antigua.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (3): Can you spell the owner's name?
STEWART: The sea threat is now paramount. The Pentagon fears terrorists and even nuclear or chemical weapons may be smuggled in among the thousand freighters a week that sail to North America.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (3): Roger. Your destination this afternoon?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (4): Destination is New York.
STEWART: New York is a haunting worry. But a dozen other major U.S. and Canadian ports are possible terrorist entry points.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (2): The threat is really from anywhere any time, to anywhere so it's a broad task. It's a huge task.

STEWART: This is the outer edge of North America's new defensive perimeter. I'm on Atlantic patrol where scores of U.S. and Canadian vessels working closely together are trying to stop terrorists and weapons of mass destruction from getting through to our ports. It's all a part of what some are calling the new normalcy where a North American continent is constantly on guard against the threat of outside attacks. A vast continent where integration of defense, security and of course the economy is now happening at a pace few would've thought possible before September the 11th. All continental defense is being reorganized. Canada is now cooperating more on sea and air patrols, tighter border controls and more shared intelligence. But a massive new northern command will within months link all U.S. home defenses under the command of an American general. The U.S. will require more help from Canada which means it wants us to toughen up and spend more on defense, on everything from air force to ground troops.

PAUL CELLUCCI (U.S. Ambassador to Canada): We feel that Canada should put more resources into their defense forces and the reason we want that to happen is because we very much value the contributions that those Canadian forces make defending North America and helping out around the globe.

STEWART: Shortly after September the 11th, U.S. ambassador to Ottawa Paul Cellucci took part in an emotional gathering of 100,000 on Parliament Hill to show sympathy and solidarity with the U.S.

CELLUCCI: We will need your continued support and help in the days, in the weeks, in the months ahead.

STEWART: It was a defining moment, he believes, in or relationship. A realization that all North Americans are in the same boat defensively in a dangerous world.

CELLUCCI: A free and open societies...

STEWART: He echoes the Bush administration's stern line. America needs to know who stands back to back with this.

CELLUCCI: And our way of life will be maintained.

STEWART: Canada already cooperates on continental defense. Canadian and U.S. ships and surveillance planes train to be inter-operable. They can work as one unit. But for over a half century through NORAD headquarters in Colorado, Canadian officers have held senior ranks alongside the U.S. air force in defense of air and space over North America. But the Bush administration wants a further coordination between ground forces, security and intelligence. Ambassador Cellucci has led a highly visible lobbying offensive. He voices U.S. complaints that Canada's military is too weak and under equipped to play a proper role. He calls on Ottawa to spend more. Do you get any sense the United States complaints are getting through to the Canadian government?

CELLUCCI: Well they're getting through. I mean, you know, the question is what actions will be taken. I know there will be defense review. They did put some small increases for the military but we just want to make sure that Canadian military capability can be sustained. We think that's important for Canada, for the United States and we think it's important for the world.

STEWART: In Washington, a government jet arrives from Ottawa. Deputy Prime Minister John Manley is in town. He's Canada's point man on continental security. The one most likely to feel heavy pressure here.

JOHN MANLEY (Deputy Prime Minister): Washington does monuments well. And they can be intimidating. And the trappings of power are noticeable and I think, you know, for a Canadian coming here, we need to be conscious of the fact that we represent a country too and not to let that, you know the trappings kind of overwhelm you.

STEWART: Manley is still trying to find out more details of the northern command and Canada's expected military and financial contribution. He's regarded here as the strongest supporter of the U.S. in Chretien's cabinet. And one who's realistic about the need for more combined defense.

MANLEY: You know we are a state that makes decisions for our own people in our own way. At the same time, I don't think anybody else would be interested in the kind of defense expenditures that would be required for us to say well, we're not going to have anything to do with the United States. Why should we cooperate with them? We'll just do it ourselves. The cost of that kind of choice is probably prohibitive as well as not being desirable from a policy point of view.

STEWART: The next morning, Manley has a meeting to exchange ideas with Tom Ridge, the head of U.S. Homeland Security. It's cordial.

PAUL CELLUCCI: Hello Tom. How are you?

STEWART: But there's a reminder Washington is keenly aware of our defensive weaknesses. Ambassador Paul Cellucci who makes his doubts well known has come to sit in.

MANLEY: They'd like to see other countries picking up more of the burden. I don't think that's surprising particularly. And I don't think that we should get really tense or sensitive about it just because Ambassador Cellucci or somebody else in the U.S. administration says that's what they think we should be doing. That's surely the least we could expect given that we like to tell them what we think they should be doing.

STEWART: Manley's trip may be going well but in New York, one writer on North America predicts relations with Canada are going to get rougher the closer they become.

ANTHONY de PALMA (Author, Here: A Biography of the New American Continent): The concern is that maybe Canada has gone a little soft and isn't doing its job because it hasn't understood the threat in the same way that we understood it here certainly after September 11th.

STEWART: Anthony de Palma has rare perspective. He's been New York Times correspondent in both Canada and Mexico and is author of the book "Here" about the new continental power balance. His New York streets close to ground zero remind him daily of what's at stake.

DE PALMA: The United States has to protect itself and it's going to do that. Canada can be involved. The question as it comes up to setting up a security perimeter around North America, which has been talked about. I think the question for Canada is whether or not you are going to be inside that perimeter and have some say with the way things work or you're going to be outside the perimeter and pay the security and the economic consequences of being on the outside.

STEWART: Very cold outside.

DE PALMA: It can be very cold outside. And it can be dangerous outside. I mean, look, democracy, individual rights, civil liberties, freedoms - all of those things we share. We're very much alike and at this particular moment, all of those things are under attack. Why wouldn't we work together?

LLOYD AXWORTHY (Former Foreign Affairs Minister): It's understandable. I mean the tragedy was so direct and deep and we were so close to it that it seemed that we had to be there without question in a time of need. That was six months now and it's time to step back and say now wait a minute, what do these decisions mean?

STEWART: There's widespread Canadian support for joint action. But in British Columbia, Lloyd Axworthy, former Liberal Foreign Minister warns this vague northern command is a slippery slope to go down. Sovereignty could be lost.

AXWORTHY: We've forgotten the need to provide a distinctly Canadian agenda, that we're simply responding to what is clearly a major dominant obsessive question of terrorism. But are really just following in the wake as opposed to trying to establish, I think, our own clear guidelines, our own agenda on how to deal with this problem.

STEWART: As foreign minister in the late 90's, Axworthy steered Canada on a more independent course from the U.S. Now he fears Canada is sleepwalking without debate into a fortress North America mentality, alone with a unilateralist super power. He insists many in the government's own backbenches share that fear.

AXWORTHY: The worst thing you can do is go one on one with the United States. It simply is a sure recipe for subordination. What happens if all of a sudden, we're under a continental command that the U.S. general somewhere in Florida saying this is the way things should be done? If once you get caught in this kind of one on one with this very powerful nation, especially one that now has in its government a group of people who really believe in the dominance of the United States, who don't even make much of a pretense of saying that they're going to abide by the normal rules of international relations, then you're going to find yourself being bruised.

STEWART: But the reality now is joint defense may become permanent. Today U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Northland is guarding a prime target, the world's largest naval base in Norfolk, Virginia. Captain Bret McGough knows there's too much out here for any one country to watch.

CAPTAIN BRET MCGOUGH (U.S. Coast Guard): Well in my opinion we should cooperate closely because a) we're so closely linked, our two countries and our ports are so close together in the border up there, that many people whatever port they go into, U.S. or Canadian, as long as they're close to each other it's the same thing. We can stop any potential terrorist coming out of our port into your port and vice versa. It helps both of us.
We have the grapple inbound.

STEWART: Quite suddenly the bridge has something suspicious to worry about. Even small crafts can be dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (5): It's got a port mass...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (6): This is the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Northland. Coast Guard Cutter Northland approximately one nautical mile...

STEWART: Any one of hundreds of craft on radar might be a suicide team. One is not moving, has four large antennae and doesn't answer calls.

MCGOUGH: Just one guy on board.


MCGOUGH: Nobody by the radio?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (7): Doesn't look like it, sir.

MCGOUGH: All right, I want you to go close to him, about 500 yards.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (8): Okay. The vessel that we're boarding today is a, looks to be a recreational fishing vessel, about a 25 foot. It's a little bit curious. They have a number of antennas including two what appear to be HF WHIP antennas. However, we've not been able to establish radio communication with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (9): Magazine, 15 rounds, lock and load. Safety de-cocking lever up. Thumb behind the hammer. Holster, snap in loaded weapon.

STEWART: This time the boarding party finds the occupants harmlessly fishing. But September still has everyone jumpy.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (10): It's very driven at home that we're not insulated and it's important that we make sure nobody comes to our soil again.

STEWART: The tension is so high, Americans don't mind hinting that their northern defense perimeter could start at the Canada/U.S. border unless we meet their security demands. Every trucker like Dave Benison knows they have us by the throat on security.

DAVE BENISON: September 11th, like you know it changed a lot of people's minds and it has to make us as truck drivers, you know, we have to be more aware there potentially could be delays at the border but we'll have to allot ourselves a lot more time.

STEWART: Border delays are Canada's nightmares. Its economy is so dependent on the $700 billion a year two way trade, a tightening of flow could be catastrophic.

BENISON: How's it going? Canadian. Like I said, there's trucks that cross the border every three seconds, so yeah, there's going to be delays and you know, people have to be patient. Like I say, we hope it never happens again.

STEWART: Canada has already moved to tighten border security with the U.S. But the U.S. wants still better policing and there's a velvet threat in their diplomatic reminders that security lapses would be catastrophic for trade.

CELLUCCI: But you know, some of those automobile plants shut down because the just-in-time delivery of the parts was not possible. And to my way of thinking, if we have to continue or again close down factories and put people out of work because of border delays, that's just another way for the terrorists to win. And we cannot let that happen and that's why we're working so hard to make sure it doesn't happen.

STEWART: But in the new continental reality if I ask you what will the Americans want of Canada, what's the answer?

DE PALMA: The simple answer is as much as we can get. As much as we can get you to do to secure your border, as much as we can get you to do to upgrade your defenses, as much as we can do to get you to coordinate your forces, you security forces with ours and to share information I think you should expect that the pushing will be vigorous, that the body checking will be rough, that the gloves will be off in a way that they haven't probably since the Cold War, at the height of the Cold War in the 1960's.

STEWART: When we return...

AXWORTHY: And what we're seeing now is just tips of the iceberg.

STEWART: The larger concerns of the tightening embrace.


STEWART: On the way to more meetings in Washington, Deputy Prime Minister John Manley is briefed by his team. He wants to make sure Americans know the two countries have similar aims and concerns and he wants to use whatever leverage Canada has.

MANLEY: If you really slow up the border, what you do is you move, you potentially move production out of North American altogether. It's not a matter of moving it from Canada to the U.S. but you decrease the overall competitiveness, particularly in the auto sector. Has that got some resonance?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (11): I think it has some resonance particularly in the northern states.

MANLEY: Mr. Vice-President, how are you?

STEWART: Vice-President Richard Cheney greets Manley as a friend of the U.S. But Manley has also signaled that Canadian support will not be uncritical. He has strongly denounced Bush's axis of evil speech as bellicose.

MANLEY: If we were intimidated by the United States into towing their line, then I would agree with the people who said my gosh, you know, we're losing our independence, losing our sovereignty. But you know, I don't feel that sense of intimidation. In fact in my experience, the fact is that our friendship and our commitment on so many things buys us the right to say to our, you know, our best friend, we think you've got it wrong on this one.

STEWART: The continent's old map may look the same but more military and economic unity will fundamentally alter the dynamics. And it may get rough.

DE PALMA: I think people have a misunderstanding of the way the border works that as we get closer together we're going to become more like each other. Things are going to be much calmer and everything is going to go smoothly. In fact, as it is in a family the closer you live together, the more difficult it is to sort of hide or cover over those small tensions that with constant contact become bigger tensions.

STEWART: A major tension would be fear that we're spinning deeper into a U.S. orbit in so many areas, even our sinking loonie, a tattered battle flag may not survive.

SHERRY COOPER (Chief Economist, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc.): The Bank of Canada is easing with only slightly less aggressive...

STEWART: Some prominent economists like Sherry Cooper are openly predicting we'll adopt a U.S. dollar possibly within a dozen years.

COOPER: And it is not good to have a currency that falls. I mean if 60 cents was such a good thing, well how about 50 cents or 40 or 30?

STEWART: Then Cooper is just saying openly what many in business fear to express.

COOPER: I was very reticent to jump into this initially. I recognized that there are many people who see dollarization as a loss of sovereignty and as a serious infringement of big U.S., big threatening U.S. swallowing up Canada.

STEWART: Cooper insists Canadians can no longer ignore the fact a weak loonie is leaving them substantially poorer in the main than Americans. The gap in living standards is widening, a malaise that will eventually force Canada to negotiate a single currency deal with Washington.

COOPER: And I think the next step will be an acceptance that we don't lose our domestic sovereignty by adopting a common currency with the United States. And that's a big leap. That's what needs to be debated. I know that sounds farfetched right now and I'm not suggesting this is something that's going to occur in the next year or two but I do believe that in time in the next five to ten years, we'll see this happen.

STEWART: Lloyd Axworthy sees this dollarization as more defeatism, part of a broad continentalist drift that should get urgent national debate.

AXWORTHY: There's always been a push from certain people in the business community that it's all over, the game's up. We might as well just put our paws in the air and lie back and think of the Queen, you know. It just, the problem is that you have to look at the consequences. I think now it's much more serious because it's not just economics. You've now got security as an added sort of arrow in the quiver and as a result, those who are continentalists and they have no sort of tolerance for those who aren't, as you know, see this as really kind of a slam dunk. This is the way they can kind of close the case.

STEWART: Is continentalism an increasingly ominous threat to sovereignty? Manley does not think so and says a national debate is not needed. As he dines with Homeland Security czar Tom Ridge, he's confident Canadians know how to handle the new embrace.

MANLEY: Governor Ridge asked me about Canadian politics and I said well there are two rules. First rule is don't get too close to the United States. The second rule is don't get too far from the United States. Actually I don't think, Brian, that's going to change all that much. I mean, it is a mutually dependent relationship which is because of its size, a complex one. And because of the relative size of the partners, one that provides special tensions for us as Canadians. And I don't foresee that changing. We are still going to be working very hard to ensure that that special streak of northern independence isn't suffocated by the embrace of the Americans.

STEWART: Perhaps, but after September 11th, that embrace will grow stronger and new links are forged - security economic, military and political. Like it or not, we'll never look at North America quite the same again. A new sense of continent is emerging and without much debate so far. We're now growing more united out of fear as well as opportunity. And that fear is ensuring a powerful momentum. For The National, I'm Brian Stewart.

Canspiracy Home