Security & Dollarization: The CBC
as a Public Propaganda Machine
following is a transcript from CBC's THE NATIONAL from April 16, 2002
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.
MAN (1): Three navy vessels on your starboard side. Recommend you come up and
get out of navy vessel's way.
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
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.
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
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.
MAN (3): Roger. Your destination this afternoon?
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.
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.
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.
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.
We will need your continued support and help in the days, in the weeks, in the
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.
A free and open societies...
He echoes the Bush administration's stern line. America needs to know who stands
back to back with this.
our way of life will be maintained.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The next morning, Manley has a meeting to exchange ideas with Tom Ridge, the head
of U.S. Homeland Security. It's cordial.
CELLUCCI: Hello Tom. How are you?
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
(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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Just one guy on board.
(7): Yes sir.
MCGOUGH: Nobody by the radio?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN (7): Doesn't look like
MCGOUGH: All right, I want you
to go close to him, about 500 yards.
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.
MAN (9): Magazine, 15 rounds, lock and load. Safety de-cocking lever up. Thumb
behind the hammer. Holster, snap in loaded weapon.
This time the boarding party finds the occupants harmlessly fishing. But September
still has everyone jumpy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
AXWORTHY: And what we're
seeing now is just tips of the iceberg.
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.
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?
MAN (11): I think it has some resonance particularly in the northern states.
Mr. Vice-President, how are you?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
COOPER (Chief Economist, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc.): The Bank of Canada is easing
with only slightly less aggressive...
Some prominent economists like Sherry Cooper are openly predicting we'll adopt
a U.S. dollar possibly within a dozen years.
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?
Then Cooper is just saying openly what many in business fear to express.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.