February 16th Nationwide Protest for A Referendum Against the SPP
Canadians Hold a Nationwide Protest for A Referendum Against the Security and Prosperity Partnership
February 17th, 2008
Waking up to the NAU
On February 16th thousands of educated and awake Canadians took part in a nationwide protest against the SPP and NAU.
Through Facebook.com, a handful of Canadians were able to organize and coordinate demonstrations to be held simultaneously in more than a dozen cities from Fredericton Nova Scotia to Victoria BC. Tens of thousands of Canadians were awakened to the threat of the NAU as a result, and it has galvanized ordinary citizens to take part in grassroots political action.
"Wake Up Canada"
In August of 2007 a Facebook group page titled Canadians Against the North American Union launched with the intent to educate Canadians about the dangers of the NAU. A roughly five hundred word statement entitled The Nationwide Call to Action featured links to video clips of Daniel Estulin and Alex Jones in Endgame, as well as downloadable fact sheets and petition links. The Canadians Against the North American Union Facebook group membership received widespread approval. To date, membership exceeds fifty six thousand users.
February 16 Protest for a Referendum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership became the heading for mirrored sites in each province, designed with the intent of promoting and organizing the local demonstrations.
The announcement read:
'What do Toronto, Windsor, Cornwall, Ottawa, Fredericton, Moncton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vernon, Victoria, Chilliwack, Kelowna and Vancouver have in common?
On February 16th, concerned Canadians from all these places will be gathering in central locations with banners, signs & speakers to share information and to send a resounding "NO!" to Stephen Harper and his Conservatives with regard to the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The event has come to be known as the "Jelly Bean Protest for a Referendum on the SPP."
What is the SPP? Don't be surprised if you don't know! The SPP is a so-called "understanding" or agreement between the USA, Canada and Mexico. First discussed and negotiated by Paul Martin, George Bush and Vincente Fox in March 2005, and then endorsed by Stephen Harper upon his election in 2006. The SPP came out of the tragic events of September 11th, and its stated aims are to improve information sharing, reduce trade costs, and facilitate agricultural commerce. But there has been no debate or discussion about it by our elected representatives nor do we hear enough about it in the mainstream media ...
The SPP is wholeheartedly endorsed by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). It is a secret process that is actually being driven by 30 corporations known as the North American Competitiveness Council - 10 corporations in each of the US, Canada and Mexico. Of the 10 Canadian corporate participants, however, 3 are of American origin and (Home Depot, Manulife Financial & Suncor) and 2 are Canadian corporations that are no longer Canadian (CN Rail & Canfor). There has been no consultation with Main Street or government. 300 regulatory initiatives are taking place -all spearheaded by the NACC.
Since 2005 Canada's auto industry, pesticide and health safety standards (among others) have been lowered to match that of the US. In the latter instance, the HPV vaccine known as Gardasil - manufactured by Merck & Co. (an American participant in the NACC) was approved by Health Canada within 4 months of approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. Further, our federal government has spent $300 million on the vaccination of 9-13 year old school girls who are not sexually active for a disease that is not sexually-transmitted! There are already reports of 3700 severe adverse reactions and 11 deaths reported by countries administering Gardasil. Merck & Co. had suffered billions of dollars in losses when its arthritis drug Vioxx was pulled because of cardiac-related patient deaths.
The SPP has been referred to as NAFTA on steroids, with guns. Canadians who are informed are concerned that we're not been told the real deal and that the sovereignty of 3 nations is actually at stake - that we're being led into a North American Union by stealth. They believe that the SPP must be halted, that it must be put through a microscope and debated in Parliament, and/or put to a referendum of the people. Millions of Americans are also concerned about their sovereignty so we are not alone.
Through a grassroots initiative on Facebook, the idea of a nationwide protest to show the powers that be that Canadians aren't completely dumbed down was proposed. The Facebook group promoting it now has over 3,000 members. Inside that group regional sub-groups got started. Its an idea that took off like wildfire with demonstrations, protests and information sharing planned for all the above cities. It is indicative of the level of unease out there among those who know about it. Whether people show up in tens or in hundreds, it will make a bold statement. A number of Canadian Action Party candidates who are active on Facebook got involved with helping to organize the different protests, but it is definitely a grassroots initiative and all are welcome. Such being the case, speakers in the different cities will vary but several political parties including CAP will participate. The Council of Canadians will send speakers in several but not all cities."
Facebook.com is an internet social netorking site that has gained widespread popularity and hype in the online world. Love it or hate it, it is a force to be contested with. The success of event also proves the use of online social networking has a great potential to change and shape the way people express themselves politically, and gather popular support for causes Canadians feel are important.
This is in largely due to the 'user friendly' nature of Facebook.
Users who register get their own personalized domain to upload blogs and photos as a means of expressing themselves. Users can then find friends through e-mail. When a 'friendship' is made, users are given permissions to see each other's web page, and who else is in each other's social network. Friends can also see updated events through a feed. For example, if a friend writes a message on another friends page, people in the same network can see the message, creating a feedback loop of colleagues and friends.
Creating Common Interest pages for groups can also be done hassle free. Through group pages events can be organized and users can join, RSVP, volunteer and invite their peers. The page offers message board bullitins for knowledge sharing and open forums.
Because of the many automated features for posting, updating and marketing, the group's success, in growth and interest, quickly surpassed everyone's expectations, and best of all, managing the online groups took very little time or effort, in comparison to conventional approaches.
Facebook made it possible. All other activist websites played a peripheral role if only to host educational documents and video. Facebook was the means of posting bulletin updates, and has been central spot to share and find the essential information and new uploaded content.
It may have also been the means of attracting others who would have otherwise not had sufficient time or interest in to follow through. But for some reason, Facebook lends credibility for many, especially younger students, to an issue, because of social proof.
Why Jelly Beans?
Jelly Beans was the theme, as a toung in cheek retort to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's mocking comment on the NAU as being a means of standardizing trade of Jelly Beans among the three nations, Canada the US, and Mexico. Protesters were invited to bring plastic containers filled with Jelly Beans to be used as as noise makers. It made the occasion more festive.
The announcement reads:
"On August 20 and 21 Stephen Harper, George Bush and Mexican president, Felipe Calderón met with NACC representatives at the highly secured Château Montebello in Québec. At the closing press conference, Stephen Harper used the idea of standardizing the manufacture, marketing and sale of jelly beans on both sides of the border in order to minimize and ridicule the valid concerns of Canadians about the SPP. There were minimum 2,000 peaceful protesters there as well, though Mr. Harper also minimized that number. At that same press conference both Harper and Bush reduced concerns of a NAFTA superhighway or mid-continent corridor to a "conspiracy theory." Meanwhile, three months later in the Manitoba Legislature, just such a highway, which has been planned for more than 10 years was announced by the Speaker of the House…
The fourth SPP leaders' summit is scheduled for this coming April in New Orleans, Louisiana."
A Nationwide Protest for a Referendum
Alberta: Calgary and Edmonton
British Columbia: Chilliwack, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria
New Brunswick: Fredericton and Moncton
Nova Scotia: Halifax
Ontario: Cornwall, Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor
The Canadian Action Party
CAP played a deciding role in co-ordinating the rallys, getting the permits and booking the speakers. The Canadian Action party has been for many years, the most vocal and effective politically established party to educate and raise concerns on 911, the North American Union and government accountability.
According to a rough count estimate, at least 500 demonstrators gathered outside Queens Park. Speakers included several representatives from the Canadian Action Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party university professors, professionals in law and health, and local activist leaders. They spoke to the dangers of Canadian sovereignty imposed by secretive trade deals, reform to legal proceedings, healthcare rights, the impending security restrictions brought on by the NAU, and the phoney war on terror.
The crowd and speakers were also overwhelmingly in support of 911 truth.
The event marked a major bench mark for community leaders and student groups to come together, to meet and speak to their cause. Throughout the course of the rally the microphone was opened up to any and all desiring to make a statement. As the pictures show, the range of speakers at the mic was diverse, and this gave the event a unique and authentic quality.
Where were the cameras?
I asked Toronto organizer and Toronto University Prof. Karen Wittke was asked if the press had been invited. She reached in her bag and handed me an envelope out of a stack of packages of her press handouts. She expressed all the local mainstream news agencies were invited but not one confirmed. There was no sign of news camera vans either. It was disappointing, but hardly surprising. When she asked one reporter she contacted if they attended the demonstration, the answer gotten was "I drove by…"
The verdict isn't quite in as there may still be news developments throughout the week, however the initial lack of media coverage has been noted.
The absence of the mainstream press has frustrated and motivated young activists. Many are new to the political game, but the positive experience inspired and catalyzed them to become more educated and aware of the issues, to lead in community action and to get involved in the democratic process, now in peril.
Jakub K, one of the rallying speakers in Toronto charismatically chanted with the crowd "we have to be the media now. We have our own cameras. We have the power of youtube!"
Canadians are refusing to let the SPP simply 'happen' to them. They educating themselves on the issue because the media has not, and its happining on Facebook.
Find your city on Facebook, Nationwide Protest Against SPP, Canadians Against NAU
CAP: Feb 16 NAU Press Release: http://e3s.ca/t911truth/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=30&Ite...