The conspiracy theorists may be right.
OTTAWA - Canadian, U.S. and Mexican politicians discussed using "stealth" to overcome public resistance to the integration of the three countries at a confidential meeting last year, according to documents just released under U.S. Freedom of Information laws.
Top military brass, corporate executives and diplomats also attended the meeting in Banff, Alta., where participants discussed everything from the harmonization of food and drug standards, to common immigration policies, and the pooling of energy resources.
The secret guest list of the North American Forum included then-U.S. secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld, Canadian Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, Pengrowth Corp. CEO James Kinnear and Lockheed Martin executive Ron Covais.
Presentation outlines for the forum acknowledge that the concept of North American integration - which some call a "North American Union" - is unpopular, and note that it might be tough to sell as a concept.
"While a vision is appealing, working on the infrastructure might yield more benefit and bring more people on board ('evolution by stealth')," the notes said.
There is nothing wrong with the U.S. working with Canada and Mexico in areas of common interest. But meeting in secret? That's a problem.
"Evolution by stealth" means using regulatory changes, such as food- and drug-safety benchmarks, which don't require parliamentary approval, to lay the infrastructure for North American integration. This allows for change with little or no public debate, critics say.
Media were excluded from the September forum, and Day, who gave a speech at the event, declined to reveal the contents of his talk.
"It was meant as a private meeting," said Melisa Leclerc, a spokeswoman from Day's office, although she conceded he attended "in his capacity as minister for public security."
The partnership's stated goal is to protect North America from security threats such as terrorism and flu pandemics as well as economic threats from new global-market giants such as China.
I wonder if the U.S. brought up the fact that our security is threatened by illegals, including dangerous drug thugs and potential terrorists, pouring across our border from Mexico?