All that stuff you've been hearing about a secret, sovereignty-destroying partnership between Canada, the United States and Mexico, with a new North American currency called the Amero and media lapdogs everywhere sworn to silence about it?
It's all just another conspiracy theory.
At least, that's what U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins (shown) wants you to think.
"There is a great effort by our leaders to have an annual meeting to get together and share ideas and issues and dialogue which I think in and of itself is incredibly important," Wilkins said last night at Algoma University College, responding to a question about the North American Union.
"We've got three countries which every year insure that their leaders get together for a couple of days and share ideas and work together on concerns and problems.
"There's an effort to try to get North America more prosperous to continue in the global economy, and maybe be prepared to deal with cross-border emergencies so if something happened at this bridge or the Ambassador Bridge it wouldn't shut the border down.
"Or with an avian flu epidemic, we could help each other out. Or make more compatible our regulations so we don't bog each other down with red tape.
"So there's a lot of cooperation going on. As far as any of the three countries wanting to do anything to diminish their sovereignty, absolutely not.
"I've seen no evidence of that and do not believe that will ever happen.
"We are a sovereign country and proud of it. You are a sovereign country and proud of it. We're friends and neighhbours and allies and we will continue to work together."
AUC faculty, students and visitors sat politely last night as Wilkins spoke of his origins in politics, the importance of a healthy relationship between Canada and the U.S., and the differences in structure, ideology and process of our respective governments.
In addition to the North American Union question, he also responded to queries on aboriginal border crossing rights, the current strength of the Canadian dollar, post-Castro Cuba relations, Iran and the possibility of nuclear capability, low water levels on the Great Lakes, and recent tensions between China and the US following the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama.
The ambassador's answers were brief and to the point, often stating he supports the positions of his president.
Wilkins' interest was piqued, however, when asked about Canada's claim to the Northwest Passage, stating that there've been many misconceptions surrounding this issue.
"Our position is and has been consistently, the Northwest Passage is a strait for international navigation. We're not talking about sovereignty. We're not disputing Canada's sovereignty to the Arctic Atlantic. We're not disputing mineral rights. We're not disputing fishing rights. All we're saying is that body of water, if it ever becomes navigable, is not internal waters and is a strait for international navigation.
"This is not a Canada-versus-the-U.S. issue. This is a Canada-versus-the-rest-of-the-world issue because the European Union and Russia and all the other major players who have Arctic land all take the same position as the United States."
Following his 40-minute address, Algoma University President Celia Ross presented Wilkins with a gift of thanks.
Then, the U.S. ambassador to Canada was whisked away to enjoy a helicopter ride over the Soo locks.
Earlier SooToday.com coverage of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America
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