From CBC, Sept. 21:
A North American security meeting was secretly held in Banff last week, attracting high-profile officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The North American Forum was hosted with the help of the Canada West Foundation and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.
Among the attendees at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel affair was Stockwell Day, Canada’s minister of public safety.
The gathering may not have made headlines, but it is still the talk of Banff.
Taxi driver Chris Foote said he first learned of the meeting when he stopped into a submarine shop for a late night snack last week and heard rumours U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld was in town.
“Here they are talking in my backyard, no media to tell Canadians, Mexicans and Americans about what’s going on. [I am] completely outraged,” he said. “This is an assault on democracy.”
John Larson, a spokesperson for the North American Forum, said reporters were not told about the conference. He won’t confirm who attended the meeting nor will he give any concrete details about what was discussed.
“The participants joined the conference essentially knowing that it would be a private function,” said Larson.
Mel Hurtig, author and founder of the Council of Canadians, obtained internal documents about the Sept. 12-14 forum revealing that the gathering was called Continental Prosperity in the New Security Environment.
Rumsfeld was slated to be a keynote speaker and topics on the agenda included North American energy strategy and security co-operation.
“We’re talking about such an important thing, we’re talking about the integration of Canada into the United States. For them to hold this meeting in secret and to make every effort to avoid anybody learning about it, right away you’ve got to be hugely concerned,” Hurtig said.
Hurtig says questions should be raised in the House of Commons about why Canadians are being kept in the dark on meetings attended by officials like Day.
CSIS’s Mexico Project will host Mariano Herran Salvatti, general prosecutor of the state of Chiapas, and Manuel Angel Castillo, professor-researcher with El Colegio de Me’xico, for a discussion that will provide the Washington policymaking community with a deeper understanding of the various challenges that Mexico confronts in managing its southern border.
See our last posts on Mexico, Chiapas, and the militarization of NAFTA. As for Canadian authorities, they seem to think they face a terrorist threat, but also face their own internal indigenous struggles.