FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SPP Lets Pesticides In, Shuts Peace Activists Out, Says Council of Canadians
CANADA - October 4 -The federal government needs to revisit its border security arrangements with the United States in light of two peace activists being denied entry to Canada this week based on FBI records, says the Council of Canadians.“The barred entry to Canada of two U.S. peace activists is proof that the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) between the two countries has its priorities backward,” says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “What kind of ‘partnership’ lets higher levels of pesticides into Canada in the name of regulatory harmonization but stops peace activists at the border in the name of harmonized policing.”
On Wednesday, October 3, Medea Benjamin, founder of the anti-war women’s group CODEPINK, and retired Army colonel Ann Wright were denied entry into Canada at the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Bridge. They were told that they could not cross the border into Canada because their names appeared on an FBI database that Canadian border agents rely on to screen visitors. A key initiative of the SPP’s “security agenda” is to, “Work to ensure compatibility of systems to share data on high-risk travellers and… to provide for risk management decisions on travellers destined to or transiting North America.”
Meanwhile, the SPP’s “prosperity agenda” calls for the harmonization of regulatory standards on pesticides and other chemicals, which has already resulted in Canada allowing more pesticides on hundreds of fruits and vegetables to match lower U.S. standards. “Most people would agree that pesticides pose a significantly higher risk to Canadians than peace activists,” said Barlow.
“Any agreement that blocks the free movement of people based on political beliefs, ethnic background or who their friends are but that allows even more hazardous chemicals across the border clearly has nothing to do with the real security of North Americans.”