B.C. Civil Liberties Assocation puts out a call for SPP protesters at Montebello

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has put out a call for anybody who attended the Security and Prosperity Partnership protest in Montebello, Quebec. The organization is looking for people who witnessed any “serious transgressions of civil liberties.

On August 19 to 21, U.S. President George Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mexican President Felipe Calderón, met in Montebello for a two-day “leadership summit” as part of the SPP.

Hundreds of activists collected outside the summit’s security perimeter.

Critics of the SPP such as No One Is Illegal, a Vancouver-based community action group, have characterized the agreement as “a vague ”˜dialogue based on shared values’”. NOII claims the SPP has therefore “been able to escape any public scrutiny and will never be debated in the House of Commons”.

The BCCLA has asked that reports of civil-rights abused be directed to Christina Godlewska at 604-630-9749.

In a related matter, the Straight reported on August 16 that a “concept paper”, prepared by a US think tank related to the SPP, raised the possibility of bulk water transfers from Canada to the U.S.

The report’s author, Armand B. Peschard-Sverdrup, subsequently stated in an interview with the Toronto Star “that the Harper government has distanced itself from the project, apparently feeling that the subject of water was too volatile politically”.

In an e-mail to the Straight, the former director of water planning and management for Environment Canada, Ralph Pentland, interpreted Peschard-Sverdrup’s comments as “critically important”.

“If accurate,” Pentland wrote, “it confirms that water was on the table, but that Harper has likely pulled back at the last minute, realizing Canadians wouldn’t stand for it, and it may have killed the whole SPP.”

On August 23, the Straight reported that Pentland, speaking at a Green party meeting in Ottawa, predicted an “epic struggle on the water export question” in North America.