Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ron Paul opposes fictitious NAFTA superhighway conspiracy

Gotta love it. Not only does Ron Paul believe the apparently baseless conspiracy theories concerning a plan to build a special "NAFTA superhighway" from Mexico to Canada, he also trumpets that fact on his campaign website by linking to a Toronto Globe and Mail article which basically shoots down the conspiracy theory and stomps all over it. It appears that Rep. Paul is either immune or oblivious to mockery of his neo-isolationist crackpot world view.

Here's what the Globe and Mail says:

It's a threat that has left-wing Canadian nationalists and right-wing U.S. congressmen in rare and dismayed agreement: a freeway, four football fields wide, stretching from Mexico to northern Manitoba.

Groups on both sides of the political spectrum say the corridor - dubbed the NAFTA superhighway - is a primary goal of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America established two years ago by the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

At separate press conferences in Ottawa yesterday, the road was held out as an example of the potentially repugnant effects of the trilateral partnership.

There's just one thing: Officials in Canada and the United States say no plans for any such freeway are in the works. The concept, they say, is part urban myth and part fear-mongering.

But the detractors of the SPP are convinced that the road's construction has already been approved. They argue that plans are being kept secret, a lament they extend to the discussions taking place behind closed doors this week in Montebello, Que., between U.S. President George W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

"The chief project thus far of the SPP is the so-called NAFTA superhighway which would connect Mexico, the United States and Canada, cutting a wide swath through the middle of Texas and up through Kansas City," warned Republican Congressman Ron Paul in a statement read at one of the morning news events in Ottawa yesterday.

"Millions would be displaced by this massive undertaking which would require the eminent domain actions [expropriations] on an unprecedented scale. ... A Spanish construction company, it is said, plans to build the highway and operate it as a toll road."

Just a few minutes earlier, a collection of antiwar activists and civil-rights spokesmen led by the Council of Canadians, a non-profit group that fights against corporate integration with the U.S., offered a similar message.

They warned that a Trans Texas Corridor being built in Mr. Bush's home state that "will be four football fields wide and include lanes for cars, trains and trucks headed from the Mexican coast" will not end in the United States.

"Through public-private consortia like the North American Super Corridor Coalition, which counts the province of Manitoba as a proud participant, plans are under way to extend the Texas pet project right up past the Canadian border to an expanded port in Churchill," warns a Council of Canadians pamphlet entitled Behind Closed Doors that features pictures of the three leaders on its cover.

The U.S. embassy in Ottawa issued a press release yesterday calling the superhighway a myth.

A spokesman from the Prime Minister's Office scoffed at the claim, saying a simple denial that plans for the project are in the works would be "an understatement."

Even the North American Super Corridor Coalition (NASCO) says the superhighway is not one of its goals.

"We are concerned with improving the efficiency and security and safety of existing transportation infrastructure," said Frank Conde, the director of communications for NASCO.

The need for those improvements was made clear with the bridge collapse in Minneapolis earlier this month, Mr. Conde said. But there is no move by NASCO to create a separate international highway, he said.
Interestingly, the Ron Paul 2008 website only quotes the bit where Rep. Paul spells out the conspiracy theory, not the rest of the piece debunking it.

You can read the full, well-headlined article here: "A North American road to nowhere".


BrianH said...

For another viewpoint from Canada see:

Highway 407 toll-road helps provide proof that U.S. Ambassador is misleading Canadians on fascistic NAFTA superhighway agenda

by Paul Chen

The Highway 407 toll-road, helps provide proof that U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David H. Wilkins, is misleading Canadians on the construction of a North American Free Trade (NAFTA) Superhighway, to enable the creation of a fascistic North American Union.

On 8 December 2004, the Canoe Network that is associated with the Sun Newspaper Chain, in Christina Blizzard's article "Hwy 407: Que Pasa?", reported that Cintra, witch is part of a Spanish Consortium, owns the 407 toll-road. It had been a public mystery, why would a company all the way from Spain, spend the time to own and construct a toll-road. Even more of a mystery to me, had been, why would government in Canada award a foreign Spanish bid over a Canadian company?

Adam Holland said...

Looking at the piece you linked to, brianh, I noted that they offer no specific facts to back up the conspiracy claim. Although the author, Paul Chen, states that "there is ample proof that a NAFTA superhighway is currently being constructed...to facilitate the Big Business agenda that indeed seeks to create an anti-democratic "North American Union", he offers none of the proof. He also is unclear whether the "evidence" of the highway conspiracy is absolute proof of a plan or merely indicative of a vague intention. This is indicated by his sentence reading: "(m)aps accredited to the North American Forum on Integration (NAFI)...clearly reveals (sic.)an apparent intention" to build the highway.

I don't claim to be able to read the tea leaves about the intentions of the governments of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada with respect to highway construction, so I am frankly extremely dubious of crackpot anti-globalisation conspiracy theorists who claim that ability. If they have the facts, they should spell them out. Merely reaching a conclusion and casting blame on nefarious conspirators does nothing to enhance debate. It, by design, does nothing but cloud the issue.


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