Canadians overwhelmingly sent a message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ease up on integration with U.S. policy and protect the country’s water, energy and public regulations, according to the results of a recent poll.
The poll comes as Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon prepare for next week’s leaders’ summit in New Orleans on the “Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)” of North America. To be released today by the Council of Canadians, it was conducted April 7-10 by Environics and obtained by the Toronto Star.
The council opposes the secrecy surrounding the high-level talks. In fact, probably the best way for Canadians to learn about what’s on the table in negotiations — which cover everything from greater energy integration to harmonization of health and product regulations — is to research U.S. government websites.
“It’s been four years since the launch of the SPP and while corporations have been given a seat at the negotiating table, the Canadian government has never asked the public how they feel about it,” said council chair Maude Barlow.
Percentages in favour of a more nationalist policy were high almost across the board, according to the poll:
>> 89 per cent want an energy policy guaranteeing Canadian supply and protecting the environment.
>> 88 per cent of Canadians want a comprehensive national water policy that bans bulk export of fresh water and recognizes water as a basic human right.
>> 87 per cent of Canadians agree Canada should set its own independent environmental, health and safety standards.
>> 86 per cent agree the SPP should be debated in the House of Commons and submitted to a parliamentary vote.
A total of 1,007 people were interviewed for the poll, resulting in a margin of error of 3.09 per cent, 19 times out of 20, Environics said.

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