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  1. #1
    Senior Member CCUSA's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    New Jersey

    Police Tear Gas, Pepper Spray Protesters At Montebello

    Police tear gas, pepper spray protesters at Montebello summit

    at 16:19 on August 20, 2007, EST.

    MONTEBELLO, Que. (CP) - Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray to hold back protesters outside the Chateau Montebello resort Monday as Stephen Harper met George W. Bush to kick off the North American Leaders' Summit.

    A line of police in riot gear jostled with about 50 demonstrators - the vanguard of hundreds who marched on the front gate of the summit compound shouting taunts.

    Officers eventually used pepper spray and at least one canister of tear gas to restrain the protesters, who responded by flinging rocks and branches. Two protesters were hauled away in handcuffs.

    The confrontation settled into a face-to-face standoff between a hardcore group of protesters and police, while other demonstrators sat down or backed off.

    The prime minister welcomed the U.S. president after he arrived by helicopter at the massive log-framed chateau.

    Asked by reporters whether he'd gotten a look at the protesters, Harper dismissed the demonstration: "I've heard it's nothing. A couple hundred? It's sad."

    The pair then sat down for a bilateral meeting where Harper was expected to raise issues such as Arctic sovereignty, possible alternatives to passports at the border, and next month's climate-change conference in the U.S.

    Harper and Bush are to meet Tuesday with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who arrived later Monday afternoon, to discuss the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

    Sources have told The Canadian Press that the leaders will wrap up their summit Tuesday with a call for a new border disaster protocol to avoid a repeat of the crippling tie-ups that occurred after 9-11.

    Angry anarchists and family-friendly activists converged on Montebello on Monday to protest the summit, but concerns about huge, violent demonstrations fizzled.

    About 20 busloads of protesters from Ottawa spilled on to the highway running through the hamlet.

    More than 500 people marched along the road toward the gate of the summit compound which is ringed by a four-metre-high steel security fence. They chanted slogans and carried banners, including one reading: "Say No To AmeriCanada."

    Police stood guard along the perimeter and patrolled the area in cars, motorcycles, ATVs and helicopters.

    Riot police lined up in front of the front gates as the marchers - some wearing anarchist red-and-black flags and carrying signs condemning U.S. President George W. Bush as a war criminal - approached.

    Despite the jostling, the tear gas and the pepper spray, it was a far cry from previous meetings - such as the G-8, APEC and the Summit of the Americas - when thousands of people turned out and demonstrations turned violent.

    Protesters are barred from the compound but their activities are being relayed to hotel lobby where they can be viewed on two video monitors.

    There are seemingly as many causes as protesters, who condemn North American integration, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the leaders' performance on the environment, the plight of aboriginals, and the human-rights abuses committed in the war on terror.

    One common complaint echoed by all is the secrecy surrounding the meeting.

    Susan Howard-Azzey, a homemaker from St.catharines, Ont., criticized what she called the lack of transparency and consultation in the SPP process.

    "I'm not impressed that the SPP is making such big decisions on behalf of Canadians without consulting us and when we go out to the streets we're criminalized."

    A group of powerful business executives has been invited to make a closed-door presentation Tuesday at the summit on changes they believe the continent needs. No such invitation was extended to scientists, environmentalists, or other social activists.

    Mandeep Dhillon, a spokeswoman for No One is Illegal, a group of immigration activists based in Montreal, said the aim of protesters was to disrupt the summit.

    "The ultimate thing would be for this conference to be halted. . . I can't say who would be able to do this, but the walls that have been established in Montebello deserve to come down."

    Other protesters were less confrontational. A few hundred labour activists from Ottawa called for a "family-friendly" demonstration and stood back from the police lines.

    In Ottawa, there were no demonstrators at the heavily-guarded U.S. Embassy and the only strangers on Parliament Hill were camera-toting tourists.

    The final communique from the two-day summit will include an order from Harper, Bush and Calderon to their respective cabinet ministers to create new border regulations for emergencies, said sources in two countries.

    The leaders want to see rules on who and what would be allowed to cross North American borders amid crises like a terrorist attack or an outbreak of avian flu.

    The move is the latest effort to increase security while allowing goods to flow freely, and stems from the chaotic aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.

    The security clampdowns and protracted lineups six years ago cost the North American economy billions of dollars and, by some estimates, has since reduced Canadian exports to the U.S. by more than $10 billion.

    The border announcement is one of several expected at the summit.

    The leaders also plan to announce that they will recognize the research of each country's food and drug regime in an effort to reduce costs and avoid duplication.

    A Canada-Mexico deal is also brewing that would allow more Mexican migrant workers into Canada under an expanded program for agricultural labourers. U.S. Congress killed a similar attempt earlier this year to reach such an agreement between that country and Mexico.

    Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians said people shouldn't be fooled about who really sets the agenda at these summits: the 30 business leaders who sit on the North American Competitiveness Council.

    The group comprises leaders from 10 companies in each country and includes corporations like Wal-Mart, General Electric and weapons-maker Lockheed Martin. They advise the three national governments on facilitating trade.

    Barlow called for a moratorium on the "profoundly anti-democratic" SPP until the citizens of all three countries are consulted and their elected representatives are given oversight over the business-driven initiative.

    Flanked by U.S and Mexican opponents of the scheme and Canadian labour activists, Barlow told a news conference Monday that big business is trying to create a competitive North American trade bloc.

    "And for this they need regulatory, resource, labour and environmental convergence to the lowest common standards," she said, predicting that it will ultimately include a common passport, common currency and free trade in resources, including oil, gas and water.

    "This is not about security for people, social security, security for the poor, environmental security or job security. This is about security for the big corporations for North America."

    Even before the summit began, it drew protests, including one Sunday that resulted in a commercial rail line being temporarily blocked in Montreal.

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  2. #2
    saveourcountry's Avatar
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    Jan 1970
    Did I read that correctly? They only had 50 protesters.

    I thought that they were expecting 10,000.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CCUSA's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    New Jersey
    I think there were hundreds but the most vocal 50 got real close.

    I think that is what they mean. Does anyone else have reports on how many were protesting?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member avenger's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Royse City, Texas
    Well I guess its fair to say that the Canadians are as happy about being screwed by their elected officials as we are.
    Never give up! Never surrender! Never compromise your values!*
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Texas - Occupied State - The Front Line
    Yea! They are pretty peeved off.

    I'm glad they are passionate about this and that would indicate that our Northern neighbors are not going to be railroaded into the SPP/NAU.

    Canada! Glad to hear you agree with us.

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