North American Leaders Summit Los Tres Amigos - Other Descriptives We Could Use

Publisher: Scott Jeffrey
Energy Processing Canada

It has become more or less a tradition, if you can characterize anything going back to 2005 in such a way.

The North American Leader's Summit, or the Tree Amigos, started when Vicente Fax, George W. Bush, and Paul Martin (remember Paul?) decided to get together. Back then, they called it the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, but the press soon shortened it to the moniker we all use today. It has been held ever since, with the exception of a 2015 cancellation by Stephen Harper because of Barack Obama's stubbornness over the Keystone Pipeline. Of course, our snub didn't do any good, as Obama failed to endorse KXL regardless of our "powerful" message.

There have been other sore points, with Mexican outrage over our imposition of visa requirements, and the restriction of Canadian beef imports to Mexico. For the most part though, the meeting has been a series of photo ops in often luxurious and historic venues. Of substance there has been little, and that tradition continued with the latest summit, hosted by Justin Trudeau in Ottawa June 29 of this year. The other invited guests were Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico, and of course Barack Obama from the U.S.

What has led to my suggestions for a proposed name change though, is the joint announcement that all three nations would increase their clean energy consumption to 50 per cent by 2025. This would represent an increase of 13 per cent over previous announcements.

Quite apart from the obvious impossibility of reaching such targets, it is an undeniable fact that none of the current triad will be around in nine years. Even if the parties in power are the same, politicians are notorious for not living up to their predecessor's commitments. With a name change they have immediate deniability, something all politicians crave. Even assuming that their remaining time in office would be spent working solely on this goal, economic realities would come into play for even the most delusional of the three administrations. All three nations are heavily dependent on oil and gas revenues, and the kind of significant shit it would take to achieve their stated targets is not financially or even physically doable.

There is even growing debate on what constitutes "clean" energy. Many environmentalists now dispute the nature of hydropower, because of the large footprint left by the construction of dams and the formation of man-made bodies of water. Wind farms mar the landscape as well, and all manner of birds are put at risk. Even the generation of solar power requires huge areas to set up solar panels.

It is at best insulting that over the years, a succession of North American political leaders would continue to make such meaningless statements, and set such unrealistic targets, and then blithely assume that the voting public would just accept them without question. If they're going to spend taxpayers' money, why can't they stick to the achievable, instead of the "pie in the sky" rhetoric that dominates so much of today's political scene? We've had three Prime Ministers, three Mexican Presidents, and two U.S. Presidents involved, and they all spew the same meaningless drivel.

For many of us, it brings to mind unfavourable comparisons to the 1986 movie, "Three Amigos".  IN the film, there is at least a Canadian Amigo, but no Mexican Amigo is in evidence. The movie is famous for making statements that could apply directly to politicians of all stripes. A memorable quote by one of the Amigos was "We're just going to have to use our brains - Damn it!" Another came from two lovelies south of the U.S. border One said, "Which one do you like?" The other replied, "The one who's not too smart." The rejoinder was "Which one is that?" The movie is at least recognized as farce, but incredibly, successive leaders of over half a billion people take themselves seriously.

And so, in an attempt to salvage some kind of truth from the Amigos summits, I am suggesting a change in nickname. I'm going to leave it up to the reader to pick, and I invite you to call and register your preference. I promise I'll report back.

Here they are:
  • Los Tres IIusionistas
  • Los Tres Narradores
  • Los Tres Mentirosos
If you have spent some time in Mexico, you may know the words, but if not, look them up, and pick the title that seems most apt.

It used to be that if you were one voice, you were "crying in the wilderness." Now it is the majority that is consigned to that wilderness. Re-naming this leader's meeting will not change anything, but at least we can say they are labelling themselves correctly.


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