Yes, it became really part of a great corporate conspiracy to homogenize North America.
But I would say this, SPP was in fact badly sold—badly sold in the United States, very badly sold in Canada by the previous government and also by this government, and badly sold in Mexico. One of the reasons it was badly sold is that people, when you really got down to it, found that the nitty-gritty of it was really pretty boring.
I'll just give you one example. You say it was in the shadows, but it was never in the shadows; it was always out there. You could find any report on SPP on the Internet. Every summit that took place had reports that were issued. The North American Competitiveness Council, of which we are part, was part of SPP. Our reports were issued within minutes of the three leaders getting together, and on the Internet. You know what the problem was? Most of it was so utterly and completely boring that nobody wanted to pay attention to it.
The leader of the Raging Grannies, who's a good friend of mine and lives down the street from me, came to me one day and said, “You know, you were at Fortress Pearson, behind closed doors, conspiring with.... We didn't see anything.” I said, “Did you see our report on our website yesterday?” She said, “No, is it there? Is it possible?”
That's only to say that no institution has been more wrongly maligned for the wrong reasons than the SPP. But you're right, one of the reasons it suffers this terrible reputation is that we've all done a terrible job of selling what the SPP was.
In final conclusion, I think the SPP is probably dead, because I believe probably under President Obama we will see something else. But as my colleagues will attest, we always said to one another, it doesn't matter whether you erase the SPP now, six months ago, or two years ago; do you know what will happen? Something will replace it. Why it will be replaced is because energy, the environment, trade, financial regulation, and agriculture, all these things that we do in the form of millions of cross-border transactions every day, are going to have to be coordinated and will be coordinated.
So whether they end up calling it something else—there are already some names floating around Washington—it doesn't matter. But you know what I predict? Whatever name they give to it, if we meet here three years from now, you will say, Mr. Dewar—or maybe not you, but others may say—“You know what? We don't know anything about this new arrangement.” And the few people who actually take the time to read it will say, “Boy, this is a good way to be put to sleep.” When you're talking about tariffs and regulations, a lot of that very unsexy stuff, it doesn't really capture very much attention.