The American president arrived in the early afternoon and was first greeted at Ottawa International Airport by Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean...
The American president arrived at the historic Montebello resort at around 2:15 p.m. ET and mingled with the crowd of hotel employees who were outside to greet him. He was then driven around the grounds by limousine and walked down a pathway to meet Harper.
"Hi Stephen," he said as he approached the prime minister. The two men, dressed casually in shirts and jackets, were to have a bilateral meeting before the Mexican president was scheduled to join them later in the afternoon.
As Bush was walking towards him, Harper was asked by a reporter what he thought of the protesters. "I've heard it's nothing. It's sad," he said.
This is the third summit between the North American leaders and the agenda for this year's meeting includes border security, energy, the environment and food and product safety...
Calderon, who is keeping a close eye on Hurricane Dean which is set to pound his country in the next few days, will have his own meeting with Bush and then all "three amigos" will have dinner Monday evening.
The leaders will meet on Tuesday morning with the North American Competitiveness Council, a collection of 30 business leaders, 10 appointed by each country, who advise the leaders.
The Council was created in 2006 and is one of the only tangible results of the SPP process to date.
The group, whose Canadian executives include Dominic D'Alessandro of Manulife Financial, Paul Desmarais Jr. of Power Corporation, and Michael Sabia of Bell Canada, will present a progress report to the leaders.
It is the Council that is a main source of contention for critics of the SPP, who argue the North American governments are consulting only corporate leaders and ignoring labour leaders, human rights experts, environmentalists and even legislators.
"The problem with this process is that there has been no public consultation, and no parliamentary debate in any of our three countries," says Meera Karunananthan, a spokeswoman for the Council of Canadians, one of many activist organizations planning to attend the protests in Montebello.
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion and New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton have both been critical of the SPP and its degree of transparency.
With the backing of the Liberals and the Bloc, NDP trade critic Peter Julian successfully pushed for three days of committee hearings on the SPP this spring. But he says that's not nearly enough, given the vast scope of the deal. His party is calling for the SPP to be suspended until MPs and the public get a chance to examine it.
Dion is also planning a House of Commons resolution demanding more information.
The Liberal leader also charged last week that Harper is taking the SPP in a different direction than it was intended and the prime minister is embracing a "culture of secrecy." He accused the government of being in "secret negotiations" with the U.S. to export water south of the border, a claim the government flatly denies.
The summit is not expected to produce any major deals or announcements.
Much of the discussion between the leaders will be bureaucratic in nature, said a government official last week. "A lot of it isn't very interesting," the official said.