Lessons of Keystone: Lift Canada’s Game in the USA

Rather than get even, Canada needs to get smart on Keystone

The Globe and Mail Tuesday April 29 2014 and Real Clear World April 29, 2014 and BBC What in the world? Pieces of global opinion April 30, 2014

Disappointment, frustration, even anger, are natural reactions to the Obama Administration’s Good Friday decision to delay, again, permitting the Keystone XL pipeline.

It belittles the Administration’s promise of fair and timely process. It’s a rebuke to a loyal ally who is also America’s biggest customer.

Extending the process for more review, even with the Nebraska challenge, rings hollow especially, as TransCanada’s Russ Girling observed, “after more than 2,000 days, five exhaustive environmental reviews and over 17,000 pages of scientific data.”

The more likely reason: the White House calculation about the midterms and the contribution in money and campaign enthusiasm of the environmental movement.

There will be a Canadian temptation to ‘get even.’ Resist it.

The United States accounts for 70 per cent of our trade and more than one third of our economic output.

Even without Keystone, oil is getting to U.S. refineries through existing pipelines and, increasingly, by rail and truck. That pipelines are the safer means of transport is acknowledged in the State Department’s environmental assessment.

Rather than get mad, we need to be smart.

The Obama Administration likely will rag the puck on the permit until after the November elections. Meanwhile, our allies in Congress will continue to push. Most Americans favour the pipeline.

At home, we need to turn our energies to constructing east-west pipelines and terminals so we can get our oil and gas to tidewater.

With U.S. energy production rising, some Americans believe Canadian energy is unnecessary. They are wrong.

The U.S. imports 8-9 million barrels of petroleum daily; one-third from Canada. American reliance on Canadian oil is increasing (in January we supplied more than OPEC). But we need to get it there.

We also pay the penalty inflicted on a captive supplier to a sole market. Dependence on the U.S. market could result in the ‘managed trade’ situation endured on softwood lumber until we opened an alternate market with Asia.

Unlike most presidents, Barack Obama seems not to appreciate the strategic importance to the U.S. of Canada.

Since Franklin Roosevelt and Mackenzie King parleyed at Kingston in 1938, the dynamic of Canada-U.S. relations has revolved around our security and economic partnership.

The U.S. wants a reliable security partner.

We upped our game on security after September 11. We spent billions creating a security perimeter. Our collective security credentials are demonstrated in Afghanistan, Libya and now in the Ukrainian crisis.

In return, we expect a reliable economic partner.

Prime Minister Harper’s border access initiative has made progress but it lacks the sustained senior-level U.S. commitment demonstrated during the ‘Smart Border’ process.

As a teachable moment, Keystone recalls the Carter Administration’s failure to ratify the East Coast Fisheries Agreement in 1978.

The lesson then was the necessity to engage Congress directly.

Under Ambassador Allan Gotlieb, we took our case directly to Capitol Hill and into the districts. We would no longer rely on a feckless Administration.

Not traditional diplomacy, it still advances our interests in Washington.

The conditions for ‘getting it done’ in Washington have ‘evolved’ again.

Politics are polarized making it harder to find compromise. Messaging through social media is instant and driven from every point. The rise of big money, supported by two Supreme Court decisions, increases the power of special interests to the detriment of deliberative, consensus-driven public policy.

We need to recalibrate our game.

For corporations, the lesson is that social engagement – explaining projects to the community – is here to stay.

For government, strengthen our outreach effort to complement the work of Ambassador Gary Doer and our diplomats. Every minister travelling to Washington should call on Congress.

Encourage more congressional outreach by MPs like Rob Merrfield. In June, the interparliamentary caucus , re-energized by co-chairs Janis Johnson and Gord Brown, host their U.S. counterparts in Ottawa. The Halifax International Security Forum agenda always has a place for U.S. senators.

Second, get to know the potential 2016 candidates and their staff so they know more about Canada.

We also need to know more about the United States. It’s time for a serious parliamentary study; the last comprehensive report was in 1978.

Third, engage more at the state level – targeting state legislators and, especially governors.

In 2010, the premiers met the governors to smooth the path to procurement reciprocity. Why not another meeting around the logistics of continental supply chains? Or carbon pricing? Or fracking standards?

Cutting our consulates was a mistake. Aim for a presence in every state for the 2016 presidential election.

Keystone is delayed, not doomed. Learn from this episode. Lift our game in the United States.

A former diplomat, Colin Robertson is vice president of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute and a senior advisor to McKenna, Long and Aldridge LLP.



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On the Keystone XL punt

April 20, 2014 9:27 am

Canada should focus on next U.S. administration for Keystone: former diplomat

By Staff  Global News

After the United States, yet again, pressed the pause button on rendering a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the time has come for Canada to start focusing its efforts on the people who might form the next administration, said Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat.

“Let’s start targeting who’s likely to be the next president of the United States,” he said in an interview on The West Block with Tom Clark. “It’s not that you ignore this administration — there’s still work we can get done with this administration — but we need to look forward. We know who the likely candidates will be. We need to educate them on Canada so we don’t have a president again who doesn’t appreciate the strategic importance of Canada.”

READ MORE: Keystone XL pipeline hit by another delay

The proposed pipeline hit yet another delay this long weekend, when the U.S. State Department effectively paralyzed the project, saying it needs more time to prepare its recommendation to President Barack Obama.

Officials said they need to assess the impact of a court battle in Nebraska that could force a change in the pipeline’s planned route, and so extended the deadline for government agencies to comment, punting the decision past the November mid-terms.

The Prime Minister’s Office was quick to voice its disappointment of the decision, saying the decision was politically motivated.

Robertson, who was at the State Department two days before the move was announced, agreed, saying he has no doubt the move was taken under direction from the White House.

READ MORE: Albertans invited to testify at US hearings on Keystone XL pipeline

“They made the political calculation that as they go into what’s going to be a very difficult November election for the Democrats and the president,” he said. “Everybody understands, the positioning is pretty clear on both sides. This is a political decision, made for political reasons, everything to do with the mid-terms.”

The news from the State Department came just two days after 10 Nobel laureates, including former president Jimmy Carter, signed a letter urging Obama to reject the pipeline proposal.

While ex-presidents and Nobel laureates can try with all their might to influence the president’s decision, their attempts won’t likely be successful, said David Jacobson, former U.S. ambassador to Canada.

“You’d be a fool not to respect Nobel laureates, but I think everybody understands that the only Nobel laureate that’s really going to have a voice in this is one of the last winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, and that’s Barack Obama,” Jacobson said in an interview with Tom Clark.

“There’s a process that’s going on … and I’m not sure letters like the one that came from President Carter and the other Nobel laureates is really going to have all that much impact on the process.”

Signing that letter, Carter became the first former president to come out against Keystone XL.

The Prime Minister’s Office quickly swung back, cautioning the United States to remember 1979, when the oil supply dipped following the Iranian revolution, sparking global panic.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Ukraine, NATO, Collective Diplomacy and Defence

Have the West’s actions encouraged the world’s rogues?

The Globe and Mail Tuesday, Apr. 15 2014 also on RealClear World
Colin Robertson

It’s a testing moment for the international order.

How will we respond to Russian actions that Prime Minister Harper describes as  “aggressive, militaristic and imperialistic”? Is the NATO Alliance prepared to draw red lines? Will we defend the system that President Obama said we have worked  “for generations to build”?

Collective diplomacy gets its shot at the Ukrainian crisis when ministers from the Ukraine, Russia, USA, and European Union meet this week in Geneva.

Success will depend on whether Russia commits to troop pull-back, removal of agitators, non-interference in the May 26 Ukrainian elections and then recognition of its new government. Ukrainian authorities must guarantee the rights of its Russian-speaking minority.

The USA and EU must define, clearly articulate and then act on a calibrated set of sanctions. Demonstrating military muscle is essential. NATO exercises on land, air and sea is ‘language’ that Mr. Putin will understand.

That there is public fatigue with what many see as unsatisfactory foreign adventures is understandable. Iraq was an unnecessary war and the long campaign in Afghanistan has not had a satisfactory conclusion.

The recession and continuing joblessness obliged governments to concentrate on domestic recovery and now restraint in operations.

Defence budgets have suffered. Less than a handful of the 28 NATO members meet their commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence.

Has the tilt to domestic preoccupations and defence cuts inadvertently encouraged the rogues and those who don’t like the western international order?

Strong actions will  reconfirm the West’s commitment to international order. Alliance strength and solidarity will also send a message to others – Iran, North Korea and China – who are testing the limits.

The Ukrainian crisis reminds us that collective security, the purpose of NATO, is an enduring priority that requires real commitment. Words alone don’t defend principles or deter aggression.

For Canada this means a recommitment to our own defence establishment. We currently spend 1.5 percent of GDP on defence.

We point, with justice, to our contributions in Afghanistan and Libya. We argue, with reason, that results and output are more important than numbers,

But we can do more. Our promised procurement of ships, planes and land vehicles is behind schedule and already Inflation is eating away at the new kit.

Our defence policy puts ‘Canada First’.

A clever piece of political phraseology, our investment is as much in collective security through NATO and NORAD. These alliances have insured the long peace on which depends our prosperity.

A strategic alliance of democratic and sovereign states; the adjectives are both its strength and its shortcoming. NATO’s faults – sclerotic decision-making, unequal burden-sharing, lack of readiness – are much discussed, notably by then-US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates.

Yet, after sixty-five years, the Alliance continues to be the most successful collective defence partnership the world has known. With a combined four million under arms, NATO collectively accounts for nearly 70 percent of all military spending

NATO is the effective cop on the global beat, the go-to organization when muscle is required to manage chaos and restore order.

The three core principles of NATO’s Strategic Concept –  cooperative security, crisis response and collective defence – have enabled partnerships and operations beyond its original theatre.

Ultimately, collective security depends on two factors.

Political will is the most important. History suggests it takes a crisis, like the Crimean invasion, to arouse the Alliance to action.

The second is economic strength. We focus on NATO’s Article V: in the case of an attack we are all for one and one for all. Yet we pay relatively little attention to Article II with its emphasis on the development of free institutions and encouraging economic collaboration.

Acknowledged as the Canadian contribution in  drafting the NATO charter, the economic value of Article II is overlooked. Yet as a formula for economic regeneration, freer trade is without rival.

Bringing the Atlantic economies into closer integration is good for business and strategically smart.

This strategic dimension has been missing from the debate on the US-Europe Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement (CETA). Achieving CETA and TTIP would be the economic match to the security alliance we created in 1949.

It’s collective security, but with an economic edge.

Representative institutions, bolstered by free trade and the market economy, are the best means to underwrite our security and defence. They enable us to deal with the world as we find it, even as we work collectively towards the world we wish.

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A Joint Customs Plaza for Windsor Detroit

Joint Canada-U.S. customs plaza pitched for $1B bridge

Pre-clearance, pre-inspection already exists at Peace Bridge in Fort Erie and at airports

CBC News Posted: Apr 11, 2014 12:35 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 11, 2014 3:17 PM ET

The idea of a customs plaza on just one side of a new international bridge to be built between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit has been suggested, although the U.S. has yet to commit $250 million to its own plaza.The idea of a customs plaza on just one side of a new international bridge to be built between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit has been suggested, although the U.S. has yet to commit $250 million to its own plaza.

The idea of a single mulitmillion-dollar customs plaza built on one side of the new international bridge that will connect Windsor, Ont., and Detroit has been floated and is getting support from border experts.

Two years ago, Canada and the U.S. agreed on a new crossing to be built over the Detroit River and paid for by Canada. However, Canada expected the U.S. to build its own $250-million customs plaza in Michigan.

While Canada has moved ahead on the project, building a $1.6-billion, four-lane highway leading up to the site of the proposed bridge and acquiring land in Michigan, the U.S. has yet to announce funding for a plaza.

Canadian officials had hoped U.S. President Barack Obama would have earmarked money for the project in his federal budget last month. He didn’t.

‘Why don’t we just have one plaza?’– Colin Robertson of Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute

On Tuesday, Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat and current vice-president at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, suggested the answer may be one customs plaza to serve both countries.

“If we’re thinking outside the box and more innovatively, and how we can save taxpayers money, why don’t we just have one plaza?” Robertson asked.

One of Canada’s leading border experts says the idea is “intriguing.”

“I think it’s an interesting idea. It’s consistent with the new spirit of co-operation on border issues between the U.S. and Canada,” said Bill Anderson, Ontario research chair in cross-border transportation policy at the University of Windsor.

Similar programs, circumstances exist

Two years ago, the Canada-U.S. Ship Rider Program was unveiled. The joint program underway in the Windsor-Detroit area allows law enforcement officers from Canada and the U.S. to ride together on the Detroit River, patrolling and chasing down criminals on both sides of the international boundary.

That joint initiative between the RCMP and U.S. Coast Guard essentially eliminates the imaginary border on the Detroit River and Great Lakes.

Meanwhile, at Pearson International Airport, for the majority of U.S. flights, guests leaving Toronto go through U.S. customs in Toronto, which allows them to arrive in the U.S. as a domestic passenger.

Sweetgrass-Coutts Alberta Border CrossingA shared port of entry already exists between Sweetgrass, Mont., and Coutts, Alta. (U.S. Government)

On the ground, a shared customs complex, also known as a shared port of entry, exists in in Alberta at the Coutts-Sweetgrass land crossing.

In Fort Erie, Ont., U.S. Customs officials already work on Canadian soil, “pre-processing” U.S.-bound trucks in Fort Erie.

In January, the Buffalo and Fort Erie Peace Bridge Authority finished a $1-million U.S. Customs and Border Protection pre-inspection pilot pad, inspection booths, offices, parking and secure access on Canadian soil. Pre-inspection is designed to increase traffic flow.

“Pre-inspection is an important component of ongoing efforts to advance several important projects at the Peace Bridge, all of which will lead to a more functional and efficient border crossing,” PBA vice-chairman Sam Hoyt said.

Trucker Robert Thorne, who was filling up in Windsor, Ont., on Friday said he likes the pre-inspection in Fort Erie and that it speeds up the customs process.

“They should have that at all of them,” Thorne said.

He doesn’t support one common customs plaza though.

“They should leave one on each because it would make too much congestion with just one,” Thorne said.

A spokesperson Canadian Trucking Association told CBC Windsor the association had “no comment during such an embryonic stage.”

The move in Fort Erie was made because of “available staging space” on the Canadian side of the peace bridge, according to the authority’s website.

The Canada Border Services Agency said it does do not operate in any co-located facilities at bridge crossings.

“The CBSA engages in regular discussions with partners to ensure that new CBSA facilities are a pillar of modern border management that meet the needs of both the Government of Canada and the local communities in which they are situated,” CBSA spokesperson Esme Bailey wrote in an email to CBC Windsor. “As construction of the New International Trade Crossing is a number of years away, no final designs or plans are yet in place for this facility.”

‘This is the best opportunity’

Anderson said Windsor has “a great deal of land of the Canadian side” of the proposed bridge.

“If you were going to do something like this, this is the best opportunity to ever come along to do it,” Anderson said.

Robertson said a single plaza would be “probably on the Canadian side.”

Anderson called the single plaza “difficult,” but “not necessarily insurmountable.”

He questioned “what’s legal to do in Canada versus the United States?”

Bill Anderson University of WindsorBorder expert Bill Anderson of the University of Windsor says a single plaza would not be impossible, but would be difficult to do. (University of Windsor)

“You’re going to either have CBSA officers on the U.S. side imposing their own laws, or the other way around,” he said. “What happens if you have the plaza in Canada and you have an American officer that wants to arrest somebody and bring them to the United States?”

Even Robertson said some issues would have to be ironed out, including U.S. borders guards carrying guns in Canada.

There were similar questions surrounding the Ship Rider program, but they were answered.

If a chase on the water leaves Canada and enters the U.S., the American law kicks in, but the Canadian officers would have arresting authority on the U.S. side of the river.

Canadian officers undergo a 10-day training course at the USCG Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, where they learn U.S. law. Americans are trained in Canadian law.

The RCMP said Canadian and U.S. officers have the authority to go ashore on each other’s country if they deem it necessary.

MP calls single plaza ‘very complicated’

Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse, the party’s border critic, said a single plaza “sounds simple, but it actually is very complicated. It has been done in other areas. There’s actually joint border crossings across Canada and the United States, but this is very unique because of the volumes that we have and the types of things that we have going back and forth.”

The Ambassador Bridge, the privately owned international bridge currently connecting Windsor and Detroit, is one of North America’s busiest border crossings.

In 2010, it was reported that 28,814 trucks crossed the privately owned Ambassador Bridge on a daily basis.

DRIC Artist renditionU.S. President Barack Obama did not put money in his federal budget proposal for a customs plaza on the Detroit side of the planned bridge between the city and Canada, shown above. (File Photo)

The new crossing has been called “critical” by both Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and new U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman.

“Right there in Windsor, you have a signature automotive manufacturing capability and a transition of goods across the border. How do we keep enhancing that?” Heyman said.

“That might be something that would appeal to and Heyman could really champion,” Robertson said of the single customs plaza. “In the nuts and bolts of the relationship [between Canada and the U.S.] the ambassador plays a critical role.”

Anderson said the single plaza should be built for the right reasons, though.

“I would hate to see it done because there isn’t money to build the American plaza. I think it should be done because it’s a good way to operate the border,” he said. “Ultimately, I think the Americans should be expected to build a plaza on their side.”

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CBC on Heyman Agenda

6 Canada-U.S. issues set to dominate Ambassador Bruce Heyman’s agenda

By Susana Mas, CBC News Apr 08, 2014 1:36

U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman talks to reporters after he presented his credentials to Governor General David Johnston at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on April 8, 2014. U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman talks to reporters after he presented his credentials to Governor General David Johnston at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on April 8, 2014. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

Bruce Heyman officially begins his duties as U.S. ambassador to Canada today, nearly nine months after his predecessor, David Jacobson, another Chicagoan, saw his four-year term come to an end last July.

Heyman’s first order of business as U.S. ambassador to Canada is a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve been invited to go visit with the prime minister at his request,” Heyman said after he was officially welcomed by the Governor General at Rideau Hall.

“I very much look forward to that meeting. It’s his meeting and his agenda,” Heyman told reporters.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement Tuesday evening to say the government congratulated Heyman on his appointment and that it looked forward “to building on the strong economic relationship with the Obama administration.”

“We are committed to advancing shared priorities with Ambassador Heyman, including increasing trade, creating jobs and enhancing the security of our residents on both sides of the border,” the statement said.

Heyman, the first U.S. ambassador to Canada to use Twitter, wore his “lucky” Obama cufflinks and an American-Canadian flag pin given to him by his predecessor when he presented his credentials to David Johnston — a formality that each ambassador must go through before getting started on the job.

Since his arrival in Ottawa, Heyman and his wife Vicki, who are both active on Twitter, have had coffee from Tim Hortons, purchased cookies made famous by U.S. President Barack Obama during his first foreign trip in 2009, and attended Politics and the Pen — an annual fundraiser that brings together a who’s who of politicians, diplomats, journalists and business leaders.

Heyman was hand-picked by Obama to be the top American representative to Canada on Sept. 19, but it took six months for his nomination to work its way through the political process.

A top fundraiser for Obama and a 33-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, Heyman was sworn in during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on March 26, after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 12.

Heyman passed his first test as ambassador on Tuesday when he declined to comment on Monday’s election in Quebec, saying it was a domestic issue.

“I represent the United States in its relationship with Canada. I congratulate the victors and look very much forward to meeting the new premier, as well as all the premiers,” Heyman said.

There is no doubt the ambassador will have his work cut out for him with most of his time focused on the economy, energy, the environment, trade and security.

Here is a list of six issues set to dominate Heyman’s agenda:

1. Keystone XL

No issue has dominated or soured the relationship more than the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry Alberta’s oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“Top of the prime minister’s list is the presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline that has been stretched on into its sixth year,” said Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat and current vice-president at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.

In his first public comments on Tuesday, Heyman said he was on the same page as the Obama administration but that he came bearing “no news” other than saying “the process is underway and a decision is forthcoming.”

While the decision could come at any time, it is also possible that it could be punted again due to the U.S. midterms.

“This will be a political decision rather than a decision on its merits,” Robertson said. “If it was a decision based on its merits, we would have had an answer years ago and it would have been affirmative.”

A U.S. State Department report published in January was the most recent in a handful of studies showing that the Keystone XL pipeline would not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Energy and the environment

The discussion around the Keystone XL pipeline will give Heyman the opportunity to breathe new life into the energy dialogue, Robertson said.

Heyman addressed the issue when he was asked by reporters on Tuesday whether Canada ought to move forward with legislation to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

‘I think today you can be pro-economy and pro-energy and considerate of the environment.’– Bruce Heyman, U.S. ambassador to Canada

“The president has made it clear, so has the secretary of state: global warming is real. We all have to be cognizant that it’s real and that we’re all affected by it.”

“The United States looks forward to working with the Canadian government and working on these issues.”

Heyman said what concerned him most is the notion that a strong economy would have to come at the expense of the environment.

“I think today you can be pro-economy and pro-energy and considerate of the environment. And we have to work together to accomplish a strong economy but we have to work together to protect the environment,” Heyman said.

In a February letter to the U.S. State Department, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer said Canada was “committed to further action including regulations for our oil and natural gas sectors.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in December, the government was “certainly prepared to work with the United States on a regulatory regime that will bring our emissions down.”

3. Windsor-Detroit Bridge

As CBC News reported last week, the Canadian government has been urging the Obama administration to pay for its share of the costs of building a customs plaza on the U.S. side of a planned bridge linking Detroit and Windsor.

Canada has been working under the assumption the U.S. would pay $250 million to build the customs plaza, but a lack of money allocated in the U.S. federal budget in March has sent a signal that funding for the project could be at risk.

Heyman said Tuesday he was familiar with the issue but would not comment further until he had the opportunity to discuss it with the federal government first.

“This is an issue that I look forward to sitting down with members of the Canadian government and just getting a better understanding of where we are,” Heyman said.

Robertson thinks that a possible compromise could be for the two countries to have a shared customs.

“If we’re thinking outside the box and more innovatively, and how we can save taxpayers money, why don’t we just have one plaza?”

“This is a serious but unnecessary irritant,” said John Manley, former deputy prime minister and current president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

4. Beyond the border

While there is much work left to do around the joint U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border initiative, Manley said “Canada will need to get its act together on oxycodone.”

Several U.S. officials, from the U.S. drug czar to more recently U.S. senators, have urged the Canadian government to stop the production of a form of oxycodone which has been pouring south into the U.S., where it is banned.

The issue has become an increasing nuisance for the U.S. government, which is taking steps to address the problem domestically, only to see their efforts compromised by Canada’s lax prescription drug strategy.

If Canada wants to address border fees and other irritants to improve border congestion, it will have to address U.S. concerns around oxycodone.

5. Intellectual property

Heyman has already said that intellectual property will be “a priority.”

The U.S. will push Canada to give it the same IP protections for pharmaceutical innovators that are included in the Canada-EU free trade agreement.

“They want to ensure that everything from the films they make to the drugs that they patent are protected,” Robertson said.

“In Canada we tend to give less time for absolute patent protection before we open it up to competition from generics. This is something that the Americans are pushing us on.”

These protections may be important in future negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

6. Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free-trade deal aimed at further expanding the flow of goods, services and capital across borders between a dozen countries including Canada and the U.S.

The American are pushing Canada hard on supply management with U.S. trade representative Michael Froman recently calling on Canada to put more on the table in its negotiations.

The Americans would like greater access for its dairy and poultry products, but what Canada can get in return is not yet clear, Manley said.

“Moving on supply management is not an easy thing to do,” he said.

‘True friends’

In a speech Heyman gave during his swearing-in ceremony in D.C. last month, the U.S. ambassador described the relationship between the U.S. and Canada as “special but also enduring.”

“The relationship remains strong,” he said

“I believe that individual disagreements enhance the enduring strength of this bilateral relationship, as only true friends have the courage and trust to be honest with one another,” Heyman said.

He spoke about the $2 billion in goods that flow across the shared border, shared resources and military co-operation with the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD.)

“There is more we can and will do together. I look forward to working to drive outcomes,” Heyman said.

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Trade and Transportation go hand in hand

Where’s Canada falling short in its plan to be a trade superpower?

The Globe and Mail Tuesday, Apr. 01 2014

Headlines over rail and terminal capacity to get western grain to market and the recent shutdown of Port Metro Vancouver are a reminder that trade and transportation go hand in hand. Saskatchewan’s Premier Brad Wall warned that Canada’s reputation as a “reliable supplier” has taken a hit.

We have work to do both in continuing to open markets abroad and in ensuring reliable trade routes within Canada.

We need to finish off negotiations with the European Union. The timing of the deal’s announcement last October now appears to have had more to do with Harper’s domestic political calculus. Fortunately, that same calculus had changed sufficiently – the declining weight of the Big Three automakers versus the national interest – to allow agreement last month with Korea. Now we need to push the economic partnership negotiations with Japan.

With imports accounting for almost 30 per cent of what we produce and exports about the same, we are slightly ahead of the OECD average. Our proximity to the United States, still the world’s biggest market, is a huge advantage, notwithstanding the frustrations of protectionism masquerading under country-of-origin labelling, or the targeting of the Keystone XL pipeline by environmental evangelicals.

Increasingly, our goods are part of global supply chains, especially our manufacturing industries, whether in the assembly of cars or the servicing of aircraft.

Technological innovation, characterized by ‘the fracking revolution’, is making North America energy independent. That, combined with a skilled work force, whether home grown or through smart immigration policy, is setting the stage for a Canadian and North American manufacturing renaissance.

Always a trading nation, we have become a nation of traders. The Harper Government is broadening and updating our web of trade agreements with markets around the world. It is reinforced by a priority markets strategy – still to be delivered – and a commitment to reinvigorate our trade commissioner service.

But getting our goods to market requires efficient transport.

Investment in roads, bridges, subways, commuter rail and other public infrastructure is also essential. Billions have been invested in improving our gateways and trade corridors to the Atlantic, Asia-Pacific and continentally.

The Port Metro Vancouver project exemplifies co-operation between all levels of government and the private sector. What still needs more attention are our inland ports; learn from Manitoba’s CentrePort and Saskatchewan’s Global Transportation Hub Authority We are making progress at the land border gateways. We need to do more on North American economic integration.

The Government’s new Building Canada program with its 10-year horizon is a step in the right direction as long as funding focuses on trade-related infrastructure. The New West Partnership premiers will host a fall summit on transportation and market access.

In a 2010 study the Conference Board estimated that each dollar invested in infrastructure added $1.11 to Ontario’s GDP.

To help in the strategic planning both the Conference Board and Canada West Foundation (CWF) are looking at the nexus of trade, transportation and infrastructure. In its upcoming report, “Paving the Way to Success,” the CWF will look at our transportation and logistics systems, directionally, modally, and regionally.

A couple of observations going forward:

The first is that public-private partnerships (P3) can work.

Here again the Conference Board has done valuable work pointing out the P3 advantages in time savings, life-cycle spending, innovation and maintenance innovation, and contracting as well as the pitfalls in financing rates, risk premium, transaction costs, and lead times.

The Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships recently assessed the 206 P3 projects initiated in Canada since 2003. They generated over half a million jobs. Provincial agencies value-for money assessments on 121 of those projects estimate savings of $9.9-billion over public sector contracting Importantly.

The second is that we need to find the capital.

Foreign investors, especially state-owned enterprises, favour resources or manufacturing.

Our pension funds, notably the $130-billion Ontario’s Teachers’ , have big investments in European airports and rail and container terminals in New York and New Jersey. Late last year the $200-billion La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec took a stake in Australia’s largest cargo port in Brisbane.

How do we encourage investors, especially our domestic funds, to invest more in Canadian infrastructure?

Building Canada obliges commitments by all levels of government, the private sector and labour. We need the right alignment between transport investment, gateway marketing, and trade facilitation.

We aspire to be an energy and food superpower. A reliable trading partner gets its goods to market on schedule. Opening the doors through trade agreements is just the first step.

A former diplomat, Colin Robertson is vice president of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute and adviser to McKenna, Long and Aldridge LLP.

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