‘Canada is back’, la política exterior de Justin Trudeau

‘Canada is back’, la política exterior de Justin Trudeau

COLIN ROBERTSON

Justin Trudeau y el ministro de Defensa de Canadá (en el centro), Harjit Sajjan, durante la Cumbre de la OTAN del 25 de mayo en Bruselas. GOBIERNO DE CANADÁ\

Internacionalista constructivo, el primer ministro canadiense ha recuperado los activos tradicionales de Canadá, centrándose en la defensa del clima, de la mujer y de un comercio diversificado. Su mayor reto es gestionar con tacto y firmeza la relación con EEUU.

Las expectativas eran altas cuando, tras ganar las elecciones de octubre en 2015, Justin Trudeau prometió a los canadienses que restauraría los “caminos soleados” y el crecimiento de la clase media. El primer ministro anunció al mundo “Canada is back” (Canadá ha vuelto). Prometió una política exterior “constructiva y compasiva”, con un regreso al multilateralismo y el foco en el clima, la emigración y la desigualdad. La administración de Donald Trump –proteccionista, populista y unilateralista– supone ahora el mayor reto para el gobierno de Trudeau. Gestionar al Tío Sam –la relación con Estados Unidos es la más importante para Canadá– ha puesto a prueba a los gobiernos canadienses desde el momento de la Confederación, hace ahora 150 años.

En su mayor parte, el primer ministro Trudeau ha cumplido sus promesas respecto a la política exterior. En estos casi dos años de gobierno, la marca internacional de Canadá ha mejorado. Pese a que los canadienses piensan que el mundo es un lugar más peligroso, depositan una gran confianza en la habilidad de Trudeau para gestionar los asuntos internacionales. Pero al mismo tiempo que Canadá celebra su 150 aniversario, Trump presenta un reto personal para Trudeau, al que ha de enfrentarse correctamente.

 

El método Trudeau y su mensaje

Tan solo unas semanas después de asumir el cargo, Trudeau participó en cuatro cumbres internacionales: la de la Commonwealth en Malta, el G-20 en Turquía, el Foro de Cooperación Económica Asia Pacífico (APEC) en Manila, y la Conferencia de París sobre el Clima. Ganó aplausos por su encanto personal e impresionó a los líderes extranjeros con su capacidad de escucha. En París, Trudeau y su equipo abrazaron la necesidad de una acción por el clima y trabajaron constructivamente para alcanzar el consenso que dio lugar al acuerdo internacional.

En el tradicional Discurso desde el Trono, por parte del Gobernador General (representante de la reina Isabel II) en la apertura de la nueva legislatura, están recogidas las prioridades del gobierno:

– Reforzar su relación con los aliados, “especialmente con nuestro amigo y socio cercano, EEUU”.

– Centrar la ayuda al desarrollo en la prestación de asistencia a los más pobres y vulnerables del mundo.

– Negociar acuerdos comerciales beneficiosos y perseguir otras oportunidades con mercados emergentes.

– Renovar el compromiso con las operaciones de mantenimiento de la paz de las Naciones Unidas, así como continuar la lucha contra el terrorismo.

– Revisar las capacidades existentes de defensa e invertir en la construcción de un ejército más ágil y mejor equipado.

 

Multilateralismo y los refugiados sirios

El multilateralismo, sustituido por el anterior primer ministro Stephen Harper y su gobierno conservador por “avanzar para llevarse bien”, ha vuelto. Como expresó Trudeau en la Asamblea General de la ONU en 2016, “eso significa reengancharse a los asuntos globales mediante instituciones como la ONU” (…) “estamos aquí para ayudar”, incluyendo asumir un papel de liderazgo en el reasentamiento de refugiados.

En contraste con el gobierno de Harper, Trudeau prometió durante la campaña electoral proporcionar un hogar a 25.000 refugiados sirios. En enero de 2017, más de 40.000 habían encontrado su nueva casa en Canadá y el primer ministro nombró a un refugiado somalí, Ahmed Hussen, ministro de Inmigración, Refugiados y Ciudadanía.

 

Política exterior feminista

El empoderamiento de la mujer es un asunto central de la política de Trudeau, en el territorio nacional y en el extranjero. A la pregunta sobre las razones que explicaban por qué la mitad de su gabinete estaba constituido por mujeres, incluyendo a la primera ministra de Justicia de origen indígena, Jody-Wilson-Raybould, y una refugiada afgana, Maryam Monsef, responsable del ministerio de la Mujer, Trudeau respondió: “Porque estamos en 2015”.

Tras consultar a más de 15.000 personas de 65 países, el gobierno canadiense publicó la Política de Asistencia Internacional Feminista como parte del conjunto de medidas de política exterior en junio de 2017. Afirmando que “los derechos de las mujeres son derechos humanos” y que el primer ministro y su gabinete eran todos feministas, la ministra de Asuntos Exteriores, Chrystia Freeland, declaró que tales derechos, incluyendo abortos legales y seguros “se encuentran en el núcleo de nuestra política exterior“. Estas medidas hay que entenderlas en el contexto de la decisión de la administración Trump respecto a la retirada de los fondos a las agencias de la ONU que apoyan el aborto. Así, en el Día Internacional de la Mujer, Trudeau anunció una inversión de 650 millones de dólares destinada a financiar proyectos de la ONU para educación sexual, servicios de salud reproductiva, planificación familiar y el uso de anticonceptivos.

La nueva, y feminista, política internacional de ayuda se marcó seis objetivos: igualdad de género y empoderamiento de las mujeres y niñas; un crecimiento que funcione para todo el mundo; acción respecto al medio ambiente y el clima; una gobernanza inclusiva; paz y seguridad, incluyendo un mayor papel de las mujeres en operaciones de paz; tolerancia cero hacia la violencia sexual y el abuso por parte de las fuerzas de paz. Las nuevas medidas, que se alinean con los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible de la ONU (ODS) y el Acuerdo de París sobre el Clima están encaminadas a asegurar que al menos el 95% de la ayuda exterior canadiense se destina a la mejora de las condiciones de vida de mujeres y niñas.

Finalmente, la política exterior feminista de Trudeau incluso ha logrado el respaldo del presidente Trump, que acogió una reunión de mujeres emprendedoras de los dos países durante la visita del primer ministro a EEUU en febrero de 2017. Trump también hizo referencia a esta iniciativa en su declaración conjunta ante el Congreso.

 

Gestionar al Tío Sam

Si bien todos los líderes mundiales comparten la preocupación por la seguridad y el crecimiento económico nacional, los primeros ministros canadienses hacen frente, además, a retos adicionales respecto a la unidad nacional y las relaciones con EEUU. En su único discurso sobre política exterior previo a su elección, Trudeau prometió “un cambio en las relaciones entre EEUU y Canadá”. Reconoció la sabiduría del primer ministro conservador Brian Mulroney (1984-93) por haber identificado la gestión de estas relaciones bilaterales como un deber clave de su cargo.

Desde su llegada, Trudeau estableció una relación de confianza con Barack Obama respecto al cambio climático y compartían un compromiso con el internacionalismo liberal progresista. El conocido “bromance” fue visible durante la visita de Trudeau a la Casa Blanca en marzo de 2016, así como en la visita de Obama a Ottawa tres meses después en la “Cumbre de los Tres Amigos”.

Las relaciones con México, el tercer amigo, se restauraron en junio de 2016, cuando Trudeau cumplió su promesa de levantar la restricción de visados impuesta por el gobierno de Harper. El levantamiento está incluido en el enfoque conjunto de Canadá y México para las próximas negociaciones en el Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (Nafta, en inglés).

La victoria de Trump, con campaña proteccionista y populista recogida en su “América primero”, forzó a Trudeau a reajustar su gobierno y priorizar las relaciones con EEUU. Esto explica que en enero la hasta entonces ministra de Comercio Internacional, Chrystia Freeland, se convirtiera en ministra de Asuntos Exteriores, conservando la responsabilidad sobre el comercio norteamericano. Freeland junto al ministro de Defensa, Harjit Sajjan, y el de Finanzas, Bill Morneau, viajaron a Washington para conocer a sus homólogos en la nueva administración Trump. Es importante destacar que realizaron una visita al Capitolio donde se reunieron con líderes destacados del Congreso. Trudeau pronto seguiría esta iniciativa con una visita de trabajo al presidente Trump. El acuerdo sobre un programa para el futuro incluía aumentar las economías compartidas, la seguridad energética, medio ambiente, seguridad fronteriza, aliados en el mundo y el empoderamiento de las mujeres emprendedoras.

Desde entonces ha habido un tránsito constante hacia el sur por parte de los ministros de Trudeau, dirigentes provinciales y legisladores de todos los niveles, y no solo a Washington, sino también al resto de EEUU. Es evidente que el foco se ha centrado en el país de Trump. El mensaje que se transmite es el siguiente: Canadá es un aliado fiable, un socio comercial leal, y el comercio y la inversión canadienses crean empleos en EEUU. La energía canadiense alimenta la economía estadounidense y mantendrá el renacimiento energético norteamericano prometido por Trump.

Aunque tales esfuerzos no han sido probados aún, según New York Times, “a diferencia de cualquier otra cosa intentada por otro aliado, la campaña silenciosamente audaz para persuadir, contener y, si fuera necesario, coaccionar a los estadounidenses (…) ha tenido éxito en gran medida (…)”.
Declaración de política exterior y revisión de defensa

La relación con EEUU estuvo en el corazón del discurso sobre política exterior de la ministra Freeland de junio de 2017, que estableció las prioridades de Canadá. Presentado ante el Parlamento de Canadá, el discurso fue en muchos aspectos una evocación “de regreso al futuro” de los principios de la diplomacia pearsoniana que caracterizaron la política canadiense durante gran parte del periodo de posguerra. Canadá está buscando un asiento en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU, declaró Freeland, “porque queremos ser escuchados”.

 

Ante la crisis de confianza en la globalización, Canadá apuesta por apoyar a la clase media y a quienes quieren entrar en ella

 

La ministra reafirmó la posición del país como una “potencia media” con un “gran interés en un orden internacional basado en reglas. Uno en el que el poder no tendría siempre la razón. Uno en el cual los países más poderosos están limitados en su trato con los más pequeños por estándares que son internacionalmente respetados, aplicados y mantenidos”. Freeland identificó dos desafíos globales primordiales:

En primer lugar, la rápida aparición de potencias del Sur y Asia –preeminentemente China– y la necesidad de integrar a estos países en el sistema económico y político mundial, de manera que se preserve lo mejor del viejo orden que precedió a su ascenso, pero que a su vez aborde la amenaza existencial del cambio climático.

En segundo lugar, un agotamiento en Occidente de la creencia entre los trabajadores y la clase media de que el sistema globalizado puede ayudarles a mejorar sus vidas. Estamos ante una enorme crisis de confianza, que tiene el potencial, si lo permitimos, de socavar la prosperidad global. La clave para abordar esos problemas, según Freeland, es proporcionar a la clase media, y a quienes quieren incorporarse a ella, un mayor apoyo y un enfoque que en Canadá incluye la acogida del multiculturalismo y la diversidad.

Reconociendo el papel “indispensable” que desempeña EEUU en la preservación del orden mundial, la ministra identificó los múltiples frentes de la relación bilateral: “desde la seguridad fronteriza, a la defensa de Norteamérica a través del Mando Norteamericano de Defensa Aeroespacial (Norad), la lucha contra Daesh, los esfuerzos en la OTAN, el fomento y la mejora de la relación comercial, que es la más fuerte en el mundo”. A diferencia de anteriores gobiernos liberales, Freeland fue muy clara sobre la prioridad en la defensa. La ministra denunció sin ambages a Rusia respecto a la invasión de Ucrania y afirmó que la OTAN y su artículo 5 están en el corazón de la política de seguridad nacional de Canadá. “El uso de la fuerza con principios”, declaró Freeland, “junto con nuestros aliados y gobernados por el Derecho Internacional, es parte de nuestra historia y debe ser parte de nuestro futuro”.

El gobierno de Trudeau, según Freeland, hará las “inversiones necesarias en el ejército, no solo para reparar años de insuficiencia de fondos, sino también para poner a las fuerzas armadas canadienses en una nueva base, con el equipo, la capacitación, los recursos y una financiación consistente y predecible para poder llevar a cabo un trabajo difícil y peligroso”. Confiar únicamente en el paraguas de EEUU haría de Canadá un “estado cliente”, en palabras de Freeland.

Al día siguiente, el ministro de Defensa Sajjan anunció la nueva política de defensa, “fuerte, segura y comprometida”: fuertes en casa, seguros en Norteamérica y comprometidos con el mundo. El énfasis en el propio país, en América del Norte y después en el mundo es consistente con el enfoque canadiense. Entre los compromisos específicos en materia de defensa, Sajjan indicó los siguientes: aumentar el gasto en defensa del 1% al 1,4% del PIB para 2024; adquirir 88 aviones de combate avanzados para reemplazar a los viejos CF-18, y la construcción de 15 navíos de combate para sustituir a las fragatas existentes y a los destructores retirados; aumentar las fuerzas regulares entre 3.500 y 71.500 soldados, y las reservas entre 1.500 y 30.000, además de reducir el tiempo de reclutamiento de meses a semanas; aumentar la presencia de mujeres en las fuerzas armadas en un punto porcentual al año hasta alcanzar el 25% en 2026.

Los críticos de la política exterior de Trudeau sostienen que el gasto en defensa sigue siendo inadecuado en relación con los aumentos prometidos, y que están por debajo del compromiso del 2% del PIB marcado por la OTAN. No se hizo referencia a si Canadá se uniría a la defensa de misiles antibalísticos, tal como recomendó por unanimidad el Comité de Defensa Nacional del Senado en 2014. Tampoco se precisó en qué momento el gobierno debería cumplir con su compromiso de agosto de 2016 de enviar 600 soldados a operaciones de paz.

En lo que respecta a ayuda al desarrollo, Canadá actualmente destina el 0,26% del PIB en ayuda extranjera, lejos del objetivo de la ONU de alcanzar el 0,7% establecido por el gobierno de Lester Pearson en la década de los sesenta. La directora del Consejo Canadiense para la Cooperación Internacional, Julia Sánchez, expresó: “no entendemos cómo se va a lograr esa meta sin nuevos fondos”.

 

La búsqueda del compromiso

Los canadienses son gente progresista pero también prudente. Son liberales acerca de cuestiones sociales pero tienden al conservadurismo cuando se trata de la gestión de su dinero. Como pueblo, y debido a su clima, recursos, geografía y demografía, los canadienses se sienten obligados a encontrar consenso y compromiso. Sus recursos, ricas tierras de cultivo y grandes cantidades de energía, incluidos combustibles fósiles, son las joyas de la familia, pero la sostenibilidad del país y del entorno requiere cuidado y conservación.

Canadá es el segundo país más extenso del mundo, abarca 4,5 zonas horarias y posee la costa más larga del mundo. Todo esto exige mucha innovación e ingeniería para desarrollar comunicaciones marítimas, así como unas infraestructuras de transporte duraderas.

Uno de cada cinco canadienses nace fuera de Canadá. En nuestra ciudad más grande, Toronto, ese número se eleva a la mitad de la población. Una gestión eficaz del pluralismo es vital para la buena gobernanza. Como ciudadanos del mundo, pero de una forma más acentuada que la mayoría de las nacionalidades, el sentido de identidad de los canadienses deriva de cómo son percibidos por el resto del mundo. Ellos quieren ser, y quieren ser vistos, como internacionalistas constructivos y, por tanto, desempeñan un papel de puente, eje y figura útil en la resolución y gestión de los asuntos globales. Estas son las realidades que el primer ministro Trudeau debe manejar en beneficio de Canadá.

Desde la Confederación, la política exterior canadiense se ha construido alrededor de la realidad de vivir con el Tío Sam; en el pasado una amenaza pero durante más de un siglo un amigo y aliado, cuyo mercado sostiene la prosperidad canadiense y cuyo paraguas de seguridad nos protege.

Para mitigar la poderosa influencia cultural y económica de EEUU, los sucesivos gobiernos canadienses han adoptado la seguridad colectiva como estrategia de defensa, el multilateralismo en política exterior y la diversificación comercial. Estas opciones han respondido a la búsqueda del equilibrio, algo especialmente necesario con la administración Trump. La renegociación del acceso preferente al mercado estadounidense es la máxima prioridad de Trudeau porque reconoce que de ello depende la prosperidad canadiense.

Justin Trudeau y Donald Trump son polos opuestos en asuntos como el clima, la migración y el multilateralismo. Pero Trudeau sabe que la única relación primordial es aquella que mantiene con el presidente de EEUU. La pretensión de encontrar un terreno común con Trump sobre la creciente clase media y abordar la desigualdad está funcionando, pero pasará por distintas pruebas en el futuro.
Como sir Wilfrid Laurier, el primer primer ministro liberal de Canadá que popularizó el concepto “caminos soleados”, Trudeau es carismático y un activista natural. Si puede cumplir su promesa y satisfacer el sentido de soberanía de los canadienses, entonces, al igual que Laurier, Trudeau mantendrá la confianza de los canadienses en su líder.

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The Challenge of Trump: Noise and Reality

The Trumpian challenge: separating noise from substance

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Trudeau, Trump and the Goldilocks Strategy

Why Trudeau’s ‘Goldilocks’ strategy with Trump is the best approach

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Canada and Mexico

 

Why Canada should work to strengthen its ties to Mexico

Colin Robertson, The Globe and Mail, October 14, 2016

The Trudeau Government should prioritize its strategic partnership with Mexico. The June visit of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa set a plan for closer collaboration. Both nations need to deliver on specific initiatives, especially those that emphasize our people-to-people ties.

The signature of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) established a framework through which we have become each other’s third-largest trading partner. It is built largely through the investment of Canadian banking and resource industries in Mexico and through continental supply chains in manufacturing industries. Together, we make planes, trains and automobiles.

With a 44 million strong middle class, Mexico’s market will only increase. By 2050, Mexico is expected to rank fifth in global economic weight.

There is no shortage of collaborative instruments. The Canada-Mexico Partnership, with its private-public membership, has been in place since 2004. Its agenda covers the waterfront: energy; agri-business; labour mobility; human capital; trade, investment and innovation; environment; mining; forestry; and recently we have commenced annual security discussions.

With the election of the Trudeau government, we have developed a common North American approach to climate.

And, last December, after collaborating at the World Trade Organization, we persuaded Congress to roll back the protectionist US country-of-origin labelling requirement that threatened both of our country’s meat exports into the USA.

Canadians have begun once more their annual migration south. More than two million Canadians spend over 22 million nights in Mexico, making it our second most popular destination after the USA.

But despite the declared ambition and collaborative framework, the relationship seems less than the sum of its parts. The arbitrary imposition of a visa in July, 2009 offended Mexicans. It damaged the vital people-to-people ties that underwrite lasting relationships.

Mexicans stopped coming to Canada, complaining that the information required for the visa was excessive, intrusive and the processing time too long. Tourism and student study from Mexico sank. Mexican investors looked elsewhere. Today, we get more visitors from South Korea and Australia than Mexico, even though those flights are at least three times as long.

The visa will be replaced in December with the much-delayed Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) system.

In anticipation of this change, the Trudeau government should work with the provinces to aggressively market student study in Canada.

We have more than 400 interinstitutional agreements and Canada’s International Education Strategy identifies Mexico as a priority market. What is missing is Mexican students; there are only 5,000 among the 200,000 foreign students in Canada.

To give the initiative momentum, why not have Governor-General David Johnston lead a group of Canadian university presidents to Mexico to promote joint study opportunities and co-operation in innovation? Mr. Johnston, a former university president, represented Canada at the inauguration of Mr. Pena Nieto and recently played host to him in Quebec City.

High-level visits are catalysts for action. Justin Trudeau should also put Mexico on his travel agenda for 2017. Why not make it a trade and investment mission with the premiers?

The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, that effectively updates NAFTA, will depend on whether U.S. President Barack Obama can secure its congressional approval during the lame-duck session. To prepare, we should be discussing with Mexico what provisions we can jointly salvage and make bilateral, to our mutual benefit.

Mexican ministers are making regular visits to the United States to make the case for continental trade and the jobs they create. Canadian ministers should join them.

As the Trudeau government contemplates a renewal of Canadian involvement in peace operations, it should look first to the challenges in our own hemisphere.

Citing its “global responsibilities,” Mr. Pena Nieto has committed Mexico to peace operations. Helping Mexico with training of peace troops would be a useful contribution as we increase our own participation.

Last week’s failed referendum on a peace pact in Colombia will oblige renewed efforts to end the more than half century conflict that has displaced 6.7 million Colombian citizens. Canada and Mexico should pursue the talks begun earlier this year on a possible joint peacekeeping role.

Can we also help Mexico with its southern frontier problems as a result of the continuing turmoil in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador?

Both governments need to pick shared initiatives on which we can achieve tangible results. Success will develop more trust and create a better basis for a shared approach when dealing with the new U.S. administration.

Over the years, the Canada-Mexico story has resembled a spasmodic series of tango-like bursts of intensity followed by long siestas. This time, let’s keep the dance going and put the emphasis on our people-to-people ties.

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The 8-11 Effect: Get the Border Right

 

Why it’s so important for Trudeau to fix the Canada-U.S. border

Colin Robertson The Globe and Mail Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2016

Call it the 9/11 effect. Fifteen years on we are still paying the price of that tragic day. It changed how we trade. Tourism to Canada by Americans has never recovered. It also altered, probably permanently, the easy trust that characterized what was once the “longest undefended border.”

The trade effect with the United States is the most evident. A smart and secure border must be the Trudeau government’s priority with the next administration.

Notwithstanding a series of initiatives – Smart Border, Security and Prosperity, and now Beyond the Border, the border has thickened. While rail shipments have increased, especially for oil in the absence of new pipelines, trucks remain the primary mode of cross-border transport although truck traffic is down almost 20 per cent since 9/11.

A study by Statistics Canada (2015) concluded that the premium paid to move goods across the border rose, from 0.3 per cent of the value of goods shipped prior to 9/11, to about 0.6 per cent after 9/11 because of inspection and a surge in paperwork required for passage.

Verification programs for “secured” carriers and goods and regulatory co-operation have mitigated border delays. But we are still awaiting the promised single electronic portal that will satisfy the information requirements of governments and their agencies.

The Nexus card, held by over one million Canadians, has become the fast pass with special lanes at the land border and at airports. It is smart security. Finding the baddies is like looking for a needle in a haystack. You shrink the size of the haystack through advance screening.

The “trusted traveller” formula is now being applied to employers because so much of our trade is intrafirm, including servicing, or moving goods as part of supply chain manufacturing, especially in the auto industry.

We still have work to do.

Both the U.S. Congress and our Parliament have yet to pass the enabling legislation for preclearance, benefiting travellers at Billy Bishop and Jean Lesage airports and those travelling south by train from Montreal and Vancouver. We also need to implement the long-promised Entry/Exit system that will give us an accurate portrait of who is coming and going within North America.

Tourism from the U.S. has not recovered: it is just over half of what it was in 2000.

We need to do a lot more to aggressively promote travel to Canada in the U.S., starting with the estimated 38 million Americans living within a two hour drive of the border. We are safe, we are close, and the U.S. dollar enjoys a 30-cent premium.

Part of the problem is the requirement for a passport. Only 38 per cent of Americans, compared to 70 per cent of Canadians, hold passports. Provincial governments should work with border states to make the smart drivers licenses, that also allow land border transit, the default option.

Canadians, meanwhile, continue to flock south. We spend over 238 million nights a year in the U.S.: over 8 million nights in Las Vegas and 91 million nights in Florida. And even with our drooping loonie, it is estimated that this year Canadians will spend $20.5-billion in the U.S., with Americans spending $9.5-billion in Canada.

The trust issue requires constant effort by Canadian leadership.

The 9/11 Commission worried about lax Canadian immigration standards. This was fixed by the Harper government. But still there is suspicion that Canada is the broken back door. In February, the Senate Homeland Security committee held hearings on Canada’s decision to take in the Syrian refugees to be sure we were not taking any “shortcuts.”

Americans feel more vulnerable, ranking terrorism second only to the economy and ahead of health care, according to a recent Pew survey.

Even while President Barack Obama was making his first official trip to Canada in February, 2009, drones began patrolling our shared border. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker mused last year, while seeking the Republican nomination, about building a wall with Canada. A subsequent Bloomberg poll revealed that 41 per cent of Americans agreed with this idea.

The 9/11 effect has changed how Americans view the world and manage their borders. There is still too much emphasis on enforcement and not enough on expediting legitimate travel. If we have learned anything from 9/11 it is that the answer is not more guns, guards and gates but rather smart screening and risk management.

In our daily dealings with the U.S. we need to remind them that our shared economic prosperity is predicated on the ability to trade goods and services. But because Americans put a premium on security, Canadians need to constantly reassure them and visibly demonstrate that we have their back.

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On Results of the China Trip and G20

NEW PODCAST: ‘THE GLOBAL EXCHANGE’
Post-G20 Discussion: Trudeau and China

g20open.jpg
For Immediate Release

6 September 2016 – Ottawa, ON

On today’s ‘Global Exchange’ Podcast, host Colin Robertson looks at last weekend’s ‘Group of 20’ Summit in Hangzhou, China. Join Colin for a discussion with four experts in international relations – Rob Wright, Randolph Mank, Hugh Stephens, and Marius Grinius – as they look to identify the significance and impact of the most recent G20, along with the importance of Trudeau’s visit to China preluding the Summit.

What does China’s increased role international affairs mean for Canada? What did we get out of Trudeau’s visit to China, and at the G20? Does Canada have a role to play at summits such as the G20? All this and more are discussed on this weeks episode of ‘The Global Exchange’.

Bios:

  • Colin Robertson (host) A former Canadian diplomat, Colin Robertson is Vice President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and a Senior Advisor to Dentons LLP.
  • Rob Wright – served as Canadian Ambassador to China from 2005-2009. He served as Ambassador to Japan from 2001-2005.
  • Randolph Mank – a three-time former Canadian ambassador and businessman, with over thirty years of experience in Asia and around the world.
  • Hugh Stephens – Executive-in-Residence at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and Vice Chair of the Canadian Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation.
  • Marius Grinius – joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1979 after serving in the Canadian Army for 12 years. His early overseas postings included Bangkok, NATO/Brussels and Hanoi. Assignments back in Ottawa included desk officer for nuclear arms control, Director for Asia Pacific South and then Director for South East Asia.

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Canada playing ‘long game’ on China as it tries to counter protectionism in the global economy

Marie-Danielle Smith | September 6, 2016 1:21 PM ET
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Justin Trudeau answers a question from Bloomberg Television anchor Angie Lau during a Canada-Hong Kong business luncheon, held by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, during his visit to Hong Kong on September 6, 2016.

Anthony Wallace / AFP / Getty ImagesJustin Trudeau answers a question from Bloomberg Television anchor Angie Lau during a Canada-Hong Kong business luncheon, held by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, during his visit to Hong Kong on September 6, 2016.

HONG KONG — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrapped up his first official visit to China Tuesday with another push for close co-operation, including on human rights, and for openness and inclusiveness in the global economy.

“The kinds of anxieties we’re seeing around the world as people are closing in are going to leave us all poorer and worse off,” he said in Hong Kong Tuesday, expanding on messages Canada brought to the G20 table Sunday and Monday.

“There are not as many bright spots in terms of growth and openness and trade as we’d like to see around the world.”

Though it has yet to be ratified, one example could be the Canada-EU trade agreement, as election rhetoric in the U.S. could leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal dead in the water.

During his tour, Trudeau tried to make the case that the relationship between Canada and China could be another such bright spot.

In Beijing, finance minister Bill Morneau signalled Canada’s intent to apply for membership in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, joining other countries such as the U.K. and Australia. (The United States is not a an AIIB member.)

 

Trudeau downplays chance of protectionist rise in Canada 2:00

And in Shanghai, trade minister Chrystia Freeland signed $1.2 billion worth of commercial deals with Chinese corporations, followed by another series of signings in Hong Kong Tuesday. A foreign investment promotion and protection agreement with Hong Kong also went into force.

In Hangzhou, just before the G20 summit got underway, Trudeau launched a Canadian pavilion on Alibaba Group’s e-commerce platform. It was, Canadian businesspeople said on Saturday, a positive way to reach more of the Chinese consumer market.

Trudeau’s high-level meetings with Chinese leadership showed strong support for trade and investment on both sides.

A spat over Chinese restrictions on Canadian canola — which Global Affairs Canada fellow Colin Robertson said was “China showing its muscle and trying to intimidate us” — was temporarily resolved amid further negotiation.

AP Photo / Vincent Yu

AP Photo / Vincent Yu Trudeau speaks with scouts at the Sai Wan war cemetery in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016.

Addressing concerns in Canada, Trudeau strengthened his language on human rights Tuesday, appearing more relaxed in Hong Kong on the last day of his visit. He said he didn’t see a trade-off between human rights and a closer economic relationship.

“I think you have to talk fully and frankly about human rights and engage and talk about the challenges that need to be faced,” Trudeau said.

He added that in talks with Chinese leaders, he raised the example of a scathing 2014 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples in Canada.

I don’t think it means any less of us that we recognize that there is still work to do, and that was the tenor of the conversations I had with the Chinese leadership

“I don’t think it means any less of us that we recognize that there is still work to do, and that was the tenor of the conversations I had with the Chinese leadership.”

This is all part of a “long game,” according to Roland Paris, Trudeau’s first international adviser who now teaches at the University of Ottawa. Trudeau, Paris said, is setting a positive tone to Canada’s inevitable relationship with the world’s second-biggest economy.

According to Chinese sources and social media, Trudeau remains a popular figure in China. The prime minister’s celebrity, even if often focused on his appearance, “gives Canada more attention,” Robertson said, “which thus far is almost uniformly positive.”

The fact China hosted Canada in the busy lead-up to the G20 was a strong sign of “the importance that the Chinese put on their relationship with Canada,” said Paris.

Paris rejected suggestions that Canada is pivoting away from the U.S. by joining the AIIB. “The United States will remain our principal partner, trading partner and ally just by virtue of geography,” he said. He added that the U.S. is beating Canada in the race to capitalize on trade with Asia — something Canada “can’t afford not to pursue.”

At the economy-focused G20 summit, Trudeau wasn’t in the spotlight and didn’t hold many bilateral meetings, though he did meet with new U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

The failure of the U.S. and Russia to reach a deal on Syria stole significant attention at the summit, but Trudeau avoided commenting on the issue.

Still, in the context of the G20’s economic focus, Paris said the prime minister showed himself to be “one of the world’s leading voices for openness and inclusion and against protectionism and discrimination and xenophobia and building walls.” Trudeau, Paris said, offered a “full-throated” defence of small-l liberal values to other leaders.

With careful language around issues sensitive to China, including the South China Sea and the results of a legislative vote in Hong Kong that saw some young pro-democracy candidates elected, Trudeau appeared to want to protect a friendly start to his relationship with Chinese leadership.

And Trudeau will have an unusually short time to prepare for his next encounter with the economic giant — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is expected to travel to Ottawa in mid-September.

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Canada at the G20 in Hangzhou, China

 

At G20, Trudeau must reflect on tenure and plot inclusive economic course forward

Colin Robertson The Globe and Mail Friday, Sep. 02, 2016

No longer the debutante, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travels to Hangzhou, China, to attend his second G20 summit (Sept. 4-5). For Mr. Trudeau it’s an opportunity to strengthen personal relationships and to share perspectives with fellow leaders on a global economy that is anemic and an international landscape that is increasingly disoriented.

In his initial summiteering, hopscotching from Commonwealth to climate, from G20 to APEC and later at Davos, Mr. Trudeau’s message was that “Canada is back.”

Subsequent actions are defining its form: more emphasis on humanitarian relief for victims of the ISIS conflict, while still supporting military efforts to bring it to an end; resettlement of Syrian refugees; a Canadian brigade for Latvia to support NATO’s collective security; a robust peace operations commitment; measurable action on climate-change mitigation; and restarts in out relations, first with the U.S., and now China.

At a time of of popular discontent with leaders and government, Mr. Trudeau is an anomaly. He is more popular today than on his election and his government is getting some difficult things done. G20 leaders will be interested in the Trudeau method. They will also want his take on the U.S. election.

As he reflects on his first year as Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau could make the following observations:

First, there is no magic bullet on economic growth. It takes a lot longer to put stimulus policies into effect, especially when implementation is shared with different levels of government. Well-meant but time-consuming permitting obligations means getting things done in a four-year mandate is very difficult. What is the balance between action on nation-building projects and consultation around social license?

Second, focus on outcomes, recognizing that one size does not fit all. Canada’s provinces were already far ahead in the practical implementation of carbon pricing. But just as their regional energy mix is different – oil and gas, nuclear and hydro-power – so too are their mitigation policies, such as a carbon tax, carbon levy, cap-in-trade.

Third, using social media is essential if democratic leaders and their governments are to sustain public support. A picture and a tweet are more effective in delivering a message than a thousand press releases.

Canadians are assumed to understand Americans better than anyone else, and this interpretive capacity gives Canadian leaders a diplomatic advantage, especially in multilateral forum like the G20. Given his “bromance“ with President Barack Obama, fellow G20 leaders will want Mr. Trudeau’s insights into the post-Obama U.S.

If Mr. Trudeau is shrewd, he should reach out to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto – who has just met with Donald Trump. Developing a joint approach in their diagnosis, and the opportunities and challenges of the next U.S. Administration and Congress, would serve both countries’ interests. While neither Canada nor Mexico may be the immediate target of U.S. trade action, they will certainly be collateral damage should the U.S. succumb to the protectionist impulse.

For now, developing a united front with the other G20 leaders in support of freer trade and open markets will encourage like-minded allies within the U.S.

Canada also needs to look at other options, especially if the U.S. rejects the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Should, for example, Canada and Mexico seek admission to the China-inspired Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that also includes Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India and the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations?

Even though it lacks the democratic cohesion of the G7, the G20 is the global economic leadership forum. It was the brainchild of former finance minister Paul Martin, who recognized that the G7 lacked sufficient inclusiveness to address globalization. Elevated to the level of leaders in 2008, the G20 helped mitigate the Great Recession and prevent it from becoming a second Great Depression. One aim of the Hangzhou summit is to help integrate recent climate and sustainable-development goals in global economic governance.

Cynics who doubt the utility of the G20 need to appreciate that the process is more important than the communiqué. The summit sits atop a year-long series of meetings of ministers and central bankers, and formal consultations with business, think tanks, labour, youth, women and civil society.

Complicated, time-consuming and often without an obvious outcome, the G20 in some ways resembles a Canadian First Ministers meeting. But leaders talking together has its own value, especially when the international environment is disordered and chaotic.

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China Trade Talks

 

In trade talks with China, Canada must have a negotiating position

COLIN ROBERTSON The Globe and Mail Wednesday, Aug. 03, 2016

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s official visit to China a month away, Canadian policy toward the Middle Kingdom is under review. Closer relations will serve Canadian interests, mindful that when dealing with China, the game is long and often tortuous.

The Chinese want a free-trade deal and their objectives are clear: improved access to our energy and agri-food resources and a more relaxed regime for Chinese investment, especially state-owned enterprises.

But what are our objectives?

Recent studies – notably those by Wendy Dobson and Paul Evans, and Laura Dawson and Dan Ciuriak – point out the potential benefits of a free-trade agreement (FTA), and the Canadian business community has been mostly encouraging.

But now we need negotiating positions.

The Harper government’s complementarities studies are now four years old and there is little evidence the Track II dialogue around a maritime energy corridor made any progress. The Trudeau government ruminates about joining the China-inspired Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank but shouldn’t this fit into our larger strategy?

A good starting position should be the recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership and the standards it sets for investment, intellectual property and services, as well as environment and labour.

Launching an FTA with China will startle American policymakers who take for granted the Canadian energy that underwrites their “energy independence.” Getting more of our oil and gas to Pacific tidewater will get us a better price as well as leverage in dealing with resurgent American protectionism.

Talks with China should encourage Japan to resume the nascent Canada-Japan economic partnership negotiations, set aside in favour of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is now at risk of becoming a victim to U.S. protectionism.

The Chinese are tough negotiators. As a rising great power they confidently believe they hold the upper hand. They are skilled in playing off Western impatience. For China a tentative “deal” is often just the starting point for serious negotiations.

The Chinese are also masters at “hardball.” The recent public dressing-down of a Canadian journalist, by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, for her “prejudice” and “arrogance,” is right out of the Chinese playbook on forcing “foreign devils” to kowtow to them. During his 2009 visit to Beijing, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had to endure the public scolding of Premier Wen Jiabao for taking too long to visit China.

Recent Chinese behaviour – that of their Foreign Minister as well as their rejection of the recent international tribunal ruling on the South China Sea – deserves a response.

Prime Minister Trudeau can underline his credentials as a G7/20 leader by speaking before a Chinese audience to the responsibilities of all nations, including China, to the rules, norms and institutions of the liberal international order. Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion, blindsided by Wang Yi in Ottawa, should speak to Chinese students about human rights, press freedom and the rule of law.

Tougher, necessary and behind-closed-doors conversations should also be held around ongoing Chinese cyberespionage and cybertheft aimed at our institutions and on efforts to influence our elected officials. There should be a discussion of Hong Kong as well as the consular case of Kevin Garratt, the Canadian missionary indicted by China for espionage.

Much easier will be the discussions around enhancing our people-to-people ties.

The Harper government achieved “approved destination status” for Chinese travellers. They are now our third-largest tourist source. There are more than 100,000 Chinese students in Canada. Representing one-third of our foreign students, they inject over $2-billion annually into our economy. Recent Chinese immigration has also increased their numbers to over 500,000, the second-largest foreign-born group in Canada. These ever-expanding family ties are an advantage, especially given the overseas Chinese business networks.

Pierre Trudeau once remarked that “Canada has a ringside seat on the Pacific.” But our engagement has been episodic and lacking in sustained strategic direction. We were late, often reluctant, participants in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Our investment in regional security is minimal. The people flow requires more effective marketing. It’s time to get into the ring, and China is the place to start.

In negotiating with China the Trudeau government needs to be disciplined, focused and patient. Nor should we ever forget that as negotiators the Chinese are more dragon than panda.

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Rethinking International Assistance

 

How Canada should rethink international assistance

The Globe and Mail Thursday, May 26, 2016

As the federal government rethinks its international assistance policies, it should heed the call from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for transformative change to global humanitarian relief.

This week’s Istanbul humanitarian conference has put the spotlight on the current state of the global relief system and the effort to reform how the world responds to humanitarian crises.

Disasters, natural or man-made, are increasing. So is the number of conflicts as well as failed and failing states. And the current system of international aid is underfunded and overstretched. The UN estimates that 125 million people need humanitarian relief. The need for smarter relief and development assistance is urgent and immediate. Rethinking our international assistance is timely and sensible.

Officials at the Istanbul conference pointed to the breakdown of international norms on asylum, the need to localize aid and frictions between those who provide relief and those who do not. The conference will provide some much-needed context for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Group of Seven leaders, who are looking at aid accountability as part of their broader summit discussions this week in Ise-Shima, Japan.

While the UN is often criticized as nothing more than a talk shop, in recent months it has concluded a global climate accord and set new sustainable development goals – all of which will factor into Canada’s assistance review. The review, running from May to July, promises broad consultation with planned events around governance, pluralism, diversity and human rights as well as peace and security.

The future direction of Canadian assistance is clearly stated in the government’s discussion guide. International assistance is to advance the UN 2030 Sustainable Development agenda while applying “a feminist lens” to help “the poorest and most vulnerable people.” But to expect more money would be “unrealistic … in the current fiscal context.”

While the overall direction has yet to be determined, the differences between the previous Conservative government’s approach – an emphasis on environmental sustainability, gender equality and governance – are likely to be more tonal than substantive.

Nor is former prime minister Stephen Harper’s framework – with its emphasis on untied aid and a selective country focus – likely to change. The Liberal government has also decided, wisely, to maintain the consolidation of diplomacy, trade and development.

Much of Mr. Harper’s signature program, to improve maternal, newborn and child health, also fits into the Liberal paradigm. The government will continue supporting this initiative, but with more support for family planning and greater attention to the root causes of maternal and child mortality.

The success of the government’s development review will hinge on a number of factors.

First, investing more money. Canada currently sits in the bottom half of the members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development when it comes to development assistance. While the Liberal government is right to oppose “throwing buckets of money indiscriminately,” more money, well-spent, makes more impact.

As a recent report assessing Canada’s engagement gap put it, we meet the definition of “free riders” when it comes to development and defence. If Britain can devote 0.7 per cent of its gross domestic product to development assistance and 2 per cent to defence (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization standard), shouldn’t we at least aspire to this goal?

Second, Mr. Harper was right when he underlined the importance of accountability in development. But let’s do it with a lighter touch, practise risk management and recognize that civil society organizations (CSOs) need multiyear commitments to demonstrate results. Governments insist that CSOs bring their overhead down, yet they drown them in paperwork.

Third, we can’t boil the ocean so we need to focus. Our projects will always reflect our values, but there is nothing wrong with choosing those that also complement our trade and investment interests. In Africa, for example, our development assistance should work in tandem with our resource industries’ investment to demonstrate best-in-class corporate social responsibility.

Fourth, we need to improve and develop Canadian expertise by investing in Canadian CSOs and in youth exchanges. Programs like Canada World Youth gave generations of Canadians their first international experience while giving their foreign counterparts an appreciation of Canada that has opened doors in diplomacy, trade, education and migration.

Finally, donors – especially in the West – are fatigued and skeptical about aid’s effectiveness. The Liberal government should use these consultations to reassure Canadians about the efficacy of development assistance.

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Arms Sales

 

Three lessons to draw from the Saudi arms deal controversy

The Globe and Mail, Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

All arms sales are controversial, but when the buyer is a country with a human-rights record like Saudi Arabia’s and the deal is worth billions, the public scrutiny rightfully reaches a new level.

Such is the case for the Trudeau government, where critics have openly questioned the morality of Canada’s $15-billion deal to sell light armoured vehicles, known as LAVs, to Saudi Arabia.

The respective handling of the deal by the Harper and Trudeau governments illustrates their differences in governing style – and sheds considerable light on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reintroduction of ministerial accountability in government.

While Mr. Trudeau has fielded questions publicly, the file clearly belongs to Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion. In contrast, during the 2015 federal election, Stephen Harper characterized the deal as a sale of “transport vehicles” and the file was handled largely through his office.

When it comes to global arms sales, Canada is not a big player. That status goes to the United States, Russia, Germany, China and France. These countries accounted for most of the estimated $400-billion (U.S) in global arms sales in 2014. In terms of company sales, the leaders are U.S.-based Lockheed-Martin and Boeing. Both companies supply and source from Canada, underlining the deeply integrated supply chain nature of Canada’s defence industries.

Canada sold just more than $12.5-billion (U.S.) in arms worldwide since 1950. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, after the United States, our next biggest customers are, in U.S. dollars: Saudi Arabia ($740-million); Botswana ($555-million); Turkey ($482-million); Belgium ($386-million) and Australia ($332-million).

But the $15-billion deal with Saudi Arabia represents Canada’s biggest arms sale ever – and it is the Trudeau government’s first real brush with a foreign-policy controversy.

The bumpy ride has left a few bruises, but there are also some cogent lessons to draw from the controversy.

First, include an examination of arms-sales policies in the current defence review. These policies need to be scrutinized to restore public confidence.

Second, move on the promised signature of the UN Arms Trade Treaty. This will oblige regular arms-sale reporting. The last of the three Harper government reviews covered the years 2012-13.

Third, publish the human-rights reviews of all countries Canada is currently selling arms to. The U.S. State Department uses their reports to encourage better global governance. We should do the same.

Democracies around the world have developed elaborate procedures for arms sales including restrictions on the transfer of technology and re-sales, as well as considerations around the human-rights record of the buying nation. Saudi Arabia is regularly ranked among the worst of the worst in terms of human rights by Freedom House.

Canada first instituted arms-sales permit policies during the Spanish Civil War. The last major review of this policy took place in 1986 during the Mulroney government. It instituted a country control list and regular reporting on arms sales. In 1997, The Chrétien government reinforced the permit process by requiring a “rigorous analysis” of security and human-rights criteria.

In a statement justifying the Saudi deal, Mr. Dion describes Riyadh as a “strategic partner” and says Canadian credibility is at stake. So are the jobs of 70,000 Canadians, including veterans, employed in our arms industry. The better levers to mitigate human rights in Saudi Arabia, argues Mr. Dion, include the experience of the 16,000 Saudi students in Canadian universities.

The Saudi deal is an early illustration of what Mr. Dion calls “responsible conviction,” the principle that will guide his foreign-affairs stewardship. The awkwardly wonky phrase, drawing from German sociologist Max Weber, is authentically Dion. In terms of applied foreign-policy direction, Mr. Dion says this includes action on climate change; clemency on capital punishment; and advocacy for human rights, including sexual and reproductive health rights.

The Saudi deal reflects the pragmatism of responsible conviction. We would like to live in a world without weapons, argues Mr. Dion, but we do not. The sale of these armoured vehicles means jobs for Canadians and, for Mr. Dion, that’s responsible decision-making.

It’s also a useful reminder that, in foreign policy, the choices are not black and white, but shades of grey.

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