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«Canada in the world a global networks strategy Canada in the world a global networks strategy summary The Global Networks Strategy is about Canada ...»

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Canada in the world

a global networks strategy

Canada in the world

a global networks strategy


The Global Networks Strategy is about Canada embracing the world. Canadians do that because we have

a lot to offer the world, and because our long-term prosperity depends on doing so. They want their

government to be as open, confident, ambitious and practical as they are. This Strategy outlines how the

federal government can once again play a leadership role among Canadians in a rapidly changing world.

Networks define how the world works today, as hierarchies did in the past. Influence is gained through connectedness, and by being at the centre of networks. That is good news for Canada, because we have a reputation for being able to work with others, we have shaped many multilateral organizations, and our population today reflects the diversity of the world. The Global Networks Strategy is designed to leverage these assets. It sets priority areas in which the federal government must collaborate with the full range of players who contribute vigorously – and most often in networks - to Canada’s presence in the world: other governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, young Canadians, academia, faithbased groups, artists and others.

Canada’s engagement with the world in the coming years will be multi-faceted, reflecting our interests, values and capabilities. Under

the Global Networks Strategy a Liberal government will:

• Propose a new kind of bilateral agreement with China and India, and other countries over time, in order to place the highest possible priority on building productive, long-term relationships in key economic, knowledge and cultural sectors and stronger ties at all levels;

• Renew our partnerships with the united states and mexico, and work together in North America and on the world stage;

• Pursue a new, multilateral agreement on the arctic to advance cooperation on social, economic, environmental and security issues;

• Reverse the current government

–  –  –

• Make empowering women in the developing world an over-arching priority for development assistance;

• Renew Canadian multilateralism, to help shape new institutions and reform existing ones, addressing both threats and opportunities that transcend borders;

• Implement a Branding Canada initiative in key foreign markets focusing especially on Canadian culture and our strengths in higher education in order to boost trade, investment and Canadian influence;

• Leverage the passion of Canadian youth, with a new Canada youth service program to support volunteer service abroad;

• Re-establish Canadian credibility and leadership in energy and the environment, working with the international community to fight climate change, while at the same time ensuring we transition successfully to the low-carbon economy of tomorrow, with good jobs in a competitive and innovative Canada; and • Renew the government’s capacity to act on the Global Networks Strategy, in part by reallocating the incremental spending by the Department of National Defence in Afghanistan, after the combat mission ends in 2011.

–  –  –

a CanadIan OPenness tO the WOrLd Canadians have always embraced the world with confidence, optimism and a blend of new-world idealism and old-fashioned practicality. Doing well in the world, and with the world is part of who we are. We have always wanted to contribute to progress, leave things better for our children, and right wrongs where we can. A modest population spread across a vast geography, Canadians understand those ambitions require working with others, beyond our borders. Blessed with the prosperity of a developed, Western economy, but unburdened by any history of conquest, we are welcomed by many, often envied, but seldom resented.

We’re dependable partners, honest brokers, balanced mediators, steadfast allies.

This is what we tell ourselves.

We see ourselves this way because of our past. But in a rapidly changing world, it is now essential that Canadians re-conceive our role, our manner of contributing, our way of pursuing our interests and applying our values. The world has changed in ways to which we have not yet adapted, and at a pace that we have yet to confront. It is not that our history in international affairs, of which we are justifiably proud, is irrelevant.

But it is the past, and its lessons must now be applied to the future with fresh thinking to move beyond old debates and answer the next decade’s questions.

Lester B. Pearson invented United Nations peacekeeping. But we have gone from its leading practitioner to the world’s 56th ranked contributor to peace operations today. During that shift, the practice has become vastly more complex – and dangerous - than in its earlier decades. Is Canada a peacemaker and conflict preventer of the future? If so, how should we go about it in the years ahead?

Pierre Trudeau led the world’s opening to China, with Canada crafting a careful diplomatic recognition in 1970 that was emulated by other countries in subsequent years. Since that time, China has gone from an isolated, backward economy to a global powerhouse, forecast to become the world’s largest economy in the next two decades. Will Canada again be a leader in innovative engagement with China, or continue sliding off the radar screen of Asia’s emerging giants?

Brian Mulroney put Canadian values into practice when he played a leading role in the Commonwealth to end Apartheid in South Africa. Those efforts contributed to the high regard many Africans have for Canada, and yet the current government has removed a number of African nations from among its priorities, reduced commitments to African development assistance, and shifted its limited attention elsewhere. Does Canada still care enough to stand with the world’s poorest in the years ahead, and partner with a changing Africa? If so, should the debate be about the right amount of money to devote to aid, or is it about finding innovative new ways to build capacity and eradicate poverty?

These are the kind of questions to be answered as Canada looks to the future, and rethinks its objectives, interests, values, challenges and advantages in an ever more complex world. Canada was once a credible player in the world’s debates, a source of knowledge and fresh thinking. Canadians want to play such roles again, and they can.


Canada In the WOrLd: Why ChanGe Is needed What happens in the world matters to Canada more than ever before. In the 21st century, decisions and events across the planet have direct impacts on our communities, our stores, factories, schools, and our governments.

The distance between an office tower in Mumbai and a main street in Canada can today be measured in seconds. If there was any remaining doubt that no nation is an island, the global events that bookended the first decade of this century dispelled it: the attacks of September 11, 2001, planned in the caves of remote Afghanistan, and at the end of the decade, the world’s first globally synchronized recession and financial crisis.

These events changed Canada despite our having little or no perceived connection to their causes.

But the globalized world offers as much opportunity as peril – for those who understand how it works, and are willing to lead.

–  –  –

• At the Copenhagen climate change summit, Stephen Harper earned for Canada the disdain of the world, attending only because President Obama went, and then thwarting progress, not even attempting to reconcile conflicting views within the Canadian delegation he was purportedly leading.

–  –  –

• Mr. Harper took nearly four years as prime minister to go to India and China, an astonishing fact making him stand out in an era when world leaders are working hard to develop deeper relations with the emerging economic giants. Though it was unprecedented, it was hardly surprising that China’s Premier Wen openly rebuked him for being a laggard when he finally did show up.

• Suffering another unprecedented low point, the Harper government had to listen in embarrassment as the visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took it to task in unusually blunt language on three different issues in a single visit: mishandling a meeting of the Arctic countries with a lack of inclusiveness; ignoring evidence and experience about maternal health in the Third World by reversing Canada’s decades old consensus on abortion; and a continuing and stubborn reluctance to clarify what Canada’s role in Afghanistan will be after the end of its combat mission in 2011.

Such failures demonstrate an underlying approach in which all foreign policy is transacted solely on the basis of votes at home.

Canada cannot afford to continue falling behind more ambitious countries. No one is waiting for us.

Afghanistan is of course, a significant exception. Canadian troops have fought bravely and effectively alongside our NATO allies. Our diplomats and aid workers have also distinguished themselves in profoundly difficult circumstances. But in every other region, and every other field of endeavour, Canada is losing presence and losing ground. Our 20th century reputation as constructive players on the international scene has not vanished from memory, but it has certainly faded from view. It will have to be earned anew in this new century, through action, not nostalgia.

Thankfully, millions of Canadians understand and embrace global opportunity. Many of our citizens, especially young Canadians, are working in international development, doing business abroad, and studying overseas. Many of our universities have created new programs in international affairs to harness and focus the energies of young people eager to engage constructively with the world. Our artists and scientists compete successfully and collaborate confidently with their peers among the world’s best. But they know – they know from experience around the globe – they could do so much more with enlightened and practical leadership from their government. They deserve a government that embraces the world in all its diversity, rather than one that trades in division and suspicion.

Governments matter in international affairs today, but not as they did in the last century. The world is ever more complex. This is as true of conflict as it is of commerce. In the cold war, conflict and tensions could usually be understood through the lens of rivalry between two superpowers. But today there are multiple new centres of economic and political power in a multi-polar world. In the last century, we could focus on simple exports and imports. But today, deeply integrated global value chains drive business strategies and investments in which all the elements of a finished product - research, development, design, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and more - are disaggregated and located for lowest cost around the planet and reintegrated with the use of cutting edge information and transportation technology.

–  –  –

Canada In the WOrLd: What and hOW tO ChanGe

There are two fundamental objectives for Canada in the World:

• Secure Canada’s prosperity for the long term by creating the jobs of tomorrow, engaging with the world confidently and creatively today; and • Make the world a safer and more secure place, by contributing to rising living standards for all, environmental responsibility and respect for human rights.

The two objectives amount to a single fact: our values and our interests point in the same direction.

Liberals believe that in an interconnected world, self-interest and altruism are inextricable. Doing what we can to improve the lot of others is the right thing to do. But it’s also smart. We’ll prosper in a more stable, more equitable world, a world safe for commerce. Our children will prosper if we don’t sap the planet’s ecosystems of their ability to support future generations as well.

Peace in the troubled regions of the globe also matters to Canada, because of our deep human connections to every one of those regions. Most Canadians who are part of global diasporas chose Canada for its peace, stability and prosperity. Here, new Canadians, indeed all Canadians can reconcile differences, deepen respect for diversity, and live in peace and prosperity. Canadians of all origins expect that their leaders do not exploit ethnic divisions for political gain, and that they will never hesitate to discourage and oppose violence used or advocated for political purposes.

Canada, of course, also has interests in preventing conflict and instability abroad in order to maintain our own security. In the globalized world of the 21st century it is not only commerce and information that travel rapidly. Hatred and violence bred in the far corners of the globe where instability festers can cross borders and oceans rapidly. Our security is therefore connected to stability in many lands.

The old rhetorical debate that forced choices between interests and values is passé. So is another false choice between continued closeness to the United States versus intensifying economic relations with emerging economies. We must have both. And in a networked world, the two will be mutually reinforcing, not mutually exclusive. In an integrated economy, the Canada-US partnership will remain crucial to our prosperity. Vast and deep family ties will continue to link us. But it would be foolish to continue ignoring the shift in the world’s economic centre of gravity toward Asia. It’s a matter of understanding how the world is changing, and acting to make the best possible future in it for Canadians.

LeveraGInG GLOBaL netWOrks A Liberal approach to Canada in the World will be based on our interests, our values and an understanding of the power of global networks. A Liberal government would implement Canada’s first Global Networks Strategy, cutting across what previous governments have treated as the separate silos of diplomacy, trade, defence, overseas development and culture.

Leveraging Canada’s strengths will require leveraging our opportunities in networks, at home and abroad.

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