Op-Eds

A lot of attention at the Carbis Bay G7 summit was focused on promoting free and fair trade in the postpandemic world. While China wasn’t mentioned by name in the final communiqué, the G7 leaders clearly had China in mind. There’s a reference to getting countries to play by World Trade Organization rules, about greater regulations on state-owned enterprises, about controlling trade-distorting subsidies, about forced labour in supply chains – all of which have a clear, albeit unstated, China focus. All of this attention at the summit, and indeed much of the public discussion on world trade, involves governmental action, meaning treaties and trade agreements of one sort or another, whether at the WTO or at the regional level, frequently...
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was talk in Western countries about supply-chain vulnerability and the need for reshoring, as it’s called. The issue arose not only in Canada, but in the United States – especially when Donald Trump was president – and in European countries. It was therefore interesting to read recently about some former Canadian politicians and several key industry associations launching an advocacy group called Reshoring Canada, formed to promote the return of critical manufacturing to Canada and rebuilding supply chains in this country. The group styles itself as non-partisan and a “repository and advocate of ideas” aimed at promoting reshoring by educating the business sector, rather than calling...
Some time in the next while, the Supreme Court of Canada will issue its decision on the constitutionality of the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. Politicians in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario will dance in the streets if the Supreme Court overturns the legislation. They argue that, by putting a price on carbon emissions, it is just a disguised tax measure encroaching on provincial jurisdiction. For others, such a decision would be a regrettable setback, limiting and possibly preventing any meaningful pan-Canadian climate-change policy. What hasn’t been mentioned in media circles, and wasn’t raised in arguments at the Supreme Court, is that if the court says the act is unconstitutional, together with throwing...
One of the first steps Joe Biden took upon assuming office was to end the Trump administration’s blocking of the appointment of a new director-general of the World Trade Organization. With the United States now on side, WTO members quickly elected Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria as its new head. Although not known to the general public (the heads of these intergovernmental bodies rarely are), she has impressive credentials: A Harvard and MIT grad and former managing director of the World Bank, she served twice as Nigeria’s finance minister between 2003 and 2015 while holding U.S.-Nigerian dual citizenship. She was given high marks for her performance in those roles. Her election is an important step forward for the WTO, which has...
Keystone XL is dead. Everyone knows that. Nothing can force the Biden administration to reissue the construction permit. The fight is now over any compensation owed to owner TC Energy Corp. by the U.S. government. Even though it was endorsed by the Canadian government and even though Alberta invested up to $1.5-billion in the venture, Keystone is a private-sector project. Claims for compensation will be up to the company to advance, either in U.S. courts or before a North American free-trade agreement panel. The company said it is considering its options. In the meantime, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has demanded Canada apply “sanctions” in retaliation for the project’s cancellation. Saskatchewan counterpart Scott Moe echoed this,...