Op-Eds

Canada is not quite alone in the world these days, even if it sometimes seems that way, but the international environment is increasingly unfriendly and even hostile. The ascendency of nationalism and populism around the globe, led by the Trump White House, has shaken the established order. Our all-important relationship with the U.S. has been badly frayed. After a brief sunny period under Barack Obama, Donald Trump’s shambling White House and his transactional approach have shaken the long-held conviction that, though disagreements will always arise, the two countries would remain allied with basically shared ideals. Yet even after the signing of Trump’s new NAFTA, the situation is shaky and unpredictable. We’ve entered a dark and...
Other than Donald Trump, no one likes trade wars. And to Canada’s credit, this country has never advocated that kind of policy, supporting instead the attributes of open markets and the rules of the world trading order created in the early post-Second World War days, staunchly foreswearing protectionism and the unilateral action that the Trump White House relishes. But like it or not, we’re four-square in a trade war with China. Canadians should wake up to that fact and put aside our typical naïveté in the hope that things can be worked out with patience and good faith. Good faith has to work both ways – and there’s little evidence of that from the Chinese side. This means the Trudeau government needs to take a tough response to Chinese...
Economic sanctions are a growing risk factor for Canadian companies engaged in international business, involving traps for the unwary, including, in the most serious cases, criminal charges against senior officers and against the company itself. Despite these risks and the exposure to criminal penalties, the world of sanctions is not fully understood in many quarters. Here’s a short primer. To start with the obvious, sanctions are unilateral prohibitions applied by governments to restrict foreign transactions in specific sectors or with individuals that have been identified as corrupt or morally reprehensible. In some cases, sanctions cover both categories. Sanctions tend to go in one direction, mostly applied by Western...
China has sustained spectacular economic growth for nearly four decades and it has made a great leap forward in the living standards and personal ambitions of much of its population. However, a growing number of signs indicate the prolonged period of rapid growth is coming to an end, with consequences for Canada and the world. China’s growth miracle began in the late seventies with reforms led by Deng Xiaoping that recognized the advantages of private initiative and market forces – combined with massive continuing investment by the state and a gradual opening to the world economy. Growth rates began to take off in the eighties and soared into double digits at times. Chinese per capita income grew rapidly and is now approaching US$10,000...
Donald Trump’s insulting statements about Canada in New York this week mark a new low in the Canada-U.S. relationship, with ramifications far beyond the North American free-trade agreement. Never before has a U.S. president threatened to inflict direct harm on Canada. While there have been some rough spots over the course of our shared history, Mr. Trump’s apparent disdain for Canada and threats of economic warfare, seeming to relish in the prospect like some kind of neighbourhood bully, has taken the bilateral relationship into a state of political disrepair. Even though the final episode hasn’t been written, it’s possible to predict that the NAFTA era may be coming to an ignominious end; 25 years of stability and mutual prosperity...