Op-Eds

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,...
There’s concern in Washington – even consternation – over December’s conclusion of the European Union-China investment treaty, with some commentators saying it was engineered by China to create a political wedge between the United States and its European allies, coming at a sensitive juncture that can only embarrass the incoming Biden administration. Whether this is the case remains to be seen. But the fact is that a tough position on China has strong bipartisan support in Washington. Foreign initiatives seen to be cozying up to China would be looked upon negatively by the White House – at the very least, complicating life for the new president and his team. Erroneously described as a trade agreement, the deal is a more restricted...