Saturday, December 9, 2017

Canadian Foreign Policy Is Broken?

I was invited to chat with a visiting official from an Asian country, and it led to an epiphany:
There is something profoundly wrong with Canada's foreign policy-making process.

How so?  I am a victim of wishful thinking, as I read into the TPP mess that perhaps Trudeau was being clever, holding out for concessions.  Nope, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the negotiations went far beyond what he was expecting, that there is some gap between the negotiators in Global Affairs and the Prime Minister's Office.  I have no idea where the responsibility lies although I have heard bad things about both GAC (understaffed, under-experienced these days) and PMO (way too stretched). 

Going to China and failing to start a negotiation, however smart or problematic the idea of a Free Trade Agreement with China is (I tend to view China as Tony Soprano), going all the way there and getting nothing?  What is the point?

I am not an expert on either Canadian foreign policy nor on Canada-Asian relations (although the latter would be cool since good food and all that), but expending a heap of political capital, upsetting trading partners and then getting nada?  Not good.  Something to keep an eye on.

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