Western Canada is eyeing the new Indo-Pacific strategy for energy export hopes
As the Trudeau administration fleshes out its Indo-Pacific strategy, western Canada is seeking greater certainty from the Liberal Party about expanding energy exports to Asia.
“We have people in Ottawa who understand what our energy mix is and what it should be in the future.
“And there are others who disagree.”
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Last November, Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie announced the government’s approach to the Indo-Pacific region. This calls for deeper economic and cultural ties with countries that can counter China’s growing influence.
Thorney said the strategy is seen as a positive first step in western Canada, but that trade issues in her region need to be addressed more. , the state could make a coordinated pitch to Ottawa to touch the base and refine some of its strategies.
At a recent virtual event organized by the Western Canada Foundation, Prairie experts noted that the region is disproportionately traded with commodity-hungry China.
Stephen Nagy, a Canadian who works as a professor of political science at Tokyo’s International Christian University, said Western Canada’s relationship with China means the region is a whim of Ottawa’s relationship with Beijing.
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Nonetheless, he told the panel that the trade relationship was a “net benefit” for Canada.
“Trade between Western Canada and China increased during the pandemic when tensions between China and Canada reached a fever pitch,” he said.
Nagy said the federal government’s strategy has worked well to list ways Canada can continue to build economic ties with China, while restricting businesses related to technology and sensitive industries. He said it was working well by expanding agriculture and resource exports.
He argued that Liberal Party ministers were less clear, with some calling for closer trade ties and others advocating a total withdrawal from China. He said he fears mixed messaging will only make things worse amid allegations of election interference.
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“It’s going to affect Western Canadian exporters and how they need to think about the region,” Nagy said.
He also noted that many countries are more focused on development than sustainability and have different understandings of reconciliation, so the strategy’s value statement on the environment and indigenous rights should be “aligned with local needs.” I didn’t,” he claimed.
Mac Ross, director of trade policy at Pulse Canada, told the panel his sector faces serious challenges in Asia, even though Canada is the world’s largest exporter of pulse crops. Told.
Of Winnipeg, Ross said, “We feel there is a huge opportunity for agriculture in western Canada to establish itself as a major supplier of agri-foods in the region.”
“At the same time, this is a region of the world that is increasingly protectionist and anarchic,” he said.
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India and Pakistan have slapped abrupt tariffs and crop fumigation policies causing headaches for exporters. Nepal and Sri Lanka have implemented sudden import bans on certain products to stabilize domestic cash flows.
“The common feature of all these problems is that Canada has not actually received advance warning. It became,” said Ross.
“It’s become a game of whack-a-mole, with increasingly less cohesive strategies for how to proactively address these systemic problems in regions like the Indo-Pacific.”
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Ross argued that Canada lags behind other countries in building strong relationships in Asian markets that help anticipate and challenge these trade barriers.
Meredith Lilley, an economics professor at Carleton University who participated in the panel, said the federal government’s strategy includes exactly how to expand the services of the Trade Commission and help companies expand into the region. It said it lacked details such as when it would be available.
Lilly, a former senior adviser to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said: “It was very clear that the authorities had not actually developed a work plan for implementation.
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Still, she said the lack of concrete plans gives states an opportunity to reach consensus and push Ottawa to highlight specific topics.She argued that domestic clashes over softwood policy have hampered Ottawa’s response to the conflict with the United States.
Lilley added that the Liberals may want to reconsider some aspects of environmental policy, such as proposed regulations to limit emissions from fertilizers and the scope of federal carbon pricing. Regulations like these could make Canadian products more expensive on the global market.
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Business groups such as the Canadian Business Council have been critical of the strategy for not outlining pledges to bring more energy to market, such as pledges to increase exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to East Asia.
Lilly said this is especially important given that many foreign-backed pipeline projects have been blocked in recent years.
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“Canada has a tarnished reputation for being able to bring the promised energy infrastructure to market. You don’t suddenly believe you can build it,” she said. she said.
Sawney said the Liberals must address that challenge in their fiscal plans this spring.
“This budget calls for a more comprehensive statement and support for the energy sector in general,” she said.
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Sawhney hosted roundtables on Indo-Pacific strategy in Calgary and Edmonton and spoke with colleagues from the other three western states.
She said the three most common topics were energy, agro-food expansion, and the desire for more foreign qualifications and immigration assistance to fill gaps in the workforce. He said the two strategies were “practically non-existent.”
Sawhney said Joly met with Global Affairs Canada staff in Ottawa while abroad on diplomatic business and asked them to factor LNG into their strategy.
“The reaction was a little defensive,” Sawney said.
It was like, ‘We’re focused on renewable energy, this is what we’re going for, and we’re focused on the transition.’ And I said, ‘Look, so is Alberta. We’re all united. We’re all heading in the same direction. you can’t.”