The Natural Resources and Foreign Policy Project
This year the CIC is tackling one of the most important questions facing Canadians: How can we be smart about developing our abundant energy, mineral and forest resources? The voracious appetite of emerging economies for natural resources presents Canada with some key foreign policy challenges in the coming years. The resources boom — forecast to continue for at least a decade — offers Canada opportunities to reposition itself globally through new trade and investment alliances. But it also presents new threats. How can Canada, for example, expand its trade with Asia while ensuring that it continues to move up the value chain? How can we resist the pressure to ship raw materials as fast as possible and instead become more deliberative about extracting more value from our resources by building complementary knowledge- and technology-based industries? How should Canada structure its foreign investment regime? What impact will new alliances and the growing role of resources in the economy have on Canada’s global brand? Other resource-rich countries are struggling with these same questions. This research seeks fresh perspectives on these issues through broad consultations within Canada and by looking at whether countries such as Australia, Norway, Finland, Chile and others hold any lessons for Canada. The study will produce a multimedia report with specific and targeted policy recommendations.
The project is co-directed by Jennifer Jeffs, CIC President, and Madelaine Drohan, Canada’s correspondent for The Economist.
An open call for research and commentary
The CIC invites individuals and institutions to contribute their research and commentary to our Natural Resources and Foreign Policy Project. We welcome submissions of reports, papers and essays that respond to the project’s fundamental question: How can Canadians be smart about developing our abundant energy, mineral and forest resources? More specifically, contributors are invited to consider the following topics:
Aid: Should Canada’s international assistance policy align with its natural resource production policy? Can Canadian expertise in resource extraction take the form of foreign aid? Are Canada’s international contributions to governance and capacity-building sufficiently robust, compared to those of other resource powers such as Australia and Norway?
Environment: Does Canadian environmental policy impede Canadian commodities exporters by damaging our national brand? What is the interplay between environmental performance and international industry competitiveness? Is Canada prepared to manage the opportunities and risks presented by the Arctic’s increasingly accessible resources?
Federal-provincial cooperation and economic adjustment: How can Canada ensure successful federal-provincial cooperation on natural resource management and related issues? Should Canadians consider adopting a sovereign wealth fund for natural resource royalties?
Geopolitics: How should Canada’s natural resources affect the balance of our relations with China and the US? Does a “CARBS” grouping – with resource-producing Australia, Russia, Brazil and South Africa – advance Canadian values and interests? Can Canada leverage its resource wealth to advance Canadian influence in international forums, such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Energy Forum (IEF), as well as multi-stakeholder groups such as the Kimberley Process?
Innovation: How can Canadians ensure that innovation and entrepreneurship do not suffer at the expense of resource rent-seeking, both in business and government?
Trade and investment: How should Canada’s resource wealth influence our approach to trade and investment? What strategic roles do trade and investment agreements play in Canada’s engagement with the world’s fastest-growing economies?
Send submissions of at least 600 words to Naomi Joseph.
View our current list of research and commentary here.
The Resourceful Canadian e-discussions
As part of the project, OpenCanada.org will be hosting three e-discussions that tackle three important questions regarding our resources: How can Canada manage the “dirty oil” brand? How can Canada turn its mining knowledge into international power? And how can we become the most intelligent lumberjacks in the world? Click on the banner below to access the debates.