Curtis: What is Canada’s biggest international opportunity in 2012?

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9 January, 2012
By: John Curtis
Adjunct Professor at Queen's University and Chair of Statistics Canada's Advisory Committee on International Trade Statistics

Canada’s major international opportunity in 2012 is to restructure its foreign policy capabilty within ever-tighter financial constraints. This initiative would involve being first in the world to shape its policy and operational delivery mechanisms to accomodate the early 21st century, rather than trying to do “more with less” doing things in the old way.

Under this reformed 2012 international foreign policy initiative, Canadian diplomats would serve routinely in domestic departments and/or provincial governments, the distinction between the foreign and domestic service would be abolished, a working knowledge of both official languages would be required as an incoming skill, communication skills would rank as high as policy and administrative skills, third language knowledge would recive more encouragement, benefits living abroad would be brought closer to the averages at home rather than the averages of fellow diplomats abroad, and much of the consular and trade commissioner responsibilities privatized, particularly in those parts of the world (ie. the USA and EU) where governmentt-to-government contact/representation is not critical to carrying out functions.

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