Curtis: What Should Canada’s top foreign policy priority be in 2013?
Canada’s top foreign policy for the current year will be to complete, and begin implementing, a number of international trade and economic cooperation agreements that have been underway for some time. Many such agreements have been analyzed, discussed, consulted on, and advanced over the past six years; this is the year to conclude as many of them –large and small – as possible both for Canadian domestic prosperity and well-being reasons, and for systemic reasons as well. The world economy at present needs more certainty than has been the case since 2008 if not before – Canada can do its share by nailing down a number of agreements which will provide more certainty into the future. Other foreign policy areas, where Canada has qualitatively and quantitatively less importance on a global scale, should be pursued where we can help (maternal health, military training assistance in Afganistan, Mali, etc.) and where we think our self-interest and global responsibilities demand it. But this is the year for completing trade/economic agreements, before other pressures arise and our credibility to actually close such negotiations becomes an issue.