Curtis: What Should Canada’s top foreign policy priority be in 2013?

By: /
7 January, 2013
By: John Curtis
Adjunct Professor at Queen's University and Chair of Statistics Canada's Advisory Committee on International Trade Statistics

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.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 


Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter