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

By: /
9 January, 2012
Jeremy Kinsman
Former ambassador to the European Union and high commissioner to Britain

Most opportunities flow from events and as 2011 showed, “experts” are too embedded in the status quo to predict them accurately. Canadian policy needs grounding in consistency of democratic values in responding to the sorts of challenges which democrats and human rights defenders are mounting across the world, and the expected foreign policy review is an opportunity to set those values down as bedrock, as well as to identify Canada’s trade and economic interests. I hope Canada will also take the opportunity in 2012 to substitute some humility for hubris and stop boasting, bragging, and brandishing empty know-it-all rhetoric. International public opinion – and Canadians – need to hear less about how “ethical” we think we are compared to others, and more about what we shall really do about mitigating 1) the historic scandal of conditions applying to First Nations peoples and 2) the carbon content of oil sands production. Without 2) the pipeline prospects go down, and without 1) we continue to accept violation of our own values, sleepwalkers who believe the national ethos is defined by ice hockey on the zombie box.

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