Frechette: What issue should John Baird prioritize?
Developing fuller relations with emerging countries should be a priority for the new minister. Our agenda with these countries must include not only the standard issues of strict bilateral concerns (trade, investment, immigration etc) but it must also foster an on-going dialogue on major global issues.
The active participation of China, India, Brasil, Mexico, South Africa and other emerging states is essential to progress on issues such as food security, nuclear proliferation, global health or the reform of international institutions. They also have influence over the management of conflicts such as Libya and Afghnistan. Our relations with these countries need to be defined in terms of partnership of equals, just as we view our relations with Europe. Only by developing strong relations with emerging can we hope to protect our interests and promote our values in the future.