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Nicolas Chapuis addresses the CORIM

The French Ambassador and Raymond Chrétien discuss world issues

By Jean-Luc Burlone, M.Sc. Ecn., FCSI (1996)

The CORIM (Montreal Council on Foreign Relations) had an ambitious subject for discussion at its March 16 lunch conference: the international issues in 2017.

On the stage were the well respected Mr. Raymond Chrétien, whose political work and achievements of the past 50 years have served the interests of Canada and Québec alike, and the French Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Nicolas Chapuis, who, as the guest of honour, answered Mr. Chrétien questions with the classic French eloquence and humour.

Nicolas Chapuis - photo: Sylvie-Ann Paré - WestmountMag.caOne hour was too short a time to go over all world top issues. Notwithstanding, after a short review on our relationship with France, Mr. Chapuis hailed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and Europe as an exemplary agreement that answers all debatable issues. Included in the solved issues was the decried Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS); a system through which individual companies can sue countries for alleged discriminatory practices. Canada was instrumental in solving this concern by requiring that lawyers from the public sector participate in the settlement of the dispute with private lawyers, thereby avoiding a possible slant favouring corporations over governments. Discussing the agreement ratification process, Mr. Chapuis mentioned an over 66% rating in favour of CETA in Europe and that France and Germany will likely ratify it after the upcoming elections in those countries. He also reminded us – not without humour – that Canada has not yet ratified CETA (currently at the second reading stage in Parliament).

Mr. Chapuis hailed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and Europe as an exemplary agreement that answers all debatable issues.

The conversation then moved to Brexit. Mr. Chapuis assesses (and rightly so) that Brexit is a historic mistake and a costly one. He went on revisiting the United Kingdom (UK) hesitations before joining the EU, reminding us that the country joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, after Westminster had realized that the EEU had a much higher GDP growth than the UK. A good point indeed. A late figure indicates that the UK enjoyed a cumulative GDP growth rate of 62% since the Treaty of European Union (Maastricht) was enforced in 1993 (Germany growth rate since 1993 is 35%). Unfortunately, as Mr. Chapuis indicated, Brexit also creates a precedent that has destroyed the ideal that the formation of the EU was an irreversible process.

The Ambassador’s vision of our age acknowledges the several crises we face simultaneously, from the challenge of climate change that enhances renewable energies research and application, to the digital revolution that disrupts the labour market and demands a new social contract. Not omitting the fact that the 2008 financial crisis has created economic damages that have not yet been dealt with, Mr. Chapuis also raised the current political landscape where the right and the left are torn in a search for a new leitmotiv, making reference to the popular Trudeau government, which embodies “Social Liberalism” as a political philosophy. Briefly touching on terrorism, Mr. Chapuis raised the rarely mentioned fact that the recent attacks were made by individuals born and educated in France. He also indicated that the attacks in the US were committed by US citizens, born and raised there.

Mr. Chapuis argues that Europe – obviously lead by France and Germany with its African and Asian partners – would be able to fill the void left by an inward looking US.

Looking towards the future, Ambassador Chapuis deplores the lack of nominations by the American State department and the 30% budget cut it suffers. The situation is becoming worrisome as those vacancies hinder communications and the collaboration needed to tackle important and shared issues. Mr. Chapuis argues that Europe – obviously lead by France and Germany with its African and Asian partners – would be able to fill the void left by an inward looking US. Unfortunately, under what economic and social achievements would Europe be acting as such was not discussed. Finally, the most pressing issue on the international sphere is clearly the North Korean nuclear game. Mr. Chapuis argues that since an agreement was reached with Iran, one should be reachable with North Korea. Regrettably, lack of time did not allow further discussion.

Images: Sylvie-Ann Paré


jean-luc_burlone

Jean-Luc Burlone, M.Sc. Ecn., FCSI (1996)
Economist – Financier
jlburlone@gmail.com

Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI), Jean-Luc Burlone has an excellent knowledge of financial product management and holds a Master’s degree in economics from the Université de Montréal with a dual specialization in development economics and
International economy – finance and trade.

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