Chrystia Freeland on
Canada in a Changing World
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs speaks at CORIM luncheon
By Jean-Luc Burlone
To an audience of 450 people conquered beforehand, Minister Chrystia Freeland was up to her reputation. In very good French she reviewed the main issues we should all seriously consider to maintain the multilateral system, which has served the world so well for the last 70 years.
In a nutshell: she summarized these issues by classifying them in two categories, namely the threat that the resurgence of authoritarianism poses to liberal democracy and the weakening of the rules-based international order.
On authoritarianism, Ms. Freeland noted the rise of anti-democratic movements seeking to undermine liberal democracies by blaming immigrants and trading partners. She mentioned technology and globalization as the causes that led to the impoverishment of the middle class, which renders the democratic terrain fertile for demagogues.
With respect to the international order, Ms. Freeland suggested giving trade agreements rules that bite as Canada and Europe did in their recent agreement and so, should it be noted, by the World Trade Organization to answer 2018 concerns. Tougher rules were already implemented by the late TransPacific Partnership and its new version minus the United States.
… she reviewed the main issues we should all seriously consider to maintain the multilateral system, which has served the world so well for the last 70 years.
Nothing is really new in all this. A simplification that neglects to recall that among the 70 past years, 50 were the cold war era where the West strove to demonstrate to the world that its liberal regime brought a better life to its people than the authoritarian Soviet regime. A fight of ideologies won by the West when the Berlin Wall fell. Without an ideology to fight, the West went for a wealth rush; a take the money and run kind of philosophy without much more substance.
Nonetheless, the minister reminded us of two interesting points. On the one hand, wealth is global while people’s welfare is a national issue. Each country has a tax base to take care of the 99% of the population. On the other hand, it is to the credit of a democracy to recognize its mistakes openly and to correct them, a subtle praise for the government’s gesture towards Canadian First Nations.
‘… the minister reminded us of two interesting points. On the one hand, wealth is global while people’s welfare is a national issue.’
In fact, Minister Chrystia Freeland began her speech with a tribute: “I would like to begin by pointing out that the land on which we are gathered are part of the unceded traditional territory of the Kanien’keha:ka (also called Mohawks), who has long served as a place of gathering and exchange between nations”.
Interviewed by Ms. Michèle Boisvert, a former journalist, Ms. Freeland demonstrated her profound knowledge of the NAFTA file. She also made the audience aware of the government readiness, as its response to the American tariffs was immediate, accurate and comprehensive with a thoughtful list of American products that were to be targeted with tariffs.
The Minister made it clear that all communication channels with the Americans remain open and that she had regular discussions with various US counterparts, including the Secretary of State, Mr. Mike Pompeo. In short, her agenda for the summer was filled with NAFTA negotiations, of which nine (9) chapters were already settled.
‘She also made the audience aware of the government readiness, as its response to the American tariffs was immediate, accurate and comprehensive…’
Like many politicians, Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks with caution. She knows how to sell her party, her philosophy and her boss. Although she does not venture out much, her knowledge of the files is deep and her vision is firmly established.
Jean-Luc Burlone, Ms. Sc. Economy, FCSI (1996)
Economic Analysis – Financial Strategies
The text above expresses my opinion based on the June 20 CORIM conference. – JLB
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.