July 7, 2012
EDITOR’S NOTE: A recent study released by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and the Canada West Foundation argues that Canada’s approach to energy should be more clearly based on its national interest, not a collection of private interests. It therefore calls for the establishment of a framework that will bring into play the interest of not only the private sector and federal and provincial governments, but also First Nations governments, communities and environmental interests. This backgrounder was written by Yuen Pau Woo, from the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and Roger Gibbins, with the Canada West Foundation.
It is impossible to image a sustainable economic future for Canada without a much broader and deeper relationship with Asia.
As the centre of the global economy shifts towards Asia, Canada will need to diversify its trade and investment linkages to ensure that we are benefiting from the massive opportunities these new markets offer.
We recognize that the potential of Canadian trade with Asia extends well beyond the energy sector and can include virtually every aspect of the Canadian economy. Nonetheless, energy trade is the strongest card we have to play in our fledgling economic and political relationship with Asia.
Energy industries, broadly defined, are central to the Canadian economy and the potential for export of energy commodities and expertise is immense. There is a compelling alignment of interests between Canada and the countries of Asia in terms of energy trade, and a genuine desire on the part of major Asian countries to source energy commodities and energy expertise from Canada.
Even so, the opportunity is not open-ended. The competition to meet Asia’s voracious demand for energy is fierce and first-mover advantages make it very difficult for latecomers to have a viable business case.
In all this, our risk may be national complacency, and our riskiest choice may be the status quo. Canada’s energy approach should be more clearly based on our national interest, not a collection of private interests. National interest should be centred on ensuring that Canada is competitive on the global stage, and that all Canadians benefit.
This means we have to be more clever hewers of wood and smarter drawers of water, and part of this innovation should be diversifying into new markets and new consumers in Asia. There is therefore great urgency in forging Canada-Asia energy trade, and the starting point should be the establishment of a Canada-Asia energy framework that assembles the diverse energy interests across the country around a common purpose.
The current project-by-project approach has become extremely contentious and is likely to become more so. This report calls for a fresh statement of the national interest in building a Canada-Asia energy relationship, and leadership to make it a reality.
Yuen Pau Woo is the President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and Roger Gibbins is the President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation. To download a complete copy of their report click here.
This backgrounder is FREE to use on your websites or in your publications. However, Troy Media, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and the Canada West Foundation, with links to their web sites, MUST be credited.