A proposal on Canadian foreign policy

09 Oct 2012

Anyone who has lived in Canada long enough will be conscious of this country’s traditional conflicted relationship vis-a-vis the United States. Anyone who has studied in college or university, who has taken up a course that has something to do with Canada, will know that not only the U.S. but other core industrialised countries have taken advantage of this country’s preference for natural resources export over domestic industrialisation, making Canada a source of their raw materiel and market for their manufactured goods. In this matter, Canada has become no different from other nation-states and regions of the periphery, exploited for the prosperity, well-being and security of the core region, despite the First World nature of this country not to mention its own possibility for, and indeed active, global exploitation. Due to this almost-similarity in political and economic conditions, an idea comes to mind when it comes to Canadian foreign policy, which traditionally aligns with the First World.

Canada must realign or reposition its foreign policy in favour of developing countries.

At first sight, this won’t appear as shocking. Hasn’t this country provided numerous amounts of aid to those developing countries? Has it not advocated those countries’ causes to the world stage, both as country and through the efforts of its globally active citizens? What I am speaking here is the whole realignment of Canada’s foreign policy with that of those countries it shares the most political and economic conditions with. Canada and the so-called developing countries are natural resources exporters and manufactured goods importers. Any domestic industrial base is almost, if not wholly, foreign-owned, even if it may be domestically-operated in Canada’s case. Internal and external politics is influenced or controlled by the bigger countries. Such a similarity in conditions necessitates that Canada realign with those places it shares the most when it comes to exploitative experience. Canada is the “Third World” of the First World.

Changes have occured since the term “Third World” appeared; it is now a much-denigrated term. Countries that have once been categorised as such have now risen to positions of global influence – the so-called BRICS as well as other nations mainly in Latin America and eastern Asia – and are now challenging the established developed nations for political and economic influence on this world. Should Canada unite ranks with the First World in the face of such a challenge? Well, no. Rather, it should develop an independent foreign policy that would depend on its sovereignty and values. Alignment with those economically and politically oppressed, who might share the same history with Canada even though not the same poverty, is part of such a policy.