OTTAWA, ON (March 29, 2021): Successive Canadian governments have failed to lay out a clear strategy for Canada to develop a robust role in the Indo-Pacific, despite the undeniable importance of that region to our interests. We can no longer sit on the sidelines. A new policy brief by Jonathan Berkshire Miller titled “Canada’s Indo-Pacific moment” argues that now is the time for Canada to finally chart a path forward.
According to Miller, “the Indo-Pacific is a pivotal region that has arguably become the world’s centre of geoeconomic and geostrategic gravity.” While other countries – particularly partners such as Japan, Australia, India, the United States, and more – have defined their interests and frameworks for understanding the region, Canada’s policy debate and approach to the Indo-Pacific remains in its nascent stages.
In many ways, Canada is still employing what Miller defines as an “antiquated ‘trade-first strategy’.” This approach no longer works for engagement in a region that not only comprises four of the world’s five largest economies and over half of global GDP, but also is increasingly defined by the aggressive behaviour of China, a nuclear-armed North Korea, inter-border tensions, conflicts over freedom of the seas, and other critical security concerns.