On November 27, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, announced Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy at a press conference in Vancouver. The long-awaited IPS identifies the Indo-Pacific as the world’s most dynamic region, and argues that Canada’s national interests necessitate a whole-of-society, comprehensive approach to it. The IPS consists of five strategic objectives covering security, economics, social, and environmental priorities, and outlines initiatives designed to establish Canada as “an active and engaged partner” for Asian states.
In addition to its objectives, the IPS articulates the Trudeau government’s approach to China, the North Pacific, India, and ASEAN. Notably, the IPS’s treatment of China is markedly more stringent than the government’s past approach. So, too does the IPS’s focus on Southeast Asia mark a geographic realignment of Canada’s priority engagement in Asia.
To realize its strategic aims, the Trudeau government allocated C$2.3 billion to fund initiatives. This funding is clear evidence the federal government is serious about better positioning Canada to be an active player in Asia.*
To provide insight into the IPS’s strengths and weaknesses, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) invited some of our Distinguished Fellows, along with APF Canada’s Vice-President, Research & Strategy, Dr. Jeff Reeves, to provide their preliminary thoughts. Specifically, APF Canada asked the contributors to consider the following questions:
- Do you feel the IPS better positions Canada to work more effectively in Asia in the near- to medium-term?
- What aspects of the IPS do you find the most compelling?
- What aspects of the IPS concern you?
* In the interest of transparency, it should be noted that among the initiatives announced for funding under the Indo-Pacific Strategy, APF Canada is to be provided with C$24.5 million to support the establishment of a physical presence and new engagement programs in the region.
- Jeff Reeves, Vice-President, Research and Strategy, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
- Bart Édes, Professor of Practice, McGill University
- Danielle Goldfarb, Vice-President, Global Affairs, Economics, and Public Policy, Real-Time Interactive Worldwide Intelligence (RIWI)
- Stéphanie Martel, Assistant Professor, Political Studies, Queen’s University
- Hugh Stephens, Principal, TransPacific Connections
- Sharon Zhengyang Sun, Trade Policy Economist, Canada West Foundation