“Canada Needs to Get Cozy With Mexico”

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - FEBRUARY 18:  Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper talks during a conference at the National Palace on February 18, 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico. Harper is in Mexico for a Wednesday meeting with the leaders of Mexico and the United States. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images)

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – FEBRUARY 18: Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper talks during a conference at the National Palace on February 18, 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico. Harper is in Mexico for a Wednesday meeting with the leaders of Mexico and the United States. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images)

Christopher Sands writes:

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair wants to abolish it. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau unfriended it. Prime Minister Stephen Harper would like to avoid the subject. But last week the Canadian Senate proved that it can make a valuable contribution to public policy discourse by issuing a thoughtful report on North America.

It was a product of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, chaired by Senator Raynell Andreychuk of Saskatchewan. Entitled North American Neighbours: Maximizing Opportunities and Strengthening Cooperation for a More Prosperous Future, the report weighs in at a concise 38 pages. The Committee heard from 22 witnesses including the Mexican Ambassador to Canada Francisco Suárez. (Full disclosure: I was a witness as well)

The report calls on the Government of Canada to improve bilateral relations with Mexico, which have been tense in recent years following the Harper government’s imposition of a visa requirement for Mexicans trying to enter Canada. Despite all the furor over illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States, neither country requires a visa for visitors from the other. Work visas are different and all three countries requires these of citizens of the other two.

Interestingly, the report gives three reasons for improving relations with Mexico. The first is that Mexico has significant potential as a partner for Canada. At a time when many Canadian firms, NGOs and students looking to study abroad are hoping for improved access to emerging markets, Canada already has privileged access to one of the most dynamic markets thanks to NAFTA. And Mexico’s energy reforms have led Mexican firms to look for partners abroad, so why not Canadian firms?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: