Letter to the Editor

Banker boosts freer trade Canada could augment the benefits of globalization — at home and abroad — if business owners broadened their…

Banker boosts freer trade

Canada could augment the benefits of globalization — at home and abroad — if business owners broadened their horizons and if political leaders further opened the borders to freer trade.

The nation needs strong foreign policy founded on clear international trade and investment priorities.

This lays the groundwork for businesses to reach out, grow and succeed outside their home markets.

They create jobs, wealth and a stronger domestic economy, with universities and colleges providing the talent to support the opportunity.

This success at home, in turn, better positions firms to compete more effectively internationally, creating a virtuous circle.

There are always people or special interest groups who will look to create barriers. But the reality of globalization — open trade and open borders — is that it enables countries and companies to prosper and grow.

The North American Free Trade Agreement was a watershed for Canada, the US and Mexico.

Since the agreement came into force in 1994, trade between the three countries has more than doubled to more than US$750 billion a year.

Today, I am concerned about a possible step backward in trade, over the lack of progress of global trade talks and the collapse of Doha. But the reality is that, with worldwide multilateral talks stalled, regional, sub-regional and bilateral level agreements are becoming the focus.

Last year, China signed an agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. South Korea has plans for more than 50 free trade agreements.

In recent years, Mexico has signed more than 10 bilateral and sub-regional trade agreements, including one with the European Union.

The US has signed or is in the process of negotiating 24 bilateral agreements.

My sense is that you’ll see more and more countries look to regional, sub-regional and bilateral trade deals to secure access to markets.

In fact, regionalism is the key factor today behind cross border trade expansion. There are some pros and cons to this.

But regardless of these, for the near future, trade within various regions — the Euro zone, Asia and the Americas — will continue to be a key driving force of global economic activity.

Canadian investment has shown a bias towards our hemisphere and not just the US and Mexico.

Over the last decade the compound average annual growth rate of Canadian investment in Central and South America was 11 per cent. This is 50 per cent higher than the growth in Canadian investment in Asia and more than five times the growth of Canadian investment in the European Union.

The real growth opportunities today for businesses in North and South America exist in the Americas and these opportunities are just beginning.

We must have strong policies to support trade and investment, with a particular focus on the opportunities that exist in the Americas.

Although I strongly believe the current failure of multilateral trade talks at a global level will merely slow what is a truly rising and enduring trend, there is a constant need for business, government and academic leaders to stand up and talk to the benefits of open economies, especially here in Canada, with our relatively small size and heavy dependence on trade.

Canadian businesses must respond by looking more aggressively to foreign markets for growth and governments must lead in building the right policy framework to facilitate international expansion because good foreign policy equals good domestic policy.

Rick Waugh, president and chief executive officer, Scotiabank

Don’t waste our sovereignty

My grandfather, father and I, each in turn fought in world wars to preserve the independence of our country, Canada.

But by all appearances, there are movements underway by the leaders of our governments and businesses to become one with the USA — to subvert our sovereignty and subscribe to and follow the United States model and their international policies, and I object most fiercely.

My desire is to remain as independent in our opinions and affairs as possible, even given the very strong influence of our neighbour, whose reputation and influence on the world stage are now on the decline!

W.E. Howell

Qualicum Beach, BC

Editorial unfair

Every day, the RCMP makes policing decisions based on the type and quality of information we receive and by assessing that information for risks or threats to the public.

Wednesday’s Yukon News editorial questioning the RCMP’s timely provision of information on the status of Marcellus Jacob was unfounded.

The RCMP has a history of issuing warnings when the public is in danger.

It is RCMP practice to issue public warnings only when the facts available show that an individual poses a credible threat to an immediate area.

In the recent incident where Marcellus Jacob went missing in the Vancouver area, National Parole Board and Correctional Service of Canada, the authorities responsible for Jacob, were immediately notified and obtained a warrant for his arrest within the hour of Jacob being discovered missing.

The appropriate law-enforcement agency, the Vancouver Police department, was also notified and their High Risk Offender Unit was mobilized to make enquiries to find Jacob.

Additionally, the RCMP’s Integrated Sexual Predator Observation Team (ISPOT) was advised and also began to investigate Jacob’s disappearance.

ISPOT is comprised of representatives from Vancouver Lower Mainland’s law-enforcement agencies.

The initial investigation into Jacob’s whereabouts revealed no credible information to indicate that Jacob’s intent was to go north.

Jacob was in another jurisdiction, thousands of kilometres away and had no reasonable means of returning to the Yukon. 

He did not pose an immediate or a known and foreseeable risk to the Yukon.

The RCMP in the Yukon concluded that there was no need to immediately notify the public.

However, please be reassured that those living in the Yukon who had a clear need to know of Jacob’s disappearance were advised by the appropriate authorities in a timely way.

As time passed and law enforcement agencies in Vancouver’s Lower Mainland continued their investigation, the Yukon RCMP chose to release a recent photo and description of Jacob to the Yukon public as a precautionary measure.

This was released simultaneously with Vancouver Police department’s official Wanted Poster.

Vancouver Police department successfully arrested and took Jacob into custody on Wednesday afternoon.

Not all incidents qualify for a public safety warning.

The RCMP will continue to assess the credibility and immediacy of any threat posed to the public on a case by case basis and will endeavour to provide accurate and factual information as quickly as possible when it has been determined that the public’s safety is at risk.

C/Supt. Dave Shewchuk, commanding officer RCMP “M” Division, Whitehorse