Craig's Take: Go east, young man
Published Friday, February 3, 2012 3:22PM EST
Last Updated Friday, June 8, 2012 11:55AM EDT
What in the world is happening?
That's what a lot of people are asking themselves as they consider the booming economies of China, Brazil, Turkey and so many others in Asia, particularly, and contrast them with the industrial West, which is suffocating in debt and mired in slow growth and apparent long-term decline.
Canada has a lot to gain from this tilt of the global economic gravity away from the West and toward the Pacific and what are called the emerging Asian nations, though most, like India and South Korea, have already emerged.
Although few Canadians east of the Manitoba border think of themselves this way, we are a Pacific nation and not just an Atlantic one. That explains why the prime minister and a host of Canadian business leaders are making their way to where the money is – to China – which in the next decade or so, is expected to replace the United States as the world's richest economy.
It can hardly be emphasized what a shock it was to the movers and shakers in the Canadian government when President Barack Obama sidelined the Keystone XL pipeline project, which would carry oilsands bitumen from Alberta to the Texas coast.
It was an abrupt reminder of Canada's dependence on the Americans for our energy exports, and in essence, our only customer.
That, Stephen Harper has concluded, must change and he told the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland last week that finding new markets in Asia is now a Canadian national priority.
On Question Period this week, we'll talk to some of the powers that be in foreign policy about China, as Harper prepares to leave Monday for Beijing.
Through their state-owned oil company, the Chinese have invested an estimated $10 billion in the Canadian oilpatch and their influence and interest in pipelines and everything having to do with Canadian oil and gas is increasing.
The prime minister's meeting with the Chinese president will be nothing less than an energy summit.
Of course, we can't let a week go by without the hot topic of the day, the government's stumble into the dangerous territory of pensions. Are they in full retreat on that one?
So join Kevin Newman and myself, and a growing number of Canadians who are watching, on Question Period this Sunday.