Indo-Pacific strategy launch boosts military spending and visa processing in region
The Liberal government unveiled its long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy on Sunday, announcing more military spending and closer ties with countries such as India.
The strategy earmarks $2.3 billion for Canada to form closer ties with countries that span Pakistan to Japan, including some funding that the Liberals have announced in recent weeks.
"What you're seeing today is a reorientation of our foreign policy (that) we haven't seen in a long time," Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly told reporters in Vancouver.
"It sends a clear message to the region that Canada is here, and they can trust that we're here to stay."
The new announcements include nearly a half-billion dollars to deploy a third naval frigate to the area and boost collaboration on cybersecurity and military training with like-minded countries.
Canada will also increase its visa-processing capacity to improve a system plagued by delays that has experts fearing that talented youth in the region will move elsewhere.
That includes visa offices in New Delhi and Chandigarh, India as well as Islamabad, Pakistan and Manila, Philippines.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $92.5 million to create roughly 60 new diplomatic jobs in the region, but the strategy lists no target, and Joly did not specify whether plans have changed around that figure.
But the strategy does call for an expansion of diplomatic staff in existing embassies, as well as new posts in places such as Hawaii and Fiji.
That's on top of recently announced plans to expand on trade ties with southeast Asian countries as a counterweight to China's influence, including by financing infrastructure projects in developing countries.
"To secure this economic future, we need to have strong trading relationships and partners around the world to protect our jobs and businesses here at home," International Trade Minister Mary Ng said at the press conference.
Ottawa will also send 200 experts to advise countries that want to work with Canada on everything from governance to oceans management and the transition off of fossil fuels.
The funding announced Sunday and in recent weeks spans five years, with no benchmarks for the rollout year over year.
But Defence Minister Anita Anand said the military is hoping to add a third frigate to the region "by next year," which would depart Halifax for the Indian Ocean.
That's on top of existing work to uphold United Nations sanctions on North Korea by monitoring for goods being illegally transferred between ships, and sailing around the Taiwan Strait to demonstrate the view of allies that those waters do not belong to China.
Anand said working with countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore represents a shift that goes beyond Canada's naval presence in the region.
"In terms of the allies that we chose to work with here, we want to cast as wide a net as possible to make sure that we are able to co-operate militarily," Anand told reporters from her Toronto-area riding.
She said these plans include projects to boost the role of women in peace and security in those countries.
On trade, Ng said she is hoping to quickly launch new grants for businesses exporting to new markets in the region, and to soon have a concierge service that works with the private sector to spot opportunities for Canadian business.
"I'm going to be very practical about what businesses need," she said in an interview from Vancouver.
She said an uptick in trade missions will be done "in a Team Canada way" via trips that bring along provinces, territories and industry groups.
Ng has made dozens of visits to the region in recent weeks and posted regular updates on trade negotiations. She said what's new in Sunday's strategy is a comprehensive sense of what Ottawa aims to prioritize.
Industry generally agreed with her.
"This type of detailed regional plan is useful, as it not only clarifies Canada's interests it also provides much-needed certainty for Canadian businesses with operations and investments overseas," wrote Goldy Hyder, head of the Business Council of Canada.
Yet he noted the strategy lacked a plan to expedite projects to export more energy along the Pacific coast, as well as a commitment to expand on the planned export of liquefied natural gas to countries that have publicly asked for it.
The council argued Ottawa should next launch a strategy for the Americas, although the Liberals have instead said an Africa strategy is up next.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said the Indo-Pacific strategy will help businesses diversify their export markets, but only if Canada gets its own house in order.
"The single largest immediate contribution Canada can make to the Indo-Pacific is to develop a comprehensive strategy to export far greater quantities of food, fuel and fertilizer to the region," wrote CEO Perrin Beatty, citing preliminary talk of expanding railroads and port capacity.
Beatty also praised the security initiatives and plans to engage the "much-underutilized" diaspora groups in Canada.
The strategy did not include a registry of foreign agents. Some intelligence experts have been calling on Canada to follow the U.S. and Australia in compelling countries to register anyone engaging in domestic political activity.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the idea remains under consideration.
The strategy was first promised in 2020 and comes after rocky diplomatic relations with China and increasingly loud demands from business leaders and defence experts that Canada map out its plans for the regions.
Sunday's strategy reiterates some funding Trudeau had already announced on his recent trip to Asia, which included cash for more trade missions, a team in Canada and Asia to form energy partnerships, and Canada's first agricultural office in the region.
The strategy generated an instant thumbs-up from U.S. ambassador David Cohen, who said it will help "to advance our countries' shared priorities in the Indo-Pacific region."
Joly made the announcement in Vancouver flanked by Ng, Mendicino, Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray and International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan who also heads Ottawa's economic development agency for B.C.
The Liberals will have bureaucrats explain the details of their strategy Monday in a technical briefing; these events usually take place ahead of a ministerial announcement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2022.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that he’s invited premiers to Ottawa for a 'working meeting' to discuss a health-care funding deal, on Feb. 7.
As the minority Liberals plot out their policy moves ahead of the 2023 parliamentary sitting, weighing heavily are commitments Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh that have to be acted on this year in order to uphold the two-party confidence-and-supply deal. Here is what needs to get done to keep the deal alive.
Canada may be turning corner on inflation, but Bank of Canada governor not ruling out 'mild recession'
Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem says he thinks Canada is 'turning the corner' on inflation, but he isn't ruling out that the country could enter a 'mild recession.' In an English-language broadcast exclusive interview with CTV National News Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier, Macklem encouraged Canadians to prepare a 'buffer' to withstand 'tougher times.'
After six weeks, more than 70 witnesses, and the submission of more than 7,000 documents into evidence, the public hearing portion of the Public Order Emergency Commission wrapped up on Friday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sat down with CTV National News Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor Omar Sachedina for a year-end interview to reflect on the political shifts experienced in 2022, and to contemplate the challenges ahead in 2023. Here is a full transcript of the interview.
Like Jacinda Ardern, Justin Trudeau’s early handling of the pandemic was a reassuring communications exercise where harsh isolation measures went down easier with a hefty helping of government support, Don Martin writes in an exclusive opinion column for CTVNews.ca. 'But like the New Zealand Prime Minister, the Canadian PM's best days are arguably behind him. '
opinion | Don Martin: How bad was the committee hearing over holiday travel woes? Let me count the ways
The Standing Committee on Transport gathered Thursday with MPs demanding an explanation for how that highly unusual Canadian winter combination of heavy snow and cold temperatures which delayed or cancelled thousands of post-pandemic reunions. What they got was a gold-medal finger-pointing performance, writes Don Martin in an exclusive opinion column for CTVNews.ca.
From a more coherent public health and carbon tax position, to cutting the 'Freedom Convoy' connection and smiling more, Pierre Poilievre has seven New Year's resolutions to woo the voters in 2023, writes Don Martin in an exclusive column for CTVNews.ca.
Find out what 'the best brains in Canadian politics' are predicting for Canadian politics in 2023, in Don Martin's exclusive column for CTVNews.ca.
Hope was in short supply just ten weeks ago on this 10-kilometre spit of sand at the end of the migration route for tens of thousands of Canadian snowbirds, Don Martin writes in an exclusive column for CTVNews.ca from Florida's Fort Myers Beach. But there are signs, he says, things may return to normal much faster than anyone expected.
ANALYSIS & INSIGHTS
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Canadian police chiefs condemned on Friday the death of a Black man who was savagely beaten by police during a traffic stop in the United States, saying the officers involved must be held accountable.
The Memphis police chief on Saturday disbanded the unit whose officers beat to death Tyre Nichols as the nation and the city struggled to come to grips with video showing police pummelling the Black motorist.
BC Emergency Health Services saw a slight decline in 911 calls for overdose and drug toxicity last year, but some areas saw a dramatic increase, and the death rate doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
According to a new study, showing university students the health risks of vaping through experts and personal testimonies can help deter them from using e-cigarettes.
Health Canada says it will continue to recommend COVID-19 prevention drug, Evulsheld, despite U.S. FDA pulling back its emergency use authorization due to concerns around its efficacy against Omicron subvariant 'Kraken.'
The German ambassador to Canada says Germany will not become 'a party to the conflict' in Ukraine, despite it and several other countries announcing they'll answer President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's pleas for tanks, possibly increasing the risk of Russian escalation.
W5 goes deep into the narco heartland to interview a commander with one of Mexico's most brutal cartels. W5's documentary 'Narco Avocados' airs Saturday at 7 pm on CTV.
When selling a home, Canadians may be exempted from paying capital gains tax on a residential property -- if it's their principal residence. On CTVNews.ca, personal finance contributor Christopher Liew explains what's determined as a principal residence, and what properties are eligible for the exemption.
While the deadline to file your taxes is months away, there are some personal tax credits Ontarians may qualify for that require some time pilfering through receipts to get them.
Just days after a significant snowfall pummelled southern Ontario, another one is forecasted to hit the province this weekend.
A Laval, Que. man considered one of Canada's most wanted criminals has been arrested in Mexico on allegations of pimping and serious sexual offences. A Canada-wide warrant was for Blake Charbonneau's arrest last year, with a reward of up to $50,000 offered last year for information that could lead to his capture.
People can pay tribute to former Ontario lieutenant-governor David Onley this weekend as he lies in state for two days at the legislature before his funeral Monday.
The Taliban on Saturday doubled down on their ban on women's education, reinforcing in a message to private universities that Afghan women are barred from taking university entry exams, according to a spokesman.
A Palestinian gunman opened fire outside an east Jerusalem synagogue Friday night, killing seven people, including a 70-year-old woman, and wounding three others before he was shot and killed by police, officials said.
Mass shootings have commanded public attention on a disturbingly frequent basis across the U.S., from a supermarket slaying in Buffalo, New York, to an elementary school tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, to a recent shooting at a California dance hall.
Drones attacked an Iranian defence factory in the central city of Isfahan overnight, the state-run IRNA news agency reported early Sunday.
Authorities in West Australia were searching for a tiny but potentially deadly radioactive capsule that got lost while being transported on a truck from a mine to a depot in the city of Perth, officials said Saturday.
Alex Murdaugh's comments to police about his whereabouts around the time his wife and son were fatally shot may not have been accurate, according to video evidence presented by prosecutors Friday at the South Carolina attorney's murder trial.
Members of Parliament are making their way back to Ottawa ahead of resuming sitting on Monday, as the city prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the arrival of 'Freedom Convoy' protesters.
With a deal under negotiation between Ottawa and provinces, and premiers invited to a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in early February, the issue remains one where the Tory leader's position appears somewhat murky, including to some inside his own party.
Training of surgeons in Canada has taken a heavy knock from the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, and some doctors say their clinical education has been delayed again in recent months as many hospitals across the country cancelled elective procedures to keep up with emergency care.
A new survey suggests the vast majority of Canadians have concerns about the state of the health-care system, particularly in Atlantic provinces where hospitals have struggled to maintain emergency services for months. Leger and The Association for Canadian Studies surveyed 1,554 Canadian adults over a two-day period in January.
What looks like a giant teddy bear’s face peering into space from the surface of Mars is actually a satellite image of some craters and a circular fracture, scientists say.
Nvidia Corp Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang on Tuesday said that the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence will create powerful tools that require legal regulation and social norms that have yet to be worked out.
A chance discovery by an Edmonton area woman who was walking her dogs has turned out to be a massive fossilized bone that likely belonged to an Ice Age mammoth.
BookTok is all abuzz with the news that Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni will be starring in a movie based on the bestselling romance novel, "It Ends With Us."
Italian designer Sabato De Sarno has been named the new creative director of Gucci, and will unveil his first collection during Milan Fashion Week next September, Gucci and parent company Kering announced Saturday.
Pamela Anderson is addressing discussion about a story regarding her 'Home Improvement' co-star Tim Allen that is part of her new memoir, 'Love Pamela.'
Federal prosecutors are trying to prohibit FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried from privately contacting current and former employees of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange to prevent potential witness tampering in a criminal case accusing him of bilking investors and customers.
Italy's prime minister visited Libya for talks Saturday with officials from the country's west-based government focusing on energy and migration, top issues for Italy and the European Union. Libya is the third North African country Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited over the last two weeks as she seeks to secure new supplies of natural gas.
A pair of senior U.S. senators is urging the Biden administration to get tough with Canada for "flouting" obligations to its North American trade partners.
Mike Davy always dreamed of going to a Toronto Maple Leafs game, and once it finally happened, he passed away the night after.
One of the planet’s most unique wildcats has been detected for the first time on the tallest mountain on Earth — Mount Everest.
Aryna Sabalenka, a 24-year-old from Belarus, who won her first Grand Slam title by coming back to beat Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at Melbourne Park on Saturday night, using 17 aces among her 51 total winners to overcome seven double-faults.
The price of hosting the FIFA World Cup is rising in Vancouver, and the province is using a new tool to help cover the costs.
Damar Hamlin released a video Saturday in which he says he's thankful for the outpouring of support and vows to pay it back, marking the first time the Buffalo Bills safety has spoken publicly since he went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati on Jan. 2.
Hyundai cars in Canada don't have the same anti-theft issue compared to those in the United States, a company spokesperson says, following reports that two American auto insurers are refusing to write policies for older models.
Progressive and State Farm, two of America's largest auto insurers, are refusing to write policies in certain cities for some older Hyundai and Kia models that have been deemed too easy to steal, according to one of the insurance companies and media reports.
Amsterdam has shared a time-lapse video of the construction of its brand-new underwater bike-parking facility.