Since 1985 Harmony Foundation has been building bridges between business, government and civil society on environment and development issues in Canada and internationally. For the past 7 years the Foundation has been leading projects in China on sustainable community development, experience that has provided invaluable insights into the Canada-China relationship as well as Chinese attitudes toward our current approach.
We believe Canada’s performance in China is representative of Canadian foreign policy that increasingly favors short-term trade goals, rather than building relationships for long-term success. Canada will be better positioned to achieve our economic goals through enduring partnerships based on mutual respect and shared benefits.
These trends are exacerbated by the lack of a national strategy that includes all sectors, business, universities, provinces and municipalities and civil society. Instead each organization tends to pursue their own interests lowering Canada’s effectiveness and profile.
The purpose of this paper is to stimulate and inform a constructive, non-partisan discussion on Canada’s role in the world and to re-set our foreign policy accordingly. To succeed, the process must involve Canada’s leaders in business, government and civil society and enjoy active public participation. We see a win-win strategy in viewing other countries as partners in humanitarian, social, economic and environmental progress, rather than simply markets and customers offering revenue opportunities.
As you read this discussion paper we ask you to consider how Canadians and our leaders can work together to craft a foreign policy that is socially just, environmentally sound and economically successful. If our efforts achieve some progress in that direction we shall be satisfied.