Strengthening Canada’s Foreign Policy

We are pleased to provide you with a copy of our report,
“Strengthening Canada’s Foreign Policy: Lessons from Our China Experience.”

Harmony has been composing this report over the last year based on lessons learned from our experience working in China since 2005. Our intention is to contribute to a positive discussion, involving all Canadians, on how Canada’s foreign policy can be most advantageous to Canadians while meeting our shared values of good governance, social justice, and environmental responsibility.

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.