Monday, November 06, 2006

Harper Snubs EU - Cancels Summit

In the face of likely criticism over abandoning Kyoto commitments, Stephen Harper has annoyed European Union leaders by canceling the Canada EU Summit scheduled for November 27th. Harper cites a need to stay in Canada while the House of Commons is in session, despite the fact he is scheduled to be in Europe at the end of the month for a NATO meeting.

The European Union is Canada's second largest trading partner. Holding a market of 457 million people, it represents a key business partner and a potential growing market for Canadian products, but since gaining office Harper's Conservatives have allowed this and other key international relationships to slip. In September, The Globe reported that Canada is also losing ground in their once growing relationship with the emerging Chinese economy. These developments run counter to what has been solid Canadian trade policy for the past 5 years.

Through the early part of the decade, Canada has had the stated objective lessening reliance on the US - a policy that served to ensure greater long term economic stability through building diverse trade partnerships, and one that would afford Canada the independence it needs to make key domestic and environmental decisions.

With Harpers priority of strengthening US ties above all others, its little wonder that Canada's new environmental plan will only serve to have Canada more quickly 'approach' an American style of inaction on a host of environmental issues, global warming being just the first.

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