While Clark concedes the need of some of the plans reform’s to Canada’s foreign service, he’s not thrilled with “the clear ascension of economics to the top of the foreign-policy hierarchy.”
From Clark’s op-ed (full-access only available with subscription):
What will it look like when commercial interests lead Canada’s way in the world?
That is what the Harper Conservatives are planning in their new Global Markets Action Plan: a Canadian foreign policy where economic interests rule.
Yes, this government has already made that a work in progress. But this document, drafted under the supervision of Trade Minister Ed Fast and being unveiled this morning, marks the clear ascension of economics to the top of the foreign-policy hierarchy.
From the Global Markets Action Plan‘s opening letter from Canada’s Minister of International Trade Ed Fast:
Under the Global Markets Action Plan, the Government of Canada will concentrate its efforts on the markets that hold the greatest promise for Canadian business. We will do this through vigorous trade promotion and ambitious trade policy. Most importantly, the focus will be on core objectives within those markets. In short, the plan will play to our strengths and ensure that all Government of Canada diplomatic assets are harnessed to support the pursuit of commercial success by Canadian companies and investors. We fully understand that, when Canadian companies succeed abroad, all Canadians benefit from the jobs and opportunities that are created at home.
By concentrating on core objectives within our priority markets, the Global Markets Action Plan will also entrench the concept of “economic diplomacy” as the driving force behind the Government of Canada’s trade promotion activities throughout its international diplomatic network. This new focus represents a sea change in the way Canada’s diplomatic assets are deployed around the world. In so doing, we are ensuring that Canada’s long-term economic success becomes one of our priority foreign policy objectives.
Notably, the plan also establishes ambitious yet achievable targets over the next five years to expand the export footprint of our SME community working in conjunction with government. That said, I firmly believe that our success will be defined not only by the number of new Canadian companies that begin to export but by the number and quality of the jobs that our plan will create.