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  • Author: Judit Fabian
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: International trade is often framed in starkly divergent terms: either countries choose multilateral trade agreements (MTAs) and advance the cause of global economic liberalization, or they choose preferred trade agreements (PTAs) and put the entire system at risk. Canada has a long track record of pursuing PTAs and with the Trump administration’s opposition to multilateralism, and longstanding opposition in elements of the Republican and Democratic parties, this trend will likely continue. The question is whether progress will come at the expense of the global trade system. Some economists believe PTAs to be trade-diverting, reducing trade with more efficient producers outside the agreement. Others insist that PTAs can create trade by shifting production to lower-cost producers in one of the participating countries. One prominent contrary argument holds that PTAs lead to discontinuities in tariff regimes between countries and regions, increasing transaction costs, disrupting supply chains, creating opportunities for corruption and harming global welfare, especially in developing nations. While debate continues about the effects of PTAs, a closer examination suggests that worries are overblown about their negative impacts on global trade flows. Evidence indicates that they support rather than harm the international trading system. Countries shut out of PTAs are more motivated to seek out agreements in new markets, increasing liberalization overall. They may also seek a reduction in most-favoured nation (MFN) tariffs, which would deprive PTAs of their major tariff benefits. Studies have found complementarity between preferential and MFN tariffs, revealing that PTAs promote external trade liberalization. Even if a PTA reduces a given country’s incentive to push for multilateral liberalization, it raises the odds of that country liberalizing its trade to avoid getting left behind. PTAs are a response to the difficulties of securing sweeping multilateral agreements. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements authorize them under GATT Article XXIV, GATS Article V, and the enabling clause, and the WTO facilitates a degree of governance over PTAs through its dispute settlement process. Over the past 25 years, countries have adopted these deals at a rapid pace. Between 1994 and 2005, the number of PTAs increased from 50 to 200. By April 2018, 336 were in effect. At the same time, global trade has increased significantly. Between 1994 and 2010, the volume of world merchandise exports more than doubled. The proliferation of PTAs has resulted in a rise in international trade governance, because the countries involved shape their relationships in line with the WTO agreements. This juridification makes PTAs subordinate to the international system rather than giving them room to dissolve it. Canada should therefore have no fear of pursuing PTAs within the larger framework of the effort to achieve multilateral trade liberalization.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Governance, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ross Fetterly
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Canadian government allocates funds to departments through the annual federal budgetary process. With a Department of National Defence (DND) budget in the fiscal year 2019-20 of close to $22 billion,2 and expenditures spread out across a broad range of very different and distinct activities, expending the full allocation can be a significant challenge. While federal departments are permitted some carry-forward of eligible lapsing funds from one fiscal year to the next, in fiscal year 2018-19 the amount designated was up to five per cent of the operating budgets in their Main Estimates.3 With the federal government projecting significant budgetary deficits in the coming years, restricting or eliminating carry-forward of funding may be limited or eliminated to reduce deficits. Past practice within the department has been for the Investment Resource Management Committee (IRMC), chaired by the deputy minister, to decide on funding allocations of the carry-forward, based on departmental corporate priorities. While from an institutional perspective that aligns funding with optimal funding requirements, the consequence to organizations such as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is that only a limited amount of lapsed funding may be allocated the following fiscal year. Thus, the air force has a significant incentive regarding its budget: to “use it or lose it”.4 RCAF corporate over-planning (COP) is a principal in-year strategy to maximize the use of allocated financial resources. Yet, at the operational and tactical level, the concept and application of in-year over-planning is not sufficiently understood. This paper will frame over-planning within the context of the RCAF and then recommend strategies to integrate over-planning into the air force culture. Corporate over-planning is essentially a means toward an end; specifically, that of maximizing output given by defined resource allocation. The paper will first consider defence planning approaches and budget allocations, and then consider the strategic environment within which the organization operates. The third section will emphasize the need for change in how the RCAF manages financial resources, followed by a section on adapting to change. The fifth section will review the concept of over-planning. That will be followed by a discussion of RCAF institutional corporate over-planning. The seventh section will consider budgeting as communication and how this supports maintenance of a common operating picture within the RCAF on over-planning. The final section will focus on RCAF corporate over-planning by discussing the structural unexpended rate, applying an absorption rate in operations and maintenance activities, and planning investment opportunities.
  • Topic: Government, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Budget
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: David Carment
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: After three years of limited discussion, the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine renewed their peace talks to resolve the separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine (Donbas). Efforts to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Donbas began five years ago with the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. This framework, developed by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), attempted to facilitate a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine through the mediation of an impartial actor, and it culminated in the Minsk I (September 2014) and then Minsk II (February 2015) agreements. The Minsk II agreements comprised a 13-point peace plan, chief among which is an arrangement specifying support for the restoration of the Ukrainian-Russian border. While the implementation of the military portions of the Minsk II agreements were finalized within three months of signing, the political and security portions remained unresolved. Though President Vladimir Putin has declared his intent to protect the Russian-speaking peoples of the region, he has also stated he has no interest in reclaiming Eastern Ukraine. Not surprisingly, since Russia’s ultimate goal is undeclared, the conflict has proved very difficult to resolve.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Territorial Disputes, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Canada, France, Germany, United States of America
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: An internationalist and a progressive, Justin Trudeau consistently boosts diversity, social justice, environmentalism and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. A gifted retail politician, Trudeau prefers campaigning and contact with voters to the hurly-burly of the House of Commons. He possesses an empathy and emotional intelligence most people found lacking in his famous father, Pierre Trudeau. But are these attributes and causes out of sync with our turbulent times? Mr. Trudeau is learning firsthand what British prime minister Harold MacMillan warned U.S. president John F. Kennedy what was most likely to blow governments off-course: “Events, dear boy, events.” As Trudeau begins a second term as prime minister, the going is tougher. The Teflon is gone. He leads a minority government with new strains on national unity. Parliament, including his experiment in Senate reform, is going to require more of his time. Canada’s premiers will also need attention if he is to achieve progress on his domestic agenda. Does he have the patience and temperament for compromise and the art of the possible? The global operating system is increasingly malign, with both the rules-based international order and freer trade breaking down. Managing relations with Donald Trump and Xi Jinping is difficult. Canadian farmers and business are suffering - collateral damage in the Sino-U.S. disputes. In what was supposed to be a celebration of “Canada is back”, there is doubt that Canada will win a seat on the UN Security Council in June 2020. Losing would be traumatic for his government and their sense of Canada’s place in the world. It would also be a rude shock for Canadians’ self-image of themselves internationally.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics, Justin Trudeau
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Vern Kakoschke
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Defence procurement in Canada has had some well-known challenges in recent years. Many commentators have suggested possible strategies for fixing the defence procurement system. The identified problems include overspending on defence programs, unnecessary and undue delays in re-equipping Canada’s fleet of aircraft, ships and ground transport, and defence budgets that remain unspent. The problems also include procuring authorities experiencing a shortfall in manpower and expertise, the inability to execute on defence procurements, unjustified sole-sourcing without a proper competition, political interference in selection issues, and the list goes on. The proposed solutions often address process-related matters: establish a single agency responsible for defence procurement or perhaps a cabinet secretariat to manage the involvement of three of four government departments who are often not on the same page. To date, not much has been written or discussed in public policy forums on a critical question: How should the necessary capital assets be financed? At one extreme, Canada could simply write a cheque and pay for them up front, thereby placing the assets on Canada’s balance sheet. At the other extreme, Canada could drop the financing obligation into the laps of private-sector bidders and let them worry about the most efficient way of raising the necessary capital. A middle-ground solution could involve a public-private partnership (P3) structure, a model which seeks to balance the interests of the public and private sectors in a manner that leads to a better solution for all parties. Any public policy discussion often begins with first principles. What is the government’s policy objective? It is to procure the best available equipment, with the most benefit to the Canadian economy or local interest groups and at the lowest possible cost. All three goals must be balanced in a manner that is politically acceptable, meets budget constraints and withstands public scrutiny. In major procurements, capital can be the largest single cost of a defence procurement.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Armed Forces, Finance, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Ian Mack
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s experience with the Phoenix pay system is not just a pay problem. It points to wider problems in Canada’s management of complex major projects. Learning from Phoenix is important for the Government of Canada as a whole and the Department of National Defence specifically, the latter arguably responsible for the largest portfolio of complex projects – both for weapon systems platform and information technology initiatives. Fortunately, it appears that the Liberal government has taken notice. In the most recent Mandate Letters to Ministers, the Treasury Board President has been directed to ‘improve project management capabilities so that all major projects in government are led by a certified professional with at least five years of experience’. Additionally, the new position of Minister of Digital Government was tasked to ‘lead work to create a centre of expertise that brings together the necessary skills to effectively implement major transformation projects across government, including technical, procurement and legal expertise’ (and to lead in the replacement of the replacement pay system). This paper attempts to shed some light on the matter of pursuing complex projects and the enormity of the task at hand. I say “enormity” because complex projects are difficult to deliver at all (let alone on time and budget), as in evidence by the number that continue to fail in the private and public sectors, regardless of the complex project capabilities of those responsible for delivering them.
  • Topic: Government, Budget, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Adam Chapnick
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Feb. 11, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefed the Ottawa press corps after a meeting with the United Nations (UN) secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. Having pledged during the 2015 election campaign to re-engage with the UN, he noted that doing so would include “looking towards a bid for the Security Council.” Perhaps this comment should not have surprised. The Conservative government’s failure to win a Security Council (UNSC) seat in 2010 had been a subject of Liberal ridicule for years. Yet, council membership was not included among the Liberals’ 167 campaign promises, nor was it mentioned specifically in then-Foreign Affairs minister Stéphane Dion’s mandate letter. One month later, Trudeau met with Ban again, this time in New York. Afterwards, with Dion looking on, Trudeau announced that Canada would be joining the 2020 Western European and Others Group (WEOG) election for one of two non-permanent seats on the Security Council in 2021-2022. The move was unprecedented. It marked the first time that a Canadian prime minister, and not the Foreign Affairs minister or a member of the foreign service, had publicly declared Canada’s initial interest in a council seat. It was also the first time that Canada had deliberately entered an already contested election: Ireland, Norway and San Marino would be its opponents for two WEOG seats. This brief history of Canadian interest in Security Council membership will suggest that attempting to return to the UNSC was the right decision, made at the wrong time, and for the wrong reasons.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, Politics, History, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Canada, United Nations, North America
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Sexual Violence Research Initiative
  • Abstract: Education is central to efforts to prevent gender-based violence (GBV). However, while education can be used to prevent GBV, school-related GBV affects millions of children, families and communities. It involves acts or threats of sexual, physical or psychological violence occurring in and around schools, perpetrated because of gender norms and stereotypes, and enforced by unequal power dynamics.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Based Violence , Youth, Sexual Violence, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Moldova, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, Jordan, Swaziland, Papua New Guinea, United States of America
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Friday, June 28, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosts the leaders of the 19 major economic nations and the European Union in Osaka, Japan. As G20 finance ministers noted after their meeting earlier this month “growth remains low and risks remain tilted to the downside. Most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified.” Created in the wake of the 2007-2008 “Great Recession”, the G20 is economic multilateralism at work, an insurance policy to prevent globalization going off the rails. This 14th G20 summit is the culmination of a year-long series of ministerial meetings, hosted throughout Japan.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Ross Fetterly
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Defence budgets seldom remain constant, despite the long-term orientation required in defence planning. However, short-term fluctuations in funding can disrupt military programs and activities, and the impact can last several years. This is, in part, due to the unique mix of personnel, equipment and operations, which the defence budget funds. In times of rapid and unplanned defence budget reductions, short-term decisions can be made that are not necessarily in the best interest of the efficient and effective management of the armed forces. Indeed, significant unforecasted funding reductions could produce and reinforce dysfunctional behaviour. Defence budget reductions, to be effective, must include reductions in each of personnel, operations and maintenance, and capital categories in order to maintain a balance between current demands and building future capability. This study uses the Royal Canadian Navy to demonstrate the fundamental cost relationships in the management and operation of defence forces, which become evident during periods of rapid funding reductions. Fiscal year 2004-2005 is used as the baseline year for the study. The Canadian navy is used as a case study, although similar case studies could have been done for the Canadian army or air force. The Canadian navy has warships divided between the East and West coasts, with one naval base on each coast. This study reduces the number of ships, and associated base support on each coast, in a defined sequence until all ships are eliminated, and illustrates potential savings throughout this process. The study concludes that unless infrastructure, as well as the number of military and civilian personnel, is reduced as ships are decommissioned, savings are minimal.
  • Topic: National Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Randolf Mank
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s contemporary foreign policy has been shaped by deep integration with, and dependence on, the United States, offset by multilateral support for a rules-based international order. The Trump administration’s confrontational nationalism, combined with other global events and trends, has now disrupted Canada’s position and assumptions. This raises the question of whether or not it’s time for a Canadian foreign policy review. While the Trudeau government deserves credit for several initiatives, a series of discontinuities in Canada’s domestic and foreign policies suggests that our interests could be better served. The Canadian government has two main options: it can follow its current path of adjusting its policies in an ad hoc fashion, while waiting out the Trump administration and hoping for more favourable successors, or it can attempt to set Canada on a new path, in which case a foreign policy review would be warranted.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Anessa L. Kimball
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Despite providing European stability through collective defence and crisis management in an exclusive club, NATO faces persistent challenges from strategic insecurities complicated by recent institutional uncertainties. The club’s structure permits several goods-producing schemes, depending on how individual contributions combine, the qualities associated with a good’s publicness (i.e., its possible substitutes or how it excludes benefits from non-members) and partner differences in capacity and willingness. NATO faces challenges from Russia ranging from cybersecurity and media manipulation to overt and covert military pressures. Recent deployments sink costs and tie hands, reassuring commitment credibility, and are essential given the uncertainty generated from U.S. President Donald Trump’s ambiguous commitment to Article 5, compounded with the effects of Brexit on alliance politics and burden-sharing. Given the conjunction of strategic insecurities and institutional uncertainties, it is convenient to knock NATO, but rational institutionalist theory (RIT) is optimistic. RIT argues that the club’s design permits strategic adaptation to new contexts and insecurities, but partners must signal commitment credibly to prevent uncertainties about cohesion. RIT favoured enlargement to shift burdens, and data confirm that the Americans, British and Germans shifted burdens to others, including Canada. Moreover, any alternative to NATO is costly for less-endowed partners facing direct defence pressures. Canada’s role as a broker of compromise and its willingness to make its commitments credible places it in future missions, regardless. Canadian leadership in reassuring and socializing new partners in Operation Reassurance offers an opportunity to retain its objective and subjective position as a key partner.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Military Strategy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada, North America
  • Author: Randolph Mank
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s contemporary foreign policy has been shaped by deep integration with, and dependence on, the United States, offset by multilateral support for a rules-based international order. The Trump administration’s confrontational nationalism, combined with other global events and trends, has now disrupted Canada’s position and assumptions. This raises the question of whether or not it’s time for a Canadian foreign policy review. While the Trudeau government deserves credit for several initiatives, a series of discontinuities in Canada’s domestic and foreign policies suggests that our interests could be better served. The Canadian government has two main options: it can follow its current path of adjusting its policies in an ad hoc fashion, while waiting out the Trump administration and hoping for more favourable successors, or it can attempt to set Canada on a new path, in which case a foreign policy review would be warranted. The review option would only be useful if everything were on the table, including what to do about bilateral relations with the U.S., the future of our multilateral commitments, and domestic policies on such critical global issues as energy and the environment. The ultimate goal should be to advance Canada’s national interests through better aligned domestic and foreign policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Eugene Lang
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Two hundred and forty days. That is the average length of tenure – eight months – of the national security advisor to the U.S. president during the past two-and-a-half years. With the resignation or firing (depending on who you listen to) of John Bolton, Donald Trump is now on to his fifth assistant to the president for national security affairs, the official title of the job. It is an historic anomaly of epic proportions. Since the position was created during the Eisenhower administration in the early 1950s, on average national security advisors have served 32 months, exactly four times the average shelf life of Trump’s advisors (and Trump is only just over halfway through his first term of office).1 Revolving doors are of course a hallmark of the Trump administration, but does this one really matter?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, National Security, Politics, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Julian Lindley-French
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The purpose of this short briefing paper is to consider the capability and utility of contemporary Russian forces in relation to President Vladimir Putin’s strategic goals. Specifically, this paper examines the critical role played by Russia’s “New Look” military force in the realization of Moscow’s political goals via complex strategic coercion. Complex strategic coercion is the use of all national means and beyond by a “securitized” state such as Russia to systematically undermine the command authority, as well as the political and social cohesion of adversary states and institutions. This end is achieved by creating and exploiting divisions within diverse societies, interfering in national political processes and exacerbating tensions between democracies. Complex strategic coercion is underpinned by the threat of overwhelming conventional military power against weaker states at a time and place of the aggressor’s choosing. This type of coercion is allied to the implicit threat of nuclear and other means of mass destruction to confirm the changed facts on the ground by preventing strategic peer competitors from mounting a successful rescue campaign. Western strategists increasingly confuse strategy, capability and technology, thus undermining deterrence and defence efforts. Russian Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valeriy Gerasimov has been pioneering precisely the fusion of the three elements of warfare for a decade. The modernization of Russia’s armed forces must thus be seen in the context of a new form of complex strategic coercion that employs systematic pressure across 5Ds: disinformation, destabilization, disruption, deception and implied destruction. Russia’s strategic goal is to conduct a continuous low-level war at the seams of democratic societies, and on the margins of both the EU and NATO, to create implicit spheres of influence where little or no such influence would otherwise exist. In the worst case, complex strategic coercion would be used to mask Russian force concentrations prior to any attack on NATO and EU states from above the Arctic Circle and Norway’s North Cape in the north, through the Baltic States and Black Sea region and into the southeastern Mediterranean. The strategy’s enduring method is to use the implicit threat of force to keep the Western allies permanently off-balance, strategically, politically and militarily, and thus to offset any innate advantages afforded Western leaders by either their forces or resources. If the Alliance concept of deterrence and defence is to remain credible, an entirely new and innovative concept of protection and projection must be considered as a matter of urgency.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Deterrence, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Canada
  • Author: Jeff Collins
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Substantive defence issues rarely make national political campaign platforms. However, in the 2019 federal election, reforming the defence procurement bureaucracy to overcome delays became a highlight for not one but two of the country’s main political parties. To “ensure that priority projects are progressing on time and on budget”, the Conservatives called for the creation of a defence procurement secretariat within the Privy Council Office, akin to a model used by the Robert Borden government in the First World War. The winning Liberal party went further and promised to create a separate defence procurement agency, called Defence Procurement Canada (DPC). As of this writing, details remain sparse, but as with the Conservatives, the ostensible purpose of such a reform is to ensure that “Canada’s biggest and most complex defence procurement projects are delivered on time and with greater transparency …” Considering that the government’s own defence white paper, 2017’s Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) found that 70 per cent of all defence procurement projects were not delivered on time, the existing bureaucratic process warrants a serious look. In fact, a substantial shake-up of the Canadian defence procurement bureaucracy has not taken place since the last separate procurement organization, the Department of Defence Production (DDP), was abolished in 1969. Arguments for altering the bureaucratic architecture of Canadian defence procurement have ebbed and flowed since the mid-2000s, when the first of successive governments began acquisition plans for replacing decades-old fleets of equipment, including CF-18 jets, Protecteur-class auxiliary oiler replenishment ships, Halifax-class frigates and Iroquois-class destroyers. With much publicized delays in these and other major Crown projects (MCPs), reform advocates have drawn attention to Canada’s multi-departmental procurement process as a source of frustration. Unique among allies, Canada relies principally upon three departments – National Defence (DND), Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) – for acquiring MCPs. Other countries typically rely on one of three approaches to acquiring material for their armed forces: procurement by individual armed services (United States); centralized government organizations (United Kingdom) or independent civilian corporations (Sweden). Although it is not clear whether the Liberal proposal is a new department (akin to the DDP), a Crown corporation or an agency under the DND’s auspices, any restructuring of the defence procurement system will not be easy. No matter what shape it takes, any new organization must deal with rearranging a complex set of institutional realities based on decades’ worth of statutes, policy frameworks and human resources allocations. Political realties still apply, too. Any new organization must contend with Canadian procurement politics, including the impact of new governments, differing priorities, regionalism and purchasing patterns.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Politics, Military Affairs, Weapons , Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Ross Fetterly
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: At a time when even large, high-tech Silicon Valley corporations that operate as market disruptors are challenged to keep up with the pace of change, national Western governments need to ensure that defence funding is responsive to persistent, dramatic and non-linear shifts in the international strategic environment. The United States is experiencing a “deepening crisis of credibility in global affairs”,2 largely resulting from an America-first posture, rather than a multilateral approach with traditional allies. Some nations now view the U.S. as “undermining the international order”,3 and reliance on the U.S. as the leading democratic nation is less certain. Indeed, periods of great economic change “driven chiefly by economic and technological developments, which then impact on social structures, political systems, military power, and the position of individual states”,4 create a dynamic that shifts power, influence and trade among nations. Further, nations that can “develop, produce, and deploy technology the most effectively”5 can gain a comparative advantage in the current security environment, where the rate of technological change is accelerating. However, with adversaries advancing their military technology in increasingly shorter cycles, market dominance by Western defence firms has only fleeting or transitory advantage. The revolution in military technology has been a constant topic for analysts, but the changing military and defence department skill sets required in the future security environment are equally important, with the cyber-realm and space being two prominent examples.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Tetyana Payosova, Gary Clyde Hufbauer , Euijin Jung
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The mechanics of US withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have been widely explored, with an emerging consensus among legal experts that President Donald Trump does have the authority to pull out of the accord. This Policy Brief examines the legal procedures in Canada and Mexico in the event that either country decides to withdraw or terminate NAFTA. Relative to the United States, Canada and Mexico have clearer legal procedures. To terminate NAFTA in Canada, the Department of International Trade would send the notice to withdrawal upon approval by the Cabinet and the Order in Council. In Mexico, the president can notify withdrawal from NAFTA under Article 2205, following Senate approval. To raise tariffs to the MFN level, Canada requires amendment of federal statutes that requires passage in both chambers of the Parliament through regular procedures. To raise its tariffs, Mexico requires a bill to amend federal legislation that has the approval of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Canada, Mexico
  • Author: Daniel Henstra, Jason Thistlethwaite
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Floods cause more property damage than any other hazard in Canada, and water-related losses now exceed fire and theft as the main source of property insurance claims. Public spending on flood relief has grown, and is projected to increase dramatically over the next decade, so governments have been changing their policies to reduce their financial exposure by shifting responsibility to homeowners. An implicit assumption of this policy shift is that individual homeowners must share greater responsibility for protecting their property by purchasing newly available flood insurance. Evidence is presented suggesting that consumer demand for flood insurance may be insufficient for economic viability. Low risk perception and a moral hazard created by government disaster assistance limit incentives for purchasing insurance.
  • Topic: Environment, International Security
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Jeff Rubin
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The claim that additional pipeline capacity to tidewater will unlock significantly higher prices for bitumen is not corroborated by either past or current market conditions. Recent international commitments to reduce global carbon emissions over the next three decades will significantly reduce the size of future oil markets. Only the lowest-cost producers will remain commercially viable while high-cost producers will be forced to exit the market. The National Energy Board should consider a rapidly decarbonizing global economy when assessing the need and commercial viability of further pipelines in the country and use Western Canadian Select as the price benchmark when evaluating the economic viability of any new oil sands projects. Pension plans need to stress test their long-term investments in the oil sands in the context of a decarbonizing global economy.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Canada