Conversations with Canadian Leaders: Canada as an Asia Pacific Nation

Continuing The Conversation

Canada’s overall engagement in the Asia Pacific region has been relatively uneven considering the different levels of progress across sectors. Without taking a long-term approach, there is a tendency to jump in unprepared and focus too narrowly on economic objectives. While it is necessary to identify mutual interests, several leaders reiterated the importance of building trust and establishing mutual respect at the interpersonal, inter-organizational, and intergovernmental levels. Moving forward, developing a more targeted and coordinated approach was emphasized as a key priority given the need to consolidate efforts across governments and sectors and promote a strong national brand in the Asia Pacific region.

As public awareness and understanding are essential to driving changes in priorities and practices, Canadian leaders have emphasized the value of ongoing public engagement. In particular, public dialogue needs to be multi-sector and multi-stakeholder, but also inclusive of different communities across the country to broaden the discussion. By expanding the focus beyond markets, new partnership horizons could appear, leading to a more comprehensive approach to relationship building that could not only strengthen economic relations in the long run, but also lead to further innovations that support social and environmental change.