Monday, October 03, 2005

Maximizing connections

Peter MacLeod has an interesting commentary on how Europe is much further ahead of the international curve than we realize...and how we're worse off for lack of connections to the EU:
Canada's political and social consonance with Europe is an open secret. The real question is why this parity has so far failed to translate into a more active partnership.

Part of the reason is surely based on the outdated idea of "old world" Europe. As North Americans, we naturally clamour towards the new while our public perception of Europe is still stuck firmly in the past. Cutting-edge architecture, software and social policy haven't yet replaced an outdated image of Cold War Europe, with its high taxes, and trade unions.

If true, then this is a perception that needs to change. Otherwise, we risk a future where Canada is squeezed by not just one elephant, but two. The United States and China offer us their market. What they don't offer is a peer group or any of the cooperative structures necessary to address the trans-national challenges created by integrating economies. The prospect of Canada caught between two hyper-economies, trudging fruitlessly to the WTO or court systems for round after round of un-enforced arbitration is not one that anyone should relish. Stated plainly, Canada doesn't need out of NAFTA, but perhaps it needs special membership in the EU. The choice doesn't need to be either/or - the genius is the 'and'.

All too true (except perhaps on the "doesn't need out of NAFTA" line). Give it a read.

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