In a six-week series of interviews, Canadians with a variety of experiences discuss the major challenges our country is facing and how best to address them. This instalment deals with taking our place in the world.
Yuen Pau Woo, former president and chief executive officer of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, was interviewed Sept. 4 by Monica Pohlmann, a consultant with Reos Partners.
POSSIBLE CANADAS ON TAKING OUR PLACE IN THE WORLD
- Jeanette Armstrong on reconciliation: ‘Partnership with indigenous peoples is necessary’
- John Borrows on indigenous legal traditions: ‘We need to explore how we can take that law and carve it in new and beautiful ways’
- Suzanne Fortier on creating a smart and caring nation: ‘We need our youth to be people of action, to be builders’
- Roger Gibbins on deciding where we’re going: ‘If we have a niche in the global economy, what is it?’
- L. Jacques Ménard on fulfilling our responsibilities: ‘Being social democrats, we tend to defer too much’
- Tanzeel Merchant on how we live: ‘We’re not going to be an immigrant magnet forever’
- Farah Mohamed on Canada’s competitiveness: ‘We can’t afford a lost generation’
- Janice Gross Stein on smugness: ‘Comfort is our biggest enemy’
- Joseph Wilson on learning: ‘People are envious of what we’re doing in education’
Pohlmann: What keeps you up at night about what’s going on in Canada?
Woo: Complacency. Canada has been blessed with numerous natural endowments and political and institutional assets. But we are slipping on many indices and our position in the world could deteriorate sharply. The usual story for why Canada didn’t fall into a more severe recession in 2008 is that we have strong banks and a good financial regulatory system – for example, that we didn’t have a subprime mortgage problem like the U.S. That’s all true. But we overlook the fact that China saved Canada from a more severe recession. If you look at what kept growth from falling even further between 2008 and 2011, the answer is Chinese demand. Exports from Canada to China doubled between 2008 and 2013. Exports from Canada to the rest of the world, including to the U.S., still have not caught up to the levels they were in 2007. Continue reading