Canada must step up to defend a globalized world -

Canada must step up to defend a globalized world

Our editorial: Canada should play a greater role in combating the effects of the neo-tribalism of the 21st century

Thousands of Canadians took part in a massive protest against President Trump's travel ban on Muslims during the National Day of Action against Islamophobia and White Supremacy in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on February 04, 2017. Canadians joined countries around the world in protesting against American President Donald Trump's executive order, banning citizens of seven majority Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya) from entering the United States for the next three months and banning Syrian refugees from indefinitely entering America. (Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Thousands of Canadians took part in a massive protest against President Trump’s travel ban during the National Day of Action against Islamophobia and White Supremacy in downtown Toronto, Feb. 4, 2017. (Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Last month, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released a set of worst-case scenarios that could befall the Canadian economy. Meant to gauge the robustness of the crown corporation’s mortgage insurance business in a crisis, the list reads like of a menu of economic nightmares: another sharp drop in oil below $20 a barrel, a high-magnitude earthquake hitting a major Canadian city, a repeat of the catastrophic U.S. housing crisis of 2008 and a severe outbreak of anti-global sentiment around the world. And while it’s good news CMHC declared itself financially fit to tackle all potential calamities, the bad news is that the list’s most dangerous possibility also appears to be its most likely.

According to CMHC’s projections, a spike in anti-globalization caused by a protectionist swing in the U.S. and China would drastically curtail global trade and trigger a 15 per cent unemployment rate in Canada, along with a 31.5 per cent drop in housing prices. It is the worst outcome of the four horrors considered.

As gloomy as it seems, however, it’s not so far-fetched. Nearly everywhere you look the precepts of globalization—open borders, free markets, free trade, respect for human rights and international co-operation—are under attack. Evidence of this rising tide of anti-globalization includes last year’s election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote, as well as recent successes by authoritarian and nationalist parties across Europe, plus the current unrest in Spain over Catalan separatism. Meaningful global trade negotiations around the world have essentially ceased.

READ MORE: Is Brexit the start of a new war against globalization?

Where globalization, trade and international co-operation defined the post-war era of the late 20th century, the early 21st century is in danger of becoming known as a period of neo-tribalism. Closed borders, reduced trade, greater nationalism and deep suspicion of foreigners and foreign perspectives are all sentiments gaining in currency. The world grows more insular as nationalist politicians seek to convince voters the world consists of “us” versus “them.”

As a country with a remarkably diverse population heavily reliant on trade, Canada is crucially dependent on the benefits of globalization. Life in the absence of NAFTA, for example, would be “catastrophic” for Canada, as Aaron Hutchins explains. The same goes for immigration, and its crucial contribution to our domestic economy. So what can be done to push against this ascendant tribal urge?

Globalization may have its faults, but it deserves a much stronger defence than it has received to date. The enormous reduction in worldwide poverty—the percentage of the Earth’s population living in hunger has been halved since 1990—is a direct result of open borders, trade and rising world food production. Upward mobility and economic growth in all countries is also increasingly dependent on global production chains, foreign investment and the rapid spread of new technologies. The striking absence of military conflicts between major nations since the Second World War is another tremendous benefit arising from globalization and greater international co-operation.

Given the stakes, Canada must play a greater role in defending globalization at home and around the world. We need to become, as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said earlier this year, “an essential country” in promoting international cooperation and human rights. Our economic success, the harmony of our diverse population and our willingness to embrace change and new ideas all stand in opposition to the malign forces of tribalism. We also need to take concrete action, including such things as Canada’s Magnitsky legislation, unanimously approved by the House of Commons recently, which establishes important global norms in the fight against corrupt governments. With open borders, open markets and open minds, Canada is the solution to these increasingly tribal times.


Canada must step up to defend a globalized world

  1. You guys must sit up late at night making lists of things to be afraid of.

  2. Globalization is a concept relating to business interests. It should not, like most other philosophies or theories, be a part of the national dialogue. If it’s as beneficial to mankind as it’s cracked up to be, it should not require defending at all.

    There is no way Canada is able to impose globalization, even on ourselves. It relies on good will and cooperation, not force or coercion.

    In Canada when we use the word ‘defense’ we think military and – in regard to globalization – military is a word that should not be associated.

    We have only to think of the actions one small Canadian ‘player’, with global reach, Talisman Energy and the intergenerational war it caused in South Sudan. If that is ‘globalism’ Canadians should be attacking it, not defending it.

    • Globalization is nothing like that.

      Where do you get these screwy ideas from?

  3. To paraphrase UofT Jordan Peterson, “your social systems have to be large enough that they can protect you, but small enough that you have a place in them.The distance between the typical citizen and the bureaucracy that runs the entire structure must not become so great that it’s an element of destabilization in and of itself and an abstract imposition from the top…

    We know what happened already during the 20th century as a consequence of utopian schemes. What happened was mayhem on a scale that can’t be matched, and which we had not seen during the entire history of humanity.
    One of the problems with trying to implement a scheme in a large-scale social system is that the probability of that scheme having the result you intended is negligible. What will happen is something that you don’t intend — or worse, it will be antithetical to your original intent.
    Anyone who thinks that he can do it better than those who have tried in the past and murderously failed is both arrogant and ignorant of how dumb he really is.”

    We have a working system. We should be working towards perfecting that system rather than tearing the whole thing down and starting again from scratch.

  4. Macleans has blatantly exposed itself as a globalist shill for the New World Order. It touts the “reduction in worldwide poverty” but neglects to mention that it’s at the expense of ordinary Canadians. Left unsaid is the impoverishment and diminution of the middle class. Globalization serves the interests of the ultra-wealthy elite, but left unsaid is increasing wealth disparity where a tiny minority at the top owns ever larger amount of a shrinking pie.