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Canadian Foreign Policy In order to discover what the foreign policy of a country is we need to look first what are the objectives of a country. Canada plays important role in the world and is a member of many international organizations. Canada, like any other country has its own goals that it is trying to pursue through the participation in world political affairs. For many years, when Canadians looked southward, we tended not to see beyond the United States. Our entry into the Organization of American States in 1990 was a clear political signal of our desire to play a more active role in hemispheric issues. We hoped that our involvement in the OAS would lead to a revitalization of regional intergovernmental institutions.
In the early 1990 s, Canada negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement -- NAFTA -- with the United States and Mexico. This was the first regional trade agreement in the world involving developing and developed countries. During the same period, we extended our resident diplomatic representation to practically all countries of the region. In 1994, Prime Minister Chretien participated in the Miami Summit of the Americas, where leaders of 34 democratically elected countries agreed on a partnership for development and prosperity.
This partnership would be based on a commitment to democratic practices, economic integration, and social justice. In March next year, that process will continue with the Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile. These talks aim to lay the groundwork for a future Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005. They will also address other important social development issues, including education.
Meanwhile, Canada has been pursuing closer trading relations throughout the region. This year, Canada and Chile concluded a bilateral free trade agreement. This was an expression of Canadas desire to continue with a trading agenda at a time when some in the U. S.
Congress are reluctant to give fast-track approval for negotiations to include Chile in NAFTA. Canada is also talking trade with other regional groupings, such as MERCOSUR, the Andean Pact, CARICOM, and the Central American Common Market. We look forward to trade partnerships with members of these groups as we move toward hemispheric free trade. Let me draw your attention to Canadas efforts to develop enhanced trading relations with MERCOSUR.
This regional trade pact includes Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Canada exported nearly $ 1. 7 billion Canadian to these four countries in 1996, and absorbed imports of $ 1. 4 billion. The Canadian government is trying to lay the groundwork, which will allow more and smoother trading between MERCOSUR and Canada. Moreover, Canada has played a significant role in the grass-roots activism that should lead utmost lead us a meaningful international accord on the banning of anti-personnel mines. In order to focus on Canadian foreign policy it is vital to understand the concerns of Canadians. There is wide divergence among Canadians about the most serious problem facing the world.
Concern about world peace and the threat of war (16 %) still tops the list of Canadians international concerns, followed by concern about the environment (14 %), hunger (13 %) and unemployment (10 %). No single issue has replaced the high levels of concern about world peace measured in the late 1980 s. The priorities Canadians propose for Canadian foreign policy tend to match their concerns discussed above. Canadians place greatest importance on the foreign policy goals of protecting the global environment and pursuing world peace. These goals are considered important by over 95 % of Canadians, most of whom (75 %) consider these goals very important. Large (but slightly smaller) majorities also consider it important for Canada to promote trade (93 %), discourage human rights abuse (84 %), maintain a foreign policy independent of the United States (81 %), maintain the ability to defend Canada (83 %), participate in the United Nations (84 %), work to improve the position of women in developing countries (83 %), assist poorer countries to improve their living standards (82 %), and to solve ecological problems (79 %).
These goals are considered very important by 35 % to 54 % of Canadians. However, these differences should not obscure the fact that Canadians endorse all these foreign policy goals. A perfect example of Canadian foreign policy can be the discussion on the ratification of Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto agreement has the potential to affect every sector of society because most anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO 2, come from energy production and use. It will be necessary to have full cooperation of all countries, both developed and developing, to fulfill the goals set out at the Kyoto Convention. Global warming will be a great concern for future generations, but it is time to take action now to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and to slow the human-induced global warming process.
The longer the worlds nations wait to respond, the more costly the response will be (Herzog, 1999). It would appear that Canada is an ideal place live, yet in order to succeed and live in this fast past environment, a few unknowingly sacrifices have been made. Canada is one of the main contributors of emission and other deadly gases, which leads to global climate change and therefore should take a more aggressive approach in finding solutions. By not concentrating on finding ways to reduce emission gases, the ozone layer continues to deplete, and therefore causes the climate to change worldwide. Nevertheless it is also important to understand how exactly climate can change. In Canada, there are old and new factories, where the marginal abatement costs for different firms are different.
According to the production history, location, and some other criterions, factories are granted different number of tradable rights. They can get more rights through auctions and trading with other factories. Yet, when this comes to an international level, it is always hard to determine how many permits each country should be granted. The Kyoto Protocol does not set a deadline for achieving the targets, but allows countries to average their emissions over a five-year period 2008 to 2012 to allow for variations in economic growth, weather and other factors. Scientists believe the emissions, once in the atmosphere, produce a greenhouse effect on the Earths temperature, gradually increasing it and causing changes in historical weather patterns. To come into force, the Kyoto accord needs ratification by 55 countries that account for 55 % of all industrialized countries' carbon emissions caused mostly by the burning of fossil fuels believed to cause global warming and other climate changes.
Canadas ratification is not crucial to meeting the 55 / 55 goal, but officials say Mr. Chretien would like to be seen as part of the international system for reducing carbon emissions. By forcing Canadian companies to meet mandatory reduction targets by 2012, Canadian companies say they will have to spend money on new energy technologies that will put them at an uncompetitive disadvantage with their U. S. counterparts. Kyoto would devastate certain economic sectors leaving many Canadians in regions dependent on these industries severely harmed.
Kyoto is the creation of political elements in economies, which are energy and resource consumers - primarily European. They devised a system that makes the exporting country pay, not the importing or consuming nation. There is no environmental rationale for this bias - it is simply political and Canada must protect its interests. Kyoto would not decrease global GHG production; it will only shift it to other countries. The economic benefits of the Kyoto agreement are rarely tabulated when opponents consider the costs - benefits such as technological advancement and innovation for the future, savings due to conservation and reduction on oil dependency (and protection from possible significant increases in oil costs in the near future), as well as reduction in the economic effects of wildly fluctuating petroleum pricing. With the way the U.
S. has been behaving lately vis -- vis international cooperation, we have to be very cautious about what we are willing to sign. No other country in the world is as affected by U. S. economic actions as Canada is.
In Canada Ontario has decided to join Quebec and Alberta in order to challenge Ottawas to diminish greenhouse-gas emissions according to Kyoto Protocol. This has become another barrier in front of Canadas Prime Minister Jean Chretien's plans to ratify the agreement by the end of the year. Ottawa has made it almost impossible for other provinces to support the Kyoto Protocol, because of negative consequences that can happen. Implementing Kyoto Protocol is a very risky economic decision, which can cause economical disaster in Central Canada. Ottawa claims the treaty would cost the economy $ 500 -million annually, while Canadas oil and gas industry puts the figure at $ 4. 5 -billion a year. Chris Stockwell, Ontario's Environment Minister had said that federal government might ask it to bear as much as 35 per cent of the burden for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions under Kyoto.
Such a demand can result into huge job losses, a huge drag on the economy and billions of dollars in lost revenue for Ontario. It seems to me they " re making it near impossible for responsible elected officials in provincial legislatures to support this and, frankly, it's passing strange, Mr. Stockwell said in an interview with The Globe and Mail. According to Chris Stockwell, Ontario can be in the growing list of provinces that are afraid of ratification of Kyoto Protocol. Quebec also had been against Kyoto Protocol, because Kyoto plan is forcing the province to bear more that its fair share of greenhouse-gas emission cuts in order to settle Alberta. Mr.
Stockwell believes that federal government has failed to meet targets of Kyoto Protocol without harming prosperity in provinces, Frankly, I think British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Ontario are all probably singing from the same hymn book on this one. However, federal government Environment Minister David Anderson had said that provinces are merely jockeying for the best treatment that can be possible under Canadas plan to diminish greenhouse-gases. According to Kyoto Protocol Canada should reduce harmful emissions that cause global warming. These emissions are from such sources as electricity production, heating, vehicles, manufacturing and especially oil and gas production. Oil and gas productions are extremely profitable for Canadian provinces, and with ratification of Kyoto Protocol, these industries will suffer huge losses. Ralph Klein, Alberta Premier, is opposing ratification of Kyoto Protocol, because many companies in Alberta, especially the provinces energy sector, will cause too heavy financial burden be put on them that companies in the United States do not have to bear, thus making companies of Alberta to be less competitive comparing to those of the United States.
The Ontario Liberal opposition has criticized Mr. Evess government for being weak in protecting the environment of the province. After Mr. Evess meeting with Mr. Klein, the criticism had even increased. Former Liberal environment minister Jim Bradley warned of the risks to Ontario of siding with Mr.
Klein and resisting a clean up of greenhouse gases, calling the Alberta Premier an environmental Neanderthal. Quebec Environment Minister Andre Boisclair said at the press conference that Ottawas current position on Kyoto plans give Alberta's energy sector free ride, while at the same time making competition unfair. According to Boisclair, Quebec will be seeking for own agreement with Ottawa over cutting harmful emissions in the province. I don't see why, in the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, we would give a free ride to the energy sector, Mr. Boisclair said. Now that most Canadians have been aware about global warming, the government of Canada along with the United Nations Framework of Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has implementing possible solutions to reduce the levels of gases being introduced in the environment.
Established in nineteen ninety-seven in Japan, the Kyoto protocol main objectives were to make the issue of climate change well acknowledged, and also to have large industrial countries to reduce the amount of emission gases they produce. Mr. Chretien has decided to ratify Kyoto Protocol by the end of the year; however, there is not much time left. It is obvious that ratification of the protocol is desperately needed to protect global environment, however economic losses that Canadian economy will suffer make it much harder to ratify the protocol by the end of the year. The Parliament will have only one month left to approve the protocol, because federal government needs at least one month to prepare draft plan for carrying out Kyoto agreement. This affects Canada a great deal because then the government has to regulate how much energy and gases can be used.
Industrial, transportation, electrical and fossil fuel productions had the highest cases of emission gas releases in nineteen ninety-seven. Since the issue of the Kyoto Protocol, Canada is trying to cut down emission gases by twenty-six percent. Even recently, the Canadian government has put together an action plan so that they use renewable and alternative sources of energy that will not harm the environment as much. What the government is trying to use for energy consists of solar rays, wind, hydroelectricity, and biomass energy to produce thermal energy without depleting natural resources or releasing toxic gas.
With this new technology of alternative energy, Canada can continue to prosper while cutting down on harmful emission gases. Other than the government attempting to create new ways of reducing energy by investing a lot of money from their economic systems, education is somewhat overlooked. It is cost efficient long-term solution, which can be affected even with the littlest change that will make a big difference. What if Canadians choose not to act on these possible solutions, what would happen to the severity of Canada then? Perhaps total chaos would occur because the standard of living would decrease, and life would be difficult to sustain.
The most obvious threat of global warming is the depletion of the ozone layer, which could lead to cancer because the sun uva rays would be so strong. Unfortunately, that is not all; the loss of the ozone also means damaged crops, and heat waves, which can lead to over exertion or death. The polar ice caps would melt and therefore would increase sea levels. The coastal provinces would most likely be flooded, and in other parts of the world, a drought could occur. Canada alone could experience the temperature to rise between one and three and a half degrees, which will defiantly impact the fish population, forest, and agriculture, not to mention the people who depend on those resources. The government of Canada should do more to enforce these possible solutions to reduce emission gases, in order to prevent a terrible situation of global warming.
Recently at the UN Climate Summit in Hague, no parties could reach an agreement. Canada sided with the United States and Japan by arguing for large controversial loopholes that were incompatible with Europe's integrity. Canada, United States and Japan are all three of the most powerful developed nations, and it appears that they do not want to take responsibility for their countries actions? It seems that the consumption patterns and profit levels are blinding most Canadians about the danger of global warming. Canada is not invincible and therefore should be careful in planning and using excess energy. Every little drop of carbon dioxide, water vapor, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), nitrous oxide, and methane, adds up, and eventually makes its way into the atmosphere.
If only Canada could reduce emission gases by two percents a year, for ten years, seven thousand pounds of Carbon dioxide will be lost. That may not seem like a lot, but in time, it will make a huge difference in the fight against global climate change. With so many good things going on in Canada, it really is one of the best places to live in the world, and for those reasons, Canadians should do what ever it takes to keep it that way. Bibliography: The National Post, July 22, 2002. web Canada breaking Kyoto promises: Greenhouse gas emissions higher since treaty signed, watchdog says. web Kyoto Greenhouse Gas Commitments and Ontario Corn.
web Stevens, William K. Despite pact, gases will keep rising. (Kyoto Protocol to limit emissions of greenhouse gases) The New York Times, 147, (Dec 12, 1997) Gelbspan, Ross. Climate change threatens democracy. Earth Island Journal, 1997.
Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, Vol. 8, Num. 1 - 3, 2000 / 2001, web Canadian Foreign Policy and Foreign Relations, web
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