Former Prime Minister talks policy

Joe Clark lectures at Grant Hall on Tuesday about increasing Canada’s international presence

Clark says Canada should increase its ties to countries like Indonesia.
Image by: Arwin Chan
Clark says Canada should increase its ties to countries like Indonesia.

The Right Honourable Joe Clark, the 16th Prime Minister of Canada, came to campus this past Tuesday to give the 2014 Sheila Skelton Menzies Lecture.

At the talk, Clark emphasized the need for Canada to establish more connections with the Third World. He argued it’s the only way Canada will remain relevant on the international political sphere.

The Sheila Skelton Menzies Lectures are organized to promote discussion on international relations and Canadian foreign policy on campus.

The lecture, held in Grant Hall, was presented by the Centre for International and Defence Policy in partnership with the department of political studies.

The lecture, titled “How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change”, focused on Canada’s need for strong international alliances in the 21st Century. It was the second time that Clark had been on campus, his first being 37 years ago.

“No country in the world is better [at] respecting and managing diversity then Canada,” he said.

Clark expanded upon potential partners for Canada in the future, one of which is Indonesia. By 2030, Clark said, the middle class of the country will consist of 90 million consumers.

“Canadian direct investment and trade is greatest in Indonesia,” he said.

With the growth of the relationship, he continued, the gap between the Third World and the West will be diminished.

He then went on to speak specifically of alliances and how they are shaped by the time.

Though the internet has empowered people to become more global and independent, Canada is an established country that prospers by conversation that leads to action, Clark said.

International groups like NATO, the G8 and OECD are highly relevant, but they aren’t for Canada’s future, he added.

Canadians need to focus on improving their relationships with other international communities, or else Canada could become an international gated community.

“Consider the alternatives,” he said.

After the lecture, Clark opened the room up for discussion, where he responded to queries about Canadian ties with other global superpowers, as well as his views on past and future stereotypes of Canada.

“Characteristics are quite deeply engrained in Canada,” he said.

We took it for granted that we would always be the United States’ best friend, Clark said, and we are a part of a large world that has immense interest in them.

“Canadian ties with the US have become complicated,” he said.

In response to an exchange student’s question on whether or not a Canadian alliance with China could form, Clark said that Canada needs to encourage equality in China instead of lecturing from afar.

Clark added Canada has a responsibility to maintain a strong stance on climate change and migration, given its global position. “This is not an issue that can be put aside,” he said.


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