Dilemmas in Getting China Right: Canadian Policy and the Evaporating Middle Power Role

Professor Paul Evans
5 February 2015

Dealing with global China is not easy for any country. Since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has moved through three phases in revising an engagement strategy that had been in place since 1970. A combination of factors – Conservative ideology and philosophy, changes in Chinese behaviour and the scale of the relationship, and shifts in public attitudes – have produced a series of complications that have limited the scope and imagination of what previously was a robust middle power role. The presentation will focus on the evolution of Canadian policy and the hard choices now facing the government related to the China factor in foreign investment, national security, and international governance.

About the Speaker: Professor Paul Evans (PhD Dalhousie) has been a professor at the University of British Columbia since 1999 where he teaches Asian and trans-Pacific international relations. His academic appointments have been as Assistant, Associate, and Professor, Department of Political Science, York University, 1981-97; Director, University of Toronto – York University Joint Centre for Asia Pacific Studies, 1991-96; Visiting Professor, Asia Center, Harvard University, 1997-99; Acting Director, Liu Institute for Global Issues, 2004-5; Director, Institute of Asian Research, 2008-11; Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong, 2011 and 2013; and, effective January 2014, Visiting Professor of Asian and International Affairs at Singapore Management University.Between 2005 and 2008 he was on leave from UBC to serve as the Co-CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. He has held visiting fellowships at the Australian National University (1988); National Chengchi University (1989); Chulalongkorn University (1989); the East-West Center (1995); and the National Institute for Research Advancement in Tokyo (1999). The author or editor of eight books, his first was a biography of John Fairbank, his most recent, with David Capie, a lexicon of Asia Pacific security terminology, and his current one Engaging China: Myth, Aspiration and Strategy in Canadian Policy from Trudeau to Harper to be published by the University of Toronto Press in April 2014.An advocate of cooperative and human security, a regionalist rather than country specialist, and an inveterate trans-Pacific traveller, since 1988 he has been studying and promoting policy related activity on track-two security processes and the construction of multilateral institutions. He was a co-founder of the Council for Security Cooperation in Asia Pacific (CSCAP), the Canadian Consortium on Human Security, and the Canada-Korea Forum. He has directed exchange and partnership projects with more than fifteen institutes in Asia and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, funded by governments and foundations in Canada, Japan, the United States, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia.