Wall Street melts down in 2008. Greece announces financial troubles and borrows €110 billion in 2010. It isn't enough, so a second bailout package brings the total loan to €246 billion by 2016. In early 2015, Alexis Tsipras of the radical left Syriza party is sworn in as the new prime minister with a plan to refuse any more loans. On June 28, the Greek government announces bank closures. Two days later, they miss an IMF payment and default on their debt.
A Greek crisis cannot be good for the world right now, and we cannot/should not be mute spectators. Here are some reasons why we in Canada in particular, and the rest of the world in general, have to cautiously monitor the current events in Greece, and should try to guide or help Greece get out of the crisis before it becomes contagious. Canada already has internal financial stresses, just like many other countries around the world do, at this moment; this Greek crisis can add to external stress for many countries, and this really is bad timing, and an unwanted occurrence for the world economy.
The number of deaths have been mounting over the years. The International Organization of Migration estimates that somewhere in the range of 20,000 women, men and children have drowned in the Mediterranean between 2000 and 2014, while trying to reach safety and new lives in Europe. Canada can and should be central to international efforts to address the underlying crises in Syria, Eritrea and other countries, propelling the displacement that leads to the Mediterranean. This is not a crisis that Canada should simply observe and lament.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Canada for his first official visit today, drawing attention to the opportunity that India offers for the Canadian economy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government have made global market access a priority, and India, a Commonwealth cousin, is at the top of the list.
Supply management, a sensible regulated system where domestic supply is governed by domestic demand, is under attack from critics who are uninformed about its usefulness and effectiveness for producers, processors and consumers. In short, they suggest it must be sacrificed on the altar of the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations if Canada wants to be inside that grouping which, they all assume, would benefit the country.
To be sure, the Forum once again generated news and social content about business trends, societal needs, industry insights and new voices in the global economy. But the real conversations in the hallways were that global business leaders are more concerned over the threat of Euro collapse than debating problems of income inequality.
Given Canada's proximity to the United States, we tend to take our peace and security for granted. This comfortable distance from most of the world's violence has also led us to underestimate how useful Canada might be in defusing threats elsewhere using an item some people overlook as leverage: energy. Canadians might have a general sense that oil in particular matters to world affairs; but given that Canada has never been a superpower, it has never been responsible for the wider world order to ensure that oil (or natural gas) flow to countries that need it. Given recent developments at home and abroad, that blissful unawareness merits re-thinking.
Most of the laws in force in Germany today originated in Brussels. If an unpopular topic is rejected in the domestic arena, politicians frequently try to push it through via the EU. This often infringes the principle of subsidiarity, which stipulates that the EU should only handle what member states cannot handle themselves.
Despite the very tangible political or economic benefits it could bring, Russia never considered peacefully ceding any of its remaining territorial holdings to its neighbours. During the 1998 financial crisis for example, President Boris Yeltsin never thought of selling the sparsely populated, almost vestigial property of Sakhalin Island in the north Pacific to a cash-rich, land-poor Japan, even as Russia desperately needed hard currency to prop up a crashing ruble. If and when Crimea votes to leave Ukraine for Russia, Western economic sanctions will surely follow if Russia happily embraces the peninsula.
Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, is attempting to justify the recent changes to the refugee determination system and refugee health care with divisive language and misrepresentation of the facts. This is not a reasonable way to develop public policy that affects some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
With the Ex-Ukranian PM, Yulia Tymoshenko, announcing Monday that she will be leaving to Germany for medical treatment it is now clear that she will not be written into the new political narrative. The future appears to belong to younger, untarnished politicians such as former heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko.
Russia is home to the biggest Ukrainian diaspora in the world, an estimated 20 million or so persons of Ukrainian descent live there. The Russian minority in Ukraine is estimated to be as high as 40 per cent of its 45 million population. Frankly, if a division along EU versus Russia lines exist the country as now constituted is untenable.
Ukraine's Orange Revolution 2.0 has been underway for months and crowds are now demanding that the President leave office. Ukraine's only hope is to join the European Union because its leaders have proven to be corrupt and undemocratic or ineffectual. The EU would, as it has with other former Soviet satellites, become steward and provide a template for modernization of Ukraine. Yanukovych and Putin alike have overplayed their hand by authorizing snipers to murder innocent people in the streets of Kiev.
The Obama administration, the Harper government and the Peña Nieto administration in Mexico all hope to boost economic growth and create jobs by opening up global markets and letting the best North American firms and workers compete. Before stepping into the ring with the world's heavyweight economies, North America needs to listen to Muhammad Ali.