In late June, the Canadian government announced the lifting of visa requirements for Mexican visitors starting Dec. 1, one of several measures that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hopes will improve ties with Mexico. In an email interview, Laura Macdonald, a professor of political science at Carleton University, discussed Canada’s ties with Latin America.
WPR: How extensive are Canada’s diplomatic and economic ties across Latin America, and who are its main partners in the region?
Laura Macdonald: The United States is by far Canada’s most important economic, political and military partner in the world. However, the stagnation of the U.S. and European economies following the 2008 financial crisis and the rapid growth of emerging markets has led to greater emphasis on Canada’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2007, the government of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed itself to making the Americas a top foreign policy priority and increasing Canada’s presence in the region. In 2015, Canada traded over $60 billion with the region. Since 2007, bilateral trade between Canada and the Americas has increased by more than 40 percent, and investment has more than doubled.