Harper’s Days Are Numbered

If you are anything other than a conservative, your heart probably leapt at the title. Even the odd conservative might suddenly have awakened  from his centrist-induced stupor. However, this is not a prognostication about Conservative prospects in the next election. Rather, it is about the increasing risk of another major foreign policy misadventure by Harper and his government.

The Chinese, frustrated with the western domination of global financial institutions such as the IMF, which by tradition elects a European as head, and the World Bank which by traction, elects an American as head, have proposed the development of a new institution centered on Asia and the Pacific Rim called the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Any country that signs up on or before March 31 is considered a founding member and will enjoy privilege that later members may not enjoy such as the ability to approve or reject the application of future members. One might anticipate preferential treatment to members’ industries vying for new infrastructure development business.

Members As of March 22, 2015

Wikipedia lists 33 members as shown below. The first table includes countries around the Pacific Rim:

Country Date of Accession
 Bangladesh 2014
 Brunei 2014
 Cambodia 2014
 China 2014
 India 2014
 Indonesia 2014
 Jordan 2015
 Kazakhstan 2014
 Kuwait 2014
 Laos 2014
 Malaysia 2014
 Maldives 2014
 Mongolia 2014
 Myanmar 2014
   Nepal 2014
 Oman 2014
 Pakistan 2014
 Philippines 2014
 Qatar 2014
 Saudi Arabia 2015
 Singapore 2014
 Sri Lanka 2014
 Tajikistan 2015
 Thailand 2014
 Uzbekistan 2014
 Vietnam 2014

Source: Wikipedia.

It is the second table that is more interesting because it contains the major industrial nations of Europe:

Country Date of Application
 France 17 March 2015
 Germany 17 March 2015
 Italy 17 March 2015
 Luxembourg 19 March 2015
 New Zealand 28 November 2014
  Switzerland 20 March 2015
 United Kingdom 13 March 2015

Source: Wikipedia.

In addition, the IMF supports the AIIB (IMF happy to cooperate with China on AIIB: Lagarde) and Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan are under consideration of joining the AIIB.

So where is Canada and where is Harper who belatedly realized that trade with Asia is the only future growth opportunity for Canada? Perhaps he is busy with golf lessons. In any case, as of this writing, he has eight days to move on this opportunity. He’s leaving it awfully late.

The day after we first published this article we revisited the Wikipedia page and found that Hong Kong had been dropped from the list in the last paragraph and replaced by Canada. We cannot , however, find any source to support a Canadian position on the AIIB. We have not asked Foreign Affairs since questions to government departments may typically takes weeks or months to answer.

Update 20150325

Wikipedia now lists Australia as a member. News media are starting to pick up on Canada’s position as one of “considering” (BNN: Canada weighs joining China-led infrastructure bank; Bloomberg: Canada Weighs Joining China-Led Bank Amid U.S., Japan Concerns).

After Obama rejected Harper’s pet project, the Keystone pipeline, Harper owes the US nothing. We can’t understand why we have to continue with a US-designed foreign policy of bombing whom they want us to bomb and not joining a new international institution that the US doesn’t want us to join.

Update 20150327

With the time being 5:00 PM Friday, the government is still sitting with its thumbs up that place where its foreign policy as of late seems to emerge from. With Tuesday being the deadline for joining, they have the weekend to ponder ponderously an issue that other major countries have had no apparent trouble with, leaving them 2 days to act. Read Canada lags as more countries join new China investment bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Join on the right terms.

Update 20150329

With membership now at 45 and 2 days left, Canada remains standing on the platform while the train is ready to leave the station. Since our last update, Russia, Brazil, Denmark and Spain have joined among others.

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