One of Canada`s main foreign policy objectives is the promotion of human rights and democracy in regimes with a high level of political repression. We argue that, in the case of China, establishing more open trade relations with the Middle Kingdom will ultimately lead to a higher level of political empowerment and social progress. In fact, Ottawa`s attempt to conclude a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Beijing does not go far enough. China`s progress continues to stand up to expectations, but it remains a bit narrow in intention and scale – getting rich is wonderful! Yet the Communist Party`s income redistribution and economic development campaigns have improved the living standards of millions of Chinese. The Harper Government can effectively accelerate this process and fulfill its dual human rights and international trade obligations by negotiating a more robust trade agreement with the People`s Republic of China (PRC). The North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico entered into force on January 1, 1994 and created the world`s largest free trade region by GDP. In 2014, the combined GDP for NAFTA was estimated at more than $20 trillion, with a market of 474 million people.   Building on this success, Canada continues to negotiate and conclude free trade agreements with more than 40 countries, most recently with South Korea, which is Canada`s first free trade agreement with a partner in the Asia-Pacific region. Beginning in 2018, Canada also concluded two other important multilateral trade agreements: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union and the Eleven-Nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with ten other Pacific countries.  On September 21, 2017, CETA was provisionally applied, which immediately eliminated 98% of the Union`s tariffs on Canadian products.  Canada is currently the only G7 country to have free trade agreements with all other G7 countries. Free trade with the last G7 country, Japan, began with the entry into force of the CPTPP on 30 December 2018. A new consensus seems to have taken root on Parliament Hill.
The pious homily that characterized the Conservative government`s approach to China-Canada relations in general has been cleverly supplanted by a much more cautious tactic: diplomacy! The focus is now on China`s enormous potential as an emerging consumer market and investment location for Canadian banking and insurance interests. This change in conservative party strategy is not surprising. While a principled and (largely rhetorical) attitude toward China`s human rights record evokes some of the most gullible elements of Canadian society, it is unlikely to have any significant influence on the Communist Party`s internal security or containment procedures. Nor is it particularly identical to Canadian trade policy. As shown below, Ottawa has often sacrificed the principle of profit in order to strengthen the country`s relative competitiveness. In addition, China`s political elite recognizes that many “liberal and democratic” regimes have a history of racial discrimination, duplicity in foreign policy and other issues, as well as human rights violations. . . .