The APFC’s CAST brief pulls together a number of recent media stories — with some minor omissions — and without much analysis. The point of their article is to echo the official Global Affairs Canada position. The ringing in your ears is the sotto voce refrain of an old tune, “we are Canadian and we are concerned, and we buy your stuff.” As a Crown agency, the APFC cannot step beyond the government’s policy corral. The new head of the APFC is Jean Chrétien’s former Minister of International Trade, Pierre Pettigrew. As a trade minister, Pettigrew stood out as a clear economic thinker and an energetic proponent of increasing Canada’s ties with Asia and South America. His political message to trade partners was technocratic and reassuring that Canadian investment was utilitarian, and not a front for the “Washington Consensus.”
It remains to be seen whether Canada’s long-proposed international democracy agency and recently reaffirmed, will push out a more precise message concerning democracy in Bangladesh.