Many times, a face-to-face meeting is the best way to solve a problem. It minimizes keyboard bravery and conference-call bluffing, but in the case of high stakes international diplomacy things are different. There is a process to follow which can be difficult to recognize when people want a solution fast.
Farmers are frustrated with the China/canola issue and that more is not being done. Many farmers have asked why our prime minister is not getting on a plane himself and heading to China.
While it seems like a good idea, there are those that don’t think it is. Carlo Dade, of the Canada West Foundation, says that sending taking your biggest, largest asset— which would be an official visit of the Prime Minister —and expending it at the beginning of negotiations when the other side thinks you have no leverage is not an intelligent move.
Jeff English, of Thinkshift, is the former press secretary of former Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. He agrees with Dade’s assessment. “To send over someone at a prime ministerial level to get this fixed is essentially the last card we have and would be a gross escalation at this point,” he says.
Process does not lend itself to speed, but according to English and Dade, Canada needs to play this issue smart as well. “Canola growers cannot afford any further potential missteps with China as a solution will not be easy even if played perfectly,” says Shaun Haney, host of RealAg Radio.
“This would be a really, really, really counter productive move,” Dade says.
You can hear the entire interview with Carlo Dade of the Canada West Foundation below