Liberal MP Scott Brison was away for most of last week, attending meetings in Ireland. I caught up with Brison after Question Period today, and on the way to a committee meeting.
Q:You just took a trip to Ireland. Tell me about that. A: I was at the Trilateral Commission – I’m a member of the Trilateral Commission, and I participated in meetings for the North American trilateral group a few months ago in the fall, and this was the global annual meeting, and there were some very good sessions, particularly around the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, the EU response to it, the future of the Euro, and the question of how to protect the Euro and the European common market in the midst of such disparate financial situations that exist within the EU, and the comparatively high level of sovereign debt that EU countries are facing, Greece being the most dire.
They were very good discussions – a lot of discussions around nuclear arms, and how do we deal with the nuclear threats presented by North Korea and Iran. More broadly, what is the future of disarmament. Henry Kissinger is a member of the Trilateral and bought great insight on some of these issues – this was the first annual meeting of the Trilateral Commission to invite Chinese and Indian members, which reflects the growing power of China and India, and the shift to a multi-polar world, and we had some really insightful discussions with China and India. Paul Volcker, who was the governor of the Federal Reserve Bank in the US, is also a member of the Trilateral Commission and he brought some very good insight to the meetings on the global economy and challenges we face. So there were some very good sessions.
The publisher of the Atlantic Monthly, David Bradley, and Tom Foley, who was the Speaker of the House in the US, did an excellent session on the American political environment – all of these sessions were very helpful as we develop. Canada is a large country in terms of landmass, but we’re a fairly small economy globally, and we’re a fairly small, open economy, which means we need to diversify our trade relations, and we need to better understand these global issues, so I found it very helpful from that perspective, that I was looking forward to. It’s similar to the World Economic Forum meetings in that the people you meet, and can discuss these issues with you, can really help better inform your thinking.