Friday, March 1, 2024

Why CNAPS ?

The Center for North American Prosperity and Security (CNAPS, pronounced “synapse”) exists to press policymakers on both sides of the Canada US border to think harder about our shared interests on security, defense, energy, environment, technology and other key policy issues. Our aim is to:

Distill from a clear vision of the national interests of the United States and Canada a strategy for a stronger, safer and more prosperous North America;

Explain that strategy to policymakers, opinion leaders and the public in both countries;

Identify where we are falling short and where we are;

Show how Americans and Canadians together can put things on a better path.

Our view is that far from pursuing a shared strategy, the relationship between our two great countries is deteriorating. Our leaders should be held to account when they fumble the ball on our shared continent’s future. Canada, for example, should be called out when it:

  • Fails to bear a fair share of the burdens for the defence of our continent and the broader community of liberal democratic countries;
  • Becomes a weak link in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing alliance; 
  • Pursues a weak and ineffectual China policy; 
  • Fails to modernize NORAD promptly and effectively; 
  • Fails to ensure critical minerals are developed in the interests of our friends and allies; 
  • Creates a regulatory and policy regime which obstructs the development of critical energy resources; 
  • Allows its legal, democratic and other institutions to be suborned by malign foreign actors and; 
  • Throws up unwarranted barriers to free expression in our common online world while villainizing US tech companies.

CNAPS will be there to sound the alarm when, as is the case today, Canada is a weak and vacillating partner that exploits US forbearance and goodwill and has become a serious national security liability.

CNAPS will equally be there to point out American policy failings, including: 

  • Preferring autocrats’ oil to Canadian energy; 
  • Forcing Canada to compete in wasteful subsidy wars;
  • Lack of clarity on the importance of responding to Russian bad behaviour;
  • Violating the spirit of continental cooperation when it prefers protectionism over prosperity; 
  • Ignoring Canada (e.g. in AUKUS, the Quad, the Indo Pacific Economic Framework) rather than demanding that Canada live up to its responsibilities and potential as a liberal democratic middle power.

A safe and prosperous North America requires that our two countries be clear about their national interests. Where those interests overlap we should pursue a shared North American strategy making of this continent an island of peace, prosperity, security and the rule of law and the indispensable anchor of liberal-democratic values internationally. To achieve these historic goals we must treat each other honestly, forthrightly and fairly, seeing each other as we really are, not through rose-colored glasses. When our respective governments fall short of this standard, CNAPS will bring together the best public policy minds in the United States and Canada to show how to get back on track, for all our sakes.

The Center for North American Prosperity and Security is a project of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think tank.

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