Weekly Commentary  

Good news from far away

Sentenced to die in a foreign land. Under their rules. Not a good scenario. I won't get into more details. Suffice to say the young man with Canadian citizenship was facing execution.

We have good trade and diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. High level bilateral meetings are common. But they are a sovereign state. They make their own decisions.

In this particular case there was more than one side to the story. All that can be done at the diplomatic level at times like this is to ask for full and fair consideration of all extenuating circumstances.

Our Minister of Foreign Affairs made that appeal. So did I in meetings in Saudi Arabia. These things involve more than just government ministers and Saudi princes.

Families are involved. Those of the deceased and those of the accused. Days and weeks pass. Time moves slowly...except for the person facing possible execution. So it was with expressions of gratitude this week that we received the good news.

The execution will not go ahead. There are still significant matters to consider. But one young Canadian/Saudi will at least be spared the most serious one.

As reported last week, I am doing some of my regular door-knocking right here in our beautiful constituency. When voters ask me about the kind of things I deal with regarding International Trade, I may show them this week’s media reports of this case.

Free trade agreements about products are always a high priority. Agreements about people are pretty special too.

On the provincial scene, the clock has also been ticking on a very important date. The Olympics. Using my grandkid's lingo, there's only about 30 more sleeps to go. The venues for the athletes have been ready for some time.

As Minister of Trade and regional federal minister for BC I can tell you we are working hard to finalize the Trade and Investment presentations for potential investors from around the globe. Dates are being confirmed for meetings with international government leaders and business reps who will be coming here. We want to make sure that decision makers from around the world hear the story about the Canadian advantage.

The most stable banking system in the world. The most competitive business tax structure in the G-8 countries. One of the lowest debt-to GDP ratios among industrialized nations. An excellent post secondary education and training system.

Rules-based investments mean jobs for Canadians. Rules-based trade means jobs too.

The 'Economist' Intelligence Unit had many good reasons to say this year that Canada is one of the best placed nations to emerge from the global recession.

Many challenges lie ahead. Keeping Canada ahead is our goal. In the athletic world with the Olympics. And in the world of economic progress.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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