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Diplomat calls for closer ties with the US

Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe writes that Canadian diplomat and trade negotiator Colin Robertson warns,: “The benefits derived from (trade accords) have reached the limitations of the agreements.”

“Robertson …wants closer Canada-U.S. ties on the environment, energy, continental defence, trade and investment and labour mobility.”

He recommends:

1. “an aggressive promotion campaign” to attract U.S. investment to Canada

2. a Team Canada mission to the Silicon Valley to nurture joint research and development projects

3. appointment of a network of “star-spangled Canadians (to) act as our eyes, ears and voice” in all 50 states by 2010″

4. Premiers should …be holding annual meetings with U.S. governors

5. Canadian universities start courting “American, especially Latino students, as a bridge into the Americas and America’s growing Latino population.”

6. “we will have to make visible adaptations — harmonizing our visa policy, for example, and other confidence-building measures to meet American expectations, even if they do seem somewhat paranoid … not because we share the paranoia, but because we need to serve Canadian interests.”

7. Canada should be holding regular security briefings in Washington for legislators and think-tanks by the RCMP, CSIS and immigration officials.

He also notes, “Canadians can expect to be asked to keep a military presence in Afghanistan.”

Barbara Yaffe’s column is at http://www.vancouversun.com/news/want+business+with+Americans+must+nicer+them+diplomat+says/1726683/story.html.