Policy Perspectives

Fresh insights from UBC experts on the policy issues that are shaping our world.

The Role of Litigation in Climate Change


David Boyd, a professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, was recently interviewed by CBC Radio to contribute to the conversation about litigation as a tool worth using in the fight against climate change. Listen to the interview at 39:10.

Promises of the “Book of Hope”: Influences on the New Malaysian Government


Reflecting on the state of change that Malaysia's government is in, MPPGA student Tommy Koh recently wrote an article in the Asia Pacific Bulletin.

Indo-US Nuke Deal Gave India Access to Critical Technologies


Experts say that the Indo-US nuclear deal signed back in Oct. 2008 gave India access to critical technologies, but the promise to set up foreign-built reactors never materialized. SPPGA Professor and Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security, M.V. Ramana, gives us the facts on India’s nuclear cooperation agreement. Ramana was featured on the Hindustan Times, Money Control and Business Standard.

Climate Change Report Draws Call for Action from UN Rights Expert


An IPCC report estimates that a temperature increase of 1.5°C will be reached between 2030 and 2052. UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, and SPPGA Professor David Boyd calls on countries to exceed their Paris Agreement obligations.

Sustainable Energy for the Future of India


Professor MV Ramana was recently featured in The Sustainability Times to discuss the necessity for a sustainable source of power for India’s growing energy needs. Ramana speaks on the exploration of sustainable options other than nuclear power that would match the mass quantity and financial affordability for India in the future.

Hun Sen at the UN: A Strategic Appearance


Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke last week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. MPPGA student Darren Touch calls his appearance a highly strategic move following the country’s recent general election, which saw his party, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) secure its mandate for another five years.

Real-Time Rituals of Elite Male Privilege


In late September 2018, the US Senate Judiciary Committee gave the world an opportunity to observe the real-time production of elite white male privilege within the US political system. SPPGA Professor Sara Shneiderman dissects the Kavanaugh case in Allegra Lab.

How will the Malaysian surprise election affect Singaporean politics?


SPPGA professor Kai Ostwald reflects upon the state of Singaporean and Malaysian politics for the East Asia Forum. He surmises that there will be relatively little effects on Singaporean politics, even though their regimes are fairly similar.

Managing the Ocean with Prof. Rashid Sumaila


How can we protect our oceans, while maintaining a vibrant resource economy in Canada's coastal regions? SPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila recommends that governments should further subsidize small scale fisheries, as large scale fisheries contribute more to the over-fishing crisis.

When Will the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Get Built?


The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion timeline may be up in the air, as the Liberals announced plans to redo its environmental review. SPPGA professor George Hoberg thinks that any real chances of progress in the next six months are slim.

How Much of the Ocean Is Actually Fished?


Based on two separate studies, scientists found that industrial fishing could impact anywhere from 55% to 4% of the world’s oceans. SPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila weighs in with The Atlantic and says he believes that the actual impact on ecosystems is likely closer to the higher end of that spectrum.

George Hoberg on Trans Mountain Ruling


School of Public Policy and Global Affairs Professor George Hoberg was recently quoted in an article about economic and political concerns surrounding the Trans Mountain court decision.

Environmental Rights Initiative – David Boyd Video Message


SPPGA Professor and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment David Boyd recently delivered a video message for the Environmental Rights Initiative in Brazil.

Temperature Rise, Insect Activity and Global Crop Yields


How will a two degree increase in temperature affect insect activity and what does that mean for global crop yields? SPPGA Professor Navin Ramankutty predicts that the temperature rise could impact both pests and their predators.

Court Ruling Quashes Approval of Trans Mountain


A court has overturned Ottawa's approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. SPPGA Professor George Hoberg states that the courts will be watchful as the government goes back to the review phase and consults more deeply with First Nations. Read more at CTVNews.

How the U.N. Should Regulate High-Seas Fishing


As the United Nations tries to regulate high seas fishing, SPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila agrees that closing all high seas to commercial fishing would be beneficial, boosting catches in exclusive economic zones by about 18%.

Critical Legal Decision on Trans Mountain Expansion Due Thursday


The BC Supreme Court prepares to make a decision on the controversial Trans Mountain oil pipeline this Thursday. SPPGA Professor George Hoberg tells the Vancouver Sun what the court’s decision will mean for the future of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

Environmental Racism: Considerations for Infrastructure and the Built Environment


MPPGA student Hadis Siadat wrote a research paper on environmental racism as part of her UBC Arts co-op term with the federal government in Ottawa.

Protecting Democracy in an Age of Digital Media


The spread of disinformation and hate speech on digital platforms could pose a risk to the integrity of democratic institutions. In an article he co-wrote for the Globe and Mail, SPPGA Professor Taylor Owen calls for government regulation to combat the weaponization of information.

Malaysia’s Mahathir Blames Previous Government for Debt to Beijing


Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad pins the blame for the country’s large debt to China on his predecessor, Najib Razak. SPPGA Professor Kai Ostwald says that Mahathir’s actions jibe with economic realities associated with heavy Chinese investment.

Are Wealthy Nations Hoarding the World's Fish Supply?


A recent paper finds that international fishing stocks are dominated by high-income nations. Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs Professor Rashid Sumaila discusses inequity in the distribution of seafood and denounces government handouts that encourage overfishing in this Pacific Standard article

Growing Discussion with the Development of New Copper Mine in Mongolia


Questions arise among the Mongolian people with the development of the new Oyu Tolgoi Copper Mine. Julian Dierkes, a professor at the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs program, was recently quoted in a Financial Times article to provide insight on the opinions of the Mongolian public and politicians.

UBC Researcher Appointed UN Expert on Human Rights and the Environment


SPPGA Professor David Boyd takes on the role of Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment for the UN Human Rights Council. Read his interview where he discusses priorities for his three-year mandate, and where Canada fits into the international context.

Cambodia Set for Election with No Real Opposition


Cambodians go to the polls this weekend with Prime Minister Hun Sen looking to extend his 33 years in power. In lieu of a poll boycott, Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs student Darren Touch says voters should first evaluate what competing political parties have to offer.

Ethnic Diversity Matters for Decentralisation and Development


As Myanmar and Malaysia look to Indonesia to consider decentralization for their own nations, SPPGA Professor Kai Ostwald & others highlight the importance of ethnic diversity and segregation for development in a piece for East Asia Forum.

How Can We Predict the Success of Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Canada?


MPPGA student Ali Bajwa believes that the biggest challenge of Canada’s entrepreneur immigration programs has been identifying metrics that will best predict success.

Post Forum Report and Action Plan Addressing the Housing Needs of Refugees in B.C


Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs student Marzia Rizvi participated as a report intern for a Refugee Claimant Housing Forum held at MOSAIC in Vancouver on May 10, 2018. Marzia gained this opportunity through the local UNHCR office. She assisted in formulating the post forum Report and Action Plan that addressed the urgent shelter and housing needs of refugee claimants in B.C.

Indonesia’s Regulations on Foreign Language Speakers


Regulations on language for foreign workers is not a new topic of conversation in Indonesia. Tommy Koh, a student in the UBC MPPGA program, wrote an article in the East Asia Forum that analyzes the practical and symbolic role of foreign language regulation in Indonesia.

Completion of a Collection of Research Materials on the 2015 Nepal Earthquake


The SSHRC Partnership Development Grant project, led by a team of global scholars, including MPPGA’s Sara Shneiderman and Philippe Le Billon, announces the completion of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake Research Guide. The guide consists of materials on the actual earthquake, along with ongoing responses and repercussions of those events on Nepal’s individuals, institutions, and regions.

Why Japan is Supporting Cambodia’s Election


International stakeholders anxiously await Cambodia’s July 29th general election. MPPGA student, Darren Touch, calls Japan’s support of the election a strategy to maintain its influence in Cambodia, while simultaneously pushing back on China’s growing presence in the region.

Explaining elections in Singapore: Dominant party resilience and valence politics


Why has the People’s Action Party of Singapore won every general election since the country’s independence, contrary to the expectations of democratization theories? A new paper co-authored by SPPGA Professor Kai Ostwald argues that valence considerations are critical to explaining PAP’s resilience. 

Another chance to step up: Canada and the Nuclear Ban Treaty


President Donald Trump’s controversial remark after the G7 summit in Quebec signals a break in the strongly-tied Canadian and US relationship. Trump’s personal dig at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came about as a result of disagreements over tariffs.

The altercation brings the two countries’ publicly amicable relationship into question. Have the US and Canada always seen eye to eye when it comes to nuclear weapon policy? Professor Ramana and MPPGA alumna, Laurélène Faye, find that, in the past fifty years, Canada has diverged from the US on a number of resolutions involving nuclear disarmament at the UN General Assembly. In fact, Canada has a history of proactive involvement in disarmament: former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau contributed to disarmament diplomacy during his tenure. For his son, Justin Trudeau, there is pressure to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps with a declaration of nuclear disarmament.

This history shows that Canada has its own stance on the subject of nuclear weapons. In order to reduce the reliance on nuclear weapons for global security, Canadian leadership needs to forge a path that is distinct from that of the US.

Social Media Profiles Are Now Used by Companies to Create Specifically Targeted Advertisements


Professor Taylor Owen was recently interviewed by Global News and provided insight on the role of social media marketing in political campaigns and industry. He discussed how companies now use social media profiles as psychological profiles to create specifically targeted advertisements, a marketing strategy known as micro-targeting.

How a Montreal Cannabis Panel Fell Afoul of Facebook’s Censors


Facebook recently censored an event page for a panel on marijuana legalization taking place in Montreal for “promoting illegal drugs.” This raises questions about how U.S. laws spill across the border and affect Canadian interactions on social media. According to Professor Taylor Owen, “this is the cost of privatizing our public sphere”.

‘The High Seas, What’s at Stake?’ – Tackling Jurisdiction in International Waters


Professor Rashid Sumaila recently attended ‘The High Seas, What’s at Stake?’ conference which took place on June 21st 2018 at the Oceanographic Institute in Paris, France. Sumaila took part as a guest speaker in a round table to discuss “Why must we act now”. Sumaila commented on the social, environmental, and economic effects of high seas fishing internationally. The various guests and participants at the conference tackled the importance of conservation of marine biodiversity in regions outside of national jurisdiction.

Singapore Summit Leaves Great Expectations for North Korea and the United States


Brian Job, a professor at the Masters of Public Policy and Global Affairs program, spoke with CBC News to discuss the balance of power between the two countries. The interview begins at 2:40.

Denuclearization and the future between the US and North Korea


Professor Paul Evans, a faculty member at MPPGA, was recently interviewed by Global News TV to discuss the efforts behind the recent summit between the US and North Korea. Evans explores the growing relation between the two countries and predicts possible outcomes following the summit

Kyung Ae Park Discusses the UBC-run North Korean Scholar Exchange Program


Kyung-Ae Park, a faculty member at MPPGA, was recently interviewed for an article with The National Post. The Co-Director of the Centre for Korean Research describes the Canada-DPRK Knowledge Partnership Program, an UBC-North Korea exchange program for scholars, and explains the possibility for expansion following the US-North Korea summit. The article was also published in the Vancouver Sun and The Province.

Professor David Boyd Examines the Future of Plastic Pollution


David Boyd, a professor in the MPPGA program, recently wrote an op-ed in The Ottawa Citizen examining the growing problem of plastic waste globally and explores solutions through policy, leadership, and cooperation.

MPPGA's Darren Touch Weighs In on Cambodian Election


MPPGA student Darren Touch weighs in on the importance of democratic participation in the coming Cambodian election despite calls from self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy for Cambodians to boycott the election.

Professor George Hoberg Discusses the Trans Mountain Pipeline


George Hoberg, a professor at UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, spoke recently with BBC and CBC to discuss the implications of the Canadian government’s decision to buy out the Trans Mountain pipeline

UBC research team of The Institute of Asian Research helped to conduct a surprising survey on Quebec residents


In anticipation for the results from recent NAFTA negotiations, results from a recent study have been released. A research team from UBC, including the Institute of Asian Research’s Paul Evans, helped conduct a survey on the opinions of Quebec residents and the growing relationship with China.

Taylor Owen on The Liberal Government’s Push to Transform Vancouver into a Tech Hub


Taylor Owen of SPPGA and MPPGA was recently featured in an article in The Star to discuss the future of Vancouver with tech companies. This discussion follows the announcement for the opening of new amazon offices in Vancouver.

Dr. Sara Shneiderman of MPPGA Co-Edited an Academic Volume which Delves into the World of Darjeeling


Dr. Sara Shneiderman of MPPGA co-edited a new book, published by University Oxford Press. The edited work delves into the world of Darjeeling and provides insight into its Environment, History, and Politics.

Is North Korea Actually Ready to Give Up its Nukes?


Professor Paul Evans of MPPGA was recently interviewed by Global News TV to discuss the progress towards peace as promised by North Korea as well as the possibilities for complications in the future.

BC’s Perceptions of Climate Change Mitigation in Forest Sector


A study co-authored by Professor George Hoberg of MPPGA appeared on the Climate Examiner. It is the first study that explores public opinion on enhanced forest management strategies designed for climate mitigation, and shows that British Columbian’s support forest rehabilitation and conservation while hardly supporting techniques like forest carbon management.

Professor Kai Ostwald Discusses the Efforts of the Opposition Party in the Coming Malaysian Election


Professor Kai Ostwald of UBC’s MPPGA was recently quoted in an article in The LA Times to comment on the coming elections in Malaysia. Ostwald specifies the necessity for a surge in Malaysian voters for the opposition to secure a win.

High Temperature Nuclear Reactors Will Not Help to Establish Nuclear Power in Jordan


Professor M.V. Ramana of MPPGA has co-authored an article in The Jordan Times on how HTR’s do not support the countries efforts in establishing energy and nuclear power.

Landmark Project Brings to Light Crimes Against Humanity in African War Zones



Professor Erin Baines has actively contributed to the landmark study of crimes against humanity in the Conjugal Slavery in War partnership hosted by York University, engaging policy makers, scholars and practitioners to consider how men's and women's relationships are shaped by settings of coercion. MPPGA student Tinashe Mutsonziwa and PhD candidate Ketty Anyeko have participated in exchanges, policy outreach and research, exploring new questions regarding gender and conjugal slavery.

How the Mindset of Designers Can Make Us Better Leaders


Learn more about how our Director Moura Quayle's new book, Designed Leadership, illustrates how the mindset, tools and techniques of designers can make us better leaders. Professor Quayle teaches by the principles of ASK, TRY, DO, a strategic design process. Using strategic design in leadership roles "is a way of looking at the principled pragmatism of getting things done."

MPPGA Student Interview with the Honourable Thomas Mulcair


On this episode of PRT Weekly, MPPGA students Nicholas Lloyd-Kuzik and Luthfi Dhofier sat down with the Honourable Thomas J. Mulcair, former leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, Leader of the Official Opposition under Stephen Harper's government, and current Member of Parliament for Outremont, Quebec.

How Can Canada Respond to Cambodia’s Political Dilemma?


MPPGA student Darren Touch published an article in The Diplomat on how Canada can respond to Cambodia’s political climate given the lackluster bilateral relationship.

Interview with Professor George Hoberg on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion



Professor George Hoberg, who specializes in environmental and natural resource policy and governance, was interviewed by CTV News on Saturday, a day ahead of the meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC and Alberta Premiers John Horgan and Rachel Notley to discuss the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Hoberg argues that the “best way out is for those three government parties to agree that B.C. deserves to have its case heard in court” and have the courts resolve this as soon as possible. Hoberg also highlighted the two elephants in the room, climate change and Indigenous reconciliation, and noted the lack of commitment from these three government representatives on these important issues.

The era of Big Tech Self-Governance Has Come to an End

 Taylor Owen

MPPGA Professor Taylor Owen published an article in The Globe and Mail about new internet data rights and regulations. "Mr. Zuckerberg’s testimony is only the beginning of a long-overdue conversation about whether we will govern platforms or be governed by them", he wrote.

Location, Location, Location: Ulanbaatar Still in the Running to Host Trump-Kim Summit

 Julian Dierkes
MPPGA Professor Julian Dierkes and Mendee Jargalsaikhan wrote about the most recent plans to host a Trump-Kim meeting in Ulanbaatar, Mongolia, via The Diplomat.

World trading order facing biggest threats since Second World War: Freeland

Paul Evans

MPPGA Professor Paul Evans was recently quoted in an article about the international implications of the U.S.-China dispute via the Business News Network. "Global supply and value chains are going to be disrupted, the norms and rules of the global trading system eroded further and a whole new level of uncertainty built into the global economic system," Paul said.

Technical and social problems of nuclear waste



MPPGA Professor M.V. Ramana has published an advanced review article on nuclear waste via WIREs, Energy and Environment. The study explores some of the technical and social challenges associated with radioactive waste management and disposal. Concern about radioactive waste and the absence of repositories has contributed to the failure of the propaganda effort by the nuclear industry to market nuclear power as a solution to climate change.

The new rules for the internet – and why deleting Facebook isn’t enough



MPPGA Professor Taylor Owen and New America Senior Advisor Ben Scott wrote an article in the Globe and Mail about ideas for future web regulation. "We urgently need new democratic rules for the internet that enhance the rights of citizens and protect the integrity of our public sphere and tackle the structural problems of our current digital economy."

What Mongolia Gains By Playing Host to a Historic Trump-Kim Summit



MPPGA Professor Julian Dierkes and Mendee Jargalsaikhan wrote the benefits of Mongolia hosting a historic Trump-Kim summit. Mongolia's offer to host the meeting is aligned with its foreign policy of engaging with “third neighbors” and increasing focus on East Asia.

Ethnic Segregation and Public Goods: Evidence from Indonesia


MPPGA Professor Kai Ostwald co-authored an article on how ethnic segregation affects public goods provision in Cambridge University Press.

Interview with Professor Taylor Owen: Is it time to #DeleteFacebook?


MPPGA Professor Taylor Owen was recently interviewed on Facebook user privacy issues by Global News. Despite the "4 or 5 platform companies that largely control the Internet and all of the economic and social activity that comes with that; we are starting to see a big pushback by large political institutions with large privacy regulations and legislations that it’s going to spread around the world," he said.

We must wake up from our Western dream for China



Read Professor Yves Tieberghien's op-ed on major political changes taking place in China over the past two weeks and their broadly global context, as well as how to deal with this new reality. “Asia is more than just China – Canada needs to have a balanced and strategic approach to the entirety of the region,” he wrote.

8 Reasons Why Mongolia's Capital Ulaanbaatar Might Be The Place for a Trump-Kim Summit


MPPGA Professor Julian Dierkes and Mendee Jargalsaikhan made the case in The Diplomat for why the Trump-Kim meeting could happen in Mongolia, "8 Reasons Why Mongolia's Capital Ulaanbaatar Might Be The Place for a Trump-Kim Summit".

Professor Nadja Kunz named one of B.C.'s Most Influential Women 2018: Stem Stars


Nadja Kunz, assistant professor with UBC's School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, has been named one of "B.C.'s Most Influential Women 2018: Stem Stars" by BC Business. Her research focus is mine water management and water governance in mining regions. Nadja is driven by a passion for transitioning the private sector towards more sustainable water management practices.

Interview with Professor Paul Evans on China's expansionist policies in Southeast Asia

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MPPGA Professor Paul Evans was recently interviewed on Policy Talks about Chinese foreign policy in the Southeast Asia.

Nuclear Deterrence Policy Gathering Steam in India


MPPGA Professor M.V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security was recently quoted in an article about nuclear deterrence policies in India. Unlike the first three phases, the fourth phase of India’s nuclear disarmament policy, which began in 1998, has seen India making “no significant effort towards nuclear disarmament,” Ramana said. Importantly, India has avoided supporting treaties that would restrain its own weapons programs.

Centralisation not reconciliation under Najib Razak


MPPGA Professor Kai Otswald article on the 2018 Malaysian Elections season via East Asia Forum. The competitive nature of the last two general elections has fuelled widespread speculation about the possible defeat of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) for the first time in the country’s post-independence history.

What does the Manila Consensus mean for migrant workers?


MPPGA student Tommy Ko wrote a piece for East Asia Forum discussing the evolution of migrant workers’ right in ASEAN countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The Manila Consensus’s call for partnerships with domestic actors such as NGOs is critical because governments cannot act alone. Governments are broadly neutral actors who are constrained in regional negotiations by public opinion and domestic legitimation concerns. The existence of an intermediary like the Manila Consensus enables non-state actors to sustain their public influence, which in turn influences the political climate and makes broader mandates possible.

India and the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons


MPPGA Professor M.V. Ramana co-authored an article "India and the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons". One of the cornerstones of India’s official nuclear policy is No First Use of nuclear weapons, which has a long history in Indian nuclear debates and discussions.

Cabinet orders deeper security review of proposed Chinese takeover of Aecon Group


MPPGA Professor Paul Evans was interviewed on The Canadian Press in "Cabinet Orders Deeper Security Review of Proposed Chinese Takeover of Aecon Group". The story also appeared in the National Post and Times Colonist. Canadian security agencies are voicing their concern about the proposed takeover of Aecon Group Inc. by a Chinese state-owned business, prompting Ottawa to order a full national security review of the deal. The lengthened [federal security] review will not please the Chinese government but won’t sour a potential free trade deal between Canada and China. This is a "watershed moment" in how Canada will deal with Chinese investment in a variety of sectors, says Professor Evans.

It’s time to get used to a new global order with China and the U.S. at its centre


MPPGA Professor Yves Tiberghien co-authored an op-ed with Robert Muggah, Lind Initiative Visiting Fellow at UBC. The emerging global order will doubtlessly be more complicated and potentially more precarious than the present one, but that is the brave new world we face. The challenge for Canadians is to prepare for a world of tomorrow, rather than reverting to the world of yesteryear. Canada has an essential role to play as a mediator and broker, but also as a progressive hub of global governance entrepreneurship.

Federalism without Decentralization: Power Consolidation in Malaysia


MPPGA Professor Kai Ostwald wrote an article "Federalism without Decentralization: Power Consolidation in Malaysia" via Project Muse. The article examines the systematic subversion of subnational autonomy in Malaysia, which has concentrated power in the hands of UMNO's inner core. In short, Malaysia is both federal and highly centralized.

5 facts you need to understand the new global order


The postwar liberal order is dying. This what you need to know to navigate the new order in formation by MPPGA Professor Yves Tiberguien and UBC Lind Initiative Fellow Robert Muggah. The article indicates a major shift of the world's power struggle as China is setting the pace and the world is changing. "The spectacular rise of China over the past two decades and the relative decline of the US mean that sparks are bound to fly".

George Hoberg on B.C. Government’s New Bitumen Restriction


MPPGA Professor George Hoberg with the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs was recently interviewed on CBC about the B.C. government’s recent bitumen restriction. Any restriction on the flow of diluted bitumen would prohibit an expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline.
Go to the 1:20:00 mark to hear the recent interview with MPPGA Professor Hoberg who comments that BC has declared jurisdictional war with Alberta and the federal government of Canada.
The BC government is taking a conscious approach by addressing legitimate and environmental concerns, thus recognizing that BC is serious about protecting its coasts and waters. According to Prof. Hoberg, the stark distribution of costs and benefits between Alberta and British Columbia means that almost all the economic benefits flow to Alberta while almost all the environmental risks are here in BC.

M. V. Ramana: A reminder from Hawaii Missile False Alarm


M.V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security with the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, and Lauren Borja, Simons Postdoctoral Research Fellow, contributed an Op-ed to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists about the recent missile false alarm in Hawaii.

Corruption is a cancer that Mongolia can’t cut out


MPPGA Professor Julian Dierkes published an op-ed in the East Asia Forum. 2017 was the year when corruption in Mongolia changed from being a taxing nuisance and moral outrage into a systemic block to political decision-making. Will its leaders choke or conquer the challenge corruption poses to its democracy?

TLEF interview: Professor Sara Shneiderman reflects on UBC Himalaya Program


MPPGA Professor Sara Shneiderman shares how her UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) project will help develop the UBC Himalaya Program, with the long-term objective of making UBC a premier centre for Himalayan Studies in Canada.

So, the liberal order is in free fall? Not so fast

 Taylor Owen
Op-ed by Prof. Taylor Owen and UBC Visiting Fellow Robert Muggah "So, the liberal order is in free fall? Not so fast" in The Globe and Mail on the fears of a democratic deficit and the decline of the global liberal order.

Canada's Global Trade Strategy at Critical Juncture

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Professor Yves Tiberghien co-authored with Stewart Beck, CEO of Asia Pacific Foundation, an op-ed "Canada's Global Trade Strategy at Critical Juncture" in The Globe and Mail on Canada's trade strategy in Asia.

Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are manipulating our lives and threatening our democracy


If you care about democracy, listen to School of Public Policy and Global Affairs Professor Taylor Owen argue how Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are manipulating our lives on CBC Ideas. This interview also features a lecture that Prof. Owen gave last month, called The Dalton Camp Lecture in Journalism.

Neither Populism nor Drift: Japan's October 2017 Election



Professor Yves Tiberghien published an op-ed titled "Neither Populism nor Drift: Japan's October 2017 Election" on the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada website.

The Courage to Challenge the Nuclear World Order


Professor M.V. Ramana and Zia Mian reflect on the nuclear disarmament activism work that has culminated in the Nobel Prize win of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), as well as the adopting of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Professor Kyung-Ae Park Pioneers Academic Relations with North Korea

 Professor Kyung Ae Park
Professor Kyung-Ae Park was interviewed for a special feature in alumni UBC's Trek Magazine, “North by Northwest: UBC Prof Pioneers Academic Relations with North Korea.”

Legitimacy and Longevity in Singapore’s Reserved Presidency

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Professor Kai Ostwald co-authored "Legitimacy and longevity in Singapore’s reserved presidency" of the People’s Action Party (PAP) long-term staying power. While Singapore's reserved presidency aims to ensure minority candidates are represented, it may be out of step with what voters actually desire.

Professor Yves Tiberghien awarded with France’s National Order of Merit

Yves Tiberghien
We wish to congratulate Professor Yves Tiberghien on being named Knight of the National Order of Merit, a French distinction. Officially nominated by the President of France, the medal rewards "distinguished civil or military achievement." Prof. Tieberghien is Director Emeritus of the Institute of Asian Research and Executive Director of the China Council at UBC. This award recognizes his work on topics of global governance supported by both France and Canada.

Malaysia’s Electoral Process: The Methods and Costs of Perpetuating UMNO Rule

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Professor Kai Ostwald evaluates Malasya's electoral process. His analysis assesses the extensively manipulated electoral process, juxtaposed against its successful developmental record and relative social stability.

On the Sidelines of a Nuclear Crisis

MPPGA Professor & Graduate Director Brian Job
Canada-Asia Agenda: Rocketman vs. Dotard? Read former MPPGA Graduate Director and Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada senior fellow Brian Job's research on the sidelines of the nuclear crisis.

Pyongyang's leaders consider US troops threatening. Due to economic, strategic, and ideological reasons, Pyongyang views its survival contingent on attaining a second-strike nuclear capacity – i.e., the ability to attack if provoked and to respond if attacked against targets in and across the Pacific. The proverbial nuclear clock, as measured against North Korean provocative testing, is approaching midnight. How to avoid missteps and establish a stable deterrent equilibrium among the key players, given the looming reality of a North Korean nuclear state, presents an enormous challenge.

"Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India" paperback edition

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Dr. Sara Shneiderman's book, "Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India" has now released its paperback edition after its original hardback release in 2015. This version will also include an update about the Thangmi communities after the 2015 earthquakes.

Rituals of Ethnicity is a transnational study of the relationships between mobility, ethnicity, and ritual action. Through an ethnography of the Thangmi, a marginalized community who migrate between Himalayan border zones of Nepal, India, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, Shneiderman offers a new explanation for the persistence of enduring ethnic identities today despite the increasing realities of mobile, hybrid lives. She shows that ethnicization may be understood as a process of ritualization, which brings people together around the shared sacred object of identity.

Analysis of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China

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MPPGA professor Yves Tiberghien looks at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held on October 18-24 2017.
Overall, the fact that Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party managed to unfold a massive and positive action plan leading up to 2049 and to reorganize the leadership team without a glitch is quite remarkable. Today, there is no other major country that has the ability to project a long-term vision and deliberate long-term strategy, mid-term action plans and short-term policies in such a coordinated way as China. Whether achievable or not, the projection of strategy stood out against the current period of uncertainty, fragmentation, and volatility in both the international system and the domestic politics in all systematically-important countries (except Canada). [...] Politically, what stands out, of course, is the clean sweep of elite appointments that broadly consolidate Xi Jinping’s authority.

Also noticeable is the lack of promotion of any member from the generation of leaders born in the 1960s to the Standing Committee, and thus the non-commitment of the Party on the future leadership in five years. No successor has appeared, as was the case respectively 10 years ago and 20 years ago. This does maximize Xi Jinping’s short-term authority. But it does not prevent the CCP from later holding an interim Party Congress to promote someone into the Standing Committee, say, in three years. It also does not mean yet that Xi has won the case with the Party to stay in power in five years. While we cannot predict what will happen, it is plausible to assume that a compromise will be reached. In 2022, Xi may be able to retain some positions (such as Chairman of the Military Commission, the position which controls the military) but may well have to relinquish some other titles, thus starting a process of power transition, during which Xi will be very influential but not omnipotent.
Most delicate is the fact that the enormously ambitious reform agenda presented at the 19th Party Congress increasingly relies on the competence, stamina, and judgement of one man: Xi Jinping.

Volume: Southeast Asia in an Evolving Global Landscape: Prospects for an Integrated Region and Implications for Canada.

 Kai_Ostwald
An edited volume with contributions from MPPGA Professors Kai Ostwald, Paul Evans, and others emerged from a conference on held by Global Affairs Canada entitled Southeast Asia in an Evolving Global Landscape: Prospects for an Integrated Region and Implications for Canada in Ottawa on May 30, 2017. This high-profile event brought together a total of 200 participants, including ambassadors and diplomats from ASEAN member states, leading Canadian and international scholars on Southeast Asia, and representatives from Global Affairs and the broader government community. From these stimulating exchanges emerged a set of innovative, yet realistic recommendations on how Canada could better assert its added-value in this strategic region. An edited volume from the conference will be launched during the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies’ Conference on October 26-28, 2017. The volume brings together contributions from the panelists, giving them the opportunity to render and further develop their assessments and recommendations. In the process, they lend important support to Canada’s endeavour to develop a sound and effective foreign policy towards Southeast Asia, one that builds on its previous, well-remembered contributions to regional peace and prosperity, but goes beyond earlier engagements. In the process, the volume also identifies what its partners could gain from Canada “being back” in the regional sphere. As Canada and ASEAN celebrate 40 years of dialogue partnership, which coincides with the golden jubilee of the grouping itself, there is growing momentum to bring the relationship to the next level.

Study by Prof. Paul Evans finds that Canadians want deeper economic connections with China

 MPPGA Professor Paul Evans
UBC professors Paul Evans and Xiaojun Li designed a survey that asked 1,519 Canadians about their views on trade and investment issues, policy priorities, human rights in China, and factors that shape views of China, among other topics.  Despite concerns about China’s human rights record, military modernization and the impact on domestic Canadian values, Canadians are keen to see the federal government support expanded economic connections and increased partnerships with the Asian economic powerhouse. About 70% of Canadians support a free trade agreement with China. In this Q&A, Professor Evans discusses the significance of the survey’s findings and how it can help better inform government policy.

Op-ed by MPPGA Professor Taylor Owen on whether Facebook is a threat to democracy

 Taylor Owen OpEd
The Globe and Mail published an op-ed by Taylor Owen, a UBC Policy School professor of digital media and global affairs, about the role of technology in democracies.
"The unfolding drama surrounding Silicon Valley and the 2016 U.S. presidential election has brought much needed attention to the role that technology plays in democracies. On Thursday, Facebook announced the Canadian Election Integrity Initiative, the very premise of which invites the question: Does Facebook threaten the integrity of Canadian democracy? [...] Bloomberg reported that in the final weeks of the U.S. election, Facebook and Google employees collaborated with extreme activist groups to help them microtarget divisive ads to swing-state voters. [...] We are heading into new and immensely challenging public policy terrain, but what is certain is that the easy and politically expedient relationship between Silicon Valley and government must come to an end” he wrote.

MPPGA professor Rashid Sumaila wins Volvo Environment Prize

 Rashid_oceans
Dr. Rashid Sumaila, Professor with the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, has won the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize for his innovative work in fisheries economics and sustainable governance of ocean resources. His research covers all aspects of the future health of the oceans: overfishing, oil spills, plastics pollution, ocean acidification, and climate change.

Professor Julian Dierkes co-wrote an op-ed for The Diplomat, "A New Cabinet for Mongolia"

 Julian Dierkes
The revolt against Enkhbold has been led by U Khurelsukh who now serves as prime minister. His political origins in the MPP’s youth organization and personal popularity suggested that he might be able to gather reformist forces that are demanding a generational change in the party [...] Despite his vocal call for reform, Khurelsukh seems to be more concerned with the upcoming party’s congress, which will elect a new party leadership and plenum members. If he had resisted pressure from Enkhbold’s faction in the formation of his cabinet, he would face much stronger opposition at the party congress in November. They could even demand his resignation.
His research focuses on the political development and mining policy in Mongolia.

Professor Philippe Le Billon investigates white collar crime in post-war natural resource sectors

 PhilippeLeBillon
Post-war situations can present an opportune context for white-collar crime in resource sectors – including corruption, tax evasion, land dispossession, and illegal resource exploitation. This paper investigates various forms of white-collar crime and associated human rights abuses, and points at biased processes of ‘criminalization’. Whereas white-collar crime is frequently legitimated under the guise of reconstruction and economic growth strategies, the victims of corruption and resource grabs often become ‘criminalised’. Such selective forms of criminalisation reflect a securitisation of resource sectors characterised by repressive forms of resource enclosures and increased socio-economic inequalities; putting resource-related white-collar crime at the core of negative peace economies.

M.V. Ramana contributed to the latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report

Ramana (cropped)
The report is produced by an international group of energy analysts who study the nuclear industry in multiple countries, and offers an overview of nuclear power around the world, including information on operation, production and construction, as well as plans by countries to build new nuclear plants. The report also includes an update on the status of the multiple impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

IAR faculty member Dr. Sara Shneiderman receives SSHRC award to study Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction


IAR faculty member Sara Shneiderman has been awarded a three-year Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to assemble an international network of scholars, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations that are currently engaged with Nepal's reconstruction after its devastating 2015 earthquakes.

Professor Yves Tiberghien’s on the dangerous road ahead for North Korea

Co-Director Yves Tiberghien, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Opinion: " In the past three months alone, Mr. Kim has tested the new Hwasong-12 advanced intermediate range missile (IRBM) several times, flying the last one right over Japanese territory [...] The energy and frustration unleashed in Washington is now such that Mr. Trump cannot accept such provocation without a counterpunch and remain credible as the leader of 'America the Great.'"

Professor Tsering Shakya provides insight on the current China-India border dispute in the region of Doklam, and its links to the past

Professor Tsering Shakya, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
In a recent article published by the South China Morning Post, Professor Tsering Shakya delves into the unresolved China-India border dispute in the region of Doklam. The article, “Doklam Then and Now: From British to Chinese Interests, Follow the Money”, details the long history of stalemates in the Himalayas; reflecting on the regions experience with three-way territorial struggles, fears of foreign hegemony, and dreams of a commercial invasion involving the center of world manufacturing.

Designed Leadership - Interview with Moura Quayle on Roundhouse Radio



UBC Policy School Director Moura Quayle, author of the new book Designed Leadership, speaks with Kirk LaPointe on Roundhouse Radio regarding the need for leaders to adopt design in order to succeed.

Professor Kyung-Ae Park wins an Alumni UBC 2017 Achievement Award

Professor Kyung Ae Park, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Congratulations to Professor Kyung-Ae Park for winning the Faculty Community Service Award, recognizing her for her efforts in initiating the Canada-DPRK Knowledge Partnership Program (KPP). The KPP is designed to facilitate academic exchanges with North Korea for human capacity building through knowledge sharing. It was established with the belief that the right to education and access to knowledge is a universal human right. The KPP is the first and only North American program to educate North Korean university professors for long-term periods in the fields of economics, finance, trade, and business. The program also seeks to facilitate knowledge sharing with North Korea through conferences and study tours abroad. These opportunities bring together North Korean and international scholars to participate in meaningful and constructive exchanges of ideas and views. Since its inception in 2011, the KPP has hosted 40 North Korean scholars at UBC through its Visiting Professor Program (VPP).

Insights on BC joining legal fights against Trans Mountain Pipeline

Professor George Hoberg, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
The BC government has joined the fight against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, and is seeking intervenor status in court challenges filed by First Nations and cities. Professor George Hoberg joins CTV News to discuss how the additional support of the BC Government, in both federal and BC court cases, can be effective. He provides insight on how these efforts could effectively postpone the pipeline project, and how it might affect the provinces relationship with both the federal and Alberta provincial governments.

Politician Family Networks and Electoral Outcomes: Evidence from the Philippines


A recently published paper in the American Economic Association by MPPGA Professor Cesi Cruz, in collaboration with Julien Labonne and Pablo Querubin, analyzes the importance of politician social networks and it's impact on the electoral outcome. Using large-scale data on family networks from over 20 million individuals in 15,000 villages in the Philippines, they show that candidates for public office are disproportionately drawn from more central families, and that the family network centrality contributes to higher vote shares during the elections. Their analysis provides evidence to support their theory of political intermediation, and that these familial networks exercise an effect independent of wealth, historical elite status, or previous electoral success.”

Canada 150: week-long focus on Canada-Asia

Featured on CBC|ICI Radio (in French), Professor Yves Tiberghien takes the lead on Canada's 150 theme week: Canada-Asia. Revolving around British Columbians working in booming industries, the week-long series explores whether they believe the next 150 years will be led by Western Canada.

Cesi Cruz Wins Award from the American Political Science Association



MPPGA Professor Cesi Cruz has won the Best Conference Paper Award from the American Political Science Association – Political Networks section for her paper, “Village Social Network Structures and Electoral Competition,” written with two co-authors. This award is given annually to the best paper on political networks presented by a faculty person delivered at a political science conference in the previous year.

The jury wrote: “We found your paper to be an excellent use of network theory, data and analysis to shed light on an important substantive problem in political science. Additionally, it was well written and interesting to read.”

Old Plans, Ongoing Handouts, New Spin: Deciphering the Nuclear Construction Announcement


Last month, the union cabinet of India announced their approval for the construction of 10 additional 700 megawatt (MW) pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs). Authors, M. V. Ramana and Suvrat Raju delve into the complexities and challenges such a decision presents in their article published by Economic and Political Weekly.

Kai Ostwald wins Best Paper Award from the American Political Science Association

Assistant Professor Kai Ostwald, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBCCongratulations to MPPGA Assistant Professor, Kai Ostwald, for his recent work explaining party durability in Singapore. Co-authored by Dr. Steven Oliver, their paper titled “Explaining Elections in Singapore: Party Credibility and Valence Politics” was awarded the Best Paper Award from the American Political Science Association – Southeast Asia Politics.

Nuclear power: Expensive, hazardous and inequitable


Published in The Hindu, authors Suvrat Raju and M.V. Ramana question the Indian government’s recent approval of ten new nuclear reactors. This op-ed piece brings economic, environmental, and social concerns to the forefront, challenging “India’s commitment to sustainable development” and the viability of nuclear power as a whole.

Report: Nuclear Power and Small Modular Reactors in Indonesia


M. V. Ramana with the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC and his collaborators from the Indonesian Institute for Energy Economics, the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security have published a report titled “Nuclear Power and Small Modular Reactors in Indonesia: Potential and Challenges”, which surveys and synthesizes the historical and contemporary factors affecting nuclear power in Indonesia. The report specifically explores the class of designs called small modular reactors (SMRs) that some have promoted as particularly appropriate for developing countries.

UBC Establishes School of Public Policy and Global Affairs



Moura Quayle has been appointed Director pro tem of the newly established School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC. The Policy School seeks to be an essential centre for innovation in global affairs and public policy. The UBC Policy School will catalyze a network of accomplished scholars from across both campuses who will collaborate with students, community, government, business leaders, and civil society through research, teaching, and practice. The goal of the Policy School is to contribute to solving problems of local importance and global consequence at the nexus of governance and scholarship.

As a unit within the Faculty of Arts, the Policy School will evolve with a campus-wide mandate and build upon UBC’s strengths in the study of economic and development policy, Asia, global affairs, and sustainability, with many opportunities for growth.


Vision20 Report 2017 Release


Vision20 is an annual global summit addressing the G20 role in global governance and sustainable development goals. Vision20 has released a report, "Empower, Include, and Inspire: G20 Public Leadership to Advance Responsibility, Resilience and Sustainability for a Fair Global Economy,” that features views from a V20 Workshop on “Opportunities and Risks of Globalization.” The report includes insights from Professor Yves Tiberghien, Director of the Institute of Asian Research and Coordinator for V20.

Five Takeaways from the French Election: Between Anger and Transformative Hope


The French Presidential election, especially its first Round on April 23, has shaped up as one of those truly seminal world events that will resonate for decades. Professor Yves Tiberghien sees five major takeaways from this dramatic election.

Westinghouse bankruptcy: What does it mean for US nuclear power?


Recently featured in the Christian Science Monitor, MPPGA Professor M. V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security, explores the uncertain fate faced by nuclear players as they tackle the struggles of competing economically in the electricity marketplace.

The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalism


Featured in Columbia Journalism Review's Tow Center Report, MPPGA Professor Taylor Owen and Emily Bell, Director of Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia J School, analyze how journalism is being transformed by big tech companies as a result of the switch from analog to digital, the rise of the social web, and the dominance of mobile.

Dutch pragmatism: A positive outlook in the Netherlands’ elections


Featured on CBC's On The Coast, MPPGA Professor Dr. Yves Tiberghien gives insight on the state of elections in the Netherlands, touching upon the pragmatism of the Dutch voters while also looking ahead at the expectations of France's upcoming elections.

Many shades of gray: The context-dependent performance of organic agriculture


Many people choose organic thinking it’s better for humans and the planet, but a new UBC study by Liu postdoctoral fellow Verena Seufert and MPPGA Professor Navin Ramankutty published today in Science Advances finds that might not always be the case.

View the study in Science Advances.
Read the UBC Media Release.

How does climate change shape our behaviour?


Featured on the latest episode of Roundhouse Radio 98.3 FM, UBC MPPGA Professor Dr. Jiaying Zhao addresses what shapes our behaviour around climate change through the perspectives of ecopsychology.

The Fate of US-Canada Relations


Can Trump and Trudeau find a shared future? What will be the fate of NAFTA? MPPGA Professor Yves Tiberghien and John McArthur, Senior Fellow at the Global Economy and Development program with Brookings, weigh in on the recent Trudeau - Trump Summit on China Global TV.

Congratulations to Dr. Rashid Sumaila, 2016 Killam Research Prize Recipient


Earlier this month, MPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila was awarded the University of British Columbia’s 2016 Killam Faculty Research Prize in the Applied Science, Sciences Senior Category. Winners were selected by UBC’s Faculty Research Award Committee, which spans arts and humanities, applied science, science, and medicine.

China Nuclear Push Stalled by Next-Generation Reactors


MPPGA Professor M. V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Affairs at the Liu Institute for Global Issues shares his insights on the nuclear aims of China’s policy makers.

The tumultuous revival of Keystone XL

Professor George Hoberg, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Featured in the most recent episode of CBC's Early Edition, MPPGA Professor George Hoberg discusses the straining relationship between the environment and economy, as Trump's decision to revive the Keystone XL pipeline brings uncertainty to both the Canadian and American populous.

Symbolic Canada-China free-trade talks to begin

Professor Paul Evans, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
With the descent of the TPP and rocky US-China relations, Canada and China's emerging relationship is prompted with the beginning of exploratory talks on the potential of a free-trade agreement. Featured in a recent Globe and Mail article, MPPGA Professor Dr. Paul Evans explains the significance of this development.

Davos Forum: all talk, little action

Professor Yves Tiberghien, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
With the surfacing discontent of globalization comes the rising power of populist movements seen around the globe today. But are the Davos elites willing to adjust their philosophies and make changes? MPPGA Professor Yves Tiberghien provides insight in the latest Christian Science Monitor article.

What is this thing called organic? How organic farming is codified in regulations

Professor Navin Ramankutty, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Published in Food Policy (vol. 68), a new paper led by UBC Postdoctoral Fellow Verena Seufert and co-authored by MPPGA Professor Navin Ramankutty and Tabea Mayerhofer examines why organic regulations need to better incorporate environmental best practices.

Pipeline politics: the battle of Kinder Morgan

Professor George Hoberg, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
In a recent Vancouver Sun article, MPPGA Professor George Hoberg provided insight on BC's Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, noting on the ultimate uncertainty of the project when considering the involvement of First Nations and opposing parties.

Dr. Rashid Sumaila wins Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Science

Professor Rashid Sumaila, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
MPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila has won the prestigious Peter Benchley Ocean Award in recognition of his work on sustainable fisheries around the world. Dr. Sumaila is the recipient in the 2017 “Excellence in Science” category, which is given to an individual who “has advanced the cause of understanding ocean processes, marine ecology and conservation biology.”

Upgraded relationships: Canada posts new Ambassador to China

Professor Yves Tiberghien, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
In the CBC's Early Edition , MPPGA Professor Yves Tiberghien discusses the potential of China and Canada's relationship and it's impact on the US, following the new posting of Hon. John McCallum as Ambassador to China. Interview begins at 51:35.