Canada, be aware. One of the most important political issues of our day is wrapped behind a significant piece of legislation making its way through the United States Congress — and it impacts you. A bill that just passed the United States Senate with bipartisan backing would require the Biden administration to spell forth plans for engaging with allies on China-related concerns.
There’s also a lengthy part on Canada. It is part of a mammoth 1,400-page package aimed at preparing the United States for a long-term era of rivalry with China.
The bill’s Canada section dubbed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act opens by praising Canada-US connections, commending Ottawa’s handling of the extradition case against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and condemning the imprisonment of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in China. Then it poses difficult questions.
If passed by the House, the bill will become law, requiring the administration to publish a report on Canada within 90 days. That report would have to explain where Canada and the U.S. agree on managing relations with China and where they disagree.
It would focus on trade, cybersecurity, Huawei and 5G networks, critical mineral resources, defense, the Arctic, global institutions, organized crime, and the spread of authoritarian government. The bill would then require this administration, and maybe future administrations, to report to Congress on the strategy’s progress at least twice a year for the next five years.
The report would be open to the public, however, it could contain classified information. The US has already pressured Canada to take a more hardline stance on several China-related matters, such as excluding Huawei from participating in the eventual 5G network, a decision Canada has yet to make. The bill mandates similar reports on the United States’ connections with other organizations, such as NATO and the European Union, as well as with areas such as the Caribbean and countries such as Australia and Japan.
However, that is not the aspect of the legislation that is receiving the most attention in the United States.