Statesmen continually rediscover the truth of one of the most depressing but accurate observations economists make: there aren’t many hundred-dollar bills lying on the pavement. Most of the great opportunities are already taken.
There may, however, be an exception. Australia and Canada don’t have particularly deep or close relations, but there are strong reasons to believe that closer Canberra-Ottawa ties would bring substantial benefits to both.
Australia and Canada are two countries with similar values and interests which could benefit substantially from closer ties and a degree of policy co-operation. Both countries are important commodity producers—but they are more than their mines and farms. Australia and Canada are “full spectrum” economies with sophisticated service sectors. They are deeply committed to free trade and they share concerns about the intentions of the United States, the European Union and Japan for the future of the international trading system.
As Canada turns increasingly toward the Pacific, both are deeply interested in the political and economic future of Asia. Both are predominantly English-speaking societies that share many of the common values and institutions of the so-called “Anglosphere” but Canada and Australia are uncomfortable with the ways that the US in particular takes its partners for granted. As countries of immigration, both are on the front lines of issues like multiculturalism; both are deeply engaged in questions of development and world order and while their approaches and priorities aren’t always identical, their views are very often closely aligned.