22 March 2013

Nigeria: Canada Rules Out Sanctions Against FG Over Corruption

Canada — Canada's foreign minister, Mr. John Baird, says the Canadian government would not take any action against the Goodluck Jonathan administration for corrupt practices. Mr. Baird spoke to Daily Trust after delivering a lecture to the International Business Speakers Forum at Algonquin College in the Canadian capital, Ottawa.

He said: "If we stop doing business with corrupt governments around the world, we won't have enough governments left to work with. But, if things get to the level of Syria or Iran, we can start talking of comprehensive sanctions," in response to a specific question on whether the Canadians would follow US lead on helping the Nigerian government take the fight against corruption seriously.

Earlier, Mr. Baird had said that the Canadian government is tough on its companies abroad if they fail to meet global ethical standards. He said government is committed to seeing the improvement of bilateral trades with Nigeria. "Corruption is not limited to Africa, it is everywhere but we are committed to Canadian companies maintaining high ethical standards when doing business elsewhere."

Mr. Baird however spoke more assertively on the new Kenyan government whose leaders are indicted for crimes against humanity by the international tribunal. He said that his country is considering "reassessing its policy on Kenya" following the election of Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy who are wanted for crimes against humanity.

The Canadian foreign minister said that his home government believes in talking rather than sanctions. "You can have difficult conversations but it is good to have them."He recalled the foreign investor promotion agreements being explored by the Canadian government with states of North Africa, the sub-Saharan region and with ECOWAS adding that these are of great importance to Canada's economy.

The minister said that his country is keen to expand its sphere of business interest to all corners of the globe where it could get a slice of the business pie but warned that in doing so, it would be conscious of business interest and high ethical values. He said that trade is important for the growth of the Canadian economy. He said government was looking outside the shores of its neighbour, the United States of America saying that trade with America has declined by 14% in ten years between 2000 and 2010. He said he believes that it probably has declined even further if new figures are released.

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