For most Canadians, Mexico is little more than warm beaches and spicy food. But in the last two weeks, Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa was in Ottawa for a two-day state visit, and the Canadian International Council’s report Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age devoted an important chapter to Canada-Mexico relations. For once, Mexico is beginning to matter in Canada.
And so it should. It matters because it’s big — already well over 110 million people and growing fast. It matters, as the CIC’s Open Canada notes, because its per capita income is more than twice that of China and four times that of India. Canada already has a market for $24 billion worth of goods and services there, making Mexico our fifth largest export market, and this, surely, can and will grow much larger. Moreover, Mexico is much nearer than the emerging Asian economies on which Canadian governments and businesses focus so much of their attention.