Western Canada-Japan and the Indo-Pacific Strategy: A conversation with Canada’s ambassador to Japan

Monday, May 1, 2023
Talk: 3:00-4:00 pm | Networking: 4:00-4:30 pm
Location: Energy Transition Centre
The Ampersand, East Tower, Suite 1500 (15th floor)
112 4 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB

Join Canada’s Ambassador to Japan, Ian G. McKay, as he offers insight into the geopolitical issues that shape and impact business opportunities between Japan and Western Canada.

Japan is a key trading and investment partner for Canada in the Indo Pacific region, based on a strong foundation of shared values, respect for democracy, and a belief in free and fair rules based trade.

In 2022, Japan supplanted China as Alberta’s second largest trade partner, restoring the position it last held in 2002. But doing business with Japan, and other countries in the Indo-Pacific, means also understanding the bilateral and regional political context.

Ambassador McKay will discuss the relationship between Japan and Western Canada and will provide greater understanding of the way business is conducted in Japan and what factors impact decision-making in that country. This talk will help provide exporters in Alberta with greater confidence and comfort when approaching potential business partners in Japan.

NOTE: This event is in-person only and held under Chatham House Rule. It will not be recorded or broadcast.


Ian G. McKay

Ian G. McKay
Ambassador of Canada to Japan

Ian McKay was appointed as Ambassador of Canada to Japan on April 15, 2021 and presented his credentials to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on August 25, 2021. Prior to that, he was named in 2018 as the Prime Minister’s special envoy to Japan to assist with Canada’s final negotiations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. He also served as founding Chief Executive Officer of Invest in Canada and was responsible for promoting Canada as a premier global investment destination.

Mr. McKay began his career in international financial markets with Euro Brokers Investment Inc in New York, later becoming Managing Director of Euro Brokers Tokyo and joint Managing Director of Euro Brokers London. He was Director of Canadian Energy Markets for InterCapital Brokers NY and also served as a senior policy advisor to three federal cabinet ministers in the Government of Canada and was National Director for the Liberal Party of Canada. Following his time in Ottawa, McKay served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Economic Commission.


Gar G. Mar, KC

Hon. Gary G. Mar, KC
President & CEO, Canada West Foundation

Gary Mar is an accomplished and respected leader with experience in government and business and established expertise in CWF’s key policy areas in natural resources, trade and investment and human capital. He held several cabinet portfolios while serving as a member of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly including health and wellness, education, environment and international and intergovernmental relations, and was also Official Representative of the Province of Alberta at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C and later represented the province in Asia. In 2022, Gary was appointed a member and chair of the Council of the Alberta Order of Excellence and was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for public service.

Further reading:

OP-ED | Memo to Trudeau: There’s more than a business case to export energy to Japan
Gary G. Mar and Carlo Dade, Calgary Herald, January 2023

WHAT NOW? Policy Brief | The West wants in the Indo-Pacific
Carlo Dade, Director and Sharon Zhengyang Sun, December 2022