Western Canada and the Indo-Pacific Strategy: A conversation with Canada’s Indo-Pacific Trade Representative

Monday, October 23, 2023
Harry Hayes Building, 220 4th Ave. S.E.
Suite 419 – Calgary, AB  T2G 4X3

*Meet at the commissionaire desk at the top of the escalator on the 2nd floor, and a representative of Global Affairs Canada will escort you to the meeting room.

Join Canada’s Indo-Pacific Trade Representative and former Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific, Paul Thoppil as he offers insight into the trade and investment issues that shape and impact business opportunities between the Indo-Pacific and Western Canada.

On a Sunday morning almost a year to the day, Canada announced its long-awaited Indo-Pacific Strategy. The 40 economies in the federal strategy contain 16 of significance for Western Canada: Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. GDP growth projections for each of these economies, with the exception of Japan, are all higher than for North America. But, as recent events have shown, doing business in the Indo-Pacific means also understanding the bilateral and regional political contexts.

Mr. Thoppil will discuss progress on Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy one year after its announcement, the relationship between the Indo-Pacific and Western Canada and how this impacts trade and investment.

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


Paul Thoppil
Canada’s Indo-Pacific Trade Representative

Paul Thoppil was announced by the Prime Minister of Canada on September 5th, 2023 as the first Canadian Indo-Pacific Trade Representative, as part of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. This follows completion of his tenure as Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific and Canada’s APEC and ASEAN Senior Official at Global Affairs Canada. Since his appointment in June 2019 as Assistant Deputy Minister, he has led the development and release of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, and received a National Public Service Award for his contribution towards the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from China back to Canada. Previously he was the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Finances, Results and Delivery Officer of Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. From 2009 to 2014 Mr. Thoppil was the Commercial Minister at the Canadian Embassy to Japan in Tokyo, advancing Canada’s trade, investment and innovation objectives in Japan.


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:

What do businesses in Alberta need from an Indo-Pacific strategy? A backgrounder on the federal Indo-Pacific Strategy and its importance to Alberta.

What Now? | The West wants in the Indo-Pacific

OP-ED | Federal Indo-Pacific Strategy needs co-ordinated response from Western Canada, Calgary Herald, December 14, 2022

China Brief 97 | China’s recovery stalls, Canada-India tensions and trade, and a change to China Brief