Canadian Interests in Peruvian Politics

Only a few months ago, Canadians went to the polls for another time resulting in a new government. Sitting in today’s Canadian House of Commons are a record number of women, diverse caucuses exemplifying the diversity of our nation, and Canada’s first gender-balanced cabinet. Election time was an exciting period to see the final outcome of the hard work of thousands of candidates and volunteers from coast to coast. Now, the excitement continues as Canadians watch to see the decisions the new government will make and legislation that will be brought forth.

The anticipation and nervousness of a close election period has followed Junior Team Canada on our trade mission to Lima, Peru. Upon leaving the airport and stepping into the Peruvian landscape, our team also stepped into a historical election period for the The Republic of Peru. A drive through the streets of Peru illustrates the seriousness of elections for this country. Perhaps the importance of civic engagement in Peru is a testament to the not so distant history of brutal regimes and political unrest. In addition to the democratic importance of the voting process to Peruvians they are also faced with a hefty fine if they choose not to partake in voting. The requirements for voting and only a few years of a relatively stable political environment mean the Peruvian attitude towards voting is incongruent to that of our home country of Canada. Regularly in Canada, just over half of eligible voters show up to the polls and it is a common opinion that the decision to engage in the political process is neutral because their vote renders no impact on the outcome. The circumstances for voting are quite different in Peru where citizens know all to well what happens if a political institution is run without the influence of its citizens.

In Canada, we can be rest assured that the political front-runners during our election period are not radical. Whereas in Peru, an election can potentially elect a leader of a far-left or far-right leaning tendency which would drastically alter the current trade systems implemented in Peru. During our meeting with Mr. Greg Dryden, the Chief Financial Officer of the HudBay Peru Operation, he discussed the effect of this election on business. Dryden felt assured in the fact that current polls are favouring leaders that are business friendly. HudBay Peru only achieved production in April 2015 after funding $1.7 billion into this project. The company invested a great deal of money into this project in order for a sustained revenue over a period of multiple decades.

The results of the April 10, 2016 Peruvian presidential election are a critical component to the prosperity of the HudBay operations. New government policies, for example, could have unfavourable repercussions for the multi-billion-dollar project if the system for doing business no longer becomes profitable or the government is against foreign investors.

JTC Ambassadors meeting with HudBay Peru

JTC Ambassadors meeting with HudBay Peru

The election is a few months away and through dialogue with our contacts we have been hearing different perspectives on past, present, and future leaders of Peru. It is certainly true that whoever is elected will have a long list of tasks and commitments to improve the quality of life for Peruvians. In the changing global market, the elections going on to elect our municipal, provincial, and federal governments are not the only elections that should be of concern to Canadians. We live in a world where business is just as frequently done from Vancouver to Montreal as trade from Toronto to Lima. The decision on who is elected in various nations around the world will directly have an impact on the world economy, world safety, and overall quality of living both on Canadian soil and beyond.