A few days ago I commented on the fact ~ or, at least the appearance ~ that Canada is being “Left Out” of the discussions about combatting Da’esh/ISIS. It has been suggested that the really important meeting was not the one to which we were not invited, but, rather, the one coming up, on 11 Feb 16 in Brussels with 25+ allies. If that’s the case then this might matter …
Unless things change, drastically, Minister Sajjan is going to have to go and tell Secretary Carter that Canada still plans to withdraw from the actual fighting. Some will say that he will be going to tell our allies that “Canada is Back” in the free ride mode.
The problem, as I have explained on Army.ca, is that, for practical, partisan political reasons, Justin Trudeau had to “double down” on an off the cuff, unconsidered quip he made in 2014. I’m not sure what else he could have done ~ given that admitting that he was talking through his hat would fall into the “just not ready” trap; he had to turn the taunt into a promise. Now he cannot find a way to break that promise, even though there is a broad consensus that he should.
The problem harks back to the Pierre Trudeau through Jean Chrétien era (almost 40 years) after which, as former Liberal “minister of everything” John Manley noted, Canada could, finally, no longer “sit at the G8 table and every time the waiter comes with the bill excuse ourselves and go to the washroom.” Like it not, that was our reputation and now, again like it or not, it will appear to our allies, and to many Canadians, that we are going back to the same old bad habits. Of course, the fact is that a great many, probably a solid majority of Canadians, did not care that we seen by our allies as “deadbeats” who had slipped in the world’s estimation from being a “leading middle power” (under Prime Minister St Laurent) to being a freeloader, under Trudeau, Mulroney and Chrétien.
I want Conservative leaders to press this government to cast off the remnants of the “decades of darkness” and give us back what former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin said* he wanted: “A Role of Pride and Influence in the World.”
* That wasn’t what his policy paper actually proposed, but what it did propose was infinitely better than the Trudeau-Chrétien-Trudeau “Canada as International Freeloader” model.