Just sayin’

David Akin, in his On The Hill blog

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…. makes a very important point about how we Canadians see and judge ourselves and how others see (or ignore) us on the world stage.

Gerald Butts, he reminds us, during the 2015 election campaign, tweeted “a picture of coy8dopxaaa2wudformer prime minister Stephen Harper’s last speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. Butts, then, was trying to help Justin Trudeau become prime minister. He did a great job at that and Trudeau won. Butts is now Trudeau’s principal secretary and it was Trudeau, today, who took Canada’s speaking slot at the 71st United Nations General Assembly, the annual parade of world leaders to the dais at UN headquarters in New York City to say whatever is on their mind.” A lot of Canadians took that to heart and decided, for themselves, based on only that evidence that we had disappeared from the world. It was, as Mr Akin says, a great campaign tactic. Sadly it was also a lie

Here’s a picture of Mr Butt’s man, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose campaign Gerald Butts managed so skilfully, speaking, yesterday, at the same UN General Assembly podium …

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… the room is still empty and, as Mr Akin explains, “It’s silly, as Butts tried to claim in his mid-election tweet, that we should measure the greatness of our statesmen or our states by the number of diplomats’ bums they can put in seats at the United Nations General Assembly …  This is the way it is always for any Canadian PM.  The room is always empty … In fact, this is the way it is for almost any leader. New UK PM Theresa May spoke just before Trudeau today and it was empty for her … I’ve covered the UN leaders week three times and sat in that hall and watched leaders of China, Russia, France, Germany — you name it —  speak to empty seats. The only leader that fills the hall every time is the president of the United States (no matter who s/he is) … That’s the just the way it is at the UN.” And, I might add, “that’s just the way it is” in all of the “councils of the mighty” that I have seen where Canada even has a seat.

We are a G7 nation, which exaggerates our position in the world a bit. We are, properly, a G20 nation … we are often, almost always, in the top ten of the indices that really, really matter and certainly in  the top 10% of the world’s 190± nations by virtually every positive measure that matters. But we are not the USA and we are not China and Prime Minister Trudeau, who may, indeed, be the darling of the international fashion media, is not a world statesman of any note … he’s young, handsome, telegenic, pleasant and a bit vacuous but he doesn’t quite “belong” into a group photo with Obama, Xi, Merkel and Abe, does he?

Canada is not “back,” no matter what Team Trudeau says, again and again, because it never “left.” Canada, under Prime Minister Harper was disdainful of the UN, with reason ~ with reasons that Justin Trudeau’s campaign team never bothered to debate because their campaign like their candidate, like our new prime minister, was all fluff and promise, quite without “bottom,” but Canada played a major, active role in world affairs outside of the UN. Well, the UN Secretary General is welcoming our new, young PM with open arms and huge smiles because he’s bringing hundreds of millions of our dollars which are badly needed because most other OECD nations are finding very good reasons (inefficiency, ineffectiveness, bureaucratic-managerial ineptitude and corruption) to not fund most UN programmes, Canada is the exception.

It looks like someone told Prime Minister Trudeau that sending a few hundred peacekeepers anywhere is not going to do much to win votes when we next seek a seat on the UN Security Council (2021); sending money, they appear to have suggested, might work better. Of course it would be best if we could send a few thousand peacekeepers into some African hellhole and sort things out, but, as I have explained, we cannot do that anymore. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, back in 1969/70, decimated the Canadian Forces and every prime minister since, especially Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien and Stephen Harper, has been too busy trying to clean up Pierre Trudeau’s financial disaster ~ social programme funding ~ and, even if they had been inclined (as Mulroney and Harper appeared to be) to rebuild the CF there was, simply, no money available to do it.

fool-me-once-shame-on-you-fool-me-twice-shame-onBut, in fairness, we must not judge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his inability to fill the big room at the UN Genera; Assembly … not anymore than we should have rushed to judgement about Prime Minister Stephen Harper when the same thing happened. I’m just sayin’ …

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