This article by Murray Brewster from CBC News should give every Canadian pause to wonder about the level of commitment that Team Trudeau has towards its election promises.
“Much to the frustration of Canada’s allies at the United Nations,” the CBC reports, “the Trudeau government postponed the delivery of its long-anticipated peacekeeping plan last month principally because it needed a better read on what the Trump administration expects of Canada in terms of international defence and security … [and] … It has been almost five months since Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and former foreign affairs minister Stéphane Dion announced the country would commit 600 troops and 150 police officers to various international peace support missions … The intention was to define where and what kind of missions before the end of last year … [and] … That was not only the public message Sajjan delivered repeatedly, but it was also the private signal sent to allies, which are now growing increasingly restless.“
But, Murray Brewster of CBC News goes on, “Sajjan, in an interview Friday with CBC’s Power & Politics, tacitly acknowledged the changing political dynamic in Washington is a factor that’s given the Liberal government pause on peacekeeping … “Of course when it comes to a new administration we need to take that into account,” he said … [and] … The Obama administration, according to sources with knowledge of the file, made it clear to Canada that it was free to engage in more peacekeeping as along as its other commitments to NORAD and NATO were fulfilled.“
And now for the big ‘but:’ “But with President Donald Trump’s call for allies to spend and do more for their own defence, there is considerable uncertainty on what that means for the U.S.-Canada relationship … [and, while] … Sajjan denied that the policy of more UN missions, as articulated in the last election campaign, would be scrapped, but he refused to be pinned down to a revised timeline … “I can’t put a date to the decision just yet,” he said. “I think it’s important to start discussions with the U.S. We need to discuss a lot of changes with our allies as well.”“
So there we have it. Justin Trudeau made a “principled,” so he said, promise, to change the direction of Canadian foreign policy … but was it only so far as the Obama administration allowed? And is Canadian foreign policy now totally subservient to Donald Trump? Is that why almost 40% of the nearly 70% of Canadians who came out to vote (about 28% of Canadians overall) elected Liberals?
I, personally, oppose wasting troops and money on UN led peacekeeping missions; I think is was a dumb promise made by a political lightweight. But I oppose, even more, our government standing in the corner waiting for Uncle Sam to say, “OK, you can go out and play … but only where, how and why I say.”