Canada’s (missing) foreign policy

Two days ago I said that “there is a real, measurable difference between the Conservatives and the Trudeau Liberals on important vital strategic issues. Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland have failed pretty much every test, including renegotiating NAFTA. Why would anyone trust them with the reins of government again?” Then, yesterday I said “Canada and Canadians, and liberals and democrats everywhere need to stand with the people of Hong Kong. I suspect our current government will fail in this, too.

This brings me to a very recent a column by Pail Wells in Maclean’s magazine in which he says “My favourite comments in this whole business [by which he means the disgraceful business of the Trudeau PMO forcing bureaucrats to threaten retired public servants] come from [former Canadian ambassador tonChina Guy] Saint-Jacques, who notes that one reason it’s hard to align his comments with the government’s policy is that he can’t tell what the government’s policy is. I had the same reaction: If there’s a number people can call to understand Justin Trudeau’s thinking on the regime in Beijing, can we please have it?

trudeauchicago-e1518051554787Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 12.30.09There you have it in a nutshell: Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland don’t have a foreign policy. There is only the Liberal campaign strategy: you must reelect us because, despite being incompetent, we are not the evil, white-supremacist, neo-Nazi, misogynistic, oil-loving Conservatives that our highly-paid propagandists have persuaded you to fear.

And that, dear readers, is all there is. There was, back in 2015-16, a brief attempt to play the “Canada is back” card by bribing foreign countries to pretend that there was something new about Canada’s climate change policy ~ there wasn’t, of course, Trudeau’s climate change targets are exactly the same as Harper’s, but Trudeau handed out Canadian taxpayers’ money and a few foreign leaders fawned over him … but not Shinzō Abe, Emmanuel Marcon, Angela Merkel, Narendra Modi, Scott Morrison, Lee Hsien Loong, Vladimir Putin, Mark Rutte, Donald Trump, Xi Jinping or anyone else who matters. During her time as trade minister and then foreign minister Ms Freeland managed to annoy the Americans, for nothing, upset the TPP negotiators, get herself banned from Russia and now the Chinese foreign minister will not take her phonecalls ~ she’s a bungler of colossal stature and Justin Trudeau just gets ignored at G7, NATO and G20 summits …

Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 14.56.49

… because no one takes Canada seriously anymore, because we have nothing to contribute.

It’s not all Justin Trudeau’s fault. His father, Pierre Trudeau, Canada worst prime minister, ever, in 150+ years, decided to throw aside the St Laurent-Diefenbaker-Pearson policy vision of Canada as a leader amongst the small and middle powers and no one who came after, not even Paul Martin Jr and Stephen Harper who actually wanted to give Canada a role of pride and influence in the world, which is what Paul Martin called his government’s foreign and defence policy statement in 2005, could find a way to convince Canadian voters to support increases in foreign aid and defence spending. But all the others, even Joe Clark, John Turner and Kim Campbell, had some ideas … Trudeau and Freeland seem oblivious and, as Paul Well says, no one can figure out what Canada’s foreign policy might be. It’s gone missing.

Canada needs to send Justin Trudeau after it … we need to send him and Chrystia Freeland deep into the political wilderness in October, not just to the opposition benches but right out of the House of Commons, to ponder the price of their failure.

 

 

 

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