Terry Glavin, writing in MacLean’s magazine, says that “With Beijing’s most determined allies decisively crushed by a democratic alliance in Hong Kong’s district elections over the weekend, at least somebody’s putting up some kind of a fight against Xi Jinping’s increasingly savage aggression and belligerence. Because it certainly isn’t Canada.” He reminds us, as I reported a few days ago, that “An unprecedented 71.2 per cent turnout on Sunday in the ordinarily humdrum local elections resulted in a massive triumph for pro-democracy candidates and a withering rebuke to the Chinese Communist Party and its puppet Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive. Out of 18 district councils, all formerly under the establishment’s control, 17 are now in the democratic camp. Of the 452 posts up for election, Hong Kong’s democrats took nearly 400 of them, quadrupling their seat share. Pro-Beijing parties lost 243 seats … [but, he adds, as I also reported] … It was a lot less uplifting that while Hongkongers were streaming to the polling stations over the weekend, at the 11th annual Halifax International Security Forum here in Canada, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan telegraphed the strongest signal yet that after several months of dithering, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has decisively retreated into the Liberal Party’s traditional approach to relations with Beijing—appeasement, capitulation, and normalization.“
That’s it! The Justin Trudeau foreign policy is that Canada should be on its knees in front of every celebrity with a cause, every tin-pot despot and major dictator and, of course, every potential voter, but Trudeau’s Canada must never stand up FOR anything lest it offends any special interest group anywhere in Canada ~ the Canadian prairies and Canada’s own petroleum industry being notable exceptions.
“We don’t consider China as an adversary,” Defence Minister Sajjan told delegates from around the world at the Halifax International Security Forum’s opening last Friday.
Maybe Messers Trudeau and Sajjan don’t, but, Tery Glavin says that “Hongkongers certainly do. So do the Uighurs of Xinjiang, a Muslim people whose persecution has accelerated to the point that at least a million of them are confined to concentration camps and forced-labour zones laid bare in the greatest detail yet in a trove of leaked Chinese government documents just released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. So do Tibetans, whose dispossession and oppression over the past seven decades is now being replayed in Xinjiang—and whose tragic predicament, once a hallowed cause in Canada, is now rarely if ever even mentioned in polite company.” Justin Trudeau is following Pierre Trudeau’s lead towards its logical conclusion which will see Canada as a weak, spineless, neo-isolationist, international appeaser … Justin Trudeau is to 21st century Canada as Neville Chamberlain was to Britain in the 1930s ~ and we all know how that ends for Canadians …
“In the only critical area of bipartisan foreign-policy consensus left in the United States,” Mr Glavin writes, “Americans certainly see China as an adversary. In one of the only victories Hongkongers have achieved in their efforts to win some effective international solidarity, the U.S. Congress adopted the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act last week. The law requires U.S. agencies to review whether Hong Kong is still eligible for favourable trade treatment in U.S. law, and opens the door to sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who are trampling on the fundamental rights of Hongkongers … [and] … The findings of Canada’s own National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians contradicts the weird claims Sajjan made at the Halifax conference. Last April, in its first-ever annual report, the committee officially declared China a threat to Canada’s national security, owing mainly to Beijing’s hostile espionage, its cyber threats and its subversive overseas influence-peddling operations.” To his credit, President Trump signed that Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act into law just the other day.
The Government of Canada, in the shape of Justin Trudeau and his cabinet, is out of touch with the global strategic situation and, I daresay, with reality. It is, as I have mentioned, focused, resolutely, on some (not all) domestic issues.
The world remains both dangerous and unfriendly:
- The entire Islamic Crescent, which stretches from the Atlantic coast of North Africa all the way through to Indonesia is in various stages of turmoil;
- China is expanding its influence, sometimes, as in the South China Sea, aggressively and militarily, sometimes, as in the Belt and Road initiative, commercially;
- Russia remains aggressively opportunistic, doing whatever it can wherever it can to disrupt the US-led West; and
- Of course, there are also Iran and North Korea, and, and, and …
Canada needs to reach out to traditional allies and friends and to do more to stand with those who are holding the line against the threats. Instead, during the first Trudeau mandate, Canada:
- Annoyed Australia and Japan (and others) during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations;
- Rubbed the Philippines the wrong way over helicopters and garbage;
- Nearly broke diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia by doing some very ill-considered and undiplomatic virtue signalling;
- Failed to get on the right side of the USA ~ although it’s not clear to me that there even is a “right side” to the Trump administration;
- Managed to get on the wrong side of China ~ and now the Chinese are using Canada as something of a whipping boy as they send a message to the world: ‘we want to be your trading partner, but we can and will punish you if you don’t do what we want‘;
- Thoroughly annoyed India, a rising great power; and
- Continued to do the bare minimum that can be managed to help keep the peace in a dangerous world.
Put simply, Canada’s foreign policy, after four years of Justin Trudeau and Chrtystia Freeland, sees us on our knees, weak and friendless and about, in a few days, to be singled out by our American protectors for being a second-rate shirker … a global freeloader. Canada deserves better, Canada needs better, but 33% of us voted for Liberal candidates in 2019 so we have committed ourselves to continue on the downward path.
What we need is a robust foreign policy, reminiscent of the one Louis St Laurent enunciated in 1947. What Canada needs is reformed and rebuilt armed forces, like the ones Brooke Claxton rebuilt in the 1950s to confront a rapidly changing and increasingly dangerous strategic environment. Sadly, the Liberal Party of Canada, under Justin Trudeau, seems totally unable to see Canada’s needs ~ it remains wedded to Pierre Trudeau’s neo-isolationist, let the Americans do it all philosophy.
The only alternative, while Canada waits for the Liberal Party to shake off the myth of the Trudeaus, père et fils, is the Conservative Party, and it is, currently, as it has been since 2015, trying to find a path to reconnect with Canadians. Finding that path is simple: the renewed, 2020 Conservatives need to reach back about 75 years and, quite shamelessly, steal Louis St Laurent’s vision of Canada. Prime Minister St Laurent saw a strong, united, free Canada, a nation that was self-reliant and, in fact, was a leader amongst the middle powers. He was not afraid to build great projects nor did he fear to put Canada’s military to good use. He was moderate in both social and fiscal terms; he was, likely, the best Canadian prime minister of the 20th century, despite being in power when there was a very real threat of a global nuclear war. The Conservatives need a leader with a vision much like Louis St Laurent in the 1940s and ’50s. And the Conservatives need a leader who can enunciate that vision and convince Canadians to get off their knees and to stand up for themselves and for freedom and democracy. Canada needs that, too; Canada deserves no less.