David Mulroney, a former very senior official and Canada’s ambassador to China, said, on social media, a few days ago, that “Serious countries like the UK, France and Australia have spoken frankly about the cost of China’s lack of transparency in the Covid19 pandemic, something that will almost certainly shape their policies post-crisis. This offers an opportunity for us … [but] … Canada, which was particularly hard hit by SARS in 2003, and thus already familiar with the unreliability of Chinese statistics and “cooperation”, still seems unable, possibly unwilling, to address the problem squarely … [but we should know that] … There’s no surprise here. Communist governments always put regime survival ahead of public safety and truth. That’s a big problem now because China’s government is increasingly influential globally and, via familiar interference tactics, here in Canada … [however] … It’s not too late for the government to acknowledge this as a problem, identify major vulnerabilities, and work with allies to counter Chinese interference and disinformation in our democracies, in the multilateral system, and in the developing world.”
I have explained, just recently, that there are one good and a few bad reasons that explain
Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau’s reluctance to join the grownups and criticize China. The only good reason is concern about the fate of the “two Michaels” “~ Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor who have been held, improperly in Chinese prisons for over a year because Canada adhered to the rule of law regarding extradition requests ~ ” while there are a whole host of poor reasons, all having to do with Justin Trudeau’s own views …
… and his governments failing support for the progressives‘ globalization agenda which is being rejected by other leaders (except China’s) everywhere.
As I have also explained before, the COVID-19 pandemic is hastening a drive away from globalization and a greater desire for self-sufficiency. This goes well beyond President Trump’s desire to retreat into ‘Fortress America,” it was, in fact, part of the rationale for the European Union going back to the 1950s and ’60s and it was, I believe, an unspoken part of the Canada-US Free Trade deal negotiated in 1987/88 (it came into force on 1 January 1989.) While I, personally, favour global free(er) trade and the free(er) movement of people, goods, capital and, above all, ideas, I also support the notion of enhanced continental self-sufficiency for North America. I do not agree that we need to never buy steel from South Korea or electronics from Taiwan or making investments in Singapore rather than Saskatoon. I just think that we trade best when we do so from a secure domestic base which, for Canada, means a continental base.
I doubt there is any way to change the current Trudeau-Liberal policy. It is too deeply ingrained. Getting Canada on the right track requires two things, I think:
- First, electing a Conservative government ~ preferably one led by Erin O’Toole; and
- Second, reforming the Liberal Party of Canada by dumping Justin Trudeau, jettisoning fifty+ years of Trudeau, père et fils, notions about silk-stocking socialism, and electing leaders who are more like Louis St Laurent and John Manley than they are like John Turner or Jean Chrétien. That doesn’t mean dumping all of the traditional Liberal policies … in fact, it will involve looking back at the Liberal Party‘s long and proud history, from Laurier to 1967, and rebuilding upon that solid foundation.