Yesterday, I talked about standing up to China, the bully and restoring confidence in Canada. Today, I want to discuss how to do that. It’s a bit disjointed, I’m afraid, because there are a lot of things wrong and fixing just one or two will not be enough.
I said that Prime. Minister Justin Trudeau “is a simpering, sycophantic simpleton who is on his knees in front of Xi Jinping.” I stick with that, and he’s one of the problems that need fixing … while he’s a problem in his own right, a fairly simple one, and he’s also a symptom of a bigger problem.
It seems pretty clear to me that if we Canadians want, once again, to be the country that the world wants and needs, as we were in the 1940s and ’50s and ’60s and, indeed, in the 1980s, when our leaders faced down our richest and most powerful international trading partners and allies …
… to stand up for democracy and liberty in South Africa, and in the 2000s, too, when we were an exemplary member of a global alliance against radical Islamic terrorism, then we need to change. We need to have confidence in ourselves so that the wold can have confidence in us, again, too.
The Canada that the world needs was the Canada of Wilfred Laurier, Stephen Harper, Louis St Laurent, Robert Borden and Paul Martin Jr. It is not a partisan Liberal or Conservative Canada, it is the Canada in which most Canadians, well over half of them at my guess, want to live. But it is also the Canada that was explicitly rejected by Pierre Trudeau and which, it appears to me, his son also rejects.
I know this is all too boringly familiar to regular readers. I have been on and on and on and on about how Canada lost the strategic plot since the earliest days of this blog.
I’m going to repeat myself: the ONLY way Canada can recover its place in the world is for:
- Canadians to elect a Conservative government as soon as possible ~ and that means selecting a leader who actually wants to make Canada matter again; and
- Concurrently, for the Liberal Party of Canada to re-invent itself by discarding 50 years of the influence of Pierre And Justin Trudeau and becoming, once again, the Party of Laurier, Pearson, St Laurent and Martin.
Both are big tasks, neither will be easy. Canadians are, very broadly and generally, suspicious of Conservatives. The old slogan, “Tory times are tough times.” still resonates because, sometimes, Conservatives have been elected after Liberals have made a fiscal mess.
The influences of George Grant and Walter Gordon remain too strong. Canadian nationalism has become knee-jerk, juvenile anti-Americanism and too often, being anti-American has meant taking the side of America’s enemies. When the world was in peril too many Canadians have to often said “So there was a war? Tough. It wouldn’t stop me from concentrating on my studies so long as that was possible.” Canadian nationalism is, too often, a small, nasty, selfish thing that asks “what’s in it for me?”
How can we get off our knees, stand up to China and act like a respectable, responsible country once again?
We can start by standing up for Hong Kong where, the Washington Post reports, “China’s Communist Party will impose a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong by fiat during the annual meeting of its top political body, officials said Thursday, criminalizing “foreign interference” along with secessionist activities and subversion of state power … [and, the article says] … The move is the boldest yet from Beijing to undercut Hong Kong’s autonomy and bring the global financial hub under its full control, as it works to rewrite the “one country, two systems” framework that has allowed the territory to enjoy a level of autonomy for the past 23 years.” The Government of Canada could do two things:
- First, speak out ~ say, out loud, that China is breaking the promises it made 25 years ago; and
- Second, say that all Hong Kong citizens ~ a separate legal status ~ are, from this day forward entitled to be treated as political refugees if they apply to reside in Canada.
The second is, probably, a more pronounced diplomatic slap in the face than is the first.
But there’s a bigger point about standing up to Chinese bullying. The Hong Kong Free Press, a journal I expect will soon be suppressed and put out of business in Hong Kong, says, and I agree 100% that “In tiny Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist Party had a unique opportunity to show the world that it is big and strong enough to accommodate an island of freedom within its sovereign borders. But it was scared by this challenge and ended up revealing its weakness by reverting to the only means of control it knows and really trusts.” Beijing, the old men, holed up in the walled compound called the Zhongnanhai (中南海), is afraid … bullies often are. They aren’t afraid of American bombs and bullets, although they understand them, they are afraid of ideas because they know that dictatorships are fragile things. Just as Brian Mulroney stood up, against strong international pressure, for the idea of freedom for Nelson Mandela and for all South Africans, so a real Canadian leader ~ someone other than our man-child, trust-fund-kid, puppet of a prime minister ~ must stand up for freedom for the peoples of Hong Kong and for Taiwan, too. Prime Minister Trudeau is NOT that person. He is. not a leader; he is a craven coward who is willing to trade liberty for privilege. That is NOT the Canadian way. We Canadians are. better than that; Canadians are better than Justin. Trudeau.
We, Canadians, must be clear, in our own minds, that the government that we elected, the Justin Trudeau regime, has, willingly, for its own political reasons, surrendered our sovereignty to China. Canada, which once stood up to Nazi German and Imperial Japanese aggression and terror, Canada which went to battle, in Korea, against aggressive communism and which stood, on the front-lines to face down the baleful, nuclear-armed, Russian-led Warsaw Pact, has now surrendered so that Justin Trudeau and his friends can go to somewhat better cocktail parties at the UN’s posh New York HQ.
We, Canadians, must clean our own political Augean stables; we must sweep away 50 years of accumulated isolationism, illiberal anti-Westernism, and genuflecting before global communist thugs. There is some heavy lifting to be done. The first part, the easy part, actually, is for Canadians to vote for change, for real change.
The harder part is for the Liberal Party of Canada to reform itself. For 50 years the Liberals have coasted on the enduring fascination that Canadians have with the myth of Pierre Trudeau. He was nor a philosopher-king, he was a weak, parochial, mean-spirited, pseudo-intellectual and an illiberal, silk-stocking-socialist who set Canada on an easy, self-serving road. He gave Canada a culture of entitlement … and too many of us love it. It will be hard for Liberals to do the right thing and renounce both Pierre and Justin Trudeau and most of their legacies, too, but they cannot hope to win back e.g. John Manley, Jane Philpott and Andrew Leslie until they do. The Liberal Party remains fractured ~ almost unrepresented on the great Canadian prairies. It needs to reunite itself and represent all Canadians, again, as the Conservatives are trying to do.
I know that there are Liberals out there ~ in their hundreds and in their thousands and in their tens of thousands ~ who are dismayed by what Justin Trudeau and his clique have done to their once-proud party. I’m not asking them to abandon the Liberal Party. I’m asking them to recapture ~ because it was captured, taken from them in the 1960s ~ it and restore it to goodness and even grandeur.
On the policy front, Canada needs to stop worrying about being “liked,” in the world. What really matters is: are we respected?
The short answer is: No. We have been less and less respected since about 1970 ~ Pierre Trudeau’s monumentally stupid white paper, ‘A Foreign Policy For Canadians‘ which caused the world to shake its head in bemusement and concern. because Canada was, clearly, withdrawing to focus on its own, parochial concerns, while hiding behind Uncle sam’s military shield. Brian Mulroney earned back a bit of respect by standing up for what was right and by reminding the world that Canada remained an important trading nation.
Paul Martin wanted to change things but his policy paper, “A Role of Pride and Influence in the World” landed like a damp squib. The Trudeau-Liberal/Laurentian Elite establishment was having none of it. When Prime Minister Martin said, “Make no mistake: We are in the midst of a major rebalancing of global power. New nations are rising as military and economic forces. Many established powers are striving to maintain their influence through regional integration and new alliances. In a world of traditional and emerging giants, independent countries like Canada—countries with small populations—risk being swept aside, their influence diminished, their ability to compete hampered. That may sound dramatic, but the stakes are that high. We will have to be smart, focused, agile, creative and dogged in the pursuit of our interests,” it sounded like he was repudiating Pierre Trudeau and politically influential people like Lloyd Axworthy, Paul Heinbecker, Alex Himelfarb and Allan Rock opposed it within the Liberal Party/Laurentian Elite establishment.
Stephen Harper, following in Martin’s cautiously globalist footsteps, seemed, to me, conflicted: he wanted to do the right thing, but doing it right would involve upsetting the very delicate balance he had created between the Conservatives’ base and the more timid voters in the suburbs around the Toronto and Vancouver areas who gave him a majority. He was anti-China just when many people (me included) were saying that Canada’s goal should be to engage with China and bring it, more fully, into the world community. He was right and I was wrong. He was pro-American … but then America elected an anti-Canadian president (Obama).
Canada needs to go back to St Laurent, Mulroney and Martin to search for the basics of a grand strategy that will, first and foremost, serve our own vital interests. We must acknowledge that our interests are often selfish, but they are, equally, often shared by similar, friendly countries like Australia, Britain, the CARICOM countries, Denmark, India, Isreal, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Korea (ROK), Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa and Sweden. Canada should remind itself that it is a charter member of the liberal West and we have paid our dues. But we cannot just live off the remnants of our reputation; we have to keep on doing the right things, in the right ways, too.
While, as I have mentioned, the world looks likely to become less global as countries and regions seek to be self-sufficient, Canada should try to remain as a beacon of open, honest, free and fair trading with the world ~ yes, the world, including China.
Canada should be open to foreign investment … so long as the would-be investors allow equal access to Canadians.
Canada should be a full, productive member of every organization it joins ~ if we are going to be in NATO then we should commit, formally, with a plan to, for example, meet NATO’s goal of spending 2% of GDP on defence. We should do the same with NORAD and the UN, in peacekeeping, where Justin Trudeau has reduced Canada’s contributions to historic lows, and its member agencies: if they are important enough to join then they deserve to be properly supported, and Canada deserves a voice in their management. Of course, the reverse is also true. If an agency will not listen to Canada’s legitimate concerns then we should follow US President Trump’s example and withhold funding.
Canada should be a global actor. Canada is, in almost every aspect that matters, one of the world’s top ten nations or, at least, one of the top 10% of nations. Canada should act like it. That means having foreign, trade and defence policies that work for us and are fair to our friends and trading partners.
Few of these things are easy or cheap. Canadians will need to decide, at the polls, to pay a bit more their country in the world and ask for a bit less from their governments. That will not be an easy political case to make, especially not after 50 years of the Liberal culture of entitlement. But, Canadians owe it to ourselves to try; we owe it to ourselves to recover our self-respect; we owe it to ourselves to be the people, the country we want to be; we owe it to ourselves to be and to do better.