Doug Saunders, the Globe and Mail‘s international affairs columnist, says, in that newspaper, “That Justin Trudeau has picked a fight with Narendra Modi is, by itself, not an unwelcome development … [even if] … By making supportive-sounding remarks about the farmers’ protests that have exploded across some northern states of India in response to Mr. Modi’s agriculture reform bills, the Canadian Prime Minister has managed to upset his Indian counterpart enough that New Delhi has called Canada’s high commissioner on the carpet and cancelled its officials’ appearances at Canadian-hosted events this week … [however] … As with many of Mr. Trudeau’s international incidents, it doesn’t feel like a carefully calculated move; it emerged from an ethnic outreach campaign (in this case a town hall for Sikh voters), and his intended message isn’t terribly clear.” In other words Justin Trudeau may have done the right thing for all the wrong reasons: his relentless political shilling for the Sikh vote in several ridings has led him, yet again to make a policy blunder.
Prime Minister Modi, Mr Saunders explains, is doing a lot of things in India that ought to provoke concern and cautious diplomatic questions, if not public comment, from other liberal-democratic leaders, but his agricultural reforms, about which so many farmers are complaining so vociferously, is not one of them. The only thing wrong with his farm reform plans, Doug Saunders says, is that they weren’t begun six years ago.
“Justin Trudeau was right to condemn that violence, and defend the right to protest,” Mr Saunders says, “But in making it about the farmers, he picked the wrong target. Their resistance to change is Asia’s biggest source of poverty and misery.” Which strikes me as being typical: Justin Trudeau is on the politically-correct side of every progressive cause and issue even when, usually, he has no idea about the matter at hand.
India is a rising power. It has the potential to be, at least, a great regional power and it may be the key to containing China’s expansion plans. It is, also, the world’s greatest democracy and, like other democracies, it has had, has and will have less than stellar leaders and it is highly likely that Mr Modi will be replaced with someone with different views and policies … just as will, for example, Donald J Trump and Justin P Trudeau, two other
less than stellar corrupt and inept leaders.
India should be near the top of any list of Canada’s important friends. Some observers expect it to be one of the world’s top three economies by 2040, and it already is an important (nuclear armed) military power and with 1.4 million men and women under arms (full time service) it is the world’s second largest military force (after China) and the world’s largest non-conscripted force. That (near the top of Canada’s list of friends) is where it was, traditionally, because Louis St Laurent, John Diefenbaker, Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin Jr and Stephen Harper all understood Canada’s vital, long-term, strategic interests and put them above winning a few more votes in a few suburban ridings. Now, in 2020, Canada has a prime minister with too little intellectual capability and too much theatrical ambition who risks making us an international laughing stock and, worse, doing serious damage to our long-term strategic and economic interests as he alienates potential big customers ~ that Canadian hosted event which Indian officials boycotted was, I am pretty sure, aimed at strengthening trade ~ while shilling for a few more votes …
… in ridings like Mississauga-Malton, Waterloo and Vancouver South.
As usual, Prime Minister Justin gets policy and politics all back-asswards and Canada suffers for his chronic inability to do the right things in the right way. Canada deserves better. It’s time for a real change.