Canada & the world II

G8 Summit July 8-10 2009 ; Canada & the Arctic

Is Security Council Seat a Tory Priority?
(Embassy August 2009) Experts and critics say it must be if Canada wants to win, and the prime minister must be leading the charge. More background
5 December 2009
Conrad Black: Between empires
The Chinese leaders are unlikely to be overly informative about their long-term geopolitical ambitions. But if Stephen Harper doesn’t lecture or scold or plead, discusses what interests the Chinese, Canada’s resources (they aren’t remotely interested in anything else about this country), with authority and imagination, listens carefully, and doesn’t make it look like another photo opportunity for a vote-hunting, transitory Western office-holder, it will have been a successful visit.
China grants Canada key status Broadens tourist travel as Premier reprimands Harper
(National Post) Canadian tourism officials celebrated yesterday after Canada finally received its coveted approved destination status from China. The designation essentially allows Chinese travel agents to begin marketing Canada as a holiday destination, and for Chinese travellers to come to Canada on a tourist visa.
3 December
David Akin: Canada doesn’t need lectures from China, thanks
There is a great deal of hand-wringing in the business press that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s very public and very rare rebuke of Prime Minister Stephen Harper today has been bad for business or that it will cost us business.
Here are the stats on the value of Canada-China trade. In 2007, two-way trade between the two countries was up 13 per cent. In 2008, two-way trade was up 11 per cent. In the first six months of this year, two-way trade is up by about 3 per cent — despite a recession. Those are good numbers no matter what way you slice it. Ignoring China, if you look at those numbers, has certainly not been bad for business. Could it be better? Sure. But it ain’t been headed for the dumper.
Andrew Coyne writes: Is there no indignity this country will not swallow? Is there no bottom to our cravenness, our endless capacity to rationalize, explain away and blame ourselves? If the Chinese had done this to any other world leader — to the President of France, say — do you think their opposition parties would be taking the side of the regime? Do you think their president would stay in China another day?

“The new global governance: time for a great leap forward” by John Sinclair, Policy Options November 2009
We live in turbulent times, with the global economy still on life-support. Having reached here through decades of industrialization with roots in cheap energy, we are confronted by strong rivals in the emerging economies, as well as the existential threat of global warming. The institutional framework we built at Bretton Woods is now vulnerable. Power relations are in flux. The G8 that Canada fought to join is doomed to rapid decline as the new multi-polar world seizes upon the G20 as the framework to drive global economic, soon political, governance. To protect our relevance Canada should lead that transition at Muskoka.

Jeremy Kinsman: “From the G8 to the G20 – to Muskoka, via the UN”
(Policy Options, November 2009) As the G8 morphs into the G20 in Muskoka, Ontario, next year, questions arise about Canada’s role on this broader summit stage. As Contributing Writer Jeremy Kinsman notes: “It is widely assumed that Canadian influence and prominence on the world stage will necessarily shrink” with the arrival of emerging global players, including China, India and Brazil. But Kinsman also observes that “much of Canada’s connectedness has to do with international civil society, NGOs and research webs.” Next year, Canada has “a special opportunity to make a crucial difference,” as host and co-chair of the Muskoka summit, and as a candidate for membership on the UN Security Council.
19 November
Afghan detainee issue makes news in China
The story is of particular interest in China, because Colvin singled out David Mulroney — then a deputy minister but now Canada’s ambassador to China — as one of the officials who didn’t want to hear allegations of abuse.
18 November
CIDA and the emasculation of Canadian altruism
(Brian Stewart) CIDA, which is supposed to be the standard-bearer of Canada’s humanitarian face in the world, has long been reduced to a timid, risk-averse, unfocused and curiously publicity-shy minor player within the ever-thickening shadows of Ottawa bureaucracy. There is a deeply serious problem with this, which cuts to the very question of Canada’s position in the world.
17 November
Harper aims to grow nuclear co-operation with India and Canada inks trade deal with India
4 November
Canada at the G20: power, but do we have a plan?
(MetropolitaIn) Though Canada may have a smaller total GDP than the original G7, we are near the top of the list on a per capita basis and are way ahead of upcoming Asian powerhouses like China and India. Canada is no longer the small player at a table of seven, but a serious contender for power and influence in a broader economic forum. Canada is also hosting the 2010 meeting in Hunstville, Ontario. What does Canada intend to do with its new-found clout? Does our government have a set of objectives and a strategy to achieve them?
29 October
Harper to visit China, India, Singapore … trips that observers say could generate commercial and diplomatic dividends. Mr. Harper will make a separate trip to China from Dec. 2-6. China watchers say the protocol-bound Chinese government believes a separate trip to Beijing to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao would show that country more respect than a “while you’re in the neighbourhood” visit that he likely could have done after the Singapore and India trips.
25 September
Le Canada aura «un siège important» au G20, assure Harper
Plus représentatif de la nouvelle réalité mondiale, le G20 remplacera le G8 comme principal forum économique international, a confirmé le premier ministre Stephen Harper, vendredi matin, en conférence de presse à Pittsburgh. Il a aussi annoncé que le Canada sera l’hôte du Sommet des leaders du G20 qui se tiendra en juin 2010. Du même souffle, M. Harper a tenu toutefois à ajouter que le G8 ne disparaitrait pas pour autant et que le Canada ne verrait pas son influence diminuer sur la scène internationale.
24 September
(Hour) Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari still imprisoned in Iran
19 August
Canadian Missions Suffer More Cross-the-Board Cuts
(Embassy) Canadian diplomats have been left reeling after the Foreign Affairs department quietly told all Canadian missions late last month that their budgets are being cut. While the government says it is simply refocusing resources towards its foreign policy and international trade priorities, department staff warn Canada’s presence abroad is in dire straits.
Canada asks Iran to release Newsweek reporter
(Press) Ottawa has also summoned Iran’s chargé d’affaires to protest the “continuing detention” of Bahari.
In talks with the Iranian charge d’affaires Bahram Ghasemi, Cannon urged Iran to free Bahari and “reiterated Canada’s demand for immediate consular access, full legal rights and protection for Mr Bahari, as well as clarification of the allegations against him.”
RCI reports that Canada’s Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon met with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, on the sidelines of a summit in Turkey. Mr. Cannon said that Canada has grave concern about what he called Iran’s unacceptable treatment and unjustified detention of Maziar Bahari. Mr. Bahari is an Iranian-born Canadian who was arrested in Tehran in June while covering violent political unrest for the American magazine, Newsweek. Iran refuses to recognize his dual Canadian-Iranian citizenship.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs department has banned the use of the phrase “child soldiers.” (podcast available)
(CBC The Current) Some powerful words are disappearing from the hallways of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Among them are “international humanitarian law,” and “child soldier” … phrases that are especially relevant in the case of Omar Khadr — the Canadian being held in Guantanamo Bay. And the words are disappearing at a time when the Federal Government is appealing a court ruling ordering it to press for Khadr’s release.
The phrases have been barred from use by Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon … in an interview with Embassy Magazine, Minister Cannon said that the language changes “don’t change anything. When asked why the changes were going ahead, he said “in some circumstances, it’s semantics. In other circumstances we’re going to be changing policies so that they reflect what Canada’s values are and what Canadians said when they supported us during the last election.”
That kind of talk has Errol Mendes worried (“Changing policy by stealth”). He teaches Constitutional and International Law at the University of Ottawa. And he was in Ottawa.
Now this isn’t the first time that politicians have tried to change the language of politics. So for some historical perspective, we were joined by Desmond Morton. He’s a historian, retired professor and the former Director of McGill University’s Institute for the Study of Canada and he was in Georgeville, Quebec.
19 August
Tell Iran to Free Maziar Bahari
(The Tyee) A Canadian journalist is on trial in Tehran. What is Ottawa doing about it?
Last week, Bill Clinton went to North Korea to plead for the release of two American journalists who had entered the country illegally. The trip was a success and a fine example of a country insisting that its citizens be treated with due respect to their human rights. How different things are in Canada.
18 August
Jeffrey Simpson: The Harperites get the hang of China
Better late than never, the realities of the world have shaken the Conservatives’ prejudices and removed their blinkers
5 August
Tories Elected to Set Foreign Policy: Cannon
(Embassy) The foreign affairs minister says some changes to foreign policy language are semantics, others are setting a new course. Either way, he says actions speak louder than words. Others, however, have questioned whether Mr. Cannon fully understands the implications of the changes being made, and have called on the government to bring the issue into the public to be debated in front of all Canadians.
29 July
“Gender Equality”, “Child Soldiers” and “Humanitarian Law” are Axed from Foreign Policy Language
For many observers of Canada’s foreign policy, these are distressing language changes that water down many of the very international human rights obligations Canada once fought to have adopted in conventions at the United Nations. As one source said, in the international world of diplomacy—where officials often focus detailed discussions on the language included in documents and policies—wording makes a big difference.
Leaked DFAIT Memo Documents Struggle Between Conservative Political Staff and Foreign Service
Fearful that political staffers are severely diluting Canada’s foreign policy through alterations to policy language, senior Foreign Affairs officials have begun pushing back against their political masters.
18 July
Wangari Maathai: Wealthy nations must lead on climate change
As Canada assumes its G8 presidency, following Italy, it has the opportunity to move beyond the false dichotomy of choosing to either protect the environment or ensure economic development. If the G8 countries do not make the global climate a priority, they neglect the long-term economic stewardship their people also elected them to ensure.
17 July
Investment Canada’s inscrutable role
Despite the rocky history of attempted Chinese state investments in Canada, and with a classic East-West corporate spy scandal brewing over a Rio Tinto mining executive based in China, the sale of 17.2% of Teck Resources of Vancouver to a Chinese sovereign wealth fund sailed through with surprising ease.
15 July
G8 Attack Reflects Poorly on Canada: Experts
Minutes before Mr. Harper was to address reporters for a final time at the end of this year’s G8 summit in Italy, an assistant to the prime minister told reporters Liberal Leader Micael Ignatieff had suggested the G8 may soon be replaced by a new forum from which Canada would be excluded. When he appeared, Mr. Harper pounced on the comments, slamming Mr. Ignatieff for daring to imply Canada wouldn’t be worthy of membership in influential fora. Although the misstep by the prime minister will likely make few waves with Canadians—most of whom are busy enjoying summertime—experts say it adds to a troubling pattern in Mr. Harper’s approach to foreign policy. They say he seems content to miss opportunities to contribute to the international dialogue, instead commenting on internal, domestic politics that international journalists will have no interest in. Journalist and author Andrew Cohen suggests Mr. Harper’s performance and press coverage from the G8 may reflect Canada’s diminished role in the world. Mr. Cohen questions what international issue Mr. Harper has associated himself and Canada with, and said it is not clear what it is that Canada is contributing.
14 July
Canada defends visa change for Mexicans, Czechs
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney defended the imposition of new visa requirements on Mexican and Czech citizens Tuesday in a bid to stem a surge in refugee claims by visitors from those countries.
13 July
Gordon Smith: Canada’s interest is the G20, not the G8
What, Canada worry? In this globalized world, perhaps it should
Having a G20 summit at the level of leaders is a Canadian idea that would have happened five years ago if not for the United States. Canada is fortunate to be part of the G20. If there were a clean slate and a calculus made as to the most important eight countries, Canada would not be in the room. Forbes magazine has advocated reconstituting the G8, dropping Canada and Italy, and adding India and China. A Goldman Sachs paper has advised that even “the G20 … will need to be consolidated into a smaller group to be more effective. We propose the formation of a G4, within a broader G14.”
10 July
Parker Mitchell: It’s worth the risk, Ottawa: Set up an agriculture innovation fund for Africa
20 per cent of all money should be set aside for an agriculture innovation fund. This fund would be charged with identifying and investing in yield-increasing projects, which could include private-sector agriculture entrepreneurs. There would be no blanket solutions; agriculture is highly locally dependent, so each country’s issues would be different. This would be closer to a venture capital model of support and would likely not be conducive to some of the bureaucratic constraints that prevent people closest to the field from taking decisions, so it might require Canada to deliver our aid through a new entity.
Friendlier China shows willingness to embrace Canada’s new tone
(Globe & Mail) China’s Foreign Minister signalled that his country is ready to turn the page on a rocky relationship with the Conservative government, opening the door for Stephen Harper to rebuild ties in a fall visit. The follow-up widely expected now is Mr. Harper’s first trip to China, being planned for mid-November, when the Prime Minister is already scheduled to travel to Singapore for the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit.
9 July
Stephen Harper narrowly avoids G8 photo faux-pas
In L’Aquila, Italy on Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was late to arrive at a G8 summit photo shoot, leaving his world leader colleagues standing around while they waited for him to show up.Harper’s gaffe follows another photo foul-up that took place in April, at the G20 meeting in London. On that occasion, Harper missed the photo shoot entirely, causing it to be restaged an hour later.
Norman Spector: Harper’s G8 hat trick
Going into the G8 summit that began yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was said to be isolated among his peers.
Through it all, Mr. Harper kept his eye on the ball: his job is to represent Canada’s national interests, not to curry popularity with his counterparts. And, in carrying out that responsibility, the Prime Minister had a very good day in Italy yesterday.
7 July
Jeremy Kinsman: Forget the G8, Canada should have bigger fish to fry
The transition from the clubby G8 to the larger G20 group of decision makers, a collection that includes economies as far-flung as Mexico, South Korea and Turkey, seems a case study in how to correct the situation. But our own government doesn’t seem to see it that way, which puts it at risk of running with the dinosaurs.
30 June
U.S. can’t sway Canada on Afghan pullout: Cannon
Cannon urges UN to expand outside Kabul
In New York, Cannon made a speech to the United Nations Security Council, urging it to bolster its presence in Afghanistan outside the capital, Kabul. “We view the UN’s role in Kandahar and throughout the country as fundamental. The UN needs to play the same coordinating and leadership role in the provinces as it plays in Kabul,” Cannon said.
7 May
Trade talks between Canada and the EU send a worrying signal about Doha
(The Economist) WHEN NATO was under negotiation in 1949 Canada wanted to create not just a military alliance, but a transatlantic economic and political union too. The heft of the larger European countries, it reasoned, would restrain the growing clout of the United States. Rebuffed, Canada was drawn firmly into America’s orbit. Sixty years on it has come back with a scaled-down plan, starting talks on May 6th with the EU aimed at a bilateral trade agreement.
27 March
John Geddes: Man of the world (Yes, he is talking about Stephen Harper and there are plenty of quotes from our favorite Jeremy Kinsman)
( Macleans) Remember last fall’s version of Stephen Harper? In campaign mode, his preferred setting was the backyard of an average-looking family. When it came to talking policy, he was all about cutting the tax on diesel, or giving parents a tax break for their kids’ music lessons. But that down-home guy hasn’t been seen lately. In his place, a retooled, internationally oriented Prime Minister has been repeatedly sighted. His favoured backdrop is the CNN set of Fareed Zakaria GPS, required viewing, not for most Canadians, but for foreign affairs buffs everywhere. His policy preoccupations tend toward international financial regulation and the future of NATO.
Harper’s image makeover may be as much a matter of necessity as choice. Last year’s financial meltdown, and the global recession it sparked, radically altered the political game. Suddenly, his playbook-easy-to-grasp tax cuts, always an eye to suburban family concerns-looked mostly irrelevant. So when President Barack Obama came calling in February, Harper was eager to reposition himself. Sharing the spotlight with the politician who personifies a new sort of globalism, he more than held his own. Soon he was in New York City, fielding Zakaria’s earnest questions and projecting a trenchant world view through the Wall Street Journal.
12 February
Some Canadians think they are more important than Mexicans
FOR the past 15 years Canada and Mexico have been joined with the United States in the three-way North American Free-Trade Agreement. But both still set much more store by their bilateral relationship with their superpower neighbour. This has led to sometimes farcical rivalry. To the joy of Canadian officials, Barack Obama is making his first, albeit brief, foreign visit as American president to Ottawa on February 19th. But Mexican officials whisper that their president, Felipe Calderón, got in first with a lunch with Mr Obama days before his inauguration.
8 September 2008
International Issues for the Campaign
Dr. Gordon Smith, The Centre for Global Studies
Canada has important foreign policy choices to make; even no policy is in fact a kind of policy. Is it too much to hope that the election in this country will include debate on the major international issues facing Canada? Probably. Is it because there are no issues on which the choice of Canadian policy really matters? Definitely not. Is it because most Canadians simply are not interested? Maybe. That is worrisome. We seem less engaged than in the past.
That has to change. Canadians have to wake-up and pay attention to what is happening in the world. Canada’s security and prosperity are both of critical importance, and both are significantly impacted by what is happening in the world, for better or for worse. This makes them election issues.
The Canadian election overlaps the American election. In the latter, foreign policy issues are already obviously very important – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to name some of the most obvious issues. There are differences of view between the two presidential candidates that are already apparent. They will be debated. This is how a democracy is supposed to work.
Both Senator Obama and Senator McCain have made clear that climate change will be a major priority for them. While the policies of the Democrats are more detailed and convincing than those of the Republicans, there is no reason to doubt that the United States will start working much more actively than during the Bush Administration to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. There will be a spurt of technological development. Canada will no longer be able to hide behind the differences amongst the major economies of the world. We need to hear in more detail how the political parties in Canada intend to deal with this challenge globally. And we need to ensure that we will be able to compete with the green technologies of the future.
Climate change policy is, of course, in significant part a function of energy policy. Despite the increasingly apparent determination of both presidential aspirants to reduce dependence on oil and on suppliers from the Middle East, this does not mean that there will be a bigger welcome mat for enhanced exports from Canada’s tar sands. The carbon footprint and more generally the environmental impact of this oil have many critics. Canada should be a leader in the global efforts to find a “deal” that will be much more effective then Kyoto.
The likelihood is that the United States will not only talk about the need for a more multilateral approach but, to a lesser degree than the talk, actually walk in that way. Both McCain and Obama are conscious of the need to act in the company of other like-minded states. But there is a major difference between the two. Read article
May 30
UNITED NATIONS: CANADA DEMANDS ACTION FOR WORLD HUMANITARIAN AID
(RCI) Canada is demanding a tougher international response to countries that block humanitarian aid.  Canada told the United Nations Security Council that these countries should be punished for their delaying tactics. Canada’s ambassador to the UN, John McNee, described the situation in Burma as a matter of life and death. Burma has been harshly criticized for delaying the entry of foreign aid workers into its country to help in the relief effort following a devastating cyclone. The storm hit certain parts of the country more than three weeks ago, killing almost 134,000 people and leaving 2.5 million homeless. Burma only began allowing foreign aid workers into the country this week.
May 27
PARIS: PM PITCHES ‘GREEN’ PLAN
(RCI) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper began his three-day, four-nation European visit in the French capital, where he met with President Nicolas Sarkozy. The two leaders met for a half-hour and discussed the environmental plan put forward by Mr. Harper’s Conservative government and freer trade between his country and the EU. The prime minister also inaugurated an exposition related to the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Quebec City before leaving for Bonn, where he’ll meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mr. Harper will also visit Italy and the UK. The visit is intended in part to prepare for the G8 summit this summer in Japan, a meeting that will focus on climate change. Canada and the U.S. could find themselves isolated at the event for their opposition to any new global environmental plan to replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change which doesn’t include all major polluters, including China and India.
13 May 2008
Jeremy Kinsman: Diplomatically Speaking
Can we deliver food aid at the point of a gun?
The title of Pierre Trudeau’s only full-length speech on foreign policy in the House of Commons, in June 1981, was “Who is my neighbour?”
It is a question Canadians still need to ask. As current crises in Burma, Zimbabwe and Darfur destroy lives, are we to be detached and indifferent, waiting to help only if called upon? Or will we Canadians always be personally affronted by human suffering, no matter where it occurs?
Trudeau’s sense of a world community had much to do with the economic handicaps affecting poor countries. It is a concern as acute today, especially in Africa, as it was in his time. Despite decades and hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid, progress in Africa is sporadic and scattered.
There are enough success stories — Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Mozambique — to show that the problems are not insuperable if the international community can be mobilized. But is the will still there?
2 January 2008
Jeremy Kinsman’s view of the world and Canada’s opportunities
Memo to the PM: The world in 2008

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