Canada in 2013: International relations and foreign policy

Written by  //  December 2, 2013  //  Canada, Foreign Policy  //  3 Comments

Canadian International Council (CIC) and OpenCanada.org
Ottawa University Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) Blog
Guerrilla Diplomacy (Daryl Copeland blog)

A vision for foreign policy Canada and International Organizations: Time for a Review
by Ferry de Kerckhove
(Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute)
Executive Summary
It is a common refrain that Canada’s international standing has been falling over the last few years. Yet, in international economic forums, Canada’s economic stability and continued progress is lauded by all. The more limited multilateral fiber of the present government points to a form of renunciation of Canada’s traditional approach to international politics. The government prefers intergovernmental groupings where sovereignty is unfettered and major players’ consensus is the rule. It has called in stronger terms for accountability, value for money, and results based-management in return for its financial contribution to multilateral organizations. A question arises as to the amount of leeway Canada is prepared to give today to international organizations as actors on the international stage. For the Government, multilateralism can be one of the foundations of global governance provided it produces consensus based programs of action. Yet, for all its bemoaning of the United Nations, the present Government, as much as its predecessors, has always ascribed considerable value to the functional multilateral organizations to which Canada belongs and pays over half a billion dollars to in assessed contributions. In the face of a somewhat dichotomous approach, there is a need for a broad review of international organizations we belong to, starting with their objectives and mandates and then running through the way they perform their roles and deliver their contributions. Such a review would very likely rekindle our government’s faith in multilateralism and shape what has been referred to as Canada’s “dignity agenda”. (24 July)

2 December
Andrew Cohen: Contradictory and incoherent foreign policy
to see foreign policy as trade policy is misguided. It suggests that the national interest is solely a matter of dollars and cents. It suggests that other international ambitions — human rights, democracy, international development, environmental protection, nuclear proliferation, mass migration — are now secondary.
It is too early to know if the government’s new commitment to “economic diplomacy” really marks a metamorphosis in how we deal with the rest of the world. … the government claims that its Global Markets Action Plan — a leaden title only a bureaucrat could love — is a watershed. … This isn’t really new. Trade has long been a pillar of our foreign policy and we reaffirm it about every 10 years. To act otherwise would be malpractice for a country that relies on trade for 60 per cent of its gross domestic product.
1 December
Stephen Harper feted for support of Israel at Negev dinner
Harper will be the star attraction Sunday at the annual Negev dinner in Toronto, a gala fundraiser to acknowledge his unabashed friendship and political support of Israel — a noticeable tilt in foreign policy that has sowed resentment in Canada’s Arab and Muslim communities.
17 November
Commonwealth leaders end difficult Sri Lanka summit
Leaders of Commonwealth nations have issued a final statement at the end of a summit making no mention of alleged human rights abuses by host Sri Lanka. The communique instead restated the leaders’ commitment to promote “core values” of the Commonwealth, including democracy and human rights. Would it have made any difference if Stephen Harper had been there? (Scarborough Tamils elated about Harper’s Commonwealth boycotthe got his votes at home.)
8 November
By selling its palace in Rome, Canada harms its global clout
(Globe & Mail) Canada’s image in Italy and elsewhere in Europe had been falling because of the clampdown on ambassadors and their senior staffers, who are not allowed to grant media interviews without the permission from their Ottawa masters. Severe budget cutbacks in the embassies have not helped. Now the best properties are being unloaded. While the Villa Grandi is highest-profile residence to go, it is only one of many in Europe, Africa and elsewhere to get carted off to the auction block.
The Villa Grandi sale will backfire diplomatically. It may also backfire financially. The government no doubt hopes to get a fortune for the property, perhaps dozens of millions of dollars. That’s unlikely to happen because, as an historic site in the heart of ancient Rome, it cannot be substantially altered. A billionaire owner will not be able to deface it with helicopter landing pad, nor a hotel chain with gaudy pools and spas. Villa Grandi worked beautifully as it was – a graceful asset that gave Canada the diplomatic heft it would have otherwise lacked.
7 November
Joe Clark book takes on Harper government’s ‘almost adolescent’ tone
We ‘talk more than we act,’ Clark says in new book
… Clark claims that, with the exceptions of Afghanistan and trade, there has been a recurring pattern in the Harper government actions: “It is unusually assertive in its dramatic gestures and declarations,” but then retreats from actions designed to actually resolve critical problems abroad.
That is why Canada has “drawn back from the fight against international poverty, peacekeeping, Kyoto, arms control, a broad presence in Africa, and Canada’s customary leadership in the United Nations, Commonwealth and related multilateral institutions.”
5 November
Why Stephen Harper has no time for the UN
“Canada now talks more than we act, and our tone is almost adolescent … full of sound and fury,” which leaves us wondering what Harper considers the purpose of foreign policy.
Canada’s Asia Challenge: Creating competence in next generation
(RCI) Canada has little information on how it’s doing in preparing its next generation for an Asia-centred world, and it’s behind other countries such Australia, New Zealand, the US and Germany in promoting Asia competence, according to a study released Monday (November 4) by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and the Munk School of Global Affairs.
“Canadian ambitions for deeper and stronger economic ties across the Pacific will not be realized unless there is an investment in Asia skills across the country,” Yuen Pau Woo, President and CEO of Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.
Among the study’s recommendations:
— Establishing an annual national conference to serve as a mechanism for sharing best practices.
— Ensuring that Canada’s international education strategy is a two-way effort.
— Encouraging governments, as well as the private sector in key economic sectors, to strengthen their Asian know-how by involving Asia-experienced Canadians in strategic advisory boards, industry associations and corporate boards.
More information:
Canada’s Asia Challenge: Creating Competence for the Next Generation of Canadians (abstract) – here
Canada’s Asia Challenge: Creating Competence for the Next Generation of Canadians (full report) – here
3 November
David T. Jones: Canada and the Commonwealth
(The Metropolitain) The decision by Prime Minister Harper to avoid the leaders meeting of the Commonwealth in Sri Lanka has unleashed the pack of media attack dogs. … There has been a remarkably intense and palatably cynical critique that Harper is acting either hypocritically and/or for prospective political gain.
Harper has taken a reasoned decision, telegraphed far in advance. To wit, he noted upwards of two years ago that unless Sri Lanka leadership improved its human rights performance in relation to the Tamil minority, he would not attend the conference. They haven’t; he won’t.
That said, it is not as if there will be no Canadian presence at the conference. To be sure, the parliamentary secretary to the foreign minister is not the prime minister, but he isn’t chopped liver either. There will be quite sufficient opportunity for Canada to make whatever political points Ottawa wishes to make to individual Commonwealth members.
1 November
Turning back from hard power
Canada needs to re-think it foreign policy emphasis, Clark argues
(Ottawa Citizen) The current Conservative government has chosen hard power as its principal foreign policy emphasis. This has had the effect of sidelining diplomacy, and other agents of so-called soft power.
That choice has been wrong-headed, argues Joe Clark, former prime minister and foreign minister in the government of Brian Mulroney.
30 October
Canada, Mongolia, and the Diplomacy of Knowledge
(Open Canada) A formal state visit was an appropriate commemoration for 40 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Mongolia. Prior to his appointment as Governor General by Stephen Harper in 2010, David Johnston pursued a career as an academic. It is perhaps no surprise then that he made education a theme during his visit to Mongolia. This is an example of an esteemed government official using the moral suasion of a privileged pulpit. In Mongolia, the Governor General engaged in a ‘diplomacy of knowledge’ in an effort to counter perceptions of Canada solely as the source of mining investments.
26 October
Joe Clark: Harper’s Ottawa has all but abandoned the global arena
The Harper government’s performance in international affairs has shown more interest in the podium than in the playing field, says former PM Joe Clark
(Toronto Star) During the decades when Canada was earning a respected reputation in the world, part of our strength was that we felt no need to sit always at the head of the decision table. Our competence meant we often served there — on issues respecting arms control, the environment, human rights and international development. But Canada operated as effectively from a seat at the side, becoming trusted as a reliable, respected and responsible partner, and building concentric circles of influence on issues from defence, to development, to conciliation, to trade. Perhaps to a fault, we were known for our quiet and constructive work. By contrast, the Harper government’s performance in international affairs has shown more interest in the podium than in the playing field.
Excerpted from How We Lead: Canada In a Century of Change by Joe Clark. Copyright © 2013 Right Honourable Joe Clark. Reprinted by permission of Random House Canada.
14 October
David T. Jones: Grow up, Canadians
(The Hill Times) “The today reality is that everyone spies on everyone. … But the global intelligence collection effort today is economic directed rather than focused against military-security targets. It is not that we are indifferent to the tactical/technical capabilities of the latest Russian, Chinese, Iranian, or North Korean combat systems or the intentions of their leaders, but that knowing oil and gas production, costs for commercial aircraft under development, and technical advances in microchip manufacturing may be even more valuable for the national interest. What, for example, are Brazilian national plans to develop offshore oil resources and their estimates of costs to tap which energy reserves? Or just who is bribing whom (and at what cost) to induce them to buy a competitor’s product? ”
11 October
The rape victims Canada won’t help
(Ottawa Citizen) Last week, not long after Foreign Minister John Baird denounced sexual violence in a speech at the United Nations, the Conservative government announced it would not fund overseas projects that help war rape victims and child brides get abortions. The policy, announced by International Development Minister Christian Paradis, flew under the radar, virtually causing no ripples.
The government is absolutely within its rights to decide who gets its aid dollars, but decisions have consequences, and it is important to shine the spotlight on the kind of people our government has decided it is not in our interest to help.
These are essentially victims of sexual violence, and their numbers beggar belief. The World Health Organization estimated that in 2002 alone, 150 million girls and 73 million boys experienced “forced sexual intercourse” or other forms of sexual violence across the globe.
8 October
Brazil’s president furious over spying, Canada looking into matter
(RCI) Allegations that Canada’s Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC) spied on Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry continue to raise questions in both countries.
On Sunday (October 6) a Brazilian television reported on the spying. The Globo TV network worked on the report with American journalist Glenn Greenwald who has used leaked documents by former NSA Edward Snowden. (See CBC Turning Point: Canada’s Cyber-Spying)
7 October
Marc Garneau: Why Canada Should Start Gunning for the Arms Trade Treaty (NB HuffPost, not Marc, chose this tasteless headline)
It is quite clear that Minister Baird and this government are responding to political pressure from the Canadian gun lobby, which is attempting to raise unjustified fears of a gun registry revival and complaining that the ATT may “potentially” raise prices and increase paperwork on firearms sold domestically for legitimate purposes. The Government of Canada knows that signing the UN Arms Trade Treaty will save lives by stopping the illegal flow of small arms.
6 October
Harper raises stakes by threatening to cut Commonwealth funding
Harper stepped to the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering on this idyllic Indonesian tourist island Monday to formally confirm he’ll boycott next month’s Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka.
3 October
Editorial: Small weapons of mass destruction
(Ottawa Citizen) The gun lobby in Canada is flexing its muscle with a warning to the Conservative government not to sign the landmark United Nations arms-trade treaty because it could affect their rights to own firearms. Their advice or warning should be rejected by the government, and Canada should sign the treaty because it is eminently good for the values we espouse.
The treaty was adopted in April and has already been signed by 113 countries, including the United States. It is intended to regulate the $70-billion global arms trade — in everything from small arms to tanks, combat aircraft and warships — to help stop, or at least reduce the scourge of war in conflict zones around the world. In particular, the hope is that the treaty will limit the illicit trade in the small arms and light weapons that are causing thousands of deaths in conflicts all over the world.
1 October
L. Ian MacDonald: John Baird promotes the politics of conviction
(Ottawa Citizen) .. the main thrust of Baird’s message was on the Middle East, Syria and Iran.
The Harper government’s Middle East policy begins from unequivocal support of Israel. “There can be no bargaining over Israel’s existence,” Baird declared. “While dialogue is a virtue, there can be no virtuous discussion with anyone wedded to Israel’s destruction.”
That would be Iran, or least the former Iranian regime, the one with nuclear ambitions.
28 September
We have missed Bob Rae’s voice recently – glad he’s back!
Bob Rae: Harper’s Megaphone Policy Has Made Canada a Right-Wing Gas Bag
(HuffPost) In my recent travels and discussions with seasoned foreign policy experts and politicians in the U.S. and Europe, I haven’t met one who took Canada seriously anymore, except as a posturer, a poseur, a political game player. And these are people who remember a different kind of Canada, and a better approach to diplomacy and politics.
27 August
Foreign service workers reach tentative agreement with federal government
Deal ends longest strike in public service history
(Ottawa Citizen) After staging the longest strike in public service history, Canada’s diplomats have reached a compromise … bringing an end to a dispute that battered the country’s economy and its reputation abroad. … estimated to have cost the Canadian economy, particularly the tourism industry and universities, close to $1 billion.
The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) didn’t get the wage increase it wanted, but it struck a deal that got them more than halfway there.
25 September
UN Arms Trade Treaty: Canada Refuses To Join 90 Nations In Signing
(Canadian Press via HuffPost) The Harper government faced sharp criticism Wednesday for its continued refusal to sign a landmark treaty to regulate the global arms trade.
A group of non-governmental agencies, called the Control Arms Coalition, said it was frustrated and disappointed that the government did not follow the United States and more than 90 other countries in signing the Arms Trade Treaty.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has said there is a potential link between signing on to the treaty and Canada’s now-abolished long gun registry. His office has said the government is still trying to determine whether the treaty would affect lawful recreational firearms owners in Canada.
Analysis – Why Stephen Harper has no time for the UN: Chris Hall
Though he’s in New York at the same time as the opening session, again
(CBC) … his disinterest in speaking to the General Assembly is deliberate. … Harper believes other multilateral agencies accomplish far more, and provide Canada with a much greater influence over world affairs.
He sees the G8 group of leading Western industrialized nations plus Russia as the right forum for dealing with issues of global security and peace. (His maternal and child health initiative came out of the 2010 G8 summit in Huntsville, where the prime minister committed $1.1 billion to the cause.)
He considers the G20, which includes the emerging economic powers such as India, Brazil, China and South Africa, as the world’s pre-eminent economic forum, and looks at Canada’s participation in other multilateral gatherings, specifically the Francophonie and Commonwealth, as historic alliances to be tolerated if not respected.
23 September
Canadian foreign affairs experts condemn Canada’s attitude towards United Nations
In a press conference Monday (September 23) a number of the experts spoke out as they unveiled a booklet of essays titled: “The United Nations and Canada: What Canada has done and should be doing at the UN“.
Terry Glavin: No apologies for Canada’s UN policy Well, wait just a second. The annual gathering of the UN General Assembly in New York is a yearly convention of the world’s most notorious mass murderers, rapists, torturers and war criminals, and we’re supposed to be upset that Canada is not especially popular with these monsters? … The 20-year record shows Kim Campbell making a speech in 1993, Jean Chrétien a decade later in 2003, and Paul Martin in 2004. Harper has in fact spoken to the UN General Assembly twice, in 2006 and 2010.
20 September
Despite being in New York, Harper will shun UN podium again
More than a dozen former Canadian ministers, senior diplomats and others are calling on the federal Conservatives to re-engage with, and help fix, the United Nations, even as Prime Minister Stephen Harper prepares to skip another opportunity to address the world body this month.
Rather, the prime minister will attend a side event at the UN on maternal and child health, and participate in a discussion hosted by the Canadian-American Business Council and a roundtable of business leaders.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will deliver Canada’s remarks on Sept. 30, after all world leaders who want to speak have done so, and when much of the world’s attention has turned elsewhere.
9 September
MPs discuss the proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control (with Marc Garneau)
27 August
Op-Ed: How Canadian branding trumped results in Afghanistan
By Nipa Banerjee, professor of international development at the University of Ottawa.
Canadian policy in the early years was to support the Afghan government’s national programs through multi-donor trust funds. This promoted coordinated donor efforts. Canada’s financing of Afghan programs also promoted Afghan ownership of the design and delivery of development programs while increasing Afghan officials’ capacity in handling government affairs, an important component of state building.
Further, in a post-conflict situation, government legitimacy and authority were the most essential ingredients for state stabilization. Multimillion-dollar investments by CIDA through a multi-donor World Bank-led trust fund helped Afghans deliver basic services in the provinces, which enhanced the Afghan government’s visibility in remote areas, earned peoples’ loyalty and confidence and, thus, contributed to building legitimacy for the new Afghan government.
CIDA’s support of such successful programs raised Canada’s profile in Afghanistan. Canada earned the reputation of being one of the best international partners with results-oriented policies successfully promoting peace building and stabilization.
Unfortunately, Canada’s reputation was short-lived and so was the Afghan government’s relative success in earning legitimacy, as Canada drastically cut back financing of the national programs.
12 August
Brett House: It’s time for Canada to break some global logjams
(Globe & Mail op-ed) Sovereign bankruptcy procedures, the crisis in Europe, the future of development financing, and climate change discussions – all are caught in impasses that have dragged on for years, and in some cases decades. These bottlenecks impose enormous costs on both Canada and the world. …
Filling empty Canadian seats on international bodies
It’s time to break the logjam in our own appointments processes. Let’s start by filling our two empty chairs on the International Joint Commission, whose management of the Great Lakes waters directly affects nearly half of all Canadians.
27 July
Harper’s world view
(Ottawa Citizen editorial) “(W)e all understand that Canada is not some island on which we can live in splendid and peaceful isolation.”
It is certainly true that the Conservatives are not afraid to choose sides on a number of questions, and that they have simply flubbed a few international files. But Harper is not without foreign policy fans. They argue that, unlike the Liberals, the Tories more closely match rhetoric and action, and what we have now is a necessary pragmatism — think of the focus on international trade, on the resource sector and energy deals — that puts Canada’s interests first even at the risk of offending others.
Op-Ed: A striking difference between Canadian and American diplomats
By David Jones
(Ottawa Citizen) Unfortunately, Foreign Minister John Baird seems to be a graduate of the Darth Vader school of management. If he is willing to speak with various odious foreign leaders and/or UN officials, he should be capable of addressing in a sophisticated manner the proposals presented by his diplomats. Perhaps the best answer is mandatory arbitration as PAFSO reportedly has suggested.
22 July
Opinion: What happened to Canada’s big ideas?
By Kyle Matthews
(The Gazette) How Canada engages the wider world has drastically changed. The distinguished Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler, who has served as Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations and as an adviser to numerous Canadian prime ministers, touched on the state of contemporary Canadian foreign policy just months before the Arab Spring began to unfold. Speaking at a conference in Montreal in 2010, Fowler identified two serious problems.
The first, he said, is that many Canadian politicians are using international politics for domestic electoral support. Foreign-policy decisions are being made to help a political party win the next election.
The second problem Fowler identified was a lack of big ideas: “Where, then, is the ‘vision thing’ today? When was the last time a Canadian idea or proposal made a difference on the world stage?”
The question of whether Canada has stopped dreaming big is a legitimate one. There is the important role Canada played in getting the world to support the Responsibility to Protect, a 2005 UN initiative aimed at preventing mass atrocities, but other examples are few and far between. (22 July) [See also A vision for foreign policy -- Obviously, there are limits on how accurately one may infer guiding principles from observed actions. Nonetheless, over a significant period of time the Conservative government has acted in a manner consistent with the principles identified below. Each in its own way represents a departure from the approach taken by previous governments, and taken in sum, they represent a significant shift in the way Canada engages the world.]
19 July
Yves Engler: Canadian Aid to Palestinians Serves Israel
(HuffPost) A recently uncovered government document confirms that Ottawa has delivered millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority in a bid to advance Israel’s interests. The internal memorandum also sheds light on Canada’s efforts to build a security apparatus to protect the Palestinian Authority from popular disgust over its compliance in the face of ongoing Israeli settlement building.
Last week Postmedia’s Lee Berthiaume reported on a Canadian International Development Agency note outlining Israel’s desire for Canada to continue its $300 million five-year “aid” program to the Palestinians, which the Conservatives threatened to severe after the PA pursued UN statehood last fall.
… The heavily censored note suggests the goal of the Canadian “aid” is to protect a corrupt PA from popular backlash.
15 July
Why isn’t the oh-so-friendly-to-business Harper government settling this matter – and quickly?
Derek Burney and Fen Hampson: For PAFSO, a question of equity and respect
The cost of eliminating the wage gaps over the three years of the contract would be a measly $4.2 million. According to the Tourist Industry Association of Canada, the loss estimated for the tourist sector this summer alone is $280 million – a classic example of ‘penny -wise, pound foolish’.
(iPolitics) If this were a case of gender discrimination, the dispute would have been resolved long ago. But diplomats presumably do not arouse the same acute sentiments of injustice. There seems to be no constituency of support for them, either within or outside government.
The impact, especially during the summer, is huge and growing, most conspicuously in China. Global tourism from China has been increasing at 15 – 20 per cent per year, but Canada is literally off the list as Chinese tourists are going elsewhere along with their business representatives. Prolonged delays and lengthy procedures for Canadian visa applications are the opposite of a welcome mat.
For years, the government, namely Treasury Board, has refused to budge to PAFSO’s demands, ostensibly on the grounds that to compromise during a time of restraint and layoffs in the public service would serve as a dangerous precedent.
14 July
PAFSO says job actions abroad having an impact
(iPolitics) CIC said contingency plans are in place to ensure all offices remain open to provide at least a minimum level of service. The department did not return iPolitics’ request for more information about those contingency plans.
According to Edwards, priority is being placed on temporary resident visa applications. As a result, some permanent resident applications are being set aside. PAFSO members are also on strike at the Canadian missions in Kazakhstan and Hong Kong.
12 July
Harper bodyguard under fire for tough management style, appointed Canada’s ambassador to Jordan
Prime ministerial bodyguard Bruno Saccomani, the Mountie who faced criticism for his management style, has been appointed Canada’s new ambassador to Jordan. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced the former RCMP superintendent’s new appointment late today, as one of more than a dozen new foreign service postings.
[19 April Opposition questions diplomatic skills of former Mountie chosen as next ambassador to Jordan
The Conservative government was on the defensive Thursday as opposition parties demanded to know how the head of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s security detail is qualified to be Canada’s next ambassador to Jordan. In particular, questions have been raised about RCMP Supt. Bruno Saccomani’s diplomatic skills and whether he has the knowledge required to navigate the complex and often sensitive issues that dominate Middle Eastern affairs.]
10 July
ASEAN pivot praised, but seen as unfocused
Baird announces millions of dollars over several years for ASEAN-related projects.
(Embassy) Observers are applauding Foreign Minister John Baird’s recent trip to Brunei for Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings and the government’s efforts to build ties with the region, but say there is still work to be done like developing an engagement strategy and securing a trade deal with the regional bloc
The new announcements include: $2 million for training on financial regulation; $4.5 million over three years for a centre that would help establish private-public partnerships for infrastructure activities; and $10 million over four years for natural disaster risk reduction.
It also includes $2 million with the World Bank to combat terrorism financing and money laundering in the region, $2.9 million with Interpol to boost investigative and forensic skills for law enforcement agencies, and $6 million to fight the spread of infectious diseases.
Lee Berthiaume: End of Canadian International Development Agency marks culmination of tumultuous few years for Canadian international assistance
Canadian foreign aid entered a new era this week as the 45-year-old Canadian International Development Agency was folded into the foreign affairs and trade department and officially disappeared.
The government says it remains as committed to helping the world’s poor as ever, and that the merger of Canadian foreign assistance with broader diplomatic and trade objectives will produce better results for both Canada and developing countries.
But the end of CIDA also marks the culmination of a tumultuous few years for Canadian international assistance riddled by frustration and anger, international embarrassment, deep budget cuts, and allegations of a hidden agenda.
And while CIDA will no longer exist as a stand-alone federal agency, many of the concerns and emotions that have emerged over Canadian foreign aid will continue to swirl as the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development moves forward.
29 June
Daryl Copeland: Where in the World is Canada?
Amidst breaking news of convulsions shaking Egypt, Turkey and Brazil, the election of a moderate president in Iran, the despatch of a UN “intervention force” to the DRC, and revelations of massive cyber-surveillance, Canadians are understandably distracted.  Few seem to be paying much attention to an issue of longer-term, yet potentially much larger domestic consequence – this country’s changing place in the world.
When it comes to foreign perceptions of Canada, a fundamental shift has occurred.
This country and its people, although certainly not reviled, are no longer accorded the admiration and esteem which until recently was the norm.
Countries can coast on their laurels for only so long, and the reality content which underpinned Canada’s familiar reputation as a middle power had all but disappeared by the turn of the century.  Canadian advocacy of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine was the last gasp.
What has been substituted?
Trade and investment are front and centre. The government promotes heavy oil extraction and pipeline construction, has introduced a raft of deregulatory policies on energy, mining and the environment, and obstructs progress on climate change even as it professes concern over Arctic issues.
Foreign policy is treated as an extension of national political calculation; until less than a year ago, asbestos exports were actively supported.
A smorgasbord of free trade agreements form the core of commercial policy, although the most important of those efforts, a comprehensive pact with the EU, is stalled.
Strategically crucial relations with the Asia-Pacific region have been strained, those with Africa downgraded, and those with Israel, the USA and “the hemisphere” burnished. Multilateralism has been disdained, the aid budget cut and military solutions pursued in Afghanistan and Libya, with at best uncertain results.
8 June
Lee Berthiaume: CIDA officially no more
The Canadian International Development Agency is gone.
(Canada.com) The Conservative government budget bill that merged the federal aid agency with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade received royal assent on Wednesday, effectively creating the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development — or DFATD, for short.
While the CIDA website still retained a distinctly development-oriented feel as well as its old domain name on Thursday morning, a new banner across the top of the page proclaimed the new super-department, as did different pages within.
It’s likely only a matter of time before the CIDA website begins to look like the main DFATD websites, which also features new banners but also shared content.
The merger has prompted varied reaction, with some seeing it as a positive step that will make CIDA and Canadian international development more relevant and better co-ordinated, and others worried the government simply wants to make foreign aid a tool for increasing trade.
Is Harper’s Syria strategy wrong-headed?
KYLE MATTHEWS and ZACH PAIKIN
(Globe & Mail) As the world has witnessed the atrocities taking place on a daily basis in Syria, it has come to realize that any solution to this Levantine quagmire must run through Moscow. In this instance, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has flubbed on two accounts.
21 June
Canada FM reversal: Iranian election no longer ‘meaningless’
(RCI) A week ago Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called the Iranian election “effectively meaningless”, now in an open letter to Iranians he congratulated Iranians on the result and offered to support their demands for change.
In his June 15, 2013 statement he is quoted as follows: “Canada commends the courage of the Iranian people who expressed their aspiration to freedom in the face of the ruthless suppressions. Given the regime’s manipulation of the collective will and democratic process, the results of the June 14 vote are effectively meaningless.”
18 June
G8 communique represents real shift by Russia, says Canada PM
(Reuters) – A communique by the Group of Eight nations calling for an end to the fighting in Syria on Tuesday represents a real shift by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Tuesday. Was he really at the same meeting as the other G8 leaders? Russia’s Putin torpedoes G8 efforts to push out Assad
16 June
Harper at odds with Russia over Syria as G8 leaders meet
PM says it’s 7 countries against 1, as he blasts Russian support for Assad ‘thugs’
9 June
Canada slammed for lagging behind in fighting tax evasion as G8 summit looms
British Prime Minister David Cameron, the summit host, has made tax compliance and combating tax evasion one of the three main themes of the G8 talks on June 17-18, as critics argue Canada lags behind its counterparts in fighting a mounting global problem.
Various estimates suggest somewhere between $20 trillion and $32 trillion in unreported financial wealth is socked away in tax havens.
Tax watchdog groups say Canada is resisting efforts by Cameron and G8 countries on a couple of measures that would further combat tax evasion, including identifying the true owners of offshore accounts and shell companies by disclosing what’s called beneficial ownership information.
7 June
Lee Berthiaume: Military carrying diplomatic torch as Foreign Affairs struggles to stay above water
(Canada.com) Defence officials have been staging high-level meetings with foreign counterparts, spent millions of dollars more on foreign travel and hospitality, and placed a greater emphasis on reaching out to non-traditional allies in recent years.
It’s all part of a dedicated strategy first launched two years ago and which has been steadily gaining steam — even as Canada’s traditional foreign service has wrestled with a diminished role and been told to focus on trade, trade and more trade. … Meanwhile, defence attachés in Canadian embassies helped spend $20 million more on travel and hospitality between 2011 and 2012, during which time Foreign Affairs saw its own travel and hospitality spending cut by $18 million.
6 June
Foreign Takeovers: Canada Should Reject Chinese State-Owned Companies, Report Argues
Canada should reject most if not all future corporate takeovers from Chinese state-owned enterprises, contends a new report from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, arguing they are little more than agents of the Beijing government.
The scathing paper by economist Duanjie Chen, who was born in China, says Chinese SOEs are unlike Crown corporations in Canada in that they don’t operate on market principles.
“Canada’s business sector should contribute to market-driven economic growth,” the paper states. “It should not be allowed to become an instrument in China’s distorted and often disreputable drive toward global hegemony.”
Chinese government use of state-owned enterprises, which have taken advantage of special treatment at home to become global powerhouses, has contributed to lower priority on human rights, the environment, social justice and corporate “rectitude,” she further maintains.
Lee Berthiaume: Saudis cancelled trade meet over Baird gaffe: report
Canadian official met with Israelis in East Jerusalem
(Ottawa Citizen) A controversial coffee meeting two months ago has suddenly put Canada’s multibillion-dollar trade ties with Saudi Arabia under the spotlight. The two countries were to participate in a major economic summit in Toronto this spring, but the meeting has been postponed indefinitely.
Canadian officials and the Saudi Embassy have refused to say why the Joint Economic Commission meeting won’t be held as planned. But a major Arabic-language daily newspaper has linked the decision with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s meeting with a top Israeli minister in East Jerusalem in April.
If the report is accurate, the summit cancellation would represent only the latest expression of Arab anger over Baird’s unprecedented meeting, which has already sparked protests from the Palestinian Authority and Egypt.
6 June
Canada must sign UN arms trade treaty, ratify later: Dallaire
(iPolitics Subscription Required) The discussion revolving around Canada’s decision to not sign a landmark arms trade treaty made it to the Senate today, where Liberal Senator Roméo Dallaire drilled the government with questions.
The government has faced harsh criticism from opposition parties and NGOs for its decision to refrain from signing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Monday at the UN headquarters in New York City. More than 60 countries, including Canadian allies such as the UK and Australia, signed the long-negotiated agreement while Canada held back.
The treaty will make it illegal for a state to authorize the transfer of arms where there is a significant risk those arms will be used to commit human rights abuses or crimes against humanity.
4 June

New Canadian passport valid for longer, but has fewer pages
Canada’s new passports will be valid for up to 10 years, and include an electronic chip, but they will have fewer pages, which means for frequent fliers, the passport will have to be replaced more often.
The new so-called e-Passport will have 36 pages. Right now the passport has 48.
Postmedia News journalist Matthew Fisher got stunned reaction from a group of Canadians at a Thai-Canada Chamber of Commerce meeting in Thailand. “Typical bureaucratic myopia,” Fisher quotes one Canadian who does consulting for the UN from Bangkok.
Passport Canada which issues the passports says that as of July 1, 2013, all new Canadian passports issued will be 36-page electronic passports, or ePassports. “At that time, applicants age 16 and older will have the option of applying for a passport with 5- or 10-year validity for both first-time applications and renewals, while children’s ePassports will be issued for a maximum of 5 years.”
Among its frequently asked questions and answers, Passport Canada includes:
“Can I add more pages to my passport? – It is not possible to add pages to Canadian passports. An applicant who has a valid passport in which the visa pages have become filled with visas or entry-exit stamps must apply for a new passport.”

3 June
Lee Berthiaume: Harper Conservatives won’t say if they will sign Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the global trade in weapons
(Ottawa Citizen) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird invoked the long-gun registry Monday as the Conservative government refused to say when or even if Canada will sign a treaty aimed at stemming the flow of illegal weapons and ammunition around the world. …
The Conservative government displayed a lukewarm attitude toward the treaty, which included orders to Canadian diplomats to play a “low-key, minimal role” during the negotiations and make the protection of gun-owners’ rights a priority. …
When NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar noted the treaty is about regulating the global trade in weapons and not domestic use, Baird accused New Democrats and Liberals of trying to resurrect the long-gun registry “through the backdoor.”
24 May

Qatar drops bid to move UN aviation agency from Montreal

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird makes announcement on Twitter
(CBC) Anthony Philbin, an ICAO spokesman, said the agency received a letter from Qatar’s charge d’affaires in Ottawa late Thursday saying it was withdrawing its offer to move the agency. Philbin said the letter gave no reason for the decision.
ICAO stays in Montreal after Qatar stumbles
Bid comes at a time when the UN body would be better served focusing on curbing emissions
(The Gazette) The brash power play by Qatar to poach the International Civil Aviation Organization from Montreal vanished as suddenly and surprisingly as it had appeared last month after the tiny emirate officially withdrew its offer Friday — without giving a reason.
The pullback by Qatar comes after France, the U.S., Britain and many others made clear their displeasure with the proposal, which came at what critics said was the worst possible time for ICAO. The United Nations organization is preparing its triennial conference in September, a meeting many call seminal because it is scheduled to deal with one of the most contentious issues in its 69-year history, how to deal with aviation greenhouse gas emissions, as well as on air security and safety issues.
In fact, Qatar withdrew its offer to pay for lavish new headquarters and to fund ICAO’s operations if the agency moved to Doha after a second proposition, to move the triennial conference to Doha, also failed.
22 May
Harper test-drives new ‘extractive industries’ approach to aid in Peru
(Maclean’s) Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with mining executives and the Peruvian president this morning as he puts the new “extractive industries” focus of his aid and foreign policy into practice. … he will be talking up Canada’s mining companies and their role in developing countries such as Peru.
21 May
Kokulan Mahendiran: Why Qatar wants the ICAO
(National Post) Qatar, newly flush with oil wealth, is trying to buy international relevance . It has already bought the opportunity to host the World Cup, having allegedly bribed multiple officials. It has purchased and funded various prominent structures around the world, including the Shard in London. It is now trying to procure itself an international organization — and a UN agency, to boot. The choice of an aeronautic organization is logical. Qatar is currently in the midst of a battle with Dubai to become the main air travel hub in the region. It is building an international airport in Doha that The Economist said is shifting “the centre of world aviation… ever closer towards [Qatar].” Moreover, according to Skytrax, an aviation research group, Qatar is already home to the best airlines in the world. The country would have a great deal to gain by hosting the headquarters of the ICAO.
16 May
Foreign Policy Implications of The Big Shift
(OpenCanada.org) Canada’s political geography is shifting. The locus of power is moving from east to west, away from the elite neighbourhoods of Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and other cities along the St. Lawrence river, toward cities where the priorities of immigrant voters define the political agenda. Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Global Public Affairs, and John Ibbitson, chief political correspondent for The Globe and Mail, explore these trends in their book The Big Shift. Darrell Bricker answers questions from OpenCanada about the foreign policy implications of the domestic trends reshaping Canada’s political landscape
The Big Shift argues that the “keystone economic and political drivers of this country are now Western Canada, and the immigrants from China, India, and other Asian countries who increasingly are turning Ontario into a Pacific-oriented province.” What are the foreign policy impacts of this shift?
14 May
Diplomats walk off job as GG tours
Strike action hits African embassies ahead of trip that also includes Baird
(Ottawa Citizen) The union representing Canada’s foreign service officers has turned up the pressure on the federal government, with diplomats walking off the job at embassies in Africa and Mexico for the first time since the seven-week strike began.
The big issue is pay, and the growing gap with other professionals, particularly commerce officers and economists, who are doing the same work but are paid up to $10,000 more at the top of the level. The widening gap has been a lingering issue for eight years and some say is becoming significant enough that DFAIT has trouble keeping foreign service officers by mid-career.
The problem was exacerbated by a shortage of foreign service officers over the years that forced the department to hire other higher-paid professionals to fill foreign service jobs.
10 May
Canada supporting social media, broadcast of conference, aimed at Iran
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird reached out directly to Iranians as the first speaker at a two-day conference (May 10-11) beaming social media, video and audio to Iran and Iranians around the world. Global Dialogue on the Future of Iran conference web site – theglobaldialogue.ca

8 May
Gar Pardy: Qatar’s quiet understanding of Canadian politics
The mad rush by Mr Baird says more about electoral support in Quebec than anything else. (Subscription only)
Harper Government’s Palestine Stance At UN Opposed By Many Canadians: Documents
(HuffPost)The prime minister’s staunch pro-Israel stance may be winning favour with the Jewish community, but it does not sit well with most Canadians who wrote to Stephen Harper last fall after Canada voted against granting Palestine status as a non-member observer state at the United Nations.
3 May
ICAO logoOttawa, Quebec committed to keeping ICAO in Montreal
(The Gazette) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird insisted Friday that Qatar’s bold play to wrest the International Civil Aviation Organization from Montreal is not blowback for his government’s decision to align itself inseparably with Israel.

Tories express anger at Qatar for ICAO bid
Arab nations push to move UN agency from Montreal
(Ottawa Citizen) The Conservative government has resorted to decidedly undiplomatic language in expressing its anger over a Middle Eastern country’s campaign to poach a major United Nations agency from Montreal.
1 May
Members want to fight pullout of parliament group
(Embassy) Canada’s continued participation in the Inter-Parliamentary Union “doesn’t look good” said Conservative Senator Salma Ataullahjan on April 25, one day after a group of members of Parliament and senators from all recognized parties, but dominated by Conservatives, voted not to pay the Canadian membership fees for 2014 to the IPU. The organization bills itself as the oldest political organization in the world, having been established in 1889.
Baird: Canada Won’t Compete For Spot On UN Security Council
Canada will focus on other priorities rather than mount a fresh campaign for a spot on the United Nations Security Council, says Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
30 April
Millions in intended CIDA funds unspent
As much as $1B in ‘lapsed’ foreign aid
(Ottawa Citizen) The minister [Fantino] did sign off on a bunch of projects at the last minute, the sources said, but it’s feared as much as $800 million was returned to the Treasury Board, which holds the federal purse-strings. …
Development experts say the result of underspending is fewer schools in developing countries, fewer vaccines for the world’s poorest children, and other missed opportunities where Canada could have made a real difference. … They note that the government has essentially frozen future funding on projects in Haiti and the Palestinian Territories, while NGOs and development groups have not been invited to submit project proposals for two years.
27 April
Brian Lee Crawley: Finding peace through strength
(Ottawa Citizen) … being strong carries dangers, and we have to guard against abuse; but being weak is far worse.
In the years ahead Canada must decide which camp it’s in; whether it wants to be a player, a force for peace and justice, or just a moralizing kibitzer that can safely be ignored. Canada can be a great nation, but taking its share of responsibility for the maintenance of world order is the unavoidable price
22 April
Does the world exist (in Canada’s foreign policy)?
(Toronto Star) The Harper government’s tendency toward dismissing the salience of worldly conditions is particularly marked when complex realities outside Canada’s borders are at issue. Globalization means that most policy choices facing us fall into this category of complex international realities. And for that reason, you’d think the government would pin its foreign policy-making to shared facts and knowledge wherever possible.
21 April
Daniel Livermore: Where’s the Public Outrage Over Harper’s Foreign Policy?
(CIPS) Public policy discussion these days suffers from a curious anomaly. Vast numbers of experts disagree with the government’s performance on many issues. But there’s little reflection of this mood in the popular media or on the street. …  NGOs and professional organizations wind themselves up to a fury, and the net result is a benign op-ed piece or a letter to the editor which few Canadians will even bother reading. There seems—on the surface—to be no sense of outrage.
15 April
Palestinians Summon Canada’s Envoy Over Baird Visit
(HuffPost) The Palestinian Authority on Sunday summoned Canada’s envoy, Katherine Verrier-Frechette, to a meeting to convey “strong dissatisfaction” over Baird’s visit with Tzipi Livni in a territory that the Palestinians and the United Nations consider occupied land, CBC Middle East correspondent, Derek Stoffel reports.
“As occupied territory under international law … most diplomats shy away from meeting Israeli officials there,” Stoffel said. “So when Baird decided to cross the Green Line, it left Palestinians livid.”
3 April
Canada’s diplomats on lockdown
Former envoy says current communications chill is a ‘terrible situation’.
(Embassy) Many Canadian diplomats are becoming increasingly out of reach, say two Canadian reporters who cover foreign policy, and one former envoy sees the situation as flowing from a perceived Harper government obsession with centralized control.
But the government says its communications policy clearly states that ministers are its official spokespersons, and another former diplomat says there can be value in taking time to craft quotes on sensitive, major issues.
2 April
Andrew Cohen: Canada, the world’s new contrarian
(Ottawa Citizen) In itself, there is nothing terribly damning — or even noteworthy — about a sovereign country withdrawing from a modest international convention that it calls ineffective.
… Instead of walking away, we could try to reform it. But we won’t do that because the convention is a “talkfest,”as John Baird insists, which apparently means it talks too much about the relationship between climate change, drought and deserts. This is uncomfortable for an ideological crowd that distrusts science and is suspicious of global warming.
This is good:
In UAE, Baird turns the page on ‘challenging period’ of diplomatic spats
The UAE has built airlines and financial services, and imported teachers, health-care workers and other professionals – including 40,000 Canadians – to a nation where less than one million Emiratis are a minority among nine million residents. And it has money to invest – the Abu Dhabi Investment Fund alone has $600-billion, and there are dozens of other large funds and firms. In 2011, the UAE was Canada’s fourth-largest foreign investor, putting $30-billion into Canadian assets.
She makes some good points but really doesn’t understand the work of the UNCCD
Margaret Wente: The UN drought program did Africa no good. Canada was right to withdraw
Perhaps Mr. Harper figures we can achieve better results by working around the UN instead of through it. Last October, he committed $20-million in Canadian aid for the drought-stricken Sahel – more than the UNCDD spent on its entire bureaucracy last year. It’s not a lot, but it’s not nothing either. If you were a Senegalese farmer, who would you rather count on?
1 April
Steve Saideman: Diplomatic Drought
What possible reason could the Harper government have for pulling out of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification?
(Open Canada) This could also be part of a larger, equally sincere effort to spurn multilateralism, a very Liberal value. Given that the Harper government has spent far, far more on memorializing the War of 1812 than it costs to belong to this convention on desertification, maybe this is just one more way they are trying to alter Canadian nationalism and identity.
Paul Heinbecker: It’s not just the drought treaty. Canada is vanishing from the United Nations
(Globe & Mail) Because of the links between drought, land degradation, desertification and climate change, withdrawal from the Desertification Convention comes with potentially significant costs. Ottawa’s decision reinforces the impression that it does not care about climate change.
… because the locus of most of the devastation arising from desertification is in Africa, walking away from a treaty whose creation was led by the Mulroney and Chrétien governments reinforces the impression that Ottawa no longer cares about Africa. It is an impression that this government also went to some trouble and expense to try to reverse. Further, because the worst destruction from desertification is happening in the Sahara region, abandoning the treaty sends a mixed signal about the security issues at stake in Mali and the Sahel, and about Canadian mining interests there as well.
29 March
UN Convention to Combat Desertification Responds to Canada’s Withdrawal from Convention
It’s not just the drought treaty: In international law, Canada has withered
By RYAN LISS AND JOANNA LANGILLE
(Globe & Mail) This week Canada indicated that it plans to pull out of a United Nations convention aimed at preventing drought. … This demonstrates a marked disdain for international law and multilateral co-operation on even the most basic of issues. Sadly, however, this decision is par for the course under the government of Stephen Harper and is the latest in a series of actions demonstrating the Conservative government’s isolationist agenda.
Ryan Liss is a Humphrey Fellow in International Human Rights Law and an LLM candidate at Yale Law School. Joanna Langille is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
28 March
Why Canada chose to leave a global fight against desertification
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday that the program has proven too bureaucratic, with less than one-fifth of the money Canada contributes to the convention going to programming. …
“How can you improve something when all the countries that are working on it together are around the table except you?” said  [Former Liberal environment minister Stéphane] Dion. “It’s [desertification] affecting Canada as well, in the Prairies. Climate change will make it even worse. It would exist without man-made climate change.”
27 March
Canadian International Development Agency’s China Misadventure
Ignoring communist party makes Canada’s China aid dubious, says lawyer
(Epoch Times) With the announced cuts, one of the last projects CIDA will fund in China is the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) effort to improve legal aid services for marginalized groups, specifically ethnic minorities. CIDA will kick in a maximum of $10 million for the project.
Democratic governance efforts, like CBAs legal aid project, were a top priority for CIDA monies in China. A 2005 report from CIDA gives an overview of its governance efforts in China including programs to increase rule of law, democracy, and civil society. The report also details various reforms the Chinese regime has been enacting to bring itself closer to international norms.
But critics of the regime have long held that those reforms are little more than window dressing used to stave off criticism and bait optimists into hoping the CCP was willing to loosen its grip on power and subject itself to the rule of law or multi-party elections.
22 March
Roland Paris: CIDA Merger Is Fine, But Fundamental Questions of Policy Remain Unresolved
(OpenCanada) Merging CIDA and DFAIT is not a bad idea in itself, nor is it novel: CIDA started its life as a part of DFAIT and several other countries have integrated their foreign affairs and international development ministries. As we have learned many times, however, the process of bureaucratic reorganization can solve some problems but create new ones – particularly when fundamental questions of policy remain unresolved.
Concern surfaces over plan to fold CIDA into DFAIT
(Embassy) The merge comes not long after the November 2012 release of a House committee report that …  concluded that CIDA was “behind other development agencies in the pursuit of public-private partnerships.”
Shortly after the release of the report, International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino told the Economic Club of Canada that the agency could assist developing nations to “implement international commercial agreements with Canada and other trading partners, and help firms benefit from these agreements…we will be doing more of this in the future.”
20 March
Canada cuts direct foreign aid to China – It’s one of 14 countries that will see their aid either reduced or eliminated by the end of next year as the Canadian International Development Agency slashes $377-million in aid spending by 2014-2015. The cuts are part of an overhaul of bilateral aid programming, with CIDA aiming to target funds more precisely and work more with the private sector.
15 March
Conrad Black: Jean Chrétien: A capable caretaker, but no statesman
(National Post) Chrétien was a pretty good caretaker, but his claim in the Globe and Mail interview to having been a far-sighted world statesman is hard to take seriously. He laments that Canada no longer sits on the Security Council of the United Nations, and has reduced aid to Africa in favour of Latin America. He preens himself for having gone to Hugo Chavez’s funeral last week, though he had not seen him since before Chavez became president of Venezuela 14 years ago, and for having been friendly with Castro. He claims that Canada is less respected in the world than it was in his time.
This is all rubbish.  – As always, Conrad Black exhibits his grasp of history and world affairs, but wraps his opinions around a personal attack that diminishes the import of what he has to say.
8 March
Harper isolated as Latin American leaders acknowledge Chavez’s regional importance
(rabble.ca) … in stark contrast to the heartfelt condolences and tributes from Central and South America, responses from President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper came off as contemptful (sic) of Chávez, certainly consistent with past attitudes of both governments towards Venezuela and South America’s growing independence.
6 March
You’ll face ‘consequences’ from Canada if you take Israel to International Criminal Court: Baird to Palestinians
(National Post) Baird issued the warning just as the federal government considers whether to end hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian humanitarian aid to the Palestinians when it expires at the end of this month.[He] delivered his message to an approving audience Sunday in Washington at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
February 2013
Scott Staring: Harper’s history
Stephen Harper’s fight to restore the past misunderstands tradition.
(IRPP Policy Options) Now that the din of battle has faded, it is easier to reflect calmly on what this bitter mix of nostalgia and partisanship has brought to our foreign policy. One lesson we may take from our experience is that when our dealings with others are pursued in the name of courage, and courage alone, rather than clear, substantive goals, the results will be destructive to their society as well as our own. The barren ideal of a new moral identity begets barrenness. Such a foreign policy can hardly be called a triumph over the spectre of nihilism, nor can it be called “conservative” in any coherent sense of the word.
13 February
David Kilgour — Canada-China Relations: Trade, Investment, and Human Rights
(Epoch Times) By turning companies into organs of the government, state capitalism simultaneously concentrates power and corrupts it, said David Kilgour at a recent talk at McGill University.
6 February
Bob Rae Questions John Baird’s ‘Courage’ During Mali Debate
After a lengthy speech, which he delivered without notes, Rae dove into the debate with his fellow MPs, expanding upon his main argument that Canada can, and should, be doing more to support the French and UN in the war-torn east African nation. … full text.
21 January
David T. Jones: Know when to walk away
The circumstances in Mali epitomize a local responsibility exercise. Why does Ottawa believe it has a dog in this fight?
18 January
Hugh Segal: African terrorism is Canada’s fight
(National Post) If there is any lesson to draw from the Afghanistan experience and the challenges in Africa, it is that looking away always costs more in lives, treasure and security than facing evil head on and having the capacity to do so. The “responsibility to protect” is meaningless without the capacity to deploy and will to intervene.
15 January
A will to intervene in Mali
Canada is sending a C-17 transport plane to Mali where it will supply the French forces fighting rebels linked to Al Qaeda. Analysis from Kyle Matthews, Senior Deputy Director of the Will to Intervene Project at Concordia University.
4 January
Haiti stunned by Fantino plan to freeze aid
(Globe & Mail) International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino has stunned the biggest recipient of Canadian foreign aid, Haiti, by announcing via a newspaper interview that Ottawa has frozen new aid projects for the Caribbean nation.
Mr. Fantino …  has put new assistance projects for Haiti “on ice” while he ponders a new approach because the aid is not getting the results “that Canadians have a right to expect.”  … Much of the aid funded by the Canadian International Development Agency is delivered through grants to aid organizations. Many of the projects are funded for two, three, or five years – but several are close to their end.

3 Comments on "Canada in 2013: International relations and foreign policy"

  1. Nick's Gleanings #503 March 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm · Reply

    I have never had much use for John Baird, Prime Minister Harper’s favourite ‘pit bull’ and stand-in to accompany Mrs. Harper to social events he wants to avoid, and currently Canada’s Foreign Minister. He validated my assessment of him on March 8th when I attended a gathering for him. For he said in the same sentence that “the Keystone is our priority” & that “we need to diversify the markets for our oil” (I never had the chance to ask him how he reconciled those two) …. And he further validated it five days later in Hong Kong when he told an audience that opening up Asian markets for Canadian oil was “a priority” for the government of Canada. One problem I have with his attitude is that I long ago learnt that in investment, and most other human endeavours, one can only have only one objective, all else by definition being constraints (something the world’s central banks are increasingly ignoring – the Bank of Japan’s new Governor said he is contemplating increasing the number of its objectives from two to three!) – so all the effort Ottawa puts into promoting the Keystone comes, and must come, at the expense of the effort it can make promoting the alternatives. And my second problem with him is that in this day & age of an all-pervasive media, Tweeting & the Internet, politicians can no longer, as Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, was wont to do, stand on a farm wagon in one town and tell people one story & later that same day to tell a conflicting story to a different crowd in another town, ten miles down the road. With someone like him representing Canada abroad, it’s small wonder that, as one-time Prime Minister Jean Chrétien recently opined, “Canada has lost stature internationally”.

  2. Nick's Gleanings May 4, 2013 at 10:13 pm · Reply

    If Qatar fails, it could be a close call. Fifty-odd Muslim nations give it a nice leg up on the 115 votes it needs. A lot of small nations can be bought. The US & few nations in Europe likely don’t feel very strong on this issue. And many others, like China & India, might see this as a way to open the door to shifting a few other UN agencies from their predominantly Western domiciles and from the situation created in the immediate post-war period that most of the benefits generated by the re-organization of the world were captured by the developed countries — off the top of my head, I can think of only two UN agencies of any significance not domiciled in an OECD country, both of them in Nairobi, namely UNEP & UNHabitat.

  3. Diana Thebaud Nicholson May 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm · Reply

    22 April
    Professor Gil Troy praises John Baird as a courageous leader and reminds his readers that The more Zionism is seen as evil, as “racism,” as “apartheid,” rather than a competing form of nationalism, the less goodwill there will be.
    Montreal Gazette Opinion: Reaction to John Baird’s cup of coffee in East Jerusalem is telling
    7 May
    Thomas Woodley, president of the CJPME takes issue with Professor Troy in a well-argued piece: East Jerusalem meeting spot showed support for Israeli policy
    Gil Troy’s recent Opinion piece (“Reaction to Baird’s cup of coffee in East Jerusalem is telling,” April 23) suggests that Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s choice of East Jerusalem for his recent meeting with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was harmless, and that the current state of affairs between Israelis and Palestinians is more favourable to peace than was the case a decade ago. I disagree.

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