Canada in 2010: International relations

Written by  //  December 1, 2010  //  Afghanistan, Arctic and Antarctic, Canada, China, Cleo Paskal, David Kilgour, Foreign Policy, Israel, Public Policy, Rights & Social justice, Trade & Tariffs, U.S., United Nations  //  Comments Off on Canada in 2010: International relations

G8 Summit 2010 ; Canada & the Arctic
It’s a big year for Canada on the world stage:
Mr. Harper’s keynote speech at Davos, The Vancouver Olympics, Presidency (and host) of the G7, [Muskoka] G8 Summit and Toronto G20, host of the NAFTA “tres amigos” … And in keeping with the role, the Canadian government responded swiftly, efficiently and compassionately to the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, action that will need to be continued for many years
Canada’s response to the earthquake in Haiti – progress to date
Paul Heinbecker and Fen Hampson: Canada Among Nations, 2009-2010: As Others See Us
Marking the 25th anniversary of the series, this edition of Canada Among Nations assesses Canada’s prospects in a world in which the United States will become more pre-eminent than predominant.
Professor Janice Stein: How Canada’s Forces Went to Afghanistan; Major General (ret’d) Lewis Mackenzie: Canada and Afghanistan

Wiki leaks: Diplomats Noted Growing Mistrust by Canadians Toward U.S. We see nothing in this article that indicates that U.S. diplomats stated anything that was not amply discussed in Canadian media. No secrets here!
27 November
Harper knows his party doesn’t get elected internationally
Canada is heading to another world conference on global warming with mixed objectives
19 November
Canadian diplomat blasts Ottawa’s stance toward Russia
(Toronto Star) Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s calculated political stance as an anti-Russian cold warrior has made Canada an irrelevant, mischievous force within the NATO alliance, according to a former Canadian diplomat.
Christopher Westdal, who served as ambassador to Russia from 2003 to 2006, blasted Canada’s foreign policy stance toward Russia as outdated and specifically designed to win over ethnic votes in Canada. In doing so, Ottawa has removed itself from the debate over “sound security policy.”
18 November
Canada Welcomes UN Resolution on Deplorable Human Rights Situation in Iran
“With this resolution, and those presented in previous years, the unacceptable human rights situation in Iran has been brought to the attention of the international community, and the Iranian authorities have been called to account for their actions. We will continue to call on the Iranian authorities to take steps to end the egregious abuses of the most fundamental basic human rights of the Iranian people.
17 November
David Kilgour to the World Affairs Council:
Making his first foreign trip as president to Canada warmed a winter day in our capital in 2009. His empathy left such an enduring impression that he might well have wished that Canadians could have voted in the mid-term elections
Canadians, however, need reassurance there will be no further obstacles created to crossing our common border based on myths about 9/11. Sharron Angle, the Tea Party-supported Republican senate candidate in Nevada, clearly erred in saying “our northern border is where the terrorists came through.” Why is this nonsense so persistent? The economy has been one impetus to reduced cross-border tourism, but your new passport requirement for crossing the border has further reduced visits and probably some related jobs on both sides of the frontier. New rules and regulations, fees, inspections at the crossing continue to grow. The U.S.-Canada border appears now to be one of the least open between two industrialized countries. Can we not work together to improve the management of the planet’s largest bilateral trading relationship?
16 November
Canada’s Four Themes for Afghanistan: 2011-2014
(Govt of Canada) Canada’s new role in Afghanistan will build on the accomplishments of Canada’s mission over the past 10 years. Our objective in Afghanistan remains the same: to help build a more secure, stable and self-sufficient Afghanistan that is no longer a safe haven for terrorists.
Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan post-2011 will be centred on Kabul and will focus on four key areas:
* investing in the future of Afghan children and youth through development programming in education and health;
* advancing security, the rule of law and human rights, including through the provision of up to 950 trainers for Afghan security forces;
* promoting regional diplomacy; and
* helping deliver humanitarian assistance.
15 November
Tasha Kheiriddin: Will the real Stephen Harper please stand up?
Ottawa’s foreign policy has become a curious contradiction. In some areas, Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes body blows rather than betray principle. In others, he unabashedly capitulates to political pragmatism. The inconsistency came to the fore this past month, following a series of events, meetings, and decisions which put Canada and the Prime Minister on the world stage — and the hot seat.
29 October

Canada’s embassy spending soars

(CBC) Federal spending on Canadian embassy properties and diplomatic residences abroad has soared 430 per cent since Stephen Harper’s government came to power on a promise to rein in the diplomatic decorators. The latest government figures show Canadian taxpayers shelled out $85.2 million last year on dozens of Foreign Affairs department property projects that range from all-new embassies to an elevator in Kabul.
19 October
Cleo Paskal: Canada vs. the world
Canadian foreign policy faces a new global climate
What other nations already understand is that in an increasingly unstable world, Canada’s wheat, livestock, water, oil and land aren’t just commodities — they are stability. And that may soon become the rarest commodity of all.
15 October
Talks with UAE in dire need of air-traffic control
Canada’s offer to two United Arab Emirates airlines of one more round-trip flight a week in addition to the three they are already allowed is still on the table, according to a source close to the negotiations.
In fact, it has never been taken off the table since it was first presented at a meeting in Paris last month. This proposal, the source says, still forms the basis for any talks between Canada and the UAE. But the airlines, Emirates and Etihad, have asked for much more, up to four flights more a week.
14 October
Canada’s foreign policy
Snubbed — Better at doughnuts than diplomacy
(The Economist) Canada’s bid for a rotating seat on the United Nations Security Council ended in a humiliating withdrawal, after Germany and Portugal secured more votes.
Stephen Harper’s Conservative government blamed the opposition leader, Michael Ignatieff, for the snub, because he had suggested that Canada did not deserve the seat. But many countries apparently share Mr Ignatieff’s dislike of Mr Harper’s foreign policy. This has featured outspoken support of Israel’s hardline government, alienating the Muslim countries that make up a third of the UN’s membership. Mr Harper has also made few friends in Africa (where he has closed embassies), or in Europe and among island states (with his feeble policy on climate change).
12 October
UAE banishes Canada from base, blocks MacKay from its airspace
(Globe & Mail) The United Arab Emirates abruptly ended years of collaboration with the Canadian Forces on Monday, forbidding Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his top general from even flying over the country on a return trip from Afghanistan.
The public rebuke flowed from a spat over Canadian landing rights for airlines based in the Gulf and will complicate the Canadian Forces’ exit from Afghanistan next year, officials and experts said. UAE airline gambit ‘offended’ Harper, source says
23 September
Canada’s “Missing” Trade With the European Union
(Conference Board of Canada) In light of Canada’s trade negotiations with the European Union, this report examines Canada-EU trade through a lens more aligned with international business realities than are conventional trade measures and analyses. Canada-EU trade is about more than cross-border final goods exchange.
Harper at UN in push for Security Council seat
As part of Canada’s efforts to get a seat on the powerful council, Harper will be joined by Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda and Peter Kent, the minister of state for foreign affairs.
Canada is competing with Germany and Portugal for one of two two-year seats on the council.
22 September
Time to ramp up BRIC trade
(Globe & Mail editorial) Canada will enhance its innovation and productivity by greater engagement with the BRIC countries and other emerging economies – or so a paper from the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity persuasively argues.
The well-founded worries about the lack of productivity growth in Canada, and about the relative shortage of innovation – by comparison with otherwise similarly developed economies – are not a response to any fatally unproductive or uninventive flaw in the Canadian national character.
The ICP’s paper, titled “Trade, innovation and prosperity,” relies in large measure on the work of Daniel Trefler, an economist at the University of Toronto, who, in studies published in 2004 and 2010, found that the claims made in advance for the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement of 1989 were confirmed by experience. It led to overall productivity gains of 13 per cent, of which eight percentage points came from the growth of the most productive Canadian firms, and five points from increases of productivity in the typical Canadian factory.
21 September
Harper tells UN to focus on aid results
Harper took the opportunity in his speech to outline Canada’s commitments to millennium goals. He stressed that in recent years, Canada has doubled international assistance, doubled aid to Africa and forgiven more than $1 billion in debt owed by the world’s poorest countries.
He noted that Canada, as host of the G8 summit in Muskoka, Ont., in June, pushed leaders to fund a maternal health initiative. At the end of that summit, Harper pledged $1.1 million in new money to the cause.
8 September
Paul Heinbecker: The case for travel and hospitality funds
(Embassy Magazine) Travel and hospitality funds are the diplomatic equivalent of military force multipliers, like helicopters and satellite communications—and they cost a lot less.
Canadian diplomats need local travel funds so they can get around their countries of accreditation, understand first-hand how Canadian interests are affected, and build relationships designed to protect and advance those interests.
6 September
Ottawa embarrassed by release of Somali pirates
(CTV) Canada’s allies took an increasingly hard line. French and American commandos shot suspected pirates, while Washington even attempted to try one of them for the capture of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama.
Legal experts looked at Ottawa’s “catch-and-release” policy with dismay and pointed to a UN Security Council resolution which called on “all states” with an interest in the area to investigate and prosecute pirates off the coast of Somalia.
1 September
The Russians aren’t coming
(Ottawa Citizen) Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are not just changing the country’s direction (which is their right), they appear intent on reshaping reality.
This week, for instance, we learned that the Cold War is not, in fact, over and that Russia remains an active threat in the north.
Harper’s press spokesman, noted Sovietologist Dimitri Soudas [irony], explicitly turned the Russian flyby into an argument for a $16-billion, sole-sourced upgrade of Canada’s fighter-plane fleet. Soudas said the new Lockheed Martin F-35 “is the best plane our government could provide our forces and when you are a pilot staring down Russian long-range bombers, that’s an important fact to remember.”
28 August
For foreign policy-making, don’t look to Foreign Affairs
(Ottawa Citizen) … So what then is the policy role of Foreign Affairs — in Afghanistan or, potentially, anywhere else? What becomes of the Afghan Task Force when the Afghan war ends? Will it wither away — a highly unusual fate in bureaucracies — or could it end up acquiring new foreign policy tasks at the centre?
That would hardly be without precedent in the world. But if there is to be a new foreign-policy-making dispensation in Canada, it would be better created through foresight and discussion than via stealth and mandate creep.
27 August
Gerald Caplan: A Mideast reading list for Tories willing to learn
Harper should brush up on reality as Obama hosts Israeli and Palestinian leaders
U.S. President Barack Obama is bringing together Israeli and Palestinian leaders next week in yet another attempt to find agreement between them. It seems a futile quest. … Mr. Netanyahu can always count on the knee-jerk support of the Canadian government. Stephen Harper’s automatic stand on any and all aspects of this monumental crisis is clear: Israel is always right, the Palestinians always wrong. There is Pavlovian solidarity with Israelis, an almost visceral hostility towards Palestinians.
The basis for this unwavering bias has never been shared with Canadians. Is it simply another example of the Prime Minister’s notorious contempt for information, evidence, facts? Can he be as oblivious as he seems to the mountains of information documenting the complex realities of Israel-Palestine. Let me suggest just three serious books that permanently open the eyes of anyone genuinely willing to learn.
3 August
Allan Gotlieb: Not just another foreign-policy review
There are signs Canadians are finally looking out for their self-interest.
To make progress, the leadership must come from Ottawa
… into the void has now stepped a private organization, the newly created Canadian International Council, which put together a team of accomplished young Canadians under the leadership of former Globe and Mail editor Edward Greenspon. It christened its task the “GPS Project,” and recently released its report, Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age.
28 July
Future NGO funding requires ‘policy alignment’ (subcribers only)
(Embassy) Only days after confirming one of the country’s most important development groups is being cut loose as a partner, the government has laid out a new approach to how Canada’s aid agency will support non-governmental organizations. CIDA Minister Bev Oda says the changes will streamline administrative requirements, improve aid effectiveness and lead to better co-ordination of Canadian development efforts. The move—which came without any consultations—has prompted as many questions as answers, and reinforced concerns the Harper government is prepared to punish NGOs who speak out about its policies.
23 July
Brian Stewart: Another critical group feels Ottawa’s axe
In the fields of justice, human rights and foreign aid, it seems that one non-governmental agency after another is being “de-funded” into non-existence or near paralysis by the Harper government.
So what, you ask. Well, the end result will likely be a less civil society with less informed debate and less public testing of ideas. Also, I suspect, less courage in the voluntary sector.
For decades, I have covered human rights and aid groups here and around the world and have never seen such a chill as what is happening now in our own country.
I am not talking about the normal, up-front budget cuts that most federal departments will now face and pass along, but a more sinister loss of funding that seems tied to political payback. The difference is profoundly important.
For when an NGO has its budget cut, apparently for speaking out, others fear the same fate.
Amnesty condemns Canada’s new rights positions
Amnesty International’s new secretary-general, Salil Shetty, blasted Canadian officials Monday for shifting positions on human-rights issues that bring into question the country’s traditionally progressive stance. Shetty cited the ongoing case of Omar Khadr — a Canadian citizen arrested in Afghanistan at age 15 — as well as Canada’s refusal to sign on to international treaties and the government’s handling of the recent arrival of a ship of Tamil refugees as worrying examples of a new trend. The Toronto Star/The Canadian Press (8/23) , Google/Agence France-Presse (8/23)
22 July
Minister Oda announces next step to CIDA’s Aid Effectiveness
(CIDA Website) “Effective assistance is aid that yields concrete, sustainable results and makes the best possible use of resources to maximize impact. Today’s announcement builds on those efforts through the newly renamed “Partnerships with Canadians” approach.”
22 July
Tories cut funding to aid umbrella group
The government made it official Thursday that it will no longer fund, after 40 years, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, umbrella for 90 non-government development and aid agencies.
The council represents most of Canada’s aid and development agencies, ranging from the Red Cross and World Vision to Oxfam and Save the Children. It is the sector’s representative with government and since 1968, has analysed government policies on aid, trade, debt and defence. Gerry Barr [president and chief executive officer] believes the government made a “partisan” decision to halt the funds because the council has been critical of a number of policies. Yes, we believe that. 
29 June
Carney to chair international financial forum
The Bank of International Settlements in Basel, which acts as a sort of central bank for central bankers, appointed Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney to chair the key forum on the global financial system.
22 June
Tape Reveals [Chinese] Embassy Footing Bill for Hu Jintao’s Welcome Rally
Official tells students they must join; describes event as “political struggle” against human rights advocates
Beginning today, expect to see throngs of flag-waving Chinese on Parliament Hill and lining the streets of Ottawa where Chinese leader Hu Jintao will visit the next three days.
19 June
Canada’s moment in the spotlight
G8 and G20 summits are celebratory events in Harper’s makeover project for this country
However, there is a big BUT in the article that belies the cheery headline.
Has Harper succeeded in restoring Canadian international leadership? -most foreign affairs watchers shake their heads with frustration and say the very opposite has occurred.
“This government hasn’t been much interested in foreign policy, and with one or two exceptions it’s been disappointing. There’s no substance to it,” said Paul Heinbecker, a former ambassador to Germany and the United Nations, and one-time foreign policy adviser to prime minister Brian Mulroney. …Canada can have international influence -and could do so much more -if only Harper would move beyond public posturing and treat foreign policy seriously.

Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU: le Canada intensifie sa campagne
Convaincu d’avoir marqué des points durant les sommets du G8 et du G20 en fin de semaine, le Canada entend maintenant intensifier sa campagne afin d’obtenir l’un des deux sièges non permanents du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU.

15 June
Canada in the world
Michael Ignatieff commits to a Global Networks Strategy
In a speech to the National Forum today, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff released a major component of the next Liberal election platform: a plan to restore Canadian leadership in the world through a Global Networks Strategy
(CTV) Give soldiers post-combat role in Afghanistan: Ignatieff
The call for a post-combat role was part of a sweeping new foreign policy agenda unveiled Tuesday by the Liberal leader. More
McQuaig: Partner in flotilla ‘farce’
… there hasn’t been a murmur of protest from Canada over the Israeli seizure of a Turkish ship in international waters late last month, and the shocking killing of nine peace activists on board.
While governments around the world denounced the Israeli attack and Turkey decried it as an act of “state terrorism,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper cheerfully followed through with a planned meeting the next day with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Appearing with Netanyahu, Harper merely expressed regret about the loss of life and the fact that it interfered with Netanyahu’s visit to Canada: “I’m sorry this has coloured this [visit],” said Harper, “but delighted you were able to join me at least last night and today, and we’ve had some important talks, so welcome to Canada.”
9 June
Edward Greenspon: Open Canada to the world’s new ways
The game has changed. Let’s reposition ourselves at the centre of the action
As Canada moves down the ranks, from the world’s seventh-largest economy to 10th and lower, it must navigate the rise of Asia, the relative decline of the U.S. and the sudden creation of a new multilateralism, among other game-changers. How do we play this once-in-a-century period of global disruption?
The Canadian International Council asked a panel of Canadians, a post-Cold War digital generation largely in its 30s and 40s, to come up with a new blueprint. Our report, Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age, offers bold and original policies and strategies within the realm of the possible.
By far the biggest game-changer is that the United States will not continue to be the engine of global growth. Policy experts’ standard response has been a Grand Bargain in the form of a customs union, common market or security perimeter. We must attack the problem in new ways.
… We call our report Open Canada because we think we can prosper by being the most open country in the world: open to ideas and investment; open to newcomers and new ways; open to partnerships and networks at home and abroad; open to competition and the uncompromising pursuit of excellence.
1 June
Canada backs call for inquiry into Israeli raid on convoy
The federal government supports a prompt, impartial inquiry into the deadly events in Israel, Minister of State Peter Kent told the House of Commons Wednesday.
Mr. Kent provided the most fulsome remarks so far by a Canadian official on the events in which nine people were killed when Israel used military force on a ship in an aid convoy headed for the Gaza Strip. Israel says its soldiers were defending themselves.
30 May
Canada stands to benefit from improved relations with Mexico
Canadians have an interest in taking Mexico more seriously, and therefore in asking their government to commit more firmly to our southernmost NAFTA partner.
29 May
(Globe & Mail editorial) Despite strife at home, heed Mexico’s influence abroad
The Canada-Mexico relationship can benefit from Mexico’s growing stature, on issues of trade, global economic co-operation and climate change
Love Not War For Insurgents? India – Canada and visas
… anger within the uniformed services in India that has been caused by the propensity of the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to confuse the Indian security services with their counterparts in Pakistan, a country whose army has jihad as an official motto. As a consequence, since at least 2008, several retired and serving officers of the Indian uniformed services have reportedly been denied a Canadian visa on the grounds that they are ‘human rights violators’ by the mere fact of being part of these services.
27 May
Israel’s new ‘best friend’?
(AlJazeera) When Binyamin Netanyahu arrives in Canada on Friday, it will mark the first visit to Ottawa by a sitting Israeli prime minister since Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. In the years since, as Israel has found itself increasingly isolated on the world stage, successive Canadian governments have moved against the trend and deepened ties with Israel – something that Netanyahu is keen to protect.
24 May
Chilly relations hang over Calderon visit to Canada
Mexican President Felipe Calderon will begin a three-day visit Wednesday to Canada, amid strains in bilateral relations and perceptions that Ottawa is more preoccupied with ties to its superpower neighbor, the United States.
9 May
(RCI) Pakistan has expressed dissatisfaction with a Canadian-led initiative to improve Pakistan’s dangerous border with Afghanistan. Canada announced the initiative on behalf of the Group of Eight when G8 foreign ministers met in Ottawa two months ago. As one possible project, Canada proposed building a new highway to link two cities straddling the important Khyber Pass—Peshawar in Pakistan and Jalalabad in Afghanistan. But Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Canada, Akbar Zeb, says that the initiative should go beyond one or two projects to include poverty alleviation, and improvements to infrastructure and health services. Pakistan is asking Canada to re-consider the initiative when Canada hosts a summit of the Group of Eight next month.
26 April
In our list of Canada’s high-profile activities on the world stage in 2010, we omitted mention of  participation in the Shanghai World Exhibition (expo). How could we, enthusiastic survivors of the fabled expo 67? Our friend and colleague from those glorious days, Alan Hustak, writes  discouragingly about Canada at this year’s expo – how the mighty have fallen  Send in the clowns: Canada at Shanghai’s world’s fair
1 April
(Brookings Institution) Kandahar is What the Canada-U.S. Alliance is All About
29 March
Envoy savages Liberals, Tories on foreign policy
Afghan Mission doomed, he says; ‘We simply do not have the heart for a brutal, no-holds-barred struggle’
(The Gazette) “The bottom line is that we will not prevail in Afghanistan,” Robert Fowler told the Liberal Party’s Canada 150 conference in a scathing critique of Canadian foreign policy. “Once we understand and accept that reality it is time to leave, not a moment, not a life and not a dollar later.”
Fowler also charged that both the Liberal and Conservative parties are contributing to turmoil in the Middle East and fostering international terrorism by pandering to Jewish voters in Canada with blindly uncritical support for Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Another missed opportunity to show leadership
Hillary Clinton blasts Canada for exclusive Arctic talks
A carefully orchestrated effort by Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon to show international leadership on polar affairs by hosting an Arctic summit near Ottawa ended awkwardly on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized Canada for excluding aboriginal leaders and three northern nations – Iceland, Finland and Sweden – from the gathering. John Baglow: Divvying up the Arctic without inviting its inhabitants – Five nations’ representatives meet in Chelsea, Quebec, to divvy up the Arctic. Missing from the table: Iceland, Finland and Sweden. Oh — and the aboriginal populations of the region in question.
Arctic summit highlights tensions, competing interests
19 March
Harper Government obstructs visit of Respected Palestinian Leader
(CJPME) The Harper government has obstructed the issuance of a visa to Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, resulting in the cancellation of [his] upcoming speaking tour … Dr. Barghouti applied for a visa on March 5th, for entry into Canada on March 19th, yet despite the urgency of the issue being brought directly to high-level officials in Foreign Affairs and Citizenship and Immigration, the government delayed the issuance of a visa to the point where Barghouti missed two key flights, resulting in a cancellation of [the] visit.
18 March
The quickest about-face in human (political) history?
Contraception an option in maternal health plan: PM
The Conservative government is now saying birth control is an option in its international maternal-health initiative after it appeared the Tories would exclude contraception in any of its programs.
“We are not closing doors against any options, including contraception, but we do not want a debate here or elsewhere on abortion,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said … on Thursday.
Birth control won’t be in G8 plan to protect mothers, Tories say
The Conservative government has offered an explanation for why it will exclude contraception from its initiative to improve the health of mothers in poor countries: Birth control doesn’t fit with saving lives. [our italics]
In no uncertain terms, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon yesterday ruled out any kind of family-planning programs being included in Canada’s “signature” initiative at June’s G8 summit – a strategy to improve the health of mothers and young children in poor countries.
Making a difference on the Security Council
(Embassy) Canada was last elected to the Security Council in 1998. It is hoping to be elected again later this year. But in the past 12 years, the Security Council has changed dramatically and this new environment is certain to affect Canada’s ability to make an impact, if it is elected.
Brett House and Désirée McGraw: Our shaky hand on African aid – ‘Accountability’ is a poor excuse for delays or cuts
Canada’s freeze on increased aid to Africa also comes as the very accountability structures that Mr. Cannon says he seeks – such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and its African Peer Review Mechanism that were set up at the 2002 G8 summit in Kananaskis – are starved for resources. The Harper government’s sudden interest in aid accountability arrives after years of fractious relations between [CIDA] and Canada’s Auditor-General.
Gar Pardy: Peter Kent goes to war
(Ottawa Citizen) Some have suggested that the statements by the junior foreign minister and backed by various actions of the Canadian government have more to do with Canadian politics than with the Middle East. If that is the case, then all Canadians should hang their collective heads in shame that their government would play such games in the world’s most dangerous area. Perhaps it is time for ministers of the government to read Middle East history beyond that in the Book of Chronicles of the Old Testament.
18 February
Cannon to meet with arctic stakeholders
Facing criticism from Northern aboriginal leaders and Iceland’s top diplomat over their exclusion from a five-nation “Arctic Summit” to be hosted by Canada next month, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has pledged to meet with a full spectrum of circumpolar stakeholders ahead of the controversial March 29 gathering of Arctic foreign ministers in Chelsea, Que. But his peace offering fell short of opening the summit to other stakeholders. Canada called out by Arctic allies – Iceland, Finland and Sweden frustrated at non-invitations to Arctic summit.
Canada to build Haiti government building
The Canadian government will supply CA$12 million to build a temporary headquarters for Haiti’s government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said during a visit to the earthquake-ravaged island. The new base will house key ministry personnel and bureaucrats to centralize aid and reconstruction efforts. The Toronto Star (2/15) , The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (2/16)
11 February
Canada’s reputation worsens: global poll
It is the first time Canada’s popularity among its major trading partners has declined since polling firm GlobeScan began tracking international sentiment in 2005, and the deterioration could hurt Canadian business interests, said GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller
6 February
G7 Iqaluit meeting ends
The meeting of the finance ministers from the world’s leading economies ended in Iqaluit Saturday, but there was no indication whether the Group of Seven leaders had bridged the gaps that separated them. The meeting addressed ways of ensuring that, in the future, the international banking system could avoid the kinds of problems that led to the continuing global recession. (FT) Canada G7 meeting may be group’s swansong; (Globe & Mail) Informal setting will help G7 reach consensus, Flaherty contends Mr. Flaherty’s plan to drop a written communiqué comes as the future of the G7 is in question now that the G20 has become the main venue for international financial decision-making.
4 February
Iqaluit: ‘Cold enough to freeze a can of 10W30′
When finance ministers from the world’s seven biggest industrial democracies descend on the small town of Iqaluit Friday, they will have more on their minds than financial system reform, China’s undervalued yuan and mounting deficits. The G7 finance ministers appear to be more concerned – even alarmed – at the prospect of being fed raw seal meat, being eaten by polar bears, and of course braving the Nunavut capital’s freezing temperatures.
3 February
Harper’s new foreign policy concept targets U.S. role in G20
(CP) As Ottawa gears up to host the G7 finance ministers in Iqaluit on Friday and the G8 and G20 summits in June, the government is well aware of the discrepancy between the detailed promises the G20 has made and the actions of some key players within the group. … No one is questioning the U.S. dedication to the G20 cause in general. American officials have been central in promoting the group as the primary economic decision-making body in world affairs. For Canadian policy, the implications of Harper adopting an enlightened sovereignty approach to foreign affairs are subtle, experts say.
29 January
Gerald Caplan: If the PM is serious about the plight of mothers…
(Globe & Mail) Undermining CIDA and cutting funding to NGOs like Kairos leave Stephen Harper with a sizable credibility gap on maternal health
The Prime Minster must not think he’s just discovered America. All kinds of efforts have been attempted for decades to improve maternal and child well-being globally. Those involved have included the United Nations, UN agencies, NGOs, the World Health Organization, government aid organizations like CIDA, and governments and civil society groups in poor countries. But as the ongoing crisis demonstrates, results have been distinctly mixed. That’s why so many Canadian NGOs have been urging the government to make this issue a priority.
28 January
Harper demands results from world leaders
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says multinational organizations like the G8 and the G20 must focus less on “lofty promises” and more on “real results.” He also called on the world’s richest countries to work together in a spirit of what he called “enlightened sovereignty,” which he defined as “an expanded view of mutual interest, in which there is room for all to grow and prosper . . . the natural extension of enlightened self-interest.”   Text of PM’s speech
(Globe & Mail) Carpe diem, Stephen Harper. Davos was underwhelmed
26 January
Canada’s G8 priorities
As president of the G8 in 2010, Canada will champion a major initiative to improve the health of women and children in the world’s poorest regions. Members of the G8 can make a tangible difference in maternal and child health and Canada will be making this the top priority in June. Far too many lives and unexplored futures have already been lost for want of relatively simple health- care solutions.
Montreal summit on Haiti ends with reconstruction principles
(WEF) Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, will deliver a special address at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. Canada is G8 President this year, and Prime Minister Harper will set out his country’s agenda for its presidency.
25 January
Canada leads international efforts to rebuild Haiti at Montreal Conference
22 January
Canada wants lead in Haiti reconstruction
Canada is pressuring Haiti’s prime minister to give it a leading role in reconstruction efforts to deal with the devastation from the Jan. 12 earthquake. … Canada was seeking assurances it would take charge of a project to build temporary buildings to house displaced Haitian ministries. Canada also wants responsibility for assigning experts to help with reconstruction. Montreal Hosting Haiti Aid Meeting: Foreign Ministers to Discuss Recovery Plans
17 January
Rush to help Haiti also helps Harper politically
(CP) In the space of a few days, Parliament Hill has morphed into an emblem of … compassion and concern for the people of Haiti. The Hill has become a hub of frenzied government activity aimed at speedily alleviating the tragic plight of Haitians devastated by a catastrophic earthquake.

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