Canada: International relations and foreign policy June 2019 – June 2020

Written by  //  June 2, 2020  //  Canada, Foreign Policy  //  Comments Off on Canada: International relations and foreign policy June 2019 – June 2020

Canada International Relations – Trade 2017-2018
Canada-U.S. 2018-19

USMCA (formerly known as NAFTA)

High Wire examines the reasons that Canada declined to take part in the 2003 US-led military mission in Iraq, shining a spotlight on the diplomatic tug of war that took place behind the scenes with our neighbours to the south, who have often adopted an interventionist foreign policy to serve their own economic and geopolitical interests. Canada’s historic refusal could have had disastrous consequences, but a number of key players and other analysts remind us of the terrible price we pay when diplomacy fails.

2 June
Ex-ministers, ambassadors call on Trudeau to push back against Israeli annexation plan
Diplomats warn that ‘territorial conquest’ in the Middle East is a program for disaster
Four Chretien-era cabinet ministers are among 58 former Canadian diplomats and politicians who added their names to a letter calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government to show stronger resistance to a proposed Israeli annexation of a large part of the occupied West Bank.
Among the signatories are former ambassadors to Israel who served under both Liberal and Conservative governments, as well as many other diplomats who represented Canada’s interests in the Middle East.
In their letter, the former diplomats remind Trudeau that the acquisition of territory through military conquest is illegal, and that the UN Security Council voted on eight occasions between 1967 and 2016 to forbid it in the case of the occupied territories of the West Bank.
“We would like to urge you to publicly acknowledge Canada’s commitment to multilateralism and the rule of law by issuing a statement that Canada reaffirms its position in support of all relevant UN resolutions …” says the letter.
“As you are no doubt aware, many of our allies have already spoken out opposing the Israeli proposal … As former Canadian diplomats, we urge you to protect Canada’s good name in the international community by speaking loudly and clearly on this issue.”

1 June
David Kilgour: COVID-19: A Turning Point in Canada-China Relations?
(Delhi Times) Canada is part of an increasing chorus of criticism of China’s party-state around the world, including such countries as Sweden and Australia which have also had citizens “disappeared” there.
The published highlights from a 2019 Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) academic outreach noted: “Under (Xi’s) leadership as well, the Party-state is staging a vehement attack on Western democracy and values.

29 May
The smiley, friendly, cunning François-Philippe Champagne
By Marie-Danielle Smith
The foreign minister has a deep Rolodex and ambition to match. Now does he have what it will take to guide Canada through a period of unprecedented global change?
(Maclean’s) Like anyone in his position, Champagne is a mouthpiece for the positions of his leader, though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has never seemed seized by foreign policy. And unlike his predecessors, this foreign minister has little ownership of Canada’s most important relationship, that with the United States—Chrystia Freeland, the deputy prime minister, has been trusted to maintain the Rolodex she built while closing a new NAFTA.
But Champagne is nonetheless the guy in the room, or, more accurately, the guy on the smartphone, as Canada navigates a time of unprecedented global upheaval. There are plenty of Goliaths. The way Champagne handles them—from Canada’s troubled relationship with China to global economic uncertainty during the pandemic crisis—will have a material effect on Canada’s position in the world.
… Champagne and the Liberal government have been repeatedly criticized for their “soft” approach to China (aka Goliath).
Champagne, although managing to utter “Taiwan” eight times during an interview with Maclean’s, hesitates to elaborate on China’s human rights abuses, aside from saying they are raised in his conversations. He expresses his concern for Hong Kong, as China attempts to legislate away its autonomy, but doesn’t bite on the idea of sanctions.
That Canada has not used stronger language to denounce the treatment of Uighur Muslim detainees in so-called “re-education camps” is a major source of frustration for critics.
…with a decision yet to be made on whether Canada will allow Chinese company Huawei to lay down infrastructure for 5G networks, despite allies including the U.S. banning its technology due to security concerns and warnings from Western intelligence agencies including Canada’s own, Champagne has no time for the theory that Canada is biding its time—waiting for an extradition decision on Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, or for China to release detained Canadians. The extradition and the 5G decision are, he says, “completely unrelated.”
…”the only lens that I’m looking at is whatever action we take needs to be with the interest and the objective to get the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.”
It is no secret that the release of two Canadians arbitrarily detained by China more than 500 days ago is the government’s priority. And there is an obvious fear that should Canada explicitly provoke China, other Canadians, including in Hong Kong, could be at risk. During a time when Trudeau’s government has struggled to switch out of reactive mode and articulate a clear policy on China, it is not difficult to believe that that is indeed the “only lens” the Prime Minister has clearly tasked Champagne to operate with.

27 May
Campbell Clark: Get ready. The chill with China is just going to get colder
We were warned: If Canada doesn’t release Meng Wanzhou, there will be more damage to relations with China.
There was a reason many in Canada held out a glimmer of hope that a B.C. court would find legal grounds to kick free Ms. Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., this week. That would have offered a possible avenue for the release of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were detained in China as bargaining chips.
The decision rendered by Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court dashed that hope, at least for now.
Canada was warned not to cozy up to Huawei and Beijing. Now here we are.
Terry Glavin: We listened instead to Jean Chrétien and the pro-PRC Liberal old guard. Remember that if—or when—Xi Jinping takes revenge over the Meng Wanzhou decision
For all anybody knows, now that Justice Heather Holmes has rendered a markedly unfavourable decision in the case of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, the notoriously petulant and sadistic Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping will retaliate against Canada by instructing his secret police to abduct and imprison some more Canadians. As will be understood by anyone who has taken any notice of the Xi regime’s erratic and belligerent brinksmanship everywhere in the world—if you think this is just about Xi’s difficulties with the equally erratic U.S. President Donald Trump, you haven’t been paying attention at all—just about anything is possible.
And by this point, whatever is about to befall Canada, we should admit out loud that we were warned. It’s been at least a decade since U.S. intelligence officials and Barack Obama’s White House first told us, in the clearest language possible, that Huawei was bad news. But we thought we were clever. And around Trudeau’s cabinet table they still think they’re clever, ignoring the warnings of Canada’s intelligence agencies, and the intelligence agencies of our allies and kicking the can down the road on whether to bar Huawei from Canada’s fifth-generation internet evolution.

26 May
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas on the background to the Meng Wanzhou case and what considerations the judge will be weighing.  (video)
Trudeau to co-host United Nations meeting as vote for Security Council seat nears
(Globe & Mail) Thursday’s meeting will focus on the international development emergency caused by the pandemic and will be co-hosted by Mr. Trudeau, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. The event comes as Mr. Trudeau reaches out to world leaders for support ahead of the Security Council vote on June 17.
[Canada’s Ambassador to the UN, Marc-André] Blanchard said he is particularly concerned about the impacts on developing and small island states, which anticipate cash-flow problems as critical sectors, such as tourism, are devastated by the pandemic.
During Thursday’s meeting, world leaders and the heads of major multilateral institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, will address debt concerns for developing countries, the need to expand liquidity in the global economy, and measures to align pandemic recovery policies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among other challenges.
The meeting will give Mr. Trudeau more face time with world leaders at the UN, following weeks of near-daily phone calls with his counterparts in the lead up to the Security Council vote.

23 May
Chris Hall: Champagne is still treading carefully on China
Next week could see a break in the Meng Wanzhou case. What then?
(CBC) “The release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor remains my absolute priority,” Champagne said in a wide-ranging interview [that aired] Saturday on CBC’s The House. The conversation covered relations with China, how the World Health Organization responded to the coronavirus outbreak, the future of Hong Kong and Canada’s bid for one of the rotating seats open next year on the United Nations Security Council.

18 May 18
Trudeau taking charge of Canada’s UN Security Council bid with calls to world leaders, but they could have limited impact, says former UN diplomat

14 May
Derek H. Burney on COVID-19: It’s hard for Canada to stand up to China while it’s bowing
Unlike most of our allies, most notably the U.S., Canada had been a unique apologist on the issue of China’s responsibility for the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
(National Post) Canada seems to be adopting a “see no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil” attitude on relations with China. The question is, to what end? Is it because of our overweening desire to win a two-year seat on the UN Security Council — a prize of dubious distinction given the unremarkable track record of the council in recent years that has featured more gridlock than action due to the chronic conflict between the veto-carrying Russia and China and most of the others.
The second motivation cited is that Canada does not want to jeopardize the fate of the two Michaels (Kovrig and Spavor) who were essentially kidnapped and have held in stark detention for more than 500 days in retaliation for Canada’s intention to extradite to the U.S. Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the founder of Huawei, in accordance with the terms of our bilateral extradition treaty with the Americans.

16 April
Liberal government’s ‘almost humiliating’ posture toward China a missed opportunity: former top diplomats
‘Right now the facts argue for the case that China was delinquent (on COVID-19), that it wasn’t transparent enough. That’s not a conspiracy theory’
(National Post) Two former diplomats are warning that the Liberal government’s recent silence on China could reinforce the country’s increasingly belligerent actions on the world stage, amid concerns Chinese officials actively misled the World Health Organization during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Mulroney, who served as Canadian ambassador to China in Beijing between 2009 and 2012, said Ottawa’s “almost humiliating” posture toward China in recent weeks was a missed opportunity to acknowledge the country’s shortcomings during the viral outbreak.
China has drawn criticism for providing potentially faulty information to the WHO, particularly in the first weeks of the spread of COVID-19, which in turn left world leaders largely ill-prepared for the virus.
Guy Saint-Jacques, who served as Canada’s envoy to China from 2012 to 2016, said leaders in Canada and elsewhere need to call for a full investigation of the WHO after it uncritically relayed information from Beijing observers claim could be inaccurate.

6 April
Jonathan Saxty: The EU is disintegrating before our eyes. Let’s embrace the Commonwealth instead (paywall)
(The Telegraph) Canzuk – the movement to draw together Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom – is an idea whose moment has arrived. In any other point in history, and maybe in the future too, sharing a head of state and commander-in-chief (never mind a common language, legal system, political model, history, culture and family ties) would have been seen as self-evidently constituting an alliance or union.
Right now, the coronavirus crisis is overwhelming us. The chances are that the world after coronavirus will be a very different one to the world of today. We may well be looking at a great ‘do-over’. In such a world, bold ideas will be needed to rejuvenate and renew. In the aftermath of the greatest economic calamity since the 1930s, this will be no time for myopia and small thinking. It will be a time to start afresh in a world where trust will be in short supply and friends thin on the ground. …
No one is suggesting Canzuk shares a currency. Indeed, Canada had its own currency during the British Empire’s heyday. No one is suggesting pegging currencies. No one is suggesting Saskatchewan makes laws for New South Wales (or vice versa). But these countries are family and no, we are not talking about ethnicity (I, for one, would extend Canzuk to all sixteen Commonwealth Realms). We are talking about the very fabric of these places: values, ideals and place in the world.
One popular response to this line of thinking is that Australia, Canada and New Zealand are now too economically tied to China. They have moved on and have nothing to gain from any connection to Britain, or indeed one another. Yet the one certainty in international relations is its inherent uncertainty. (Who saw Covid-19 coming?) Not only could the China bulls be wrong – and the post-coronavirus world be miles apart from the pre-coronavirus world – but would it be wise for Western nations (and the Canzuk countries in particular) to put all their eggs in one Sinocentric basket?

2 March
Trudeau appoints former PM Joe Clark as special envoy for Canada’s bid for UN Security Council seat
In September 2019, Clark, along with former PM Jean Chretien, represented Canada at the UN General Assembly as federal officials were tied up with the looming October election
(National Post) Trudeau has appointed former prime minister Joe Clark as his special envoy to persuade foreign governments to support Canada’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
From March 2-9, Clark will travel to Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar and Egypt in order to seek votes and “continue to strengthen bilateral relationships between Canada and the four countries,” reads a press release by Global Affairs Canada.
Canada last sat on the Security Council in 2000, with Stephen Harper’s Conservative government having lost a bid for a seat in 2010. Along with Norway and Ireland, it is vying for two seats available to Western European countries as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. Members of the UN will vote in June, with the winners sitting for two-year terms.

5 February
Cyberspies, 5G and Iran: Is the US case against Huawei crumbling?
The building sense of grievance has not been helped by the White House’s apparent indifference to Canada’s position in the trade war. In December, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked President Trump not to sign a trade deal with China without including the release of the detained Canadians. In January, Trump triumphantly signed a “phase one” trade deal with Beijing, marking a tentative de-escalation in the trade war. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor remain in custody.
This has only added to a concern in Canada that, having pulled its neighbor and ally into a conflict of its own making, the U.S. now intends to only look after itself. If that is the case, then Canada has little to gain by toeing the White House’s line.

(Nikkei) Meng’s arrest in December 2018 at the request of the U.S. government drew Canada into the White House’s increasingly bitter trade and technology “war” with Beijing. Since then, Canadian citizens have been arrested in China, highly lucrative trade arrangements have come under pressure, and the future of the country’s telecoms infrastructure has been called into doubt.
With the case now dragging on into its second year, the political distance between the U.S. and its northern neighbor has grown. Meng’s trial has reverberated throughout the international technology sector and crystallized global commercial and diplomatic tensions around a single company: Huawei.
…it is not only China that has suffered from plunging public support in Canada. Evans’ survey found that a majority of Canadians believe Canada can no longer trust the U.S. to do the right thing in the world, and that confidence is lower in U.S. President Donald Trump than in Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Canadians are also worried that, as well as facing major diplomatic challenges, they are now being drawn into the wider economic battle between the two superpowers.
… Fears over the security of the telecoms backbone are heightened when countries are dealing with 5G. Fifth-generation networks will increase the speed of mobile data connections several times over, enabling faster, richer communication and jump-starting the development of the “internet of things.”
… In Canada, the company has emphasized its investments in the high-technology sector. Although Canada is a very small market relative to the U.S., the company employs 1,200 staff, 80% of whom work in research and development, according to Huawei’s Velshi. In December, Huawei founder Ren said that the company would relocate its U.S. R&D center to Canada.
“Most North Americans don’t know [that] the early research and development work into 5G actually happened here in Canada, in our R&D center in Ottawa,” Velshi told Nikkei. “That’s why Canada is one of the big R&D hubs for Huawei.”

30 January
Colin Robertson: To win a UN Security Council seat, Canada needs to compete hard
(Globe & Mail) To win, Mr. Trudeau needs to campaign hard. Where he cannot go, he should send our former prime ministers and governors-general, former ambassadors and internationalists. We should set a date by which we will meet the 0.7-per-cent GDP development targets and make the proposed Canadian Centre for Peace, Order and Good Government a funding vehicle for our effective but impoverished development non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
A total of 129 votes are needed to win. We need to tie down the 33 votes from Latin America and the Caribbean, go after the 54 votes from Africa as well as the 53 votes from Asia and the Pacific. The Norwegians and Irish probably have most of Western Europe’s 28 votes, while the 23 from Eastern Europe are problematic. We need to cultivate our fellow members of the Commonwealth (52 votes) and la Francophonie (74 votes). While our support for Israel may deter some Muslim nations (50 votes), others are impressed by our work on behalf of the Rohingya and our refugee resettlement.
The recent African visits by Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne, International Development Minister Karina Gould and other officials need to be part of an ongoing engagement with this often “forgotten” continent. A tour before June by Mr. Trudeau should be part of the strategy, to coincide with the port visits of HMCS Shawinigan and Glace Bay.
Scholar Adam Chapnick’s Canada on the UN Security Council should be read by our campaign team. It is filled with useful insights into previous campaigns and Security Council experience. Beating the drum in Ottawa, for example, helps keep the foreign diplomatic corps informed and raises Canadian awareness. Mr. Chapnick warns, however, that by personalizing the current campaign, Justin Trudeau risks making it partisan when what we need is an all-Canada effort.

Canny comment from a former Canadian diplomat
In my view we should wait until the last moment before the actual election (June?), to withdraw in good grace, but before that work for a deal that to ensure that Canada would be one of the two  WEOG’s agreed candidates for the next election in two years’ time , with the support of Ireland and Norway who then will be spared the  bother and cost of a contested election this time around. A fairly straight forward horse trade, and Canada could get some credit for its compromise. Besides which, why would Canada want to be on the council with Trump in the White House and the Middle East in a powder keg? To identify just one, if probably the thorniest, of related issues going to be on the Security Council agenda for the next few years.

20 January
Fraud allegations are a facade, lawyers for Meng Wanzhou argue at extradition hearing
(Globe & Mail) Meng Wanzhou’s defence team opened her extradition hearing before a packed public gallery Monday, arguing she should not be sent to the United States because the allegations she faces would not be a crime in Canada.
The U.S. wishes to prosecute the Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive for an alleged evasion of economic sanctions against Iran, her lawyers said in British Columbia Supreme Court, while falsely portraying the case as one of alleged fraud.
The difference between the two types of charges is critical. Fraud is an offence in both the U.S. and Canada. But Canada has not had economic sanctions against Iran since 2016, when it signed an international agreement to limit its nuclear program. For an extradition to occur, any criminal acts must be deemed an offence if committed in either country.
The concept, known as “double criminality,” is not just a technical matter. Ensuring that an offence would be a crime in the country from which extradition is requested is how that country insists its own values are respected in the reciprocal process of extradition. For that reason, double criminality is at the core of extradition law in much of the world.

17 January
Ottawa and Tehran hold rare meeting as Iran’s Supreme Leader issues defiant sermon
(Globe & Mail) Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne held an unscheduled meeting Friday with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to discuss the Flight 752 disaster – a rare face-to-face discussion between senior officials of the two governments.
A statement from Global Affairs Canada said Mr. Champagne and Mr. Zarif discussed consular services for grieving families, as well as potential compensation, during a “lengthy meeting” in the Persian Gulf state of Oman.
“The Ministers discussed the necessity of full access to Iran for officials from Canada and other grieving nations to: provide consular services, assist in ensuring victim identification meets international standards and participate in a thorough and transparent investigation,” the statement from Global Affairs reads. “The Ministers also discussed the need for a transparent analysis of the black box data, to which Iran agreed. In addition, they discussed the duty Iran has towards the families of the victims – including compensation.”
The Global Affairs statement says Mr. Zarif, who is seen as representing a reformist wing within the Iranian government – and who has pressed his country’s military to be more open and accountable about what happened – “conveyed his profound regret for this terrible tragedy.” Mr. Champagne updated Mr. Zarif about a meeting on Thursday in London of foreign ministers from the five countries that lost citizens in the disaster – Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and the United Kingdom. That group pledged to find ways to hold Iran accountable.

15 January
Colin Robertson: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: A Foreign Policy Assessment 2015-2019
(CGAI) As Trudeau begins a second term as prime minister, the going is tougher. The Teflon is gone. He leads a minority government with new strains on national unity. Parliament, including his experiment in Senate reform, is going to require more of his time. Canada’s premiers will also need attention if he is to achieve progress on his domestic agenda. Does he have the patience and temperament for compromise and the art of the possible?
The global operating system is increasingly malign, with both the rules-based international order and freer trade breaking down. Managing relations with Donald Trump and Xi Jinping is difficult. Canadian farmers and business are suffering – collateral damage in the Sino-U.S. disputes.
In what was supposed to be a celebration of “Canada is back”, there is doubt that Canada will win a seat on the UN Security Council in June 2020. Losing would be traumatic for his government and their sense of Canada’s place in the world. It would also be a rude shock for Canadians’ self-image of themselves internationally.

13 January
‘A difficult choice’: Will Ottawa’s Huawei 5G decision consider fates of Canadians jailed in China?
As Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou prepares for the first phase of her extradition hearing, Canada is still trying to decide if the Chinese telecom company should be part of this country’s 5G network.
(CBC) But is it possible to make that decision without considering the fate of the two Canadians jailed in China following Meng’s arrest? Or the overall dismal state of China-Canada relations?
Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor were detained in China within a week of Meng’s arrest in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition warrant for fraud. Both men were later formally arrested and accused of spying. In the past year, China has taken aim at imports of Canadian canola and meat.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei — Meng’s father — has done his best to keep his company above the fray of geopolitics, citing both a faith in the Canadian rule of law and a belief that there’s no connection between the arrests of Kovrig, Spavor and his daughter.
But with Meng about to step back into the spotlight and the decision on 5G still looming, it may prove hard to disentangle the cases.

11 January
Aaron Wherry · Trudeau outlines ‘first steps’ on long road to justice for UIA Flight PS752 victims
(CBC) For Iran, Trudeau laid out his expectations. A full and complete investigation “must” be conducted. “Full clarity” is needed. Families “deserve” closure. It is “absolutely necessary” that Canada participate in the investigation and Canadian officials “expect” the full co-operation of Iranian authorities. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had responded with a “commitment to collaborate.”
The prime minister has been careful since Tuesday to not get ahead of himself or the facts, and again on Saturday he was unwilling to ruminate publicly on possible consequences if Iran is somehow less than fully co-operative and forthcoming.
… focusing on the needs of those most directly affected is also an important signpost for a Canadian government that will be held responsible for properly doing everything in its power to achieve accountability and justice. It might be emotionally satisfying to quickly threaten the Iranian regime, but words and actions are only truly useful if they advance the cause of justice for those who died and those who are left behind.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

9 January
Trudeau says evidence indicates Iranian missile brought down Ukrainian flight
“We will be involved,’ says PM of investigation into Flight PS752
(CBC) Following international protocol, Iran’s civil aviation authority officials will lead the investigation into the crash, while Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has appointed a Canadian expert to receive and review information from the probe.
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne spoke to his Iranian counterpart late last night and stressed “the need for Canadian officials to be quickly granted access to Iran to provide consular services, help with identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash,” says a readout of the call. The readout didn’t say whether Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed to Champagne’s requests.
Plane crash investigation could be Canada’s chance to re-open diplomatic ties with Iran: former minister
“I would hope that our involvement with the Iranians through this investigation will help to open the door, to the point where we can re-establish relations diplomatically,” said Allan Rock, who served as justice minister, and later minister of health under Jean Chrétien.
That would allow Ottawa to “get somebody on the ground in Tehran, who is a Canadian representative,” he told The Current’s Matt Galloway.
“Merely having an embassy there and having their embassy here, does not mean that we approve of that government’s policies,” he said. “It means that we recognize the importance of dialogue, notwithstanding our differences.”

8 January
Repatriating Canadian air crash victims will be hampered by a lack of diplomatic ties with Iran, experts say
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says other countries have stepped up to fill the diplomatic gap
(CBC) Under then-prime minister Stephen Harper, the federal government cut ties with Iran in 2012. The Liberals pledged to re-engage with the country in 2015 but, to date, bilateral relations have not been renewed.
…Trudeau said today that Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne will be reaching out to his Iranian counterpart for permission to provide assistance and maintain a presence on the ground as Iranian and Ukrainian officials investigate the crash. He said other countries also have offered to help Canada.
Pouyan Tabasinejad, vice-president of the Iranian Canadian Congress, said Iranian-Canadians have been between “rock and a hard place” for years because of the lack of a Canadian embassy and direct consular services in Iran. That lack will now create more complications and hardship for families of the crash victims, he said.

7 – 8 January
63 Canadians killed in plane crash near Tehran
The cause of the crash not yet determined
Canadian military personnel in Iraq safe after base targeted in Iran missile strikes
(Global) The Canadian Forces have flown dozens of Canadian, American and other allied troops out of Iraq ahead of Iranian missile strikes on multiple military bases.
The attack began around 1:30 a.m. local time Wednesday in Iraq and targeted American and allied troops at two military bases in Iraq: the Ain Al-Assad base and another near Erbil.
Canada pauses military operations in Iraq amid escalating U.S.-Iran tensions
The chief of the defence staff, Gen. Jonathan Vance, released a letter on Twitter Tuesday that says Canadian operations in both the NATO training mission and the U.S.-led coalition hunting the remnants of the Islamic State, known as Operation Impact, have been suspended.


10 December
China says Canadian detainees face prosecution on national security charges
Kovrig and Spavor were detained exactly one year ago today (Tuesday), just days after Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities who want her on fraud charges. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying … stated that China’s judicial authorities handle cases “in strict accordance with law” and protect Canadian citizens’ “lawful rights.”
According to the federal government, the men have not had access to lawyers or contact with family members, and have had only limited consular access.
In their weekly Diplomatic community exchange, Larry Haas and Jeremy Kinsman agree that it is possible that an exchange of the two Michaels for Meng Wanzhou may be in the works.

6 December
A somewhat different perspective from The Duran
Trudeau removes failed Freeland. Can Champagne mend relations with China, Russia, India & USA? (with video)
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Justin Trudeau’s decision to appoint François-Philippe Champagne as Canada’s new foreign minister, doing away with the failed, hawkish neoliberal policy enacted by former minister Chrystia Freeland.
Champagne as foreign minister provides Canada with a chance to mend relations with China, India, Russia and the United States, which Freeland so damaged with her Ukraine first, globalist ideology.

5 December
 Climate change, healing regional divides key planks for Trudeau Liberals in Throne Speech
(Global) …the speech lacked detail on things like…specific foreign policy objectives…
The section that did address foreign policy did so in broad terms, describing overarching concepts and ideas.
“Canadians expect their leaders to stand up for the values and interests that are core to Canada’s prosperity and security – democracy, human rights, and respect for international law. Canadians expect the Government to position Canada and Canadians for success in the world,” the speech said.
It made no direct mention of China, despite two Canadians still being held in arbitrary detention. Instead, the speech identified continued focus on unilateralism, promotion of democracy and human rights, and tackling climate change while also highlighting the need to build partnerships on “the development and ethical use of artificial intelligence.”

4 December
Don’t blame Justin Trudeau. It’s about time world leaders made fun of Donald Trump
Jokes about the U.S. president were a totally normal reaction to a bully who breaks all the rules of political behaviour, Susan Delacourt writes.
The formidable New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who studies Trump closer than most, posted an interesting tweet after seeing the Buckingham Palace video.
“Can’t get over this video, both for the fact that POTUS hates the thought of anyone laughing at him and for the fact that he long used ‘other countries are laughing at us’ as an attack against his predecessors.”

2 December
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei plans to relocate research centre to Canada from U.S.
(Globe & Mail) Huawei plans to shift research to Canada from the United States and manufacture some mobile network equipment outside China, its founder Ren Zhengfei says, as the Chinese tech giant seeks to combat an increasingly hostile White House.
He is also elevating Canada’s importance to Huawei as his company battles U.S. criminal charges and economic sanctions. Huawei’s “centre for research and development will be moved out of the United States. And that will be relocated to Canada,” he told The Globe and Mail in an interview on Monday at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen.
Unlike Beijing, however, Mr. Ren’s fight is with the U.S. He has continued to hold Canada up as an example of openness that can stand in opposition to a more insular Washington, where the security apparatus has called Huawei untrustworthy and lawmakers have moved to block the company’s access to U.S. technology. (Canada has said it will review Huawei’s 5G technology but has not yet made a decision; Canadian security experts, along with intelligence agencies from other allies, warned against the risks of installing vital communication equipment from a country whose government is considered a serious cyber threat.)

1 December
Foreign affairs minister wants a new ‘framework’ on Canada-China relations
Canada can no longer do business as usual with China. That’s the new foreign minister’s take, exactly one year after the arrest of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.
In an exclusive interview with Radio-Canada, François-Philippe Champagne said he recognizes that the situation is serious.
“I think we have arrived at a critical moment, strategically, where my role is to bring the parties around the table,” he said in French.
“I think we have to establish, and that will be my responsibility, with Canadian civil society, with business people … a framework in which we can have a relationship with China where the interests of Canada stand out, where the fundamental principles, the values ​​will be present,” Champagne said.
Champagne insists the release of the two Canadians remains his top priority. He said he quickly raised the issue with his Chinese counterpart at a recent G20 summit of foreign ministers. “Eighteen hours, I think, after my swearing in, I was already meeting my Chinese counterpart for over an hour.”

28 November
Here’s how Canada can show China that we mean business
By Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, senior fellow at the China Institute, University of Alberta, and a senior fellow at the Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa. She is a former assistant deputy minister with the federal government.
(Globe & Mail) The China file is an opportunity for Mr. Champagne to demonstrate his leadership in the Foreign Affairs portfolio – and an opportunity to reset Canada’s relationship with the Middle Kingdom. We know he has valuable experience in business and trade and will understand what is at stake in China for our business community. However, he will need to demonstrate his bona fides in diplomacy.

25 November
Canada as a middle power in an upended world: Time for a foreign policy reset?
Nahlah Ayed
Growing chorus of experts says it’s time to rethink Canada’s role
If, as former prime minister Lester B. Pearson once said, diplomacy is letting someone else have your way, then Canada needs to step up its diplomacy.
As a middle power, there are limits to what Canada can do to influence global machinations that turn on the say-so of major powers, many of them in flux.
But experts believe it can do more, and better. A growing chorus is calling on Ottawa to urgently review — and then rescript — Canada’s role in light of the shifting international terrain.
And if Ottawa isn’t willing to lead that self-examination, then the intention is to go ahead with a “citizens’ foreign policy review” anyway.
‘Canada needs a clearer, crisper foreign policy’
It was the palpable sentiment at the end of a one-day think-tank in Toronto last month convened by the Canadian International Council (CIC) and Global Canada — both non-partisan, ground-up organizations that focus on engaging Canadians on Canada’s role abroad. Some 150 academics, NGOs, diplomats, business leaders and interested citizens took part.
Does a change of ministers signal a new direction for Canada’s foreign policy?

20 November
‘Dynamic’ François-Philippe Champagne set to put traits to test as foreign affairs minister
Champagne, 49, may not have the name recognition that his predecessor Chrystia Freeland brought to the post as an author and ex-journalist in London, Moscow and New York, but his easygoing manner belies his own ambitious rise in business and international-trade law, which earned him a “Young Global Leader” award from the World Economic Forum.
In January 2017, Champagne took over from Freeland in the trade portfolio, tasked with delivering a massive trade deal among Pacific Rim countries known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“Champagne’s experience with the skirmishes over TPP and Canada’s first ill-fated venture into trade talks with the Chinese is good experience for some of the continuing battles he will be facing — especially when it comes to the Chinese,” said Fen Hampson, of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.
… “He will need to deal with the situation with China, clarify and co-ordinate Canada’s broader Asia strategy, work with the trade minister to diversify and expand Canada’s trade,” said [Roland] Paris, of the University of Ottawa.

5 November
Beijing lifts ban on Canadian beef and pork as swine fever devastates China’s hog farms
China has reopened its market to imports of Canadian pork and beef after a four-month ban in a move that signals a partial thaw in trade relations and will significantly help Canadian farmers.
China had banned shipments in late June, with Chinese authorities at the time citing falsified export certificates as the reason for this measure. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the Chinese market has reopened, a development that will enable exports worth hundreds of millions of dollars to resume shipping.
A senior Canadian government official who was familiar with the matter said the Chinese needed access to Canada’s pork supply in particular after the outbreak, and that the Chinese did not want to be overly reliant on U.S. pork in the meantime. Beijing was also eager to reduce the number of battles it was fighting on various fronts with trading partners, the source said. Mr. Trudeau credited [Canadian ambassador] Dominic Barton for the rescinding of the ban.
Beijing has repeatedly said the key to repairing relations is returning Ms. Meng. [Former Canadian ambassador to China Guy] Saint-Jacques said the next potential source of China-Canada friction will be whether Ottawa sides with the U.S., Australia and other allies in barring China’s Huawei from this country’s 5G networks.

16 October
Election 2019: Foreign aid cuts would be even deeper than first thought
Robert Greenhill lays out 10 facts to better understand what’s at stake this election and beyond.
(Open Canada) This is not a partisan rant. I have served Liberal and Conservative prime ministers. As someone who has been researching Canada’s international contributions over the last several years, I believe that Canada’s international assistance, like Canada’s foreign policy overall, works best when it reflects enduring Canadian values and interests more than particular partisan differences. I am also deeply concerned with the lack of discussion around Canada’s foreign aid in the lead up to the federal election on October 21. As such debate has been lacking, here are 10 facts that should be known in order to better understand the context.
Fact 1: After four years of a Trudeau government, Canada’s commitment to international development as a share of national income has been the lowest in 50 years.
Fact 2: Under Justin Trudeau, Canada’s commitment to international development has been lower than it was under Brian Mulroney or Stephen Harper — much lower than many other Conservative governments around the world.
Fact 4: Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer announced recently he would cut Canada’s commitment to international assistance (already the lowest in 50 years) by $1.5 billion, or 25 percent.
Fact 8: The cuts proposed would reduce international assistance to 0.19 percent of our national economy (or gross national income). This would be the lowest level since 1965, before the moon landing.
At a critical time in the world, a debate on Canada’s foreign policy slated for earlier this month was cancelled. There was no meaningful discussion on foreign policy in the three leaders’ debates that did take place.
Whoever wins the election, we must debate what kind of world we want, where we can make the greatest difference, what we are prepared to do to help achieve it. We must strive for a cross-partisan consensus to go forward, rather than falling further backwards.
Let me end with two quotes. The first is from former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, after his time as a politician in the late 60s, when he led a commission on international development for the World Bank: “Who can now ask where his country will be in a few decades without asking where the world will be? If we wish that world to be secure and prosperous, we must show a common concern for the common problems of all peoples.”
Also see: On paying its global share, Canada’s not back—it’s far back
Data shows that, despite the change in government, Canada’s support for international assistance remains well below historical and international benchmarks. The human cost of this shortfall was equivalent to half a million lives in 2016 alone. (11 January 2017)

3 October
For Chrystia Freeland, the political is personal
(Globe & Mail) There are two reactions you get when you ask around the globe about Chrystia Freeland and Canadian foreign policy under her leadership. She’s either one of the last, best hopes of the liberal world order – or she’s an out-of-touch idealist who is risking trade by starting diplomatic fights that Canada can’t hope to win.
Not since Lester Pearson has Canada had a foreign minister so widely recognized on the international stage. Despite her loud detractors, she is increasingly viewed as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s most likely successor, particularly should their party lose power in the Oct. 21 federal election. …
Ms. Freeland is now trying to encourage like-minded countries to join her in the battle to, as she puts it, “fight for liberal democracy.” Some 43 foreign ministers met on the sidelines of the recent UN General Assembly meeting in New York last week to discuss how they hold their ground against the populist tide – and start to push back.
“In a lot of countries right now, I think we’re seeing the institutions of liberal democracy sort of standing up for liberal democracy. And in authoritarian countries, we’re seeing a lot of brave people fighting for their freedom,” Ms. Freeland said.

Colin Robertson: Canada cannot cut foreign aid. We’re already not doing enough
(Globe & Mail) Canadian aid is not growing in real terms.
Our UN Security Council seat competitors are outdoing us. Norway stands at 0.94 per cent and Ireland at 0.31 per cent, which is the OECD average. The organization has already told Canada that our words need to be matched by “concrete action to increase aid flows.”
… Fifty years ago, Lester Pearson got it right when he argued the case for aid: “The simplest answer is the moral one, that it is only right for those who have to share with those who do not.”
Mr. Pearson identified aid as part of “enlightened and constructive self-interest” in an increasingly interdependent world. He recommended a goal of 0.7 per cent of GDP for foreign aid, and that remains the benchmark for the OECD, Group of Seven and United Nations. Canada has never achieved the target, although it came close under prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau.
Whichever party forms our next government needs a passionate advocate as Canada’s next international development minister. That person needs to clearly tell the public why Canadian foreign aid is vital. Every speech should answer three questions: Does aid work? Where can Canadian aid make the greatest difference? And what results should Canadians expect over the next decade?

4 September
Dominic Barton named Canada’s next ambassador to China
Former head of high-profile consulting firm, has served as key economic adviser to Liberal government
(CBC) According to a corporate biography posted online, Barton has spent time in China before. He was based in Shanghai as the company’s Asia chairman from 2004 to 2009.
Sources say Freeland revealed that Barton was Canada’s choice for the post during her one-on-one meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Bangkok last month.
Canada has been without an ambassador to China since January, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired John McCallum.

30 August
Being Back: Foreign Policy as a Campaign Issue
When Justin Trudeau summed up his foreign policy in 2015 with the message to the world that Canada was back, the world—including the players who didn’t like it or didn’t care—knew what he meant. Since then, he’s been tweet-targeted by Donald Trump, sealed a major trade agreement with Europe and faces a crisis with China. Longtime senior diplomat Jeremy Kinsman looks at the politics of foreign policy four years later.
(Policy Magazine) Freeland has been a voice of some significance whose global network from her tenure as a senior editor at both the Financial Times and Thomson–Reuters has served her well. To the extent the U.S. and China files and defence of multilateralism enable her to do anything else, she has been brave on human rights, especially on Saudi Arabia’s strong-arming of dissident women. Some business-oriented Conservatives (and others) seethe about the commercial costs, but after the regime’s murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, it’s a political non-starter. Freeland’s leadership on the Venezuela issue is also positive, even if concerted pressure on the Maduro government isn’t having much effect. A deepening of the Hong Kong crisis and its impact on the 300,000 Canadians there would test human rights commitments.
Trudeau and especially Freeland have been discussing with democratic partners the creation of an informal coalition to defend and reform multilateralism and inclusive democracy. The necessity to strengthen the rules-based international order is a message Trudeau understands and communicates effectively. If our purpose is to be seen as “a useful country,” he serves it well enough (though very probably not enough to enable us to edge out impressively useful Ireland and Norway for a UN Security Council seat in 2020).

26 August
This time, Trudeau keeps low profile at G7 as election campaign looms
He may have spent the weekend an ocean away from home, rubbing elbows with world leaders during tense talks on international crises, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kept cool, collected and decidedly out of the fray.

24 August
Trudeau meets with U.K., Japan prime ministers ahead of G7 summit
(Global) Trudeau met Saturday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for discussions that focused on how Canada’s existing trade deal with the European Union would function in a post-Brexit Britain. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since Johnson took over as prime minister of the United Kingdom in July.
Trudeau also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where they highlighted strong Japanese-Canadian ties forged from the successful launch of the rebooted Trans-Pacific Partnership late last year, as well as a chance to talk security issues amid rising tensions between Tokyo and South Korea.
Trudeau has been building allies among G7 and other world leaders, in part to show a united front to China after it detained Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.

2 August
Chrystia Freeland meets Chinese Foreign Minister, discusses detained Canadians and Meng Wanzhou amid tensions
(Globe & Mail) Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has met with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, for the first time since Beijing arrested two Canadians last December in what critics have called acts of “hostage diplomacy.”
China’s embassy in Canada, however, said following the meeting that the obstacle to improving Canada-China relations remains Canada’s detention of high-profile Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, a businesswoman whom China watchers have described as a member of China’s corporate royalty.
The discussion between Ms. Freeland and Mr. Wang, China’s Foreign Minister, took place on Friday on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Bangkok.
“I took the opportunity to express Canada’s concern over the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been arbitrarily detained in China,” Ms. Freeland said.
She said in return Mr. Wang “expressed concerns regarding the extradition process of Meng Wanzhou.” Ms. Meng is free on $10-million bail and living in a multimillion-dollar home in Vancouver as she awaits an extradition hearing in January.
Speaking later on Friday, the Chinese embassy in Canada noted the meeting in Bangkok was at Canada’s request.

11 July
Freeland says McCallum ‘does not speak’ for her government after controversial interview
(iPolitics) Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is distancing herself from controversial comments made by fired Canadian ambassador to China John McCallum to a Hong Kong-based newspaper, saying he “does not speak” for the government.
McCallum had told the South China Morning Post in an interview Monday that he had warned former contacts at China’s foreign ministry any further “punishments” against Canada could lead to the Conservatives winning the election in the fall, a change not favourable to Beijing.
“Anything that is more negative against Canada will help the Conservatives, (who) are much less friendly to China than the Liberals,” he is quoted telling the English-language newspaper.
McCallum also told the daily that Canadian government officials and business leaders should continue relationship-building visits to China in preparation for an eventual normalization in ties.
McCallum tells Chinese that punishing Canada will help elect Conservatives

9 July
Trudeau’s precarious hold on the Liberal foreign policy agenda
By David Carment and Richard Nimijean
“Trudeau’s disinterest in foreign policy, as documented by former foreign policy adviser Jocelyn Coulon, reverses a long-standing trend of Prime Ministerial leadership on foreign policy. Trudeau has handed over responsibility for foreign policy to Chrystia Freeland, who appears happy to continue where Stephen Harper’s Conservatives left off”
(iPolitics) Under Freeland’s tenure, Canada has drifted so far from Trudeau’s optimistic 2015 campaign that Liberal foreign policy is virtually indistinguishable from the Conservative’s: take a hard line on Russia and Iran, undermine the Venezuelan government, and do not negotiate with China. For Freeland the U.S. is the “indispensable power” without which Canada would apparently be lost.
For her efforts, Minister Freeland receives tributes from U.S.-based think tanks. This kind of grooming is troubling given that American elites don’t seem to appreciate the fact that Canada is a sovereign nation with interests distinct from their own. Yet efforts to exercise that sovereignty are undermined by the fact Freeland has only limited access to Russia due to her persona non grata status. While many allies have expressed concern over the Trump Administration’s approach to Iran, Freeland has stayed quiet.
Meanwhile, 2015 campaign promises languish on the sidelines. Increasing Canada’s commitment to the UN specifically and strengthening international institutions generally remain unmet challenges. To fill the void, former Prime Ministers Mulroney and Chrétien have emerged as guiding voices for Canada, variously speaking about making good with China, finding a way to work with Russia on the Arctic and Eastern Europe, and carefully calibrating Canadian interests and values vis-à-vis the U.S., working co-operatively when it matters and standing up when needed.

5 July
Canada should lead campaign to move G20 summit out of Saudi Arabia, says UN expert
Agnès Callamard found ‘credible evidence’ to link the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi crown prince
(CBC) A United Nations human rights expert says she will be asking the Canadian government to push to have the 2020 G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia relocated elsewhere — or to boycott it altogether.
Agnès Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, is calling on world leaders to move or boycott the summit in order to protest the killing of Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi.
“I will be reaching out to a number of governments regarding the many recommendations I have made,” Callamard told Power and Politics host Katie Simpson, adding that she plans to contact Canadian officials.
“The holding of the G20 in Saudi Arabia next year is a slap in the face of all those who have fought, and some of whom have died, for accountability and for human rights protection.
One former Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia said, however, that using the G20 to protest Khashoggi’s murder might not be very effective.
“I think we have to remember the G20 is not a democracy club,” Dennis Horak told Simpson. Horak was expelled from Saudi Arabia last summer as a diplomatic row between the two countries ramped up.
“There’s a number of countries in there that have difficult human rights records and have committed a number of various acts or atrocities or crimes,” he added, pointing to Russia, China and Turkey. He also noted that Canada also could come under fire for its treatment of Indigenous peoples, as could the United States over the conditions migrant children face in detention at the southern border.
“You start looking at that and start trying to punish countries in the G20, you start quickly running out of countries to host it.”

3 July
China calls Trudeau ‘naive’ for believing Trump asked Xi about Canadian detainees
In a meeting last month with Trudeau, Trump said he would raise the plight of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to Xi
Trump said before leaving the G20 in Japan that he hadn’t discussed the Meng case with Xi, raising questions about whether he made good on his White House commitment to Trudeau to protest Kovrig’s and Spavor’s detentions.
“I would like to caution the Canadian side against being too naive,” Geng told reporters after he was asked at a Beijing briefing whether Trump raised the matter with Xi.
Geng reiterated the Chinese view that Canada is solely responsible for the current degeneration of relations between the two countries. China has repeatedly called on Canada to release Meng.

29 June
Justin Trudeau vs. the world: How the next government can reclaim Canada’s place on the international stage
By Doug Saunders
(Globe & Mail) The Prime Minister’s bold foreign-policy message no longer makes sense in a world without reliable allies. These are the steps that should be taken after the election, by whichever party wins, to protect our national interests
Large parts of the world have slipped away from international co-operation and democratic peace – this time with the United States leading the retreat.
At best, it’s a temporary stress test of the Canadian government’s capacity to handle an unstable world without reliable partners. At worst, it’s a long-term international crisis that defies both Mr. Trudeau’s optimistic expansionism and the more defensive approach of his Conservative predecessors. Either way, we’re stuck.
“We have frozen relations with India, with China, with Russia. We’re walking on eggshells around the United States – we’re on our own,” says Janice Gross Stein, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. “And our foreign policy has to be grounded in a deep understanding that we are now on our own.” … What was the Trudeau Doctrine? As many Liberals saw it, it was a shift to putting pragmatic national interest back at the centre of foreign relations while using those renewed relations to promote Canada’s liberal, pluralist values.
Four years ago, the Trudeau Doctrine nevertheless seemed to many informed observers to be reasonable and attainable: It was, at the very least, a way for Canada to expand its sphere of trade and political partnerships around the world, making it less dependent on traditional partners by building on the existing circle of open-minded democracies. What was less apparent in 2015 was the extent to which the entire Trudeau Doctrine was premised on having the co-operation of the United States. Without a U.S. president seeking similar goals, without a circle of open-minded democracies, Mr. Trudeau’s combination of pragmatic hardball and moral influence would go nowhere.
How do Canada’s governments, its institutions and its economic actors handle the strain if you withdraw the support of the United States, face an escalating crisis of retribution from China and watch several important partners slide out of democracy and open trade, all at once? How well can Canada manage if it finds itself much more alone in the world?
This insecure, unstable new world requires new approaches to Canada’s international relations. These three should be a starting point, post election, for either party:

Huawei’s CEO has a message for Canada: Join us and prosper in the 5G future
Ren Zhengfei doesn’t like Ottawa’s decision to jail his daughter, Meng Wanzhou, but he says it hasn’t stopped his telecom company’s commitment to Canadian research – it’s only slowed it down. In an exclusive interview, he spoke about Canada and China’s political feud, the coming revolution in artificial intelligence and more.

27 June
What to watch for as Trudeau heads to the G20
(Maclean;s) Mystery meets: Trudeau arrives in Japan for the G20 summit with high hopes that diplomacy can smooth over relations with Beijing, but he’ll be depending on others, in particular the world’s least diplomatic leader, to convey that message for Canada. Since Trudeau is unlikely to get a one-on-one meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, aside from cornering him in a hallway, his next best bet is a face-to-face between Xi and Donald Trump. The President has promised to bring up the case of detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. But experts will also be watching to see who else Xi wags chins with. As Rohinton Medhora, the president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation told Global News: “Beyond the Trump bilat [bilateral meeting], how many other bilats does he grant? If it turns out that he has very few others, then I wouldn’t read that much into it. On the other hand, if he has half a dozen and Canada isn’t one of them, then I would read something into that.” (Global News)

26 June
Trudeau seeks help from Trump for detained Canadians ahead of G20 Summit
Trudeau is expected to meet with European partners to discuss a range of issues on Friday.
Christopher Sands, the director of the Center for Canadian Studies at John Hopkins University, said Canada doesn’t play offence very much but agrees it would be advisable for Canada to talk to other leaders about the detained Canadians.
Beyond asking for Trump’s support, countries like Japan, South Korea and perhaps India might be willing to do the same, Sands said, adding that would only strengthen the U.S. president’s commitment to the cause.
The G20 is an opportunity to show whether Canada is a player or not and its place in the world, [Rohinton Medhora, the president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation,] added.
“I would say the pressure (is on), especially going into an election when you have to demonstrate that Canada is better and different than four years ago,” he said.
Conservative foreign-affairs critic Erin O’Toole echoed that point, saying it is critical Canada not let the opportunity afforded by the G20 pass, especially given the upcoming election campaign.
“As of September, the writ will drop,” he said. “This is really the last major time to really shake up and try to stop the spiral of the China relationship.”

13 June
Opinion: Canada should resist any urge to retreat from the world stage
If global democratic backsliding is to be reversed, Canada must continue to stand its ground with likeminded states.
Irwin Cotler & Kyle Matthews, Special to Montreal Gazette
Recent years have seen an increasing number of governments stifle freedom of the press, engage in democratic backsliding and scapegoat religious and ethnic minorities, practices that have led to an increase in atrocity crimes. According to Freedom House, of the 41 established democracies that were ranked free from 1985 to 2005, 22 have registered net democratic decline in the last five years. In Russia, more journalists are in jail than at any time since the fall of the Soviet Union, human rights NGOs have been declared foreign agents and independent media have been wiped out. China continues to persecute the Uighur Muslim minority, and has installed an Orwellian social credit system that ranks people based on behaviour.
Faced with an increasingly illiberal world, many traditional Canadian allies have retreated inward, as illustrated by a wave of populist victories in Europe and the United States. However, Canada has remained a steadfast supporter and, increasingly, a promoter of multilateralism and democratic principles. It is imperative that Canada continue to assume this role and resist any urge to retreat from the world stage.

Beijing suggests its snub of Canada will continue until Meng Wanzhou is released
Freeland dismisses idea of dropping extradition, says it would set a ‘very dangerous precedent’
(CBC) The spiraling diplomatic row between Ottawa and Beijing “lies entirely with Canada,” the Chinese foreign ministry said Thursday — suggesting for the first time that its leadership won’t speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau until Canada drops extradition proceedings against a Chinese telecom executive.
CBC News reported Wednesday that Beijing ignored a personal attempt by Trudeau earlier this year to arrange a conversation with China’s premier in order to intervene on behalf of Canadians detained in China. Trudeau’s office confirms that the prime minister requested the meeting, but China ignored and ultimately rejected his request.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told CBC Radio last month she also sought a meeting with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, but was unsuccessful.

Chrétien proposes cancelling Meng’s extradition case to unfreeze relations with China
(Globe & Mail) Jean Chrétien is floating the idea of having Canada’s Justice Minister exercise his legal authority to stop the U.S. extradition of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou as the means to normalize diplomatic relations with China, sources say.
The former Liberal prime minister, who last week offered to serve as Canada’s special envoy to China to help free two jailed Canadians, has discussed the idea of cancelling the extradition process with business executives, according to sources with knowledge of the conversations.
The proposal was first raised by University of British Columbia professor Wenran Jiang. Mr. Chrétien’s former senior adviser Edward Goldenberg, an Ottawa lawyer, has sought input on it from other China experts, sources say.

11 June
Colin Robertson: The G20 summit will be a crucial test of Justin Trudeau’s foreign-policy mettle
The tests for the Prime Minister won’t be in the plenary session, in which leaders must come to grips with “intensifying” trade protectionism, but in what happens in the corridors and pull-aside meetings.
The first test will be whether Mr. Trudeau can convince Chinese President Xi Jinping to let up on Canada. We want our hostages freed, the canola embargo lifted and no more harassment of our meat and pork shipments. The Chinese want Meng Wanzhou returned and telecommunications giant Huawei eligible for our 5G procurement.
Improving relations will require creativity. Why not appoint former prime minister Jean Chrétien as a special envoy, as Brian Mulroney has proposed? The Chinese trust his straightforwardness. Get some “track-two” dialogue going through alternative, but reliable conduits such as the University of Alberta’s China Institute and the Asia Pacific Foundation. Chinese ambassador Lu Shaye was a problem, and when he departs later this month, both countries can name new ambassadors to restart the meetings between ministers and senior officials, a process that has been reportedly stalled.
The second test for Mr. Trudeau will be how well our trade goals can be advanced.
He needs to secure a commitment from European leaders that CETA member-state ratification is a priority. With the new Trans-Pacific Partnership now in effect, he needs to sell the world on Canadian food and services. We also need buy-in for the Canadian-led initiative to reform the World Trade Organization.

6 June
Mulroney urges government to send Chrétien to China to win release of detainees
Canada should use former prime ministers as the U.S. uses its former presidents, Mulroney says
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says the government should enlist a former prime minister to lead a high-powered delegation to China to win the release of two imprisoned Canadians — but not him.
“What they might want to do is take a look at sending over someone like Jean Chrétien, who has a lot of respect of the Chinese,” Mulroney told The Canadian Press.
Mulroney said the former Liberal prime minister should be accompanied by another well-placed Canadian: Chrétien’s son-in-law André Desmarais, the deputy chairman and co-CEO of Montreal’s Power Corporation. Desmarais is also the honorary chairman of the Canada-China Business Council.
Mulroney acknowledged that his suggestion has echoes of the 2009 visit that former U.S. president Bill Clinton made to North Korea, where he was able to secure the release of two imprisoned journalists. He suggested there might be a lesson for Canada in how the U.S. sometimes taps its ex-presidents for delicate diplomacy.
“They know how to use their former leaders.”

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