Canada: International relations and foreign policy June 2020 –

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

USMCA (formerly known as NAFTA)

16-20 October
Chinese envoy overstepped with threat to Canadians in Hong Kong, Freeland says
(Globe & Mail) Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is denouncing China’s ambassador to Canada for threatening Canadians living in Hong Kong as Beijing staunchly defends its outspoken diplomat and accuses Ottawa of promoting “anti-China voices.”
Ms. Freeland told the House of Commons on Monday she was “well aware of the character of Communist authoritarian regimes” as she chided Chinese Ambassador Cong Peiwu for overstepping his diplomatic role.
“Let me also be clear that when it comes to the treatment of the Uyghurs, an ethnic Muslim minority, which has been persecuted, Canada will always speak out clearly and without any reservation,” Ms. Freeland said. “That is why we have been steadfast in defending the protests in Hong Kong and the 300,000 Canadians who live there.”
China unleashed ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy on Canada. It may have backfired
Ambassador Cong Peiwu’s remarks on the safety of 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong may have stiffened the Trudeau government’s stance, and emboldened China hawks
The contentious comments ‘make it far less likely that Canada will do China’s bidding’ said a former ambassador to Beijing
(SCMP) Canada’s foreign minister started last week by hailing the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with China, and the importance of dialogue.
But by Thursday, Francois-Philippe Champagne was delivering a dressing down to Beijing’s ambassador, Cong Peiwu, for “unacceptable and disturbing” remarks about Canadians in Hong Kong, in which Cong accused Canada of encouraging “violent criminals” by reportedly granting refugee status to Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
“So if the Canadian side really cares about the stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes.”
Asked to clarify if this was a threat, he said “that is your interpretation”.
China ambassador makes veiled threat to Hong Kong-based Canadians
Beijing’s ambassador warns Ottawa not to give asylum to Hong Kong ‘criminals’ amid diplomatic spat over crackdown in territory and Huawei case
(The Guardian) China’s ambassador to Canada has appeared to threaten Hong Kong-based Canadians if Ottawa offers asylum to protesters from the territory.
Cong Peiwu made the comments at a news conference on Thursday where he also accused Canada of being an “accomplice” to the US in detaining Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou.
Canada is among several countries that suspended extradition agreements with Hong Kong in response to Beijing’s imposition of a sweeping national security law in June. Dozens of MPs recently called for Canada to offer “safe harbour” to pro-democracy protesters fleeing Hong Kong, prompting the warning from Cong.

13 October
Canada ready to mediate dispute between Turkey and Greece, says Champagne
Canada is ready to be “an honest broker” in an escalating dispute between Turkey and Greece over offshore exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean
Champagne is in Greece for the first leg of his week-long tour of European capitals to discuss with allies the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, the war between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and the situation in Belarus.

10-13 October
Trudeau vows to stand up to China’s ‘coercive diplomacy’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada intends to work with allies to challenge the Chinese government’s “coercive diplomacy,” and warned that its use of arbitrary arrests, repression in Hong Kong and detention camps for Muslim minorities is “not a particularly productive path.”
In marking the 50th anniversary of relations between Canada and the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Trudeau spoke more strongly than ever before about Beijing’s increasingly repressive and aggressive actions at home and abroad.
“It has put a significant strain on China-Canada relations,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters when asked on Tuesday how relations had changed since his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, opened diplomatic relations with Communist China in 1970.
The Prime Minster, who has been hesitant to publicly criticize China, called attention to the arrests of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the crackdown on civil rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong, as well as the treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, where more than one million are being held in so-called re-education camps.
China denies two Canadians were ‘arbitrarily’ detained
(AP via CTV) China on Monday denied that two Canadian citizens held for almost two years had been “arbitrarily” detained in response to Canada’s arrest of an executive of technology giant Huawei.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s denial came days after China granted consular access to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor for the first time since January. Canada’s government on Saturday issued a statement saying it remains “deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities” of the two, and called for their immediate release.
Zhao said China “firmly opposes the erroneous statements made by Canada” and reiterated its claim that Kovrig and Spavor were “suspected of engaging in activities that endanger China’s national security.”
Detained Canadians in China get rare consular access

9 October
Canada tells Turkey to stay out of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

22 September
Colin Robertson: Parliament should bring back the Canada-China special committee
When the new session begins, Parliamentarians will focus on COVID recovery, but they also need to pay attention to our critical relationship with China. MPs should re-establish the special committee on Canada-China relations that was created in the last session. We need continuing parliamentary oversight of this vital, complex and challenging relationship.
Created last December on a Conservative motion with Bloc Québécois, NDP and Green support, the committee held 12 meetings and the testimony of their 48 witnesses was informative.
The Deputy Minister of Global Affairs Canada, Marta Morgan, affirmed that Canada’s “absolute priority” with China is freeing Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, detained since December, 2018, and securing clemency for Robert Schellenberg. A thousand diplomatic meetings later, the U.S. has been the most supportive. But only 13 other friends and allies have voiced public support. Where are the others? Mr. Kovrig’s wife, Vina Nadjibulla, is right when she says that “words are no longer enough.”
Our China policy, said [Deputy Minister of Global Affairs Canada, Marta] Morgan, is one of “comprehensive engagement.” But since December, 2018, only International Trade Minister Mary Ng has visited China. Now Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne acknowledges there is no prospect of freer trade.
Our current policy is neither comprehensive nor engaged. Parliament needs to weigh in. A special committee will help keep focus on our China relationship and, hopefully, come up with a strategy enjoying broad party support.

26 August
Foreign Affairs Minister Champagne optimistic consular services for Kovrig and Spavor can be restored
Mr. Champagne said he reminded Mr. Wang, who has been China’s Foreign Minister since 2013, that the denial of consular services for Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig is a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. “We obviously had a number of things where we disagreed profoundly, but to the extent that we can talk, I think it’s a sign of progress,” Mr. Champagne said. “This has been key to our discussions – to make sure the detainees have access to their loved ones.”

25 August
Canada has effectively moved to block China’s Huawei from 5G, but can’t say so
Canada is the only member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network that has not formally blocked Huawei from 5G networks, but it has effectively done just that, delaying a decision long enough to force telecom companies to exclude the Chinese gear maker.

6 August
Time for Liberal government to give up ‘fiction’ that China is our friend, ex-diplomat warns MPs
Canada’s former ambassador to China David Mulroney told a parliamentary committee meeting on Thursday that it’s time for a change in Canada’s approach to the country, a change he doesn’t believe the Liberal government is yet willing to make.
Mulroney argued for Canada to stand with allies to pressure China together. He said China can punish one country economically, but can’t do that to a coalition of countries standing together.
“The reality is that Canada has what China needs,” he said. “China needs the products that Canada, Australia and the United States produce.”
MPs also heard warnings about China’s motives in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

David Kilgour: Lost UN seat could be a win
(Diplomat & International Canada – Summer 2020) For a decade, Germany, India, Japan and Brazil have tried to reform the SC, hoping to benefit from any expansion in the number of permanent members. Canada and Spain sensibly oppose permanent membership for anyone. But without two-thirds of the UN member states supporting change, any of this is probably impossible in the foreseeable future.
Two P5 members are currently among the most difficult global citizens. Russia’s Vladimir Putin is doing everything he can to harm democracies in Europe and beyond. There is strong evidence that the Beijing party-state is incarcerating up to two million Uighurs and other Muslims in numerous concentration and forcedlabour camps in Xinjiang. It is crushing Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Its concealing of the COVID-19 outbreaks in Wuhan for weeks resulted in the worldwide pandemic. After 557 days of incarceration, Canada’s “Two Michaels” — Kovrig and Spavor — have just been charged with espionage, a crime punishable by life in prison, and are undoubtedly retaliation for Meng Wanzhou’s arrest.
Unencumbered by the need to win a SC seat, the federal government should now work on changing what David Mulroney, Canada’s former ambassador to China, terms its “almost humiliating posture” towards Beijing.

14 July
Good and fair analysis, presenting pros and cons
Trudeau’s penchant for political appointees shows lack of appreciation for ambassadors’ work: former senior diplomat
‘[Trudeau] neglects the fact that you need experience and competent people,’ says Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016.
(Hill Times) Independent Senator Peter Boehm (Ontario), a former career diplomat who served as ambassador to Germany and was Mr. Trudeau’s G7 sherpa, said the selection of political appointees is cyclical.
“If you want to have a head of mission who is plugged in to the centre to the PMO and the PCO, you’ll go with a political appointee if it makes sense to do so,” he said. … Sen. Boehm said Mr. Rae is “cut out” for multilateral work, adding that some on the political side have that capability, comparing him to past UN ambassador and former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis.

13 July
Another mission for Ontario’s one-time boy wonder
A former premier and national party leader, Bob Rae now heads to New York to take on the same job his father once had
By Steve Paikin
Rae pointed out that his father’s time at the UN was the culmination of four decades in the foreign service. While Rae knows all Canada’s former UN ambassadors quite well (and has been in touch with all of them), this is a very new role for him, and he takes it at a time when the world is dealing with the worst global pandemic in a century, massive economic dislocation, and an unprecedented lack of international leadership from the United States (my words, not his).
Can Rae really move the yardsticks in this climate?
“You have to come in with realistic expectations,” he said. “But you can’t have total impact on anything worth the effort.”

6 July
Bob Rae named Canadian ambassador to the United Nations
Former Ontario premier Bob Rae has been appointed Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, the Prime Minister’s Office announced today.
Rae, who also served as the interim Liberal Party leader between 2011 and 2013, will succeed Marc-André Blanchard as Canada’s representative to the body.
The ambassadorial shakeup comes less than a month after Canada failed to secure a temporary seat on the Security Council, losing to Norway and Ireland on the first ballot.
Meet Bob Rae’s new UN colleagues
Paul Wells: It’s possible to admire Bob Rae’s contribution to Canadian public life and, at the same time, to notice that other countries normally send people with far more diplomatic experience to the UN
It’s an infernally complex place. The rule book is as thick as the Manhattan phone directory, and much depends on whom you know. It’s possible to admire Bob Rae’s contribution to Canadian public life and, at the same time, to notice that other countries normally send people with far more diplomatic experience, and far more United Nations experience, than he has. People who have worked far more closely with their country’s leaders than Rae has actually worked with Trudeau.
There are such people in the Canadian foreign service. It’s not a wasteland. They’re the people you sometimes see in a corner of the photo while the latest political appointee is scrumming. They’re permitted to have perfectly decent mid-level careers. Some of them are taking some time off this summer, after Canada’s delegation worked hard to win a Security Council seat.

2 July
Insights from Canadian Heads of Missions
The Recovery Project is dedicated to charting the economic road to recovery from COVID-19. Featuring leading economists, strategists and thinkers, we explore how to confront the economic impacts of this pandemic, and lay the groundwork for recovery.
The Recovery Project is joined by Canadian Heads of Missions from Mozambique, Italy, Seattle and India to learn about their experiences and perspectives directly from the ground managing the COVID-19 pandemic, some lessons learned along the way, and the path towards recovery.
Featuring insight from Caroline Delany, Canadian High Commissioner to Mozambique, Alexandra Bugailiskis, Canadian Ambassador to Italy, Brandon Lee, Consul General of Canada in Seattle and Nadir Patel, Canadian High Commissioner to India.
Derek H. Burney: Rethinking our place in the world
(National Post) Canada’s humiliating loss in its bid for a temporary United Nations Security Council seat is a stunning example of hubris. Despite the government’s sunny assurance in 2015 that “Canada is back” and that the world needs “more Canada,” the UN General Assembly said “no thanks” on the first ballot. We received fewer votes than the half-hearted effort by the Harper government delivered in 2010. This is especially embarrassing given that the Security Council has become moribund, paralyzed by sharp divisions among the five permanent members. The verdict confirms the futility of the costly effort and the misguided priority it was given. It calls for sombre reflection and a recalibration of government priorities, and not just on foreign policy. …
To the pious critics of a letter to the prime minister that I co-signed, along with 18 others, on the deadlock over the fate of the two Michaels and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, I would ask: what do you propose? After all, there is a difference between being resolute and being pig-headed. Hand-wringing is not a solution, nor is planting your head in the sand. The moment that U.S. President Donald Trump declared that he would deal with the Meng case as part of his trade negotiation, thereby politicizing the arrest, the minister of justice should have acted to terminate the extradition. Better late than never. Besides, the U.S. and Israel have long records of hostage exchanges with nefarious regimes. Must Canada be more pristine
Read also: The Real Lessons of the Security Council Election Campaign by Dan Livermore
The relatively decent Canadian showing sparked a round of self-satisfied delusional thinking in the senior management of Global Affairs Canada (GAC). While busily congratulating themselves on the results, they are ignoring a more significant problem than this election campaign. What they should be asking is what has happened to Canadian foreign policy, and why our voice doesn’t resonate more effectively abroad. A tone-deaf government resorted to the slogan – “Canada is back” – when there’s precious little evidence that the slogan is true.

30 June
Mulroney urges ‘immediate and urgent rethink’ of relations with China
Brian Mulroney said the Prime Minister should strike a blue-ribbon panel of experts to reshape Canada’s policy toward China.
Brian Mulroney is calling for “an immediate and urgent rethink” of Canada-China relations and is praising Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for rejecting domestic demands to free senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in exchange for the release of two imprisoned Canadians.
The former Progressive Conservative prime minister also told The Globe and Mail that Canada should bar Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.’s gear from this country’s next-generation 5G mobile networks if it would jeopardize intelligence sharing with Canada’s Five Eyes alliance.
[He] said China has become an aggressive global player and a real threat to Canada and its Western allies.
He is the most senior member of Canada’s political establishment to sound an alarm over China and advocate rethinking how this country engages with the Communist Chinese government under President Xi Jinping, considered the most powerful Chinese leader since chairman Mao Zedong.
The long-held Canadian government policy that China would evolve into a constructive partner in international relations as its economy and national wealth expanded no longer holds true, Mr. Mulroney said, pointing to Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea – one of the world’s crucial shipping lanes.

27 June
History at a Juncture
As the world surveys the geopolitical damage generated by Donald Trump’s presidency and the COVID-19 pandemic, the coming months take on disproportionate importance as a hinge of history. Veteran diplomat Jeremy Kinsman explores the hazards and opportunities Canada will face.
(Policy July August 2929) The pandemic turned countries inward. Borders matter more. But if the impulse to reduce vulnerability by self-sufficiency and shorter supply chains occurs at the expense of trade, economic recovery will not generate adequate revenue to service the mountains of debt from the trillions of dollars of relief programs. Trade drives globalization’s historic benefits, which over 20 years cut the numbers living in extreme poverty from 40 percent to 10 percent of global population.
Can international political will be mobilized? Tony Blair argues it should be obvious that doing the best for your country means working together, not that cooperation means doing the best for other countries. Ministers Freeland and Champagne have been on it, promoting a multilateralist defence solidarity group along with France, Germany and others. Canada convened efforts to reform the WTO.
Canada’s hands-on commitment to cooperation and global reform must co-exist with the daily stress of managing our U.S. relationship, an existential balancing act, but unrelenting. If like-minded Americans return to power under Joe Biden, convening internationalist adults in a global virtual situation room will be easier. But if they don’t, we’ll have to work even harder.
It will require moderation of the increasingly “civilizational” U.S.-China antagonism. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers offers open-eyed realism: “We need to craft a relationship with China from the principles of mutual respect and strategic reassurance, with rather less … feigned affection … We are not partners. We are not really friends…We need to be pulling in unison if things are to work for either of us. If we can respect each other’s roles, respect our very substantial differences, confine our spheres of negotiation to those areas that are most important for cooperation, and represent the most fundamental interests of our societies.”
Our generational challenge—saving the vital postwar system through the salvation of its reform—represents a tall order. But stakes couldn’t be higher.

26 June
Trump had superficial, transactional view of Meng extradition case, Bolton tells CBC Radio
U.S. president compared Meng Wanzhou to Ivanka Trump, offered to reverse Huawei prosecution, Bolton claims
Despite that alleged Oval Office interference, Bolton maintains the case for extradition is strong and was unconcerned about a Politico report earlier this week claiming that Meng’s legal team will now cite his book in arguing that the charges she faces are part of a politically motivated pressure campaign on the Chinese.
Meng lost the first battle in her bid to avoid extradition but the process is expected to continue into 2021.

23-25 June
Inside the Canadian establishment’s fight with Trudeau over China
How a letter from a superbly-connected group of Canadians happened and aimed to pressure the Prime Minister into releasing Meng Wanzhou
By Paul Wells and Marie-Danielle Smith
( Maclean’s) Speaking with uncharacteristic clarity and force, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday flatly rejected growing pressure on his government to arrange the release of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in hopes of securing the release of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, currently jailed in China.
“If the Chinese government concludes that [detaining Spavor and Kovrig] is an effective way to gain leverage over Canadians and over the Canadian government, to randomly arrest Canadians, then no Canadian will be safe,” Trudeau said. Any regime anywhere would be likelier to start arresting “random Canadians” to press diplomatic goals, he said.
“To demonstrate to China that they can just arrest Canadians and they can get what they want out of Canada—even for us going against the independence of our judicial system—would be absolutely unacceptable.”
Trudeau’s remarks followed three astonishing days during which a growing list of prominent Canadians, from Kovrig’s wife to legal experts to three former foreign-affairs ministers, urged Trudeau to have Justice Minister David Lametti use his lawful authority to end Meng’s extradition process—thus trading her liberty for that of Kovrig and Spavor.
The full-court press to organize what would have amounted to a prisoner exchange, and the Prime Minister’s forceful denial, illustrate a growing rift between Trudeau and an amorphous, superbly-connected Canadian establishment that usually expects Liberal prime ministers to follow its advice.
The week’s events began on Monday, when Kovrig’s wife Vina Nadjibulla told the CBC the government wasn’t doing enough to free her husband, who has been detained in harsh conditions since December 2018. Significantly, Nadjibulla called on Trudeau, not merely to keep up diplomatic pressure, but to have Lametti halt Meng’s extradition to the United States on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. “The minister of justice can act,” she said.
Within hours, the Globe and Mail had published a legal opinion prepared by Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan supporting Nadjibulla’s argument. The paper also had interviews with former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour and former federal Justice Minister Allan Rock urging Trudeau to exchange Meng for the two Michaels.
But the campaign took off on Wednesday with the publication of a letter to Trudeau signed by 19 former politicians, diplomats and an ex-journalist and making the same argument Nadjibulla, Greenspan, Arbour and Rock had made. The letter was signed by prominent former Liberals, Conservatives New Democrats and non-partisans. Signatories included former foreign ministers André Ouellet and Lloyd Axworthy, both Liberals who worked under Jean Chrétien, and Lawrence Cannon, a Conservative in Stephen Harper’s government. The list also included longtime NDP leader Ed Broadbent, several former foreign-policy advisors to Chrétien, former Quebec premier Jean Charest, and the retired veteran CBC journalist Don Newman.
Nobody who signed the letter would have been out of place in the dining room of the Rideau Club, the exclusive Ottawa social club where Chrétien is a lunchtime regular. People from such genteel precincts rarely line up against a Liberal prime minister on a sensitive diplomatic controversy. That these luminaries chose to do so is an indication of the stakes. Kovrig and Spavor have been jailed in cells where the lights never go off for a year and a half. There is no end to their captivity in sight, and on June 19 the two were formally charged with spying. China-Canada diplomacy on other files has essentially ground to a halt. But the Trudeau government is also reluctant to antagonize China on any file for fear conflict would endanger the two Canadian prisoners.
A source familiar with the letter told Maclean’s that in November 2019 several prominent Canadians, including Rock and former Conservative Foreign Minister John Baird, travelled to China for meetings with Chinese officials. During informal discussions on the sidelines, the visiting Canadians were given to understand that if Meng were released for any reason, the two Michaels would also promptly be freed.
In January, Canada’s ambassador to China Dominic Barton asked Arbour and Rock to “brainstorm” on possible political and legal solutions. Barton has taken the detention of Spavor and Kovrig extremely seriously, undertaking consular visits to them personally, when permitted, instead of sending more junior embassy officials.
In February Arbour and Rock sent Barton a memo outlining options for breaking the deadlock. It repeated an argument several proponents of a more conciliatory approach, including Jean Chrétien, had made for months: that Lametti, in his capacity as justice minister, has discretion to end extradition proceedings, and could thus arrange the prompt liberation of Meng and the two Michaels. Barton sent the memo up the line to senior Trudeau government officials, with no apparent effect.
The February memo from Arbour and Rock is also said to have made a second proposal: that Canada re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran, suspended since 2012, to smooth the investigation into January’s destruction, by Iranian air defence, of an airliner with dozens of Canadian passengers. Rock and Arbour decided that argument was a dead letter because it would detract from the Meng case, which is intimately tied up with U.S. sanctions against Iran. A later version of their memo, sent in confidence to the Trudeau government on May 22 along with Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan’s legal opinion, devoted less space to arguing for a new diplomatic relationship with Iran.
The May 22 letter and legal opinion, like previous efforts, seemed to have no effect on Trudeau’s determination to let Meng’s extradition proceed. Five days later a B.C. judge ordered the extradition to proceed. On June 19, in apparent retaliation, China laid charges against Kovrig and Spavor.
That’s when Vina Nadjibulla decided she’d had enough. She gave the CBC her interview on the same day Rock and Arbour gave the Globe the Greenspan memo. Sources say Edward Greenspon, president and CEO of the Public Policy Forum think tank and a former Globe editor-in-chief, made the introduction between Nadjibulla and Globe journalists.
Discussions on the open letter with 19 signatories had been underway for two weeks. Rock was one of a handful of signatories who led the drafting effort. Kovrig had worked at Canada’s United Nations delegation in New York between 2003 and 2006, when Rock was the UN ambassador. Some people who were approached to sign the letter declined for various reasons, including John Baird, who generally prefers not to take positions on public controversies since leaving politics. Living former prime ministers, including Brian Mulroney, Chrétien and Joe Clark, were not approached. The letter was meant to be private, a source said, lamenting that it “looks like a stunt” now that it’s public.
One of the signatories, Chrétien-era foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy, remained convinced after Trudeau’s remarks that the Prime Minister should not rule out a Meng-Michaels exchange. “He’s talking about millions of Canadians put in jeopardy” by a prisoner exchange, Axworthy said. “That’s just not the case.”
“I mean I went through, I suspect, more hostage cases than the Prime Minister has. And I think that what needs to be demonstrated is that Canada is prepared to look at all of the options that can be workable for them, for their release, for their liberation, for their freedom. And I think that is the message that we want to get out—that Canada is behind people who were unlawfully arrested or detained. Not that we’re just kind of prepared to say we’re disappointed in things.”
Stephanie Carvin, an assistant professor of international relations at Carleton University, said she “vehemently disagrees” with the open letter. “It does send a diplomatic signal” of strong domestic disapproval within Canada for Trudeau’s policy of allowing the Meng extradition to proceed. That makes other countries wonder what Canada’s real policy is, or whether it will last, Carvin said.
That’s problematic because a key element of Trudeau’s attempt to get Kovrig and Spavor freed has been lining up support from other governments. “We are asking [foreign] diplomats to speak out about this,” Carvin said. Those diplomats need to know they can depend on Trudeau’s policy to remain consistent.
“Our allies are looking at this and wondering what this actually means. This is why it was so important for Trudeau to clarify the Canadian government’s position immediately.” —with Nick Taylor-Vaisey and Jason Markusoff

Trudeau rejects calls to release Meng Wanzhou
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed out of hand calls from former parliamentarians and diplomats to release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and unilaterally end her extradition process — saying such a move would embolden China to detain other Canadians to further its political goals.
Justin Trudeau says he can’t give in to China’s hostage-taking. He’s right
(Globe & Mail editorial board) Mr. Trudeau and his government have been put in a terrible position by Beijing, one that Beijing made far worse this week when a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman made the hostage-taking explicit, saying the two Michaels would be freed if Ottawa dropped the case against Ms. Meng.
Until now, China declined to publicly link the cases, and only hinted at a connection. But what might look like a moment of honesty has instead deepened the crisis.
Where once Ottawa might have been able to consider ending Ms. Meng’s extradition case in the national interest, in the hopes that China would respond in kind, Beijing’s admission that her fate and that of the two Michaels are linked has made doing so a moral impossibility.
Former parliamentarians, diplomats pen letter calling on Canada to release Meng
Citing a legal opinion, parliamentarians and diplomats say Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou should be released
A group of high-profile Canadians, including former parliamentarians and senior diplomats, say Justice Minister David Lametti should end extradition proceedings for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to give Canada a chance to “re-define its strategic approach to China.”
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dated June 23, the signatories say Canada has the legal right to intervene to free Meng and end the extradition trial that could send her to the U.S. They cite a legal opinion published earlier this week by Toronto-based lawyer Brian Greenspan.
“There is no question that the U.S. extradition request has put Canada in a difficult position. As prime minister, you face a difficult decision. Complying with the U.S. request has greatly antagonized China,” the letter says.

22 June
It isn’t fun losing UN Security Council seat, but there’s a lot to be learned from it
By Douglas Roche
(Hill Times) Canada’s campaign itself was devoid of any overarching theme and, in fact, served political mush at one of the great transformation moments in world history, in which serious people are searching for new ideas for human security. (paywall)

21 June
Concerns grow that Iran will use downed Flight 752 to reopen ties with Canada
Canada should be cautious until demands around Flight 752 investigation are met, expert says
Iran’s efforts to resume diplomatic relations with Canada — while the country is under international pressure to release flight information and conduct a transparent investigation into the downing of Flight 752 — has some worried that Iran is using the tragedy as a bargaining tool.
“At this moment, they need to show some level of co-operation … before starting to talk about a diplomatic relationship,” said Reza Akbari, the president of the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton.
Canada cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012 over concerns about human rights abuses committed by the Iranian regime, expelling Iranian diplomats from Canada and closing its embassy in Tehran. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said at the time that he viewed Iran as the world’s “most significant threat to global peace and security.”
Last week, a spokesperson for Iran’s foreign affairs ministry said the country had spoken to its Canadian counterparts about renewing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Thomas Juneau, an associate professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa, said it was not unusual for the two countries to be discussing the state of their diplomatic relations.
“Both sides have said that they are open to the prospect of relaunching these discussions at some point,” Juneau said. “So just speaking in general terms, it is not necessarily surprising.”
But it would be a misstep to advance those discussions, Juneau warned, before securing the release of the airplane’s so-called black boxes, getting compensation for victims’ families and ensuring that a fully transparent investigation will be conducted.
“Right now, the incentive of eventually having that level of diplomatic representation is one of the only sources of leverage that we have with Iran. So giving that away … I think would probably weaken our hand.”
Note: JK writes Iran (which is actually two countries at war with itself) doesn’t make it easy, by refusing to release a couple of Iranian-canadians – because of course, they don’t recognize they are Canadian, having entered Iran on their Iranian passports.
This – and of course the Michaels/Meng situation – is where we used to do “diplomacy,” private high level talks, and shutting up in public, especially to the domestic audience, seemingly impossible in the Trudeau brand era.

19 – 20 June
Jeremy Kinsman on the case of ‘the two Michaels‘ —
The China-Canada hostage showdown – time to face up to what “everybody knows”.
Time to move on this unnecessary sideshow to the US-China mega drama to which two Canadians are tragic roadkill.
Evening Brief: The ‘two Michaels’ charged by China
(iPolitics) Reports broke early Friday morning that Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor had been charged in China with providing intelligence to “outside entities” and “spying on national secrets.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly referred to China’s detention of the two Michaels as being “arbitrary.”
Trudeau provided no details on plans to secure their release on Friday, despite saying his government is using a variety of “public and private measures” to ensure they’re set free. Trudeau did not bring up the latest developments in the case of the two Michaels at his daily press briefing on Friday until he was pressed by reporters.
“We are very disappointed by this step taken by China this morning,” Trudeau added in French on Friday, also saying that “we do expect both Michaels will come back.”
When asked whether his government would take stronger actions to bring the men home, Trudeau said the Canadian government has developed a certain expertise in what works to bring Canadians who find themselves in consular challenges overseas home. He declined to answer a question on whether he considered the two Michaels to be hostages.
China charges Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor with espionage
Nathan VanderKlippe
(Globe & Mail) After 557 days of interrogation and incarceration in facilities where the lights are kept on day and night, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been formally charged by Chinese authorities, accused of espionage – a crime punishable by life in prison.
The charges against the two Canadians, which carry a minimum sentence of 10 years, represent the formal commencement of judicial proceedings against them in a justice system with a conviction rate of more than 99 per cent.
Mr. Kovrig was charged with spying on national secrets and intelligence for entities outside the territory of China. Mr. Spavor was charged with spying on national secrets and illegally providing state secrets to entities outside the territory of China.
Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor were both arrested Dec. 10, 2018, just days after the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. China has called the case against Ms. Meng a political prosecution and has repeatedly demanded her release from Canada, where she has been out on bail and living in her two multimillion-dollar Vancouver homes.

18 June
Canada has an unused card up its sleeve against China: our immigration system
Robert Falconer and Ai-Men Lau
…there is a compelling case to be made for a renewed Canadian foreign policy that considers the role immigration and refugee status plays in our national security and response to foreign competitors. As the People’s Republic seeks to impose its will on Hong Kong, an open refugee policy is one that permits Hong Kongers to vote with their feet between an oppressive China or an open Canada.
The decision to welcome Hong Kongers as part of a robust foreign policy is not without precedent. Conservative governments in the 1970s and ’80s understood that an open-door policy was one that would attract those with the greatest levels of dissatisfaction in the Soviet bloc. The arrival of refugees and immigrants during that time strengthened our economies and added linguistic diversity and cultural understanding to our law enforcement, military and intelligence communities.

17 – 18 June
Everybody Take a Xanax: Processing Canada’s Loss at the UN
Canada’s failure to obtain a seat at the UNSC table will not affect our place in the world.
Jeremy Kinsman
(Policy) Canada’s loss in its quest for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council is sad for many Canadians, but their regret should be balanced against a few thoughts:
The UN Security Council isn’t what it was, having been unable to even have a useful meeting on the world’s most recent security nightmares — Covid-19, and before that, the Syrian catastrophe — because of the toxic rivalries among permanent and veto-wielding members China, Russia and the US. It makes being a second-class, non-permanent member a frustrating experience.
It has no bearing on what the world thinks of Canada and Canadians, still near the very top of any list of countries most admired for their stability, civility, and inclusivity.
The two other Western European and Others (WEOG) candidates are the very best of breed. Norway and Ireland incarnate the same valuation of rules-based multilateralism, especially via support for the UN, and human rights, as Canada, but have in the last decade done it better.
… Think back to 1998 when we last won. We had a coherent, protagonistic foreign policy under Lloyd Axworthy within the paradigm of “human security”, whose concept and reality-based agenda covered the elimination of land mines, the responsibility to protect human lives (post- Rwanda and Srebrenica), and the establishment of the International Criminal Court, among other meritorious things. All these were pluses for the UN.
We were coming from decades of real leadership in the UN, under — successively — Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, and Jean Chretien. When necessary, we stood up to anybody including the US (and Axworthy never shrunk from that).
Lastly, we had a pro at the UN in Bob Fowler (famously kidnapped by Al Qaeda in Niger a decade later, and freed after 130 days in the Sahara). The UN community is a professional community. Some countries send political organizers and campaign chairs to the UN but they pay a price.
What was our problem this time?
First, we came in very late. Norway and Ireland had declared their intention to run years ahead of Canada. Our regional group was happy with their exemplary candidacies.This was pointed out to the political enthusiasts in the Trudeau campaign camp in 2015, who thought it was the perfect way to show that “Canada’s back” from the UN-averse Harper years. The argument that you need to show you are back before to say you are back was kind of lost on those enthusiasts, who in any case didn’t think then they’d be back in power in Canada.
If we were on the UNSC, would we take on the US? Could we even manage at last to talk to Russia? China? Actually, ministers Freeland and Champagne have been trying like hell to build a like-minded solidarity group with others to defend multilateralism. We have the best relationship with fellow key democracies like Germany and France in decades. That will continue.
But what worked against our claim that “Canada’s back” among those in the know around the UN was that after claiming we were going to lead in the reform of UN peacekeeping, we took two years to agree to send 250 personnel to Mali in a support role and then yanked them after one tour despite the UN’s request that we stay. Ireland is the most stalwart contributor to peacekeeping forces in the UN.
A typically snarky piece
The UN Security Council rout: Canada’s (at the) back!
Paul Wells: Believing a win at the UN would fall from the heavens on Trudeau because he wasn’t Harper was an expression of the narcissism and shallowness that have characterized this government during much of its time in office

Canada loses its bid for seat on UN Security Council

5 pm Despite an intense and costly diplomatic push, Canada has lost its bid for a coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Norway and Ireland won the two available temporary seats, with 130 and 128 votes respectively. Canada won 108 votes, falling 20 short of the 128 needed to win a spot at the table.
It’s a heavy blow for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and other high-level officials who had been reaching out to political leaders around the world in a campaign to secure one of the two available rotating seats.
9:30 am Former Ambassador to the European Union and Former Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Jeremy Kinsman speaks with CBC News Network’s Heather Hiscox about Canada’s chances in today’s vote at the United Nations for a seat on the Security Council.
Trudeau’s long campaign to join UN Security Council winds down as ambassadors vote
(CBC) Canada’s success depends in part on what it can bring to the table that Norway and Ireland cannot. As one expert points out, the countries hold similar profiles on the world stage that makes differentiation challenging.

16 June
Campbell Clark: A UN race that underlined Canada’s foreign-policy complacency
A key concern [for Egypt] is increasing “external interference” by countries such as Turkey and Iran, which Mr. Abu Zeid called “destabilizing factors” in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Lebanon. “It requires more clarity in the position of our international partners, and Canada is among them,” he said. And Egypt wants vocal opposition if Israel moves to annex the West Bank.
What’s the biggest single issue for Egypt? The dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile, which Egypt says will reduce the flow of fresh water – a dispute that might end up before the Security Council.
Of course, Canada won’t adopt Egypt’s foreign policy. But that sampler of issues from one country – nearby conflicts and water supply – is still serious stuff. If Canada wins a Security Council seat, it will be pressed to confront a lot of other thorny issues. It won’t be a beauty contest. If it loses, it had better learn that lesson, anyway, because the country can’t afford a dilettante approach to foreign policy for much longer.

15 June
Canada needs a foreign policy for a new world – with or without a Security Council seat
Ben Rowswell, president of the Canadian International Council, Canada’s ambassador to Venezuela, from 2014 to 2017.
(Globe & Mail Opinion) This pandemic has been a catastrophic failure of the international system. Absent true global cooperation, each country has had to fend for itself, resorting to shutting down entire economies to slow the death toll.
Now that order has given way to disorder, it’s time for a new foreign policy based on this new reality.
Where should we start building a new foreign policy? We should start with the needs of our citizens. It is their lives that we are trying to save, their prosperity we are trying to protect.
The COVID-19 crisis offers some useful lessons. Canadians are now attuned to a global threat and the destruction it brings to our economy. They understand that we need to change outcomes beyond our borders if we are to address either challenge. That means we need to have influence over the behaviour of other countries. Canada needs a foreign policy that takes full account of power to secure the international cooperation our citizens need.
Westdal: Here’s why Canada should win a UN Security Council seat
Chris Westdal, former Canadian diplomat who headed missions in, among others, Moscow (2003-06) and the UN Office in Geneva (1999-2003).
(Ottawa Citizen) Thirty-two years ago, responsible in our foreign ministry for relations with international organizations, I managed Canada’s campaign for a 1989-90 seat on the UN Security Council. We won with 84 per cent of the vote, the largest margin ever recorded, beating Finland and Greece. We did very well a decade later, too, with 74 per cent, beating the Netherlands and, again, Greece. Then, in 2010, against Germany and Portugal, we blew it so badly we quit the race to save face before the final ballot. Now, we are in the home stretch of what looks like a tight race with Norway and Ireland. The vote takes place in the UN General Assembly Wednesday.
… this race we’re in is tough. We chose a bad year to run and started years later than Ireland and Norway. We’ve not been nearly as generous with aid as they have, proportionally, or as active or constructive as peacekeepers. Nor can we match Ireland’s appeal that small states deserve a chance, too, because we’re not one. What’s more, we’re on the hit lists of some heavyweight players and can be portrayed as a vassal state, liking it or not, of Donald Trump’s rogue America.
… It’s not as though we don’t have assets. We are among the most fortunate people on Earth, ever, and we have built a society of which, despite all its flaws, we can be proud. We are Canada – the word alone is magic in much of the world.
We are well led. Though his critics wouldn’t have you believe it, our prime minister is known and respected in the world for more than colourful socks and zany costumes. His decency, values and record, in uncharted white water, compare well with those of many others on the world stage. Moreover, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne command comparable respect among their peers.

12 June
Canada rebuts UN Security Council critics as Champagne heads to NYC for final push
UN representative defends Canada’s record on climate change, Israel-Palestine conflict

10 June
UN Security Council election win could boost Trudeau’s international capital, says former diplomat
‘It’s the one foreign policy venture that is truly his,’ says former diplomat Colin Robertson on Justin Trudeau’s campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council.
(Hill Times) With the UN Security Council election set to take place in a week, Canada’s success or failure in the vote could have a lasting effect on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy legacy in what may be a “barometer” on Canada’s place in the world.
If Canada is to fall short of the necessary 129 votes needed to win a temporary spot on the Security Council, it would likely mean that Canada won’t have a place on the body over a 30-year period, last appearing on the council in 2000. Until its loss in the 2010 vote, Canada had been on the Security Council in every decade since 1946.

6 June
There will always be the Trudeau haters like J.J. McCullough  (why does the Washington Post give him space?)  Trudeau’s vain, pointless obsession with getting a U.N. Security Council seat

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