Canada: International relations and foreign policy June 2020 – August 2021

Written by  //  August 27, 2021  //  Canada, Foreign Policy  //  1 Comment

Advancing Canada Coalition
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement
for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

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

USMCA (formerly known as NAFTA)

27 August
Matt Gurney: We could not have saved all Afghan evacuees. But we could have saved more
The gap between the best-possible Canadian response and the actual Canadian response is a gap measured in the lives of our friends.
(The Line) As the mission ends on this bitter note, it’s important for us to separate the reasonable criticisms of our federal government’s response from the unreasonable.
Partisan opponents of the Liberals, sensing opportunity, have been levelling some wildly unfair accusations of Liberal responsibility. Partisan Liberals for their part, are attacking strawmen erected for the purpose of deflecting all criticism, fair or otherwise.
We have to cut through the fanatics on both sides and be very clear about this: the evacuation was always going to be messy. We were never going to get everyone out. But it is obvious that we did not get out as many people as we should have. It’s clear that we made major errors, including failing to work with veterans and aid groups on the ground; we did not lift bureaucratic hurdles quickly enough. We lost time dithering. That is our shameful failure.

26 August
Ottawa bungled the Afghan rescue operation, and Afghans relying on Canada will die because of it
(Globe & Mail editorial) The young men and women on the ground – several thousand American Marines and soldiers, about a thousand Brits, hundreds from nearly a dozen other nations, and a handful of Canadians – have been thrown into a difficult and deadly situation. They’ve been saddled with bureaucratic roadblocks, given limited resources, and told to somehow rescue the honour of their unprepared governments.
Time was always short, yet Canada’s plan for getting marked men and women through a fast-closing door was designed as if there was all the time in the world. Much of the holdup at the airport appears to have come from saddling the evacuation with too much immigration-process bureaucracy, and too few bureaucrats to do the processing.
In the early days after Kabul fell to the Taliban, there were opportunities to move people. Each day, the window has shrunk. Soon it will close. Many who helped Canada and our allies are going to be left behind.
And what then? Washington, Ottawa and our partners should be negotiating safe passage for thousands of designated Afghans, after Aug. 31. That might mean paying what is effectively a kind of ransom to the Taliban. If so, so be it. The alternative is consigning our former allies to what could be very short lives in the new Afghanistan.
Canada ends all evacuation flights out of Afghanistan, abandoning thousands of Canadian nationals and Afghan refugees
Speaking in Quebec City, Mr. Trudeau would not take personal responsibility for the failure to evacuate all Canadians and former Afghanistan interpreters, fixers and support staff who worked for Canada’s military and diplomats and were promised asylum.
He said Canada performed better than many other allies in airlifting people out of Kabul, noting 3,700 people were evacuated since early August. It is not clear how many of these people are going to Canada.
“We all understand that the speed with which the Taliban took over Kabul rendered this an extraordinarily difficult situation for allies, for Canadians and especially for Afghans,” he said. “Compared to many of our allies, we have done extremely well.”

23-25 August
Canada expands resettlement program to bring more Afghans to safety
(Government of Canada) As the Taliban continues to take over more of Afghanistan, Afghans’ lives are under threat—and many have already fled the country. To help address the growing humanitarian crisis, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada will resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans threatened by the Taliban and forced to flee Afghanistan.

Canadian special forces appear to ignore Afghans with exit documents at Kabul airport, video shows
Jasteena Dhillon, a professor and lawyer who worked in Afghanistan for NGOs and is now aiding Afghan evacuees, told The Globe and Mail Wednesday that she got some people into the airport with printed copies of their facilitation letters, which give them permission to travel to Canada. But she said they were turned away and told that only Canadian passport holders were being accepted at that point.
Kevin Newman, a retired journalist who has been working to help evacuate Afghans, said people on the ground in Kabul are telling him that only a small contingent of Canadian soldiers is now visible at the airport.
Mr. Newman said the word among Afghans waiting for evacuation is that Canada’s Immigration Department very recently issued a great many exit visas, but the effort was thwarted by the Taliban, who warned Tuesday that they would stop a further exodus of Afghan nationals.
“The Taliban prevented all of them from entering the airport waiting area,” he said.
He said that among the many people stopped from approaching the airport are individuals bearing documents that appear to be Canadian.
Canada to wind down Afghanistan evacuation efforts within days
(Globe & Mail) A senior government official told The Globe and Mail the Canadian Armed Forces has only about three to four days to airlift people out of Kabul before the U.S. starts to reduce its military presence at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Trudeau says he can campaign and manage Afghan refugee crisis at the same time
(Globe & Mail) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal election campaign is not interfering with the government’s ability to manage the crisis in Afghanistan. … He was …pressed to explain how can he can properly deal with the refugee crisis when he is spending most of his time on the campaign trail.
“The business of government continues. I get updates every single day on the situation in Afghanistan,” he replied.
Complaints about a slow and ineffective Canadian response contradict assurances from government ministers and federal officials that everything possible is being done to assist Canadian citizens on the ground in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan nationals who are connected to Canada
Sally Armstrong, a journalist and an advocate for Afghan women, said she has been receiving dozens of pleas for help from Afghans each day. “These are legitimate refugees, people who worked for companies funded by Canada. They file the application and don’t hear back,” Ms. Armstrong said.
She said she has been trying to help a former support staffer get on a flight, but he has only received exit visas from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for three of his five family members. He’s afraid to proceed without exit visas for the entire family, Ms. Armstrong said, and is trying to decide whether to risk the journey to the airport with small children or stay and hide from the Taliban

Special forces working outside of Kabul airport to escort Canadians, Afghans onto flights to Canada: official
(CBC) According to officials who spoke on background Monday, Canada’s special forces are currently working inside and outside the confines of the airport to ensure Canadians and eligible Afghans can get onto planes destined for Canada.
Canada to continue Afghanistan evacuation efforts for as long as it is safe: Sajjan
(Canadian Press) Speaking at a news conference today, [Defence Minister Harjit] Sajjan said the challenging security conditions in Kabul are changing rapidly, even by the hour, but Canadian personnel are doing everything in their power to get people to safety.
Sajjan was joined by Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau and Women and Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef.

21 August

Canadian Afghans stranded in Kabul frantic for help from Canadian government

Susan Ormiston
Pressure mounts on the Canadian government to help more people fleeing Afghanistan. One Canadian citizen struggling to get out talks about his harrowing attempt to get on a plane
Canadian authorities were urging a group of 15 Canadian Afghan men, women and children, even a baby, to get to the entry gate at Kabul’s airport in Afghanistan.
Aleem’s group is on a Canadian evacuation list, and they had hoped they would soon be safe inside the airport perimeter — joining thousands of others escaping the last harrowing week in Afghanistan when their worlds changed overnight.
With their passports, permanent resident cards and small maple leaf flags, they assembled to make the dangerous drive through multiple Taliban checkpoints. They were not attacked and got to the entry gate at the airport, but in front of them was a scene of chaos, desperation and violence.
“We were told that when we get to the scene, there will be Canadian and American soldiers or guards who will escort us and ensure that we can actually enter the airport,” Aleem said. “That did not happen.”
“We took all the risks just with the hope that our families would be able to call out and someone would say, ‘Yes, you’re Canadian, come forward.’
Instead, the soldiers were shooting near the crowd and in the air, hoping to scatter the thousands of people crowding the entry.”
Hundreds of Canadian Afghans stranded
Hundreds, or more, Canadian Afghans are trapped in Kabul — professionals with careers and jobs with international organizations, with long ties to Canada, who are now terrified that their lives are in danger after the Taliban took over the capital city a week ago.

20 August
Nearly 190 evacuees airlifted on first Canadian flight from Kabul since Taliban takeover
(Globe & Mail) Canada and allies are pooling evacuation flights and each is taking passengers earmarked for the other’s country because the instability on the ground in Kabul has made it necessary to fly out people as soon as possible. This approach aims to “fill aircraft rapidly, in order to maximize both the number of people evacuated and the number of planes that can land” at the Kabul airport. …
Canada has said it’s up to individuals to make it through Taliban checkpoints to the Kabul airport.
A contingent of Canadian soldiers landed in Kabul recently to help with the evacuation, having been flown in by an ally.
There are news reports that soldiers of other countries, including Britain and France, are leaving the relative safety of Kabul airport – guarded by 4,500 U.S. troops – to rescue evacuees who can’t make it past Taliban checkpoints. …
Earlier in the week, Canada evacuated all its diplomats, including Ambassador Reid Sirrs, out of concern for their safety. This created difficulties for Afghans seeking special immigration visas, who had to submit their applications online.
Ambassadors and employees of the U.S., British and French embassies remained in Kabul to process visa applications and organize the evacuation of their nationals.

19 August
Getting every eligible Afghan to safety is now ‘almost impossible,’ Trudeau says
(CBC) The federal government has been accused of not acting fast enough to send planes into Kabul and process Afghans’ paperwork. The U.K. is dealing directly with the Taliban in Kabul to ensure safe passage for its citizens and eligible Afghans, Britain’s ambassador to Afghanistan said Wednesday.
Trudeau said government personnel are arriving in Afghanistan later today to help ensure anyone who can make it to the airport is on Canada’s list.
Canadians with Afghan spouses plead for expedited visas after Taliban takeover

15 August
This morning at Rideau Hall and in Kabul
Scott Gilmore: Trudeau went to Rideau Hall because he wants to be Prime Minister a little longer. If he wanted to really do something, he would have been in a crisis ops room.
This morning, as the Prime Minister made his way in his official car to Rideau Hall, to announce his decision to call a late-summer election, hoping to win a majority, Canadian diplomats, embassy employees and their families, and Canadian Forces soldiers made their way in armoured vehicles through the chaos of a collapsing regime to the Kabul airport, hoping to escape with their lives.
Those Canadian diplomats were in Kabul because the Prime Minister had chosen to keep them there. Those soldiers were there because the Prime Minister had sent them. And the 100 Gurkhas hired to protect the Embassy were reportedly left behind in the compound because the Prime Minister decided they were not worth evacuating, too.

11 August
Canada suspends operations at embassy in Afghanistan, citing safety concerns
Canada is shutting down its embassy in Kabul and suspending diplomatic operations in Afghanistan as the Taliban enter the capital.
The government says the current situation in the country poses “serious challenges” to its ability to ensure safety and security at the embassy.
A joint statement from the federal ministers of foreign affairs, immigration and defence says the safety and security of Canadian personnel is a top priority, adding that staff are “safely on their way back to Canada.”
Canada has committed to taking in 20,000 refugees from the country and Afghans who have assisted Canada over the years.
The government is urging Canadians currently in the country to leave immediately.

23 July
Canada must move away from ‘diplomacy on autopilot’ with China: Former ambassador
(The Hub) … “It will require much more thought, it will require much more management of foreign policy. That will be difficult for everybody,” said Mulroney. “It’ll be particularly difficult for Canada because we haven’t put much thought into our foreign policy for a long time, and we’re going to pay a price in terms of the learning curve that we have to go up.” (See Comment below)

15 July
What kind of foreign policy do Canadians want?
The Canadian International Council brought more than 400 strangers together to talk about this country’s foreign policy. Here’s what they came up with.
(Open Canada) Participants deliberated on four foreign policy areas: global public health, dignity, security and prosperity. In each of the areas, they said Canada should maintain consistency between its foreign and domestic policy.
Foreign Policy by Canadians: a unique national experiment
James Fishkin, the Stanford University pioneer of Deliberative Polling, on the first national deliberative democracy exercise held in Canada
(Open Canada) Deliberative Polls are an attempt to answer the question: what would the public really think if it could consider the issue under the best conditions available?

24 June
Canada needs an actual strategy for Indo-Pacific engagement: Macdonald-Laurier Institute (Webinar)
Canada was a founding member of the Asia-Pacific Economic forum in 1990, has been a dialogue partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum since its formation in 1994, is a member of the Asian Development Bank, and joined the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in 2017.
And yet despite all of this, Canada has been lax in articulating a broad and clearly articulated strategic approach to the Indo-Pacific region. A paradigm shift is required.

10 June
Somewhat extreme!
Diane Francis: Canada no longer deserves a seat at the big boys’ table
Canada isn’t run by grown-ups, but by a cabinet with zero expertise in business, economics or much of anything else except spending and taxing
Due to mediocre growth, high taxation, low productivity and over-regulation, Canada hasn’t made the cut for a while, but stays in the G7. Both Italy and Canada are smaller, in terms of nominal gross domestic product, than China and India. Canada is the world’s ninth-largest economy, according to International Monetary Fund estimates, but — at current growth rates — could be overtaken in a couple of years by South Korea, Russia and Australia.
What Justin Trudeau wants from the G-7
Andy Blatchford talked to insiders about what Canada wants at the G-7 summit.
The PM and the president will meet in person this week for the first time since Biden was elected. — What’s on Canada’s radar: Trudeau and Canadian officials are focused on three Cs: Covid-19, China and climate.
“For four years, they had Trump. So, there’s a lot of stuff to try to get done. The G-7 needs to step up and it wasn’t able to do that on those big, important issues and others while there were such divergences of view as there were in the four years of the Trump administration.”
This week, Corridors asks: What’s the most important thing Trudeau needs to accomplish at the G-7 summit?
— Colin Robertson, former Canadian diplomat: In strategic terms there is Canada’s relationship with the USA, our principal ally and trading partner. Trudeau will get real face time (not virtual) with Biden at the G-7 and NATO summit. This is always useful especially now we have a roadmap aiming to take the partnership to a new level.
We balance the U.S. relationship with multilateralism where the rules-based-system (designed and sustained by U.S. presidents until Trump) levels the playing field and allows Canada to play on areas of expertise. Trudeau, for example, has gender equality and women’s empowerment — themes that will underline G-7 discussions on everything from debt relief to Covid recovery and “building back better.”
Progress, quiet but incremental — how the G-7 works — is an achievement.

4 June
Ivison: Trudeau should change tack on the two Michaels and negotiate for their release
Kovrig and Spavor will not be released until there is a political solution. There is no shame in changing a strategy that is not working
Unless there is some secret plan in the works — which there may be, even if there hasn’t been one to this point — Canada will continue to rely on the good graces of U.S. President Joe Biden to try to persuade the Chinese to release the two Michaels.
Biden has made encouraging noises about treating the Michaels as if they were U.S. citizens. Their cases were raised by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, when they met Chinese diplomats in Alaska earlier this year. But the Americans have their own priorities, as their China policy evolves.
… It is a reasonable bet that Meng will be released by one court or another, in which case Canada has lost its leverage with China. Alternatively, the case will drag on for years and the Michaels will remain incarcerated.

2 June
The silencing of Radio Canada International and Canada’s shrinking voice in the world
By Tony Burman
(Toronto Star) For a country that once regarded itself as one of the world’s leading middle powers, Canada’s voice on the international scene is a strikingly quiet one these days.
The latest sign of this is the decision by CBC/Radio-Canada to implement changes that have effectively smothered Radio Canada International (RCI), its fabled global audio and online service that has helped serve as “Canada’s Voice to the World” for more than a half century.
… For all of the tortuous funding dramas of recent years, the history of Canada’s international service is actually a remarkable one. In some ways, RCI’s rise and fall can be seen as a microcosm of how Canada has so often sabotaged its international standing by retreating to within its own borders, both in action and in attitude.
Decades before it was handed over to the CBC and became Radio Canada International, it began in 1945 as an unexpected triumph in the dying days of the Second World War as Canada’s voice to the world. It quickly became one of the world’s most popular international shortwave broadcasters.
In February 1948, the cover story of Maclean’s magazine reported on “The CBC’s Tower of Babel: through its international service, Canada talks to the world in eight tongues — at a cost of a dime a year per citizen.” It eventually expanded well beyond eight languages and went on to chronicle, for international audiences, Canada’s growing influence as a leading global middle power.

26 May
Letter to the Globe & Mail
As of Friday, China will have jailed Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig for 900 days. Each day brings pain and frustration to the two innocent hostages and should be a source of increasingly acute embarrassment to the Canadian government. This is a major debacle for Canadian foreign policy – freezing a difficult but hugely important relationship and inhibiting our ability to freely assess Chinese policy. Given the magnitude of the crisis, there must be good reason for the government’s failure to negotiate a swap of Meng Wanzhou for the two men. If so, the evidence is not visible. And with time, the crisis only becomes an increasingly bigger and more damaging albatross on the government’s back. Inaction leaves the impression that these two Canadians are expendable. John Graham, former ambassador, Ottawa
Kovrig and Spavor: 900 days in prison and still counting
To leave the well-being of two Canadians to the vicissitudes of other governments creates a precedent that should be rejected by all Canadians.
(The Hill Times) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian political leaders have shown obduracy and obscurity on this file for too long, pretending they are protecting false principles that have little relevance in a world where the well-being and lives of two citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, hang in the balance, writes Gar Pardy

25 May
Trudeau considering further sanctions on Belarus as regime announces Ottawa embassy closure
Belarusian opposition leader sentenced to seven years in jail
“The behaviour of the Belarus regime is outrageous, illegal and completely unacceptable. This was a clear attack on democracy and on the freedom of the press. We condemn it and call for his immediate release,” Trudeau said at his Tuesday morning media briefing.
“We also condemn this kind of dangerous interference in civil aviation. Canada has existing sanctions in place against Belarus and we’ll be examining further options.”
Trudeau said that Canada would work with allies and international institutions, including NATO, to put pressure on the regime and defend “journalists all around the globe.”
Canada announced sanctions against 55 Belarusian officials last year after an election that Ottawa said was “marred by widespread irregularities” and a “systemic campaign of repression” and human rights violations under President Alexander Lukashenko.
The Belarusian embassy has posted a message on its official website saying that it will be formally closing its embassy in Ottawa on Sept. 1 and that it will stop processing consular documents on July 10.
Jeremy Kinsman & Larry Haas the nutty president of Belarus hijacks a civil aircraft – what to do about it and him? CTV Diplomatic Community video

Budget 2021 & Canada’s International Positioning
In this episode of The Global Exchange, Colin Robertson looks at the 2021 Federal Budget and what it means for Canadian foreign and development policy, as well as on trade.

19 April
Cooperation Canada reacts to Budget 2021: A missed opportunity for Canada’s global engagement
Women and girls, marginalized communities and historically disadvantaged countries are bearing the brunt of the harshest economic, social, and health effects of the crisis. Securing their futures requires ambitious action. This is why the international development sector has been calling for the government to invest 1% of its COVID response to support the global response and recovery. Today’s Budget provides for $375 million in COVID-19 global response, encapsulated in a $1.4 billion increase in international assistance, spread over five years. Such an increase emerges as insufficient against the backdrop of the biggest global crisis in a generation and the need for long-term investments in mechanisms of global health, social protection and economic collaboration on which depends our ability to recover from COVID-19 and prevent and mitigate future crises.
Canada is currently contributing far below its global fair share and its international commitments, investing only 30 cents in international assistance for every 100 dollars in gross national income. Despite an increase last year, Canada continues to perform below the average of donors of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Low levels of funding, exacerbated by unpredictable new allocations that follow political trends and media attention instead of the humanitarian needs and development strategies, are threatening the achievement of the government’s own Feminist International Assistance Policy.

27 March
A wide-ranging and frank discussion with Marc Garneau
Canada’s sanctions are sending China a ‘message,’ says Garneau

22 March
Gar Pardy: Abdication by Canada on Kovrig and Spavor
‘An exchange of prisoners is the only way in which this impasse with China can be resolved. The sooner this is accepted by Ottawa then the sooner the media can stop using its front page to count the days of imprisonment for Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor.’
(iPolitics) A front-page March 17 story “Canada looks to Biden to win freedom for Spavor, Kovrig” for over 900 words details, by its absence, the lack of any significant effort by Ottawa. The story’s opening sentence says its all – “The Canadian government is counting on President Joe Biden’s proposed reset of U.S.-China relations to open the door for the release of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.” If the meeting in Alaska last week is indicative, then the “reset” will have little room for Kovrig and Spavor.
Unnamed Canadian federal sources are quoted in the March 17 story as saying that once the Americans come to conclusions about their own policy it may then decide “how to handle the imprisoned Canadians.” It is suggested this could take four months which is nothing more than trying to establish wind direction by raising a dry finger.

5 March
Oceania and Canada: Building Bridges in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific
By Cleo Paskal
(Global Affairs Institute) As Canada formulates its own Free and Open Indo-Pacific policy that supports its interests, engages on development, and promotes a rules-based order in the region, Ottawa will have to decide how to balance between bolting on to the existing structures and approaches of allies and partners versus trying to find niches that are uniquely Canadian.
An example of bolting on was the recent Sea Dragon 2021 Quad (United States, India, Japan and Australia) Plus Canada anti-submarine warfare exercise in Guam. It is important that Canada show willingness and ability to work with allies and partners, but from the point of view of countries in the Indo-Pacific, there was little uniquely Canadian about the engagement.
… Canada does engage – it is a Dialogue Partner of the Pacific Islands Forum, supports community-based projects across the region through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, and is a donor for the Global Environment Facility (to date it has approved $15 million USD for projects in Vanuatu to support initiatives of climate adaptation and resilience). It also works with Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and elsewhere through the Trade Commissioner Service at the High Commission of Canada in Australia and contributes to the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative, which provides Vanuatu with disaster risk assessment and financing tools, including sovereign risk insurance.
Additionally, Canada provides long-term institutional support to multilateral and global organizations that are present in the Pacific and has forged a partnership with UN Women to provide funds to implement the Pacific Islands Markets for Change Project.

22-23 February
Beijing lashes out at Canada over Uighur genocide vote
(CBC) The Chinese government lashed out at Canada today after the House of Commons voted to declare that China is committing genocide against Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in its western Xinjiang region.
MPs passed a motion Monday saying that China’s persecution of these groups amounts to genocide in accordance with the definition set out in the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, and called on the federal government to formally adopt that position.
In a media briefing in Beijing this morning, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said the Commons motion disregarded facts and was aimed at maligning and smearing China.
“Facts have proven that there’s no genocide in Xinjiang. This is the lie of the century made up by extremely anti-China forces,” said Wang Webin, according to a translation of his remarks provided by the foreign ministry.
Wang also slammed the part of the motion that called on the government to lobby the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympic Games out of Beijing if the country doesn’t change course.
Aaron Wherry: Why the genocide question about China is hard for the Trudeau government to answer
When the Trudeau government has acted or spoken about China in the past year, it has tended to do so in concert with other countries. In January, for instance, Canada joined the U.S., Australia and the U.K. in condemning the arrest of democratic activists in Hong Kong. In response to China’s actions against Uighurs, the Trudeau government partnered with the U.K. to ban the importation of Chinese products made by forced labour.
Last week, the Trudeau government led a coalition of 58 countries to denounce state-sponsored arbitrary detention. Though the statement did not directly mention China, the implication was clear.
Acting as part of a group has its merits. On its own, Canada’s power to change China is limited and Canada’s allies might not appreciate this country getting ahead of them.
Acting alone also makes it easier to be singled out by China for retribution — and Canada ultimately stands to lose more in any one-on-one dispute with a much larger and more economically powerful country that buys Canadian goods and sells affordable products.

15 February
Canada creates coalition with allies to denounce arbitrary detentions amid fight to free Kovrig, Spavor
(CBC) Canada and a coalition of nearly 60 other countries offered vocal support Monday for a new international declaration denouncing state-sponsored arbitrary detention of foreign nationals for political purposes.
The new declaration was born out of a year of behind-the-scenes diplomacy, spearheaded by former foreign affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne, and was the result of a campaign to free Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who spent their 798th day in Chinese prisons on Monday.
While ending Kovrig’s and Spavor’s Chinese imprisonment remains Canada’s top priority, the new declaration was meant to be a broad denunciation to also end the coercive practice in other countries, such as Russia, Iran and North Korea.
In an interview, Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau wouldn’t name specific countries, saying the new declaration is “country-agnostic.” He said he wants to recruit more countries as signatories with the goal of ending the practice everywhere and to discourage other countries from taking it up.
Maybe boycotts don’t work, but that doesn’t quite end the debate about the 2022 Olympics in China
The debate about whether Canadian athletes should boycott the next winter Olympics, scheduled to take place in China in 2022, ultimately rests on a series of questions about the efficacy of such action, the morality of proceeding with the games and even who should get to decide whether or not to launch a boycott.
But if the Olympics do proceed with most of the world’s nations represented, the question might then become whether its grand stage could be used to air the political and humanitarian concerns that now encircle the games.

1 February
Kamala Harris pledges ‘solidarity’ over 2 Michaels detained in China in call with Trudeau
An official readout of Monday’s call from the White House said Harris “made clear that the United States would continue to do everything it can to secure their release.”

12 January
Shannon Proudfoot: The calm hand of Marc Garneau
(Maclean’s) Whether his new post is a prime opportunity or a headache in the waiting, Garneau’s surprise move to global affairs is a vote of confidence in his steadiness
Garneau steps into Foreign Affairs
Garneau’s new role will see him forge a relationship with the incoming Biden administration in the U.S.
“I have lived in the United States nine years of my life, formed very strong relationships. Two of my children were born there. I believe very, very strongly that no bilateral relationship is more important than that of Canada with United States and it will continue to be that way,” he said.
“We are inextricably linked, whether it’s through trade, security or other matters. We are looking forward to working with the new administration under president Joe Biden and of course that will happen very, very shortly.”
Garneau’s role will also have him continue to push China for the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. The two Canadians have been detained in China for two years over accusations of spying, charges widely seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018.

9 January
Foreign Ministers’ joint statement on arrests in Hong Kong
“We, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, and the United States Secretary of State, underscore our serious concern at the mass arrests of 55 politicians and activists in Hong Kong for subversion under the National Security Law.
“The National Security Law is a clear breach of the Sino-British joint Declaration and undermines the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework. It has curtailed the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong. It is clear that the National Security Law is being used to eliminate dissent and opposing political views.

1 January
#98 China’s Strategic Takeover of Canada | China Unscripted
China is playing the long game to influence and infiltrate Canada and Canadian society.  On this China Unscripted China podcast, Cleo Paskal from Chatham House and Foundation for Defense of Democracies joins us!

2020

Canada’s Pro-China Deep State
(China uncensored) A Pro-China deep state in Canada has been evolving for decades. It all ties into Canadian history that you probably don’t know about—how Canada got close to China and the Chinese Communist Party, and how that lead to the Chinese military being invited to military training drills in Canada, or pressure on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cave on the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou for the release of two Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor who have been imprisoned in China.

27 December
Jeremy Kinsman: A saner, less fragmented world in 2021
(Times Colonist) As to our creative policy capacity, the perception in the foreign affairs community is that it atrophied under recent top-down governments centralized in PMOs and leaders with narrower international aims, focused on signaling our virtues, absorbed by electoral politics.
But crisis response has been excellent, notably in procuring PPE, and evacuating Canadians during the pandemic. Work to save NAFTA and craft the ground-breaking CETA with the EU was outstanding.
We need to revive the creative capacities of the Foreign Service and re-energize our international public diplomacy. The world also sees “the other North America” through interacting with multitudes of Canadian scientists, entrepreneurs, scholars and students, artists, humanitarian workers, military, firefighters, and innumerable family ties. Including public consultation in the policy process is essential.
The pandemic makes it emphatically clear we are all in the same global boat. But it needs fixing to stay afloat. Canadians are globalists. That repair work is rightfully our brand.

16 November
Beijing blasts Bob Rae after ambassador calls for UN to investigate genocide claims
(Yahoo!) The Chinese government is firing back at Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations for calling on the UN to investigate whether China’s persecution of ethnic Muslim Uighurs in its Xinjiang province is a genocide.
During a news conference in Beijing Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian described Bob Rae’s comments as “ridiculous,” adding that Canada itself better fits the description of having perpetrated a genocide.

31 October
Canada border officer says giving police Meng Wanzhou’s device passwords was ‘embarrassing, heart-wrenching’ blunder
(SCMP) A Canadian border officer who dealt with Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver’s airport in the hours before her arrest said he made an “embarrassing” and “heart-wrenching” mistake, when his handwritten note with the passwords of Meng’s electronic devices ended up in police hands, breaching privacy laws.
But Meng’s lawyers say it was part of a covert plot by the CBSA and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), to gather evidence for the American FBI.
Kirkland came under intense cross-examination on Friday from the Huawei executive’s lawyer Mona Duckett, as she attempted to prove Meng’s rights were violated in the border process.

13-20 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.”
China unleashed ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy on Canada. It may have backfired
(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.
China ambassador makes veiled threat to Hong Kong-based Canadians

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.

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.

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
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. … 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.

25 June
Inside the Canadian establishment’s fight with Trudeau over China
(Maclean’s) … A source familiar with the letter told Maclean’s that in November 2019 several prominent Canadians, including [former federal Justice Minister Allan] Rock and former Conservative Foreign Minister John Baird, travelled to China for meetings with Chinese officials.
In January, Canada’s ambassador to China Dominic Barton asked Arbour and Rock to “brainstorm” on possible political and legal solutions.
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.

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.

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

One Comment on "Canada: International relations and foreign policy June 2020 – August 2021"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson July 24, 2021 at 10:36 pm · Reply

    Re Canada must move away from ‘diplomacy on autopilot’
    The perception about auto-pilot foreign policy without content is right.
    But David Mulroney’s solution – to line up behind the US for a new Cold War – deepens the problem. David loves single-issue wingman foreign policy, eg, Afghanistan – when Canadian foreign policy discarded any opportunity to be anything else.
    On China, the Economist this week has it mostly rightly balanced, I think. JK
    So, I’m not the only one who has this view [about auto pilot]! Not just as regards the China file. CS

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