Canada: International relations, defense and foreign policy May 2023-

Written by  //  September 25, 2023  //  Canada, Foreign Policy  //  No comments

Setting the scene
Canada’s Global Affairs department is in crisis — right when Canadians need it most
Ottawa was told its foreign service was broken decades ago. A revolving door of foreign ministers later, the country is still waiting for the fix as the world order fractures
Christopher Nardi
The Post spoke to dozens of sources, who collectively painted a picture of a department that is risk-averse, complacent and Ottawa-centric. One that has lost many of its regional specialists, having become too “generalist” at the expense of deeper, country-specific knowledge and insight. And many agree it has grown top-heavy, with too many senior managers relative to staff.
It’s also been affected by a staggering churn of foreign ministers, with no fewer than 11 different people holding the post over the last 17 years, through two governments.
Yet, the department is destined to play an increasingly critical role as western powers face what is arguably the most fraught geopolitical environment since the Cold War, with a hostile China and revanchist Russia working together to overturn the global order. In just the last few years, it has been called to lead on high-risk files from the imprisonment of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig by China in 2018 to the evacuation of Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in 2021 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
In late March, at the House immigration committee reviewing the government’s chaotic attempts to bring thousands of former military translators from Kabul to safety during the 2021 Afghan evacuation, Global Affairs Canada’s assistant deputy minister for Asia testified that the situation was worsened by Canada having fewer resources on the ground than other western countries after it decided to close its embassy sooner. “Embarrassingly way too fast,” the last Canadian commander in Kandahar during the Afghan war described.
Since at least the days of Lester B. Pearson, Canada has prided itself, fairly or not, on its international diplomatic skills, with such legendary characters as ambassadors Ken Taylor and Allan Gotlieb. And GAC still attracts some of the best and brightest in the Canadian public service, insiders agree. Still, Senator and former diplomat Peter Boehm recently questioned whether Canada’s foreign service is still “fit for purpose.”
Last spring, the Senate committee on foreign affairs, chaired by Boehm, launched an in-depth study of the Canadian foreign service and the “machinery within Global Affairs Canada,” to find that out. The study is still underway. Boehm has said that “In essence, the themes are the same that were addressed in 1981 in the Royal Commission on Conditions of Foreign Service, led by Pamela McDougall.” (11 April 2023)

24-25 September
NOT the kind of coverage of Canada we like to see in the international media.
‘Deepest apologies’: Canada official backtracks after Ukraine Nazi honoured
Canadian parliament’s speaker says ‘deeply sorry’ for honouring Yaroslav Hunka, 98, during Zelenskyy visit to Ottawa
(Al Jazeera) The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons has apologised for praising an individual who served in a Nazi unit during World War II in a session attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Canada’s House speaker Anthony Rota sorry for honoring Nazi veteran
(WaPo) The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons has apologized for celebrating a man who served in a notorious Nazi military unit during World War II.
Speaker Anthony Rota introduced 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka of North Bay, Ontario, to fellow lawmakers on Friday during Ukrainian President Volodymyr’s visit to Parliament. After Zelensky addressed the body, thanking Canada for supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia and urging it to stay committed, Rota pointed out Hunka and described him as a war hero “who fought [for] Ukrainian independence against the Russians, and continues to support the troops today.”

22 September
A messy world once again intrudes on Canada’s tidy partisan debate
(CBC) Roland Paris, a professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa and a former adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was testifying before a Senate committee studying Canada’s foreign service last year when a Conservative senator pressed him to agree with a long indictment of recent Canadian foreign policy.
“Canada is not alone in facing the challenges of responding to an incredible series of transformations that have taken place in the world,” Paris responded.
He offered his own list of external challenges: China, Russia, climate change, COVID-19, Donald Trump. He recalled the maxim that there are decades when nothing happens and weeks when decades happen. We have been living through a series of weeks, Paris said.
“I don’t think that we have devoted the kind of attention to our foreign policy as a country — actually, I would take it back over the last 20 years — that we need to.
“We have tended to treat foreign policy as a secondary issue, government after government. What we’re all waking up to is that foreign policy is inseparable from domestic policy, that the international environment is directly affecting Canadians.”
… Since Trudeau’s statement on Monday — perhaps one of the most remarkable statements ever made in the House of Commons — there has been relatively little follow-up by parliamentarians.
Perhaps that’s because the parties realize this is a truly serious matter that needs to be approached with care and sobriety. Perhaps the politics of the issue are too complicated. Or perhaps Canadian politicians simply lack the vocabulary to discuss a situation such as this.
Conservatives are taking a cautious approach to India allegation, observers say

21 September
David Moscrop: Does Canada have a foreign policy?
(GZERO) Protected by three oceans and the hegemony of the United States, Canadian foreign policy has long been shaped by geographical accident and proximity to power. The trade-off has been that while Canada doesn’t have great power preoccupations it remains stuck within the orbit of its most important ally, the US, which does.
But now, the Canadian government is facing a series of foreign policy challenges that put it in an awkward position. Ottawa suddenly needs to clarify its goals and refine its tactics. Can it?

15 September
Volatile world, arbitrary detentions have Ottawa seeking more friends at UN next week
(CTV) The Trudeau government is planning to use next week’s United Nations General Assembly to try building momentum against states using people as pawns in diplomatic spats, with the help of former detainees such as Michael Kovrig.
“We’re in the midst of an international security crisis. That’s the reality in which Canada and the world is right now,” Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly told The Canadian Press in an exclusive interview.
“Now is the time to reach out to a wide group of partners,” she said.
Joly will co-host a meeting with her counterparts from Costa Rica and Malawi, as well as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on ways to prevent states from arresting foreigners on political grounds.
It’s part of an effort Canada launched in February 2021 to try creating a norm against arbitrary detention, with an action plan that aims to prevent states from placing people in harsh conditions and denying them legal council.
A meeting next week to touch base on those goals will include people who have been arbitrarily detained, including former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, whom China imprisoned for more than 1,000 days.

12 September
Cramping Our Soft Power: Why the Understanding Canada Program Needs Reviving
By John W. Graham served as a Director General, High Commissioner, Ambassador and Minister, Cultural and Public Affairs (London). He has written three books, including the memoir Whose Man in Havana – Adventures from the Far Side of Diplomacy and Potholes and Politics, a Cartoon Portrait of Ottawa.
In the short term, the economic activity generated by cultural, scientific and education related activities is extremely important for the Canadian economy… in the medium and long term, a country that does not project a clearly defined image of what it is and it represents is doomed to anonymity on the international scene.
(Policy) From its initiation in 1974 until funding was withdrawn, the Understanding Canada program supported the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS) and its member associations. By 2012, this network sustained more than 7000 scholars active in 55 countries within an infrastructure of 28 national associations and five multilateral centres. Funding from the Canadian government was approximately $5.5 million a year.
The program became an outstanding success with increasing returns for Canada and was regarded by many in Foreign Affairs as one of the department’s most cost-effective small-scale programs.
In American universities from Berkeley to Yale to Johns Hopkins, Understanding Canada enabled a level of academic depth and rigour that belied the perception of this country as an appurtenance to the United States. The existence of a serious network of academic endeavour devoted to our history, our economy, our system of governance, our health care model, our political geography and our culture created an infrastructure of knowledge that delineated a Canadian identity separate from the US and provided a counternarrative to the myth that benign is synonymous with boring.
Since its inception the Understanding Canada program has pushed beyond the original plan to root it in the social sciences and humanities. This concept widened to include film, telecommunications, Indigenous studies, multiculturalism, environmental studies, ethnic diversity and a galaxy of other pursuits with distinctive Canadian content.
… Within Washington’s diplomatic community, the program gained such a reputation that the US State Department recommended programs to other countries based on the Canadian model.
19 June 2012
Understanding Canada no more
“We, the undersigned, both writers of literature and teachers of our literature, lament the closing of “Understanding Canada.” Although we understand the federal government’s move toward austerity, we still believe that there must be a strong place for Canadianists throughout the world to come together, to teach about our country and to do the important research and write the publications that are at the forefront of our lives as Canadians”.
Margaret Atwood, Neil Bissoondath, George Bowering, Dionne Brand, Wayson Choy, Elizabeth Hay, Jack Hodgins, Thomas King, Alistair MacLeod, Rohinton Mistry, Timothy Taylor, Jane Urquhart, Aritha van Herk, Rudy Wiebe, D.M.R. Bentley, Neil Besner, Eva-Marie Kroller, W.H. New, David Staines, Brian Trehearne

Urgency in the Indo-Pacific: Canada at a distance as China becomes increasingly embedded
Conference of Defence Associations: In the context of the Indo-Pacific strategy, how much lag time do you think there is before we start seeing some material action follow?
Cleo Paskal: Canada is doing things here and there. We have unbelievably limited resources dedicated to this. We have expertise, we have innovation, but we don’t have embassies or high commissions in a lot of locations, and we haven’t focused on business-to-business engagement. That same Solomon Islander doctor who has to fly to PNG to get a visa to go to the U.S. can actually enter Canada without a visa. Canada allows Solomon Islanders as tourists to come into Canada without a visa, but there’s no building on those entry points.
It’s the same with the French possessions in the Pacific Islands, French Polynesia, and New Caledonia. The citizens of France can study in Quebec for the same fees as Quebecers. We could be building up those relationships—getting young French Polynesians and New Caledonians to study in Quebec to create those linkages that you create when you’re in your early 20s that you can then carry on throughout your career. In other parts of the Indo-Pacific, there are other unique types of relationships, the relationships with India are complex, and there are some negative parts, but there are a lot of positive parts that could be built on. You really need to figure out where Canada’s unique leverage points are and realize that countries in the Indo-Pacific have a lot of people knocking on their door right now. They’re not doing Canada a favour by privileging us or making us front of the list for engagement. We really have to make that effort, take it seriously, and adapt it to each individual country in the context of developing a wider Indo-Pacific strategy that is built from the ground up so it’s more stable, cohesive, and sustainable.
CDA: There have been criticisms from several countries that Canada has been inconsistent with its engagement. Can you provide insight into those criticisms? Are we moving substantially in the right direction now?
Cleo P. Well, they’re right. Canada might show some interest, and it might not, and then something happens, and then for a domestic political reason Canada throws a fit. They’re completely right. Our strategies are at this point so unanchored in a long-term foundation that an individual in an office can make a huge difference. You get the right person in a high commission or an embassy and they can make an enormous difference—positive, or, if it’s the wrong person, negative. That’s not ideal. So, they’re right.
I think that Ottawa being Ottawa, it is just not geographically close. It’s a similar problem with Washington. Its physical location is a remnant of the Atlantic century, of the 19th and early 20th centuries. So, walking around Ottawa, you don’t see how the Indo-Pacific is part of Canada as you would if you’re in Vancouver, for example.

10-14 September
What the G20 summit revealed about the Modi Trudeau relationship
David Moscrop
(GZERO North) The G20 meeting in New Delhi recently wrapped up with many observers touting it as a success. … But it wasn’t a great few days for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who ended up literally stuck in the country because his plane had broken down.
Canada wants – and needs – a robust trade and migration relationship with India. In 2022, trade between the two states amounted to roughly CAD$20 billion ($14 billion) in goods and services. India is the number one source of immigration to Canada. Nearly 120,000 newcomers from India became permanent residents in 2022. That’s more than a quarter of Canada’s entire permanent resident count for the year.
… In a sign of just how bad ties between India and Canada have become, ahead of the G20, the two countries announced an indefinite pause on trade talks, which have been ongoing for more than a decade.

Modi scolds Trudeau over Sikh protests in Canada against India
(Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed strong concerns about protests in Canada against India to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi, according a statement by India.
Relations between India and Canada remain tense, and Ottawa this month paused talks on a proposed trade treaty with India, just three months after the two nations said they aimed to seal an initial agreement this year. Modi, who held bilateral meetings with many world leaders during the G20 summit, did not hold one with Trudeau.
Tensions between Canada and India apparent as G20 summit wraps in New Delhi
(CBC) Relations between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared strained at this year’s G20 summit. Modi pushed Trudeau to rein in Sikh separatists in Canada, while Trudeau was dissatisfied with the wording of a joint declaration he called too weak on climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Globe & Mail) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said if it were up to him, the G20 leaders’ declaration on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would have been much stronger [India expands G20, keeps it from fracturing over Ukraine — but little progress made on other key issues]

3-6 September
PM Justin Trudeau speech at ASEAN summit
In Jakarta, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the launch of Canada’s strategic partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Canada continues to hold negotiations for a free trade agreement with the organization of 10 member states. The prime minister is attending the ASEAN Summit in Indonesia and meeting with other world leaders before travelling to Singapore for a bilateral visit. His trip focuses on strengthening Canada’s economic ties with the Indo-Pacific region. He then heads to New Delhi, India, for the G20 leaders’ summit.
Canada’s promised Indo-Pacific trade representative to be based in Jakarta, minister says
Canada will open an export development office in Jakarta and has named an Indo-Pacific trade representative [Paul Thoppil] to help Canadian businesses enter new markets in the region, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday while in Indonesia.
… One of his first events was an official visit with President Joko Widodo at his palace.
The two leaders spent their meeting discussing their growing ties, which Canada views as necessary in order to increase its diplomatic and trade presence in the Indo-Pacific region. A trade representative was promised in the Indo-Pacific strategy the Liberal government released last November.
Climate change, trade ties top agenda as Trudeau attends summits in Asia
Mickey Djuric, Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is travelling to the Indo-Pacific region in an effort to strengthen relationships with Asian leaders
Canada has its eyes on Asia and the lucrative trade markets in the Indo-Pacific region as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to the region for a week of international summits and bilateral meetings.
With stops in Indonesia, Singapore and India over six days, relationship building with Asian leaders is a critical goal.
Canada wants in on the region’s rapid growth amid the global green energy transition, in which Canada sees itself as a key player.
It also wants to diversify its trade in the region away from China. Canada launched a new Indo-Pacific strategy last fall, aiming to expand trade links throughout the region to help counter China’s dominance.
It is in the midst of negotiating a comprehensive trade agreement with Indonesia and just temporarily paused formal trade talks with India pending further consultations with business stakeholders.
It already has a trade pact with Singapore as both are signatories to the Pacific Rim trade deal usually referred to as the CPTPP.
Experts caution Mr. Trudeau will need to avoid being too preachy during his trip and prove his visit isn’t just a photo-op, but part of a larger commitment that Canada will be in the region for the long term.

22 August
Harnessing a Middle-Power, Non-Zero-Sum Approach to China and the Indo-Pacific
Stephen Nagy, Senior Associate Professor, Department of Politics and International Studies, International Christian University, Tokyo
(Conference of Defence Associations) The rise of China is probably a net good. The Chinese government has transitioned 500-600 million people out of utter poverty into a position where they can start to consume and produce goods. We benefit directly as Canadians. China, because of its immense resources, is a critical partner in dealing with climate change, properly regulating AI, and probably thinking about new solutions to climate change challenges that we’re facing. I think that China has huge potential to have a positive impact as well. To think that China’s rise comes at the loss of the so-called West is probably unproductive. It does face challenges. The challenge of China’s rise is mostly due to the nature of its government, its oppressive tendencies, and its human rights violations.
China thinks very differently about security and international institutions. We should not mince our words. It wants to change international institutions, so they’re less rules-based. Things like human rights are not universal. When we think about the rule of law, that rule of law is not something that they are advocating for. They advocate for rule by law. I think that there are some huge benefits from China’s rise, but there’s a real challenge posed by China’s rise as well. This has less to do with the decline of the West but with the rise of the rest. This is really important. It’s the so-called post-WWII order that has allowed the rest to rise to be more prosperous, to be more stable, and to be able to deal with food security issues. In a sense, the rise of the rest has been because of the so-called West. I think that this is an important thing for us to continue to focus on as we advocate for the current system that we enjoy.

15 July
Dispatch from the Front Lines:
(The Line) American media doesn’t often notice Canada, and as much as Canadians like to whinge about being ignored, the lack of interest in our affairs from south of the border is usually a good thing. If you’re looking for a rule of thumb here, it’s this: attention from the Americans is almost always negative.
A case in point this week was an editorial published by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, headlined “Canada is a military free-rider in NATO.” The subhed was “Ottawa still spends only a pathetic 1.38% of GDP on defense.” The editorial makes a number of points almost all of which will be familiar to readers of the Line, which are all variations of: Canada shirks its NATO commitment to spend two per cent of GDP on defence, while engaging in relentless virtue signalling and moral preening, both domestically and to its allies. It treats national defence as social project, while doing little to nothing in the way of actually projecting the power that is needed to defend the values it purports to advance.
There are some absolutely killer lines in the editorial, beginning with the lede: “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Lithuania this week for the annual NATO summit, but it’s too bad there wasn’t a junior table where he could sit.” A few paragraphs later: “Last week Ottawa put in its two cents against cluster munitions. But asking its citizens to meet their actual obligations to the cause of freedom is apparently too much to ask.” And then: “Nowadays Ottawa can be counted on to ‘fight’ for human rights, which is to say that it talks a lot about them.”
Again, for anyone paying attention here in Canada, these are not new arguments. But the editorial does add one twist at the end, suggesting that if Canada can’t be bothered keeping its NATO commitments, then perhaps it should be kicked out of the G7 and replaced by a country willing to play a leadership role. They suggest Poland as a possibility. …
What the Wall Street Journal editorial does is suggest that there could be real consequences for our professed indigence. It is one thing to be left out of AUKUS, which the Liberals continue to falsely characterize as a submarine procurement deal. Getting kicked out of the G7 would something else entirely — it’s the sort of thing the sorts of people who vote Liberal tend to care about.
Canada’s current attitude to collective defence is not sustainable. Our allies have noticed. Either we change, or our allies will change things for us.

11 July
Tasha Kheiriddin: Goodwill from NATO allies running out for Trudeau
It’s great to see the PM getting the message — but Canada is still terribly late to the party.
… The second big piece of news — at least from a Canadian perspective — is that Canada will double its commitment to the NATO operation in Latvia. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada will supply 1,200 troops to the mission, at a cost of $2.6 billion over three years. Canada will join forces with other NATO members including Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain who are also putting boots on the ground in the former Soviet Bloc country.
… So why is Trudeau finally getting Canada’s act together on NATO? In a word, pressure.
… The world is witnessing a titanic struggle between democracy and autocracy — an all-hands-on-deck moment where no nation in the free world can afford to be complacent.
NATO isn’t perfect, of course. It has come in for harsh criticism from Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy, for dithering on the admission of Ukraine. Nevertheless, it’s still the best defence Canada has against those who would seek to harm us, and our allies.

28 June
Terry Glavin: All Trudeau had to do was stay on script on Russia.
At least nothing he said about the failed coup could be twisted by the Kremlin’s propagandists
To be fair, in his answers to reporter’s questions during his Arctic Council visit in Iceland, Trudeau certainly said nothing to spook the Kremlin. Quite the opposite. And Trudeau got this much right: “We need to make sure that we are not facilitating the liberal use of propaganda and disinformation that we know the Russians tend to do.”

27 June
Global Affairs moves Arctic centre from Norway to Ottawa after promising to increase foreign presence
[T]he decision appears in stark contrast to promises by Joly as well as the findings of Future of Diplomacy, the major overhaul of the department published in early June.
Two weeks after Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly promised to increase Canada’s presence abroad, she’s shutting down its Canadian International Arctic Centre (CIAC) office in Oslo

25 June
Arctic and global security top agenda as Trudeau meets Nordic leaders in Iceland
(CTV) Arctic security and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were top of mind as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Iceland Sunday for a two-day summit with Nordic leaders.
Trudeau is a guest at the annual meeting of leaders from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, where global security was already high on the agenda before 24 hours of chaos in Russia threw even more uncertainty into the mix.
‘We need to increase our influence’: Joly wants to increase Canada’s impact on the world stage
(CTV) Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly says Canada needs to bolster its influence on the world stage, especially in the face of a shifting global context, with the war in Ukraine, and a complex relationship with China.
Joly told CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos, in a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday, she’s working domestically to make sure Canada’s diplomats “are well tooled to do their job,” while also focusing on key issues abroad, namely when it comes to Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific region, and the Arctic.
“What we’re seeing is that the world’s power structures are moving, and therefore we need to be there to defend our interests without compromising our values, and we need to increase our influence,” Joly said.
She also said much of that fluctuating power structure stems from China and the Indo-Pacific region.
Trudeau off to Iceland to meet leaders ahead NATO, amid Arctic uncertainty
(Global) …Iceland will host leaders from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway over the next two days for an annual gathering of Nordic prime ministers.
Leaders from Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Åland Islands are also attending.
Trudeau is a guest, and his office says it is a chance to advance common interests with the Nordic nations, which range from protecting the environment and developing clean energy to tackling security challenges.
“There’s ongoing co-operation among these countries,” Roland Paris, a former senior adviser to Trudeau and director of the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, said of the leaders gathering in Iceland. “The Arctic has become a strategically more important part of the world as the ice melts.
“Each of these northern countries has a very clear interest in ensuring the security and sovereignty of their territory.”
Nordic countries, including Canada and the United States, hit pause on working with Russia through the Arctic Council after its invasion of Ukraine.
That has thrown what co-operation looks like in the region into serious question, Paris said.

15 June
Russian foreign ministry summons Canadian envoy over plane confiscation
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it had summoned a Canadian diplomat in Moscow in protest over the confiscation of an Antonov plane in Toronto, and warned that Russian-Canadian relations were on the “verge of being severed.”
Canada on Saturday ordered the seizure of a Russian-registered Antonov-124 cargo plane at Toronto’s airport, its first such asset seizure aimed at putting pressure on Moscow over the Ukraine invasion.
Russia told Brian Ebel, the deputy head of Canada’s embassy in Moscow, that it viewed the plane seizure as “cynical theft,” according to a statement from the foreign ministry.
Canada’s “Russophobic policy will entail the most serious repercussions for Russian-Canadian relations, which are on the verge of being severed through the fault of the Trudeau administration,” the Russian ministry’s statement said.

14 June
RCAF declines to participate in massive military wargame in Europe
Observers say that Ottawa’s declining to send over even a few fighter jets might indicate just how stretched Canada’s military air assets have become.
(Globe & Mail) The Royal Canadian Air Force says it is declining to participate in a show of military strength by 25 allied countries in Europe because it is focusing on trying to upgrade its aging fleet.
An 11-day exercise, known as Air Defender 23 and billed as “the largest deployment exercise of air forces in NATO’s history,” began this week in Germany.
The operation involves 250 aircraft and 10,000 personnel, mostly from the United States and Germany. Countries such as Slovenia, Romania and the Baltic states are also participating. So are Japan and Sweden, though they are not a NATO members.
German officials say they began planning for the military exercise five years ago, after the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.
The Canadian military was asked to take part, but it is not doing so. …

11 June
Ukraine’s fight for ‘the future of us all,’ Trudeau says on surprise trip to Kyiv
(Canadian Press via CTV) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Moscow of a “new colonial approach” in Ukraine during a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday, where he told that country’s parliament they are fighting for “the future of us all.”
“You are the tip of the spear that is determining the future of the 21st century,” Trudeau said during a 25-minute speech before a special session of the national legislature, known as the Verkhovna Rada.
The visit, which was at the invitation of Ukraine, comes amid signs that a long-awaited spring counteroffensive against Russia could be underway.
It is also happening during wildfires across Canada, with smoke reducing air quality, and after Friday’s resignation of the special rapporteur Trudeau had assigned to probe foreign interference.
“Canada will be part of the multinational efforts to train fighter pilots and to help maintain Ukraine’s fighter-jet program, leveraging Canadian expertise in these areas,” Trudeau said during the news conference.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland joined Trudeau on the trip
Ottawa has contributed more than $8 billion to efforts related to the war in Ukraine since last year. That has included launching a special immigration program to allow Ukrainians to come to Canada quickly with a temporary work and study permit, instead of going through the usual refugee system.
The money includes $1 billion in military support, including the donation of eight Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine and training for its medics and soldiers in third countries like Latvia.

7 June
Joly pledges foreign-service reboot in which diplomats better grasp languages, topics
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is promising a plan by this fall for a foreign-service reboot in which diplomats will have a better grasp of the languages and topics relevant to their postings.
“Ensuring that we have a modernized diplomacy, fit for purpose — fit for the 21st century — is crucial,” Joly said in a speech to Canadian ambassadors in Ottawa Wednesday morning.
“Ahead of us is a once-in-a-generation challenge, and how we will respond will define the next decades.”
The minister is promising an implementation plan by Sept. 1 on a reboot to how Global Affairs Canada hires people, manages its staff and internal systems and prioritizes resources. The plan would include an update on progress every six months through 2026.
… And in a months-long Senate study, current and past diplomats testified that Canada does not adequately prioritize having foreign-service officers or trade commissioners specialize in a region, language or topic. Instead, Global Affairs Canada shuffles them between a variety of roles in Ottawa and world capitals.
And in a months-long Senate study, current and past diplomats testified that Canada does not adequately prioritize having foreign-service officers or trade commissioners specialize in a region, language or topic. Instead, Global Affairs Canada shuffles them between a variety of roles in Ottawa and world capitals.
Joly released a 30-page report called the Future of Diplomacy, which notes Canada has a comparatively small presence at the United Nations and in what she calls “strategically important countries.”
“The department has sometimes been slow to react, or not focused enough on emerging issues,” reads a draft of the report, which was provided to reporters but had not been made public as of Wednesday afternoon.
“Many of the constraints that hobble Global Affairs Canada are self-imposed,” it says, noting “unintended consequences of a corporate culture that is too risk-averse.”

22 May
Colin Robertson: Out of Hiroshima: Takeaways from the 2023 G7
(Policy) Having prioritized climate, food and energy security and Canada’s capacity in critical minerals, Justin Trudeau’s objectives were contained in the G7 Clean Energy Economy Action Plan and the Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security. There was explicit recognition that critical minerals are essential to the transition to clean energy.
Like other leaders, Trudeau made a series of funding announcements on food and climate security, as well as to support continued monitoring of North Korean weapons of mass destruction and Iran’s nuclear activities. Trudeau also announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands to underline the government’s commitment to its new Indo-Pacific strategy.
G7 Clean Energy Economy Action Plan
We, the leaders of the G7, are acting and enhancing cooperation to address the climate crisis and accelerate the global clean energy transition to reach net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the Paris Agreement. We recognize that public and private investment in the industries of the future both at home and around the world will be necessary to achieve these goals and that further cooperation is necessary in order to fill the investment gap for the clean energy transition to lower the cost of the energy transition worldwide
Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security
We, the leaders of Japan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Comoros, the Cook Islands, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Viet Nam and the European Union, reaffirmed that access to affordable, safe and nutritious food is a basic human need, and shared the importance of working closely together to respond to the worsening global food security crisis with the world facing highest risk of famine in a generation and to build more resilient, sustainable and inclusive agriculture and food systems, including through enhancing stability and predictability in international markets.

19 May
Trudeau’s wide-stance pose with Korean politician splits critics
Korean media praises prime minister’s gesture, known as ‘manner legs’, while some Canadians say it is embarrassing country

17 May
South Korea, Canada agree to step up cooperation on critical minerals, security
By Hyonhee Shin and Ju-min Park
(Reuters) – South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed on Wednesday to enhance cooperation on critical minerals and continue joint efforts to fend off North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. Trudeau arrived in Seoul on Tuesday in the first visit in nine years by a Canadian leader as the two countries explore ways to expand security ties, while navigating a rivalry between the United States and China. After a summit, the leaders signed a memorandum of understanding on critical mineral supply chains, the clean energy transition and energy security, which they said would help position the countries as “globally competitive players in areas including batteries and zero-emission vehicles.” Canada has many of the critical minerals – like lithium, cobalt and nickel – that are now used to make batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), and the government is in the process of seeking to help producers and processors scale up production. Addressing South Korea’s parliament earlier, Trudeau said Canada was committed to increasing military engagement to mitigate threats to regional security.
Joly promotes friendship with South Korea as Canada seeks closer ties

16 May
Canadian lawmaker speaks out on being targeted by China
(Politico) Michael Chong calls for overhauls in wake of foreign interference bombshell. The Canadian member of Parliament allegedly targeted by a Chinese diplomat in a foreign meddling scheme said his story illustrates how the country’s national security system is malfunctioning. Conservative MP Michael Chong said the fact he learned about his case through a newspaper leak of classified intelligence is a “symptom of a national security and intelligence system that is not working” and that intelligence is not being shared properly with legislators.

11 May
Just kidding, Canada wants in on AUKUS after all
David Moscrop (GZERO media)
Just over two years ago, Canada’s Liberal government dismissed the country’s absence from AUKUS – the Indo-Pacific security alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. “This is a deal for submarines,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “which Canada is not currently or anytime soon in the market for.” He assured voters it would have no impact on Canada’s Five Eyes partnership (the intelligence pact between Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, and Canada), and that was that. Canada wasn’t being snubbed or sidelined for being a defense-spending laggard … or so we were told. Canada simply didn’t want or need nuclear submarines. Never mind that it was reported at the time that AUKUS also included military technology and information sharing as part of its Indo-Pacific strategy. On second thought Fast-forward to spring 2023. Now, Canada wants in and is saying so publicly, citing – you guessed it – a desire to share information and military technology.

10 May
PM’s former adviser says there’s no indication Canada was invited to join AUKUS defence pact
Former Australian prime minister says Canada’s unwillingness to adopt nuclear subs caused snub
Canada was left out of the trilateral defence and security pact known as AUKUS — and a new report by a respected American think-tank says Ottawa must overcome its apparent indifference to the deal or risk being left behind by its allies. The analysis report, published online Tuesday by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, was co-authored by Vincent Rigby, a former national security and intelligence adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The report pulled no punches. “The glacial pace at which Canada appears to be adapting to the realities of modern great power competition has left it far behind the curve, with consequences for both Ottawa’s reputation among its allies and its ability to protect Canadian territory, sovereignty, and contribute to global peace and stability,” said the report, which probed the reasons why Canada was left out of AUKUS.

Feds under fire for passport redesign, Legion calls it ‘a poor decision’ to replace iconic images (CTV) Noticeably absent from Canada’s just-revealed passport redesign are certain images, a move that has some accusing the federal government of attempting to “erase” the country’s history. The former passport design features images of the Fathers of Confederation, the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France and athlete and activist Terry Fox, but these nods to Canada’s past will not be featured in the new passport, according to officials. The new design, revealed Wednesday morning, features symbols the government says it hopes will reflect Canadian life, including more images of nature.

8 May
Canada expels Chinese diplomat for alleged intimidation of lawmaker
Zhao Wei is accused of gathering information on Conservative MP Michael Chong in retaliation for criticism of China’s Uyghur policy
Canada has expelled a Chinese diplomat after an intelligence report accused him of trying to intimidate a Canadian lawmaker critical of China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority.
The rare decision to remove an accredited diplomat comes only days after Joly’s office summoned the Chinese ambassador, Cong Peiwu, to express frustration over attempts to meddle in Canada’s domestic politics.

Canada seeks to join non-nuclear pillar of AUKUS alliance
(Globe & Mail) The Canadian government is seeking to join the non-nuclear component of AUKUS, a security pact between Australia, Britain and the United States that was struck to counter China’s rising military might in the Indo-Pacific region, according to two government sources. Canada was conspicuously absent when AUKUS was first announced in September, 2021. The three member countries are among this country’s closest allies, and like Canada they are members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership. National-security experts feared Canada, a laggard on defence spending, was being excluded from a new “Three Eyes” group. Canada’s reason for wanting to join now is not to acquire nuclear-powered submarines, like Australia, but rather to participate in the second pillar of the AUKUS agreement, the two sources, both senior government officials, said. This non-nuclear part of AUKUS provides for information-sharing and close co-operation on accelerating development of cutting-edge technologies, including undersea defence capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technology and hypersonic warfare.
Canada hopes to join Aukus defence pact, says report Ottawa ‘highly interested’ in joining group amid fears country could be shut out of intelligence and tech sharing

5 May
Ukraine’s nuclear deal with Canada’s Cameco carries big risks, rewards
(Reuters) – Ukraine’s 12-year deal to buy enough uranium from Canadian miner Cameco Corp to power all of its nuclear reactors gives each side the right to change sales volumes with two years’ notice, the Ukrainian state-owned utility Energoatom told Reuters. The unusual flexibility of the deal announced in February, the details of which have not been reported previously, reflects the uncertainties caused by Russia’s war with its neighbour and underlines the high stakes for both parties. Last year Cameco restarted the world’s largest high-grade uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan… As the company ramps up production for the Ukraine contract, its biggest so far, it is also betting on winning more deals from eastern European countries as they try to reduce dependence on Russian energy.
Canada needs to chart a clear course for increased defence spending
The clock is ticking for the Canadian military to decide whether to replace its submarines, as Canada’s closest allies push ahead with plans to build new fleets.
(Globe & Mail) Beyond the question of the need to spend more – it would amount to an extra $21-billion a year – there is the issue of what that spending would go to. More spending is good; spending it well is the real challenge. How much is relatively straightforward but then the questions of on what and when are more complicated. Making a decision to buy is the easy part. Building up true submarine capacity in the navy is another. Canada barely has the submariners for its existing fleet. To consider buying eight subs, or even 12 – that is, to have two or three available to work at all times – involves a lot more than the initial purchase price.
Canada winding down military role in Sudan evacuation
Aircraft attached to the Sudan mission now resuming NATO supply runs for Ukraine
Murray Brewster, senior defence writer
(CBC) Canadian troops deployed to assist in the evacuation of citizens from war-torn Sudan will be soon be coming home, and the naval ships set aside for a possible seaborne evacuation will also be resuming their regular operations, the federal government said Friday. Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has released a statement saying the evacuation effort is now going to “transition towards assisted departures and commercial transportation.” Roughly 400 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their families have made it to safety since violence erupted in mid-April.

3 May
Canadian lawmaker says China targeted his family for harassment
Michael Chong accused Trudeau’s government of turning blind eye while Chinese diplomat gathered information in Canada
A Canadian lawmaker has accused government officials of turning a blind eye to Chinese harassment of his family as pressure mounts on Justin Trudeau to launch a public inquiry into Beijing’s attempts to meddle in the country’s domestic politics.

1 May
China views Canada as a ‘high priority’ for interference: CSIS report
(Globe & Mail) China sees Canada as a “high-priority target” and employs “incentives and punishment” as part of a vast influence network directed at legislators, business executives and diaspora communities in this country, according to a top-secret intelligence assessment from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
The CSIS report is an overview of Chinese government foreign interference in Canada, ranging from investigating a Conservative MP’s relatives in China to harassing a mainland Chinese student in Canada who publicly supported Hong Kong’s democracy movement.
The report warned that Beijing is the “foremost perpetrator” of foreign interference in Canada. Its agents are unconcerned about repercussions, the report says, because of the lack of obstacles such as a foreign-influence registry of the kind established in the United States and Australia.

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