There has been very little discussion of foreign policy and international relations in the federal election campaign.
As Professor Mary-Zolle Zahar of the Department of Political Science at the University of Montreal points out, the leaders’ talks only drew questions such as secession from Afghanistan or relations with China. Comments are largely limited
Slogans, She says, does not allow a true reflection on these important questions.
If you like the filesAfghanistan Did not impose themselves on rural areas [en raison de l’actualité]We have not heard of foreign policy. And this is nothing new, She emphasizes, because international relations have not been discussed much during previous campaigns, she notes.
Yet extensive consultation (New window) Organized on foreign policy and shows that citizens are interested, they want their voices to be heard on these issues. But we do not offer them in the menu, She cries.
It is a shame that we do not use election campaigns to explore these interactions between our international positions and the choices we have to make internally. Because today, we can not think of each other without thinking of each other, Supports a researcher who specializes in conflict resolution.
Just think of the effects of climate change – which, in addition to causing drought and forest fires, has implications for circulation in the Arctic, Many countries are competing, including Canada – or the post-Kovid economic recovery, to name a few examples.
The government should anticipate situations that seem remote at the moment, but it could turn into crises that connect us directly, she recalled.
For example, Haitian refugees currently doing mass At the southern border of the United States Not looking to come and settle in Canada. However, if US policy is tightened, it could create a movement of refugees towards the Canadian border, as we experienced a few years ago during the Trump administration., She explains.
In short, we must remember that we do not live in a vacuum.
You have to show yourself, suggest things
Jocelyn Cowlen, a researcher at the Center for International Studies and Research at the University of Montreal (CERIUM), noted that political parties’ election platforms generally do not make much reference to international relations.
For example, UN and peace activities are mentioned only once on the Liberal Party of Canada platform.
According to him, the current situation is in line with the trend that began in the government of Stephen Harper and continued under Justin Trudeau, which means the slow decline of Canada’s voice in the world.
Despite the 2015 promise of a strong comeback on the international stage, Justin Trudeau has built the strategy of the Liberals Conservatives.
Fortress of North America His view is that security and defense matters, and that foreign policy is entangled in decisions made in Washington.
There is a range of psychological, intellectual and political parameters, meaning that for the past six years, Canada has been more of an observer than an actor on the international scene., Compared to the period before the early 2000s when it was reversed, observed by a man who was an adviser to former Foreign Minister Stefan Dion.
However, since the 1950s Canada has built its reputation and national identity on the uniqueness of its diplomacy, he argues.
Canada presents ideas and programs discussed and accepted by the international community: peacekeepers, recognition of the People’s Republic of China, the fight against apartheid, the creation of the Francophony and International Criminal Court, the Prohibition Agreement against mines, He cites as examples.
We cannot name a big initiative made by Justin Trudeau in the international arena.
It is true that the Trudeau government had to deal with the Trump administration, its protectionism and its unpredictability. But, according to Kowlan, this does not justify abandoning our diverse and courageous voice in foreign policy.
When Trump came to power, in the Prime Minister’s office, we said to ourselves: “Above all, we, the Americans, must not denigrate this administration, therefore, we are going to play. Safe“, He comments.
Deterioration of relations between Canada and many countries – China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia – However, according to the researcher, the Trudeau government should be encouraged to reflect on its foreign policy.
How do we read the world situation today? Then, what position do we want to occupy in this world, what solutions are we ready to provide?, He asks.
A lot of medium powers
Mary-Joel Zahar observed that we are currently in a multilateral crisis. In recent years, major powers have escalated bilateral agreements and abandoned multilateral platforms and organizations such as the UN.
But Canada must invest in these consultation and decision-making spaces. As a medium power, we must cooperate with our allies, learn how to use strategy and diplomacy in our relations with the American and Chinese giants, and play our cards well.
It is often said that Canada has limited resources and that it is middle class, so that its international action is subject to real obstacles., Said Mrs. Zahar.
But, if we go back to the late 1990s, limited Canadian resources did not prevent us from playing a leading role in the most important international issues: the Ottawa Convention on Personal Anti-Mines or the Report on Defense Responsibility. Standard adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, She continues.
If we look at this [période], We realized that Canada’s action was strong when working in collaboration with other countries that share similar views. This action is strongest when it comes to relying on the support of Canadians, so when it finds an echo in the population., The researcher adds.
The Released by Michael Kovrig and Michael SpoverMeng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was unilaterally detained in China for more than 1,000 days in retaliation for his arrest in Canada, a good example of the benefits of working with multiple partners, she said.
China is currently an international economic player, but its goal Become a major international military player. And like the United States, we cannot ignore them. We do not live by self-cultivation. The question is how to work with the Chinese when necessary without systematically allowing them to disregard international rules. And navigate it all because you are not alone, She explains.
Ms Zahar argued that Canada alone could not solve the problem.
This is thanks to our relationship with the United States and there has been a lot of discussion with Americans on how to resolve the Huawei issue, but it is through our cooperation with the European Union, especially with some European powers, that we have both succeeded in maintaining our position against the idea of being held hostage in a generally committed mission and Michael, She says.
It is important to know what our people can and cannot accept. Where are our internal red lines to prevent a government from denying its foreign policy.
Africa and the Indo-Pacific
According to Jocelyn Cowlen, Canada also missed important opportunities in Africa,
The next continent for economic development. He wonders if Canada is probably not too late The boat missed.
He reminded that the two dominant powers, France and China, were well established there.
But central powers such as Italy, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Korea and Germany are largely on African soil and trying to conquer markets., He stated.
Two researchers believe the closure of Canadian embassies on the continent could damage our relations with African countries.
For example, Turkey has 45 embassies in Africa. To Canada 21. However, until twenty years ago, Turkey had no interest in Africa as long as Canada had a presence for over a century in Francophone or Anglophone Africa. South Korea, a country that does not speak French or English, has more trade with Africa than we do., Said Jocelyn Cowlen, who also condemned Canada’s reduced participation in UN peacekeeping missions.
The expert noted that the election platform of the Conservative Party of Canada has interesting proposals on our relations with Africa.
Naturally, they noted that everyone was in Africa and that in order to achieve economic, security and diplomatic goals, it was necessary to be on this continent with 54 states representing the largest political coalition in the Assembly. General of the United States. Africans will not see you if you are not on the field. The day we want to elect to the Security Council is important, He continues.
M. Cowlan Characteristics Canada failed to secure a permanent seat in 2020 Lack of support for this from African countries.
Two researchers are also wondering if Canada will not miss out on opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region. Most recently, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom AUKUS terminates contract, Dealing with military equipment and intelligence sharing to counter Chinese expansion, but this excludes Canada.
Obviously, our tools are limited and we can’t be everywhere, Ms. Zahar noted. But Canada must question itself where to place its marbles according to its goals.
The region, where China and the United States are most active, seems to be developing into a real hotspot. If Canada finds no resources in both Africa and the Asia-Pacific, for example, […] The government has difficult choices to make. He must think carefully and explain everything to the population and make sure he has his support., She concluded.
Experts all agree that the diplomatic days allotted to diplomats and the military are over.