Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Today, the CBC reported on a poll that indicated a majority of Canadians disapprove of the current direction of the nation's foreign policy.

While three-quarters of those polled agreed there has been a definitive shift in foreign policy since the Conservatives won the Jan. 23 election, more than half (56 per cent) said they do not agree with the direction foreign policy has been taking.
Meanwhile, in the Toronto Star, John Kirton, associate professor at UofT, wrote that under Stephen Harper's government Canada is gaining increased world recognition and status.
With global demand and dependence closely matching Canada's surplus capabilities, the country is becoming one of the great global connectors within the top tier clubs that count. From the North American Summit in the spring, through the G8 Summit in the summer, to the Francophone Summit this fall, Harper's Canada became a leader.
Kirton not only argues that Canada is gaining an increased status, but with that status we are more successfully promoting our ideals.
Canada's privileged position is helping shape the world the way Canadians want. Against America Harper's Canada has secured the long-awaited softwood lumber deal, a delay in America's protectionist passport plan, a suspension of American live fire exercises on the Great Lakes, and a resumption of open Internet pharmacy sales to the U.S. [...] Globally, Harper is advancing core Canadian values, such as defending democratic states attacked by terrorists
I think that Kirton overstates Canada's position and is a too generous to Harper in some areas, he also puts too much emphasis on a declining America, however his main point is well taken. In my opinion, Harper's foreign policy and his emphasis on carving out a principled leadership roll for Canada in world affairs has been his greatest strength, despite it not being one of the government's five campaign priorities.

Unfortunately, the prime minister still has a lot of Canadians to convince.

Posted by Matthew @ 2:36 p.m.

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In fairness, it's not necessarily true that influence in world affairs is a consequence of the direction pursued by the Harper government; it might instead merely be a consequence of the method pursued. For instance, if (for argument's sake) the Chretien/Martin Grits were amateurish transnationalists, while the Harper Tories are professional Anglospherists, the increase in global influence could be a consequence of either the shift from transnationalism to Anglospherism or the shift from amateurism to professionalism. (Possibly a bit of both.) Now as a proponent of the Harperite foreign policy I'd like to think that it's a consequence of the former, but I have a feeling it's also at least partly a consequence of the Canadian government finally acting grown-up again.

Point being, Canadians who don't support the substance of the Harper foreign policy might still support the procedure of Harper foreign policy, and that procedure might be enough to effectuate the desirable increase in global influence.

Posted by Blogger Mader @ November 01, 2006 12:37 a.m. #
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