Archive for the ‘Foreign Affairs’ Category

Justin Trudeau’s partisan brain trust on foreign affairs

- December 17th, 2014
 Za'atri Refugee Camp in Jordan

Your correspondent meets Syrian child refugees at Za’atri Refugee Camp in Jordan while covering Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit there earlier this year. Harper’s approach to the Middle East — aligning Canada much more strongly with Israel than previous Liberal prime ministers, for example — would be one of the defining characteristics of his foreign policy. Liberals recently opposed the combat mission against ISIL in Iraq.  (Look closely to find PostMedia’s Mark Kennedy among the kids there).

Today, the Liberal Party of Canada has announced a council  of “non-partisan” experts to provide advice and be a sounding board for leader Justin Trudeau on international affairs issues, from military procurement to international aid to global security threats.  The professional qualifications and accomplishments of the members of this council are impressive but it cannot be accurate to brand this group as “non-partisan”.

Indeed,  this council is made up of 14 individuals, 11 of whom are Liberals MPs, current or former Liberal candidates, or Liberal donors.  No one should be confused: This council does not believe that the way Stephen Harper has positioned Canada on the world stage is a good thing. And eight of them – the current or hope-to-be Liberal MPs — would have voted with their leader against the current combat mission against ISIL in Iraq. Nothing wrong with that. But let’s avoid the marketing sheen of “non-partisan.” Read more…

What are you scared of? Canadians polled on security threats

- November 22nd, 2014
pathfinder

CFB PETAWAWA, Ont. – A graduating student of the 2014 Patrol Pathfinder course holds a position as a CH-147F Chinook helicopter departs Garrison Petawawa on November 10, 2014. (Cpl Mark Schombs, 4 CDSB Petawawa Imaging)

Ipsos Reid polled citizens of 26 countries about security threats and released the results at the Halifax security conference on this weekend. Here’s the Canada-only results from that poll: Read more…

Marking the first International Day To End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

- November 1st, 2014

Harper, Kerry and Baird

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister John Baird to his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, on October 28, 2014, as the Secretary visited to pay condolences following last week’s attacks and for a series of bilateral meetings. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]


This Sunday, we will mark the first ever International Day To End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, an initiative of the UN General Assembly. This is a good idea. But I would say that. I’m a journalist. Who once had thugs hired by Egypt’s secret police put a machete to my chest and the chest of my TVA cameraman. It all turned out Ok for the two of us but for way, way, way too many journalists around the world, bad things happen.

Now, I’ve got some issues with the way U.S. President Barack Obama tries to control the press, eavesdrop on the press, and otherwise work hard to interfere with the work of reporters in his capital. That said, I’m very happy to see this statement from his Secretary of State John Kerry. (Haven’t seen anything similar from any Canadian official) Read more…

A test for Trudeau? Canada’s Liberals split on Iraq combat mission

- October 8th, 2014
TrudeauVotes

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (C) stands to vote against a government motion to participate in U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State militants operating in Iraq, The motion passed 157 to 134. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Justin Trudeau is facing the first serious test of his leadership of Canada’s Liberals in the wake of a parliamentary vote to send Canadian fighter jets to Iraq.

Trudeau and most Liberal MPs voted agains the idea.

But Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister and a globally recognized human rights defender, abstained from the vote, saying in a statement that his “principled absention”, as he called it, was a result of his recognition that military intervention against Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Syria is required but that the Harper government’s proposal lacked “clarity.”

Cotler, former Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion and former Liberal cabinet ministers Lawrence MacAulay and Mauril Bélanger were also absent from Tuesday night’s vote. Read more…

Asked and answered: Trudeau’s Iraq questions and Harper’s answers

- October 3rd, 2014

PMIraq

On Wednesday, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party distributed a list of what it called the “Prime Minister’s Unanswered Questions On Iraq.”  Let’s look at those questions and see if any were answered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper today in the House of Commons. (Short answer:  Answers were provided for most) Read more…