Today's discussion:

Longevity has not translated into influence for Justin Trudeau

One glaring issue with Canada’s foreign policy throughout Trudeau's eight years at the helm has been a consistent gulf between words and actions. While rarely missing a chance to stand on a soapbox at this global summit or the other, Trudeau has noticeably lacked in follow-through.

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Rudyard Griffiths

I think what we need to reflect on is how a) a growing number of world powers think that they can basically do and treat Canada as they see fit. Some of these powers like China and Russia are overtly dangerous actors. Others like India and Saudi Arabia are becoming increasingly malevolent and pose growing risks; and b) and maybe this is even more important, our traditional allies don’t seem to particularly care. They will seek closer ties to these “non-aligned” states given what they think are their national interests and the geopolitical realities of the moment. This should be a wake up call for Canadian elites. We are a) perceived as weak; and b) no one is coming to our rescue. This is me suggest self-reliance and self-defense has to become a priority not out of choice, but necessity. It is not popular in Canada to spend defense and security at a NATO average and politicians of all stripes know this but this isn’t optional anymore. We are witnessing the real costs of decades of underspending on security. It was great to free load on our allies’ security infrastructure and guarantees when we could in a safer and less dangerous world but that time has passed.

20th September 2023 at 9:10 am
Rob Tyrrell

Our failure to meet NATO spending commitments is costing us. Perhaps too many citizens think of military spending in terms of soldiers, artillery, and tanks, perhaps only to be possibly utilized on some overseas battlefield.

The need however, is at home. We are not adequately asserting, nor capable of asserting, our sovereignty in the vast North of our country. We should be spending up to our 2% commitment to close this gap.

Federal leaders need to lead and make this case to the public AND take action, not necessarily in that order.

20th September 2023 at 9:34 am
Rudyard Griffiths

100% agree Rob. We should be leading globally on Arctic security. The Americans would reward this as it dovetails with their security strategy of perimeter defense. We have real and urgent security issues of own in terms of “sharing” the Bering Straight with Russia – yes with Russia, we tend to forget this. We could make a global contribution to security of western allies in the Arctic.

20th September 2023 at 9:58 am
Luke Smith

This is all the more important when we realize that our Arctic interests are not always aligned with the interests of the Americans. Can’t necessarily rely on them to fully backstop us there.

20th September 2023 at 2:49 pm
Michael F

Curious where you think those billions of dollars will come from? Canadians already complain vociferously about being over taxed. We need to invest countless billions in healthcare and other pressing issues like infrastructure and housing. Will Canadians willingly fork over more of their income to projects they will never touch or see any real tangible benefit from? Our political culture has become such that politicians govern by polls and can’t see past the tip of their nose. No one has the political courage to undertake vast, expensive projects that won’t be completed beyond their current mandate. And being in the far north these projects will be very costly and very prone to budget problems.

20th September 2023 at 12:14 pm
Gary Oxenforth

We don’t have a federal leader. We have Trudeau. I rest my case.

20th September 2023 at 9:43 am
Rob Tyrrell

Do you think Canada is distinct in this regard (perceived as weak without a committed protector), or is this more generally true for some, or most, other “Western aligned” middle powers like Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, etc.?

20th September 2023 at 9:26 am
Rudyard Griffiths

I do. AU certainly has punched above its weight and is in AUKUS as a result. We should be in AUKUS. Our non invitation speaks volumes about what our closest allies think about our military capacity and willingness to be a peer nation on security and defense.

20th September 2023 at 9:55 am
Michael F

Australia is simply a pawn for the US and it’s strategic interests.

20th September 2023 at 12:47 pm
Rob Tyrrell

I am sure that PM Trudeau has some very capable people on his team. However, he has never seemed impressive at all and, without the last name, his rise to elected office as an MP in the HoC, let alone Prime Minister, was highly improbable. Despite an auspicious start, his performance as PM has not transcended my original impression, but rather, confirmed it.

In contrast. PM Harper’s resume was not impressive, he is not charismatic, so I give much more credit to his capabilities for his rise to Prime Minister. He certainly seemed to be a very effective PM (not an endorsement of what was done).

Tom Mulcare had an impressive resume and failed to ultimately connect with voters despite a strong track record, a palatable centrist platform, and good polling at the start of the 2015 campaign. I believe that he would have also been a very effective PM (not an endorsement of what he was likely to do).

My broad impressions above should be entirely suspect, and are, to myself.

Humans are not good judges in this regard. As such, personality, charisma, and celebrity play way too big a role in our electoral processes. As long as “fancy talkers that look like leaders” are heavily favored, we may occasionally get lucky, but we will generally continue to have suboptimal representation and leadership in our governments.

20th September 2023 at 8:55 am
Michael F

Trudeau stood up to the bully Trump. He called out the Saudis over Khashoggi, and now more recently India. Canada is and always has been a middle power with limited influence on the world stage. Growing our population and economy will bring Canada more influence on the world stage. Do we need to assert sovereignty in the north? Absolutely. But at the end of the day there are only so many ways to split the pie and previous governments have been just as guilty of underfunding the military and security. Perhaps when we’re a country with 50 million we will have the tax base to spend on these issues in such a massive country.

20th September 2023 at 11:58 am
Michael F is a Trudeau Lover

And more on….

7th April 2024 at 9:29 pm
Gordon Divitt

Unfortunately Justin inherited his mother’s genes and not his fathers. Her hippy dippy take on the world was problematic at the time but totally inappropriate and useless for someone claiming to be the thought leader of a G7 country.

Canada has been a free rider on the American military since Diefenbaker which was about the time our contribution to WW2 wore out. Maybe we should bite the bullet, quit NATO and focus on becoming a mid size economy based on resource extraction who needs friends and markets wherever we can find them

20th September 2023 at 7:17 am
Lauraine Howatt

your genetic inference negates all the rest

20th September 2023 at 12:16 pm
Sean Speer

I agree with Rudyard’s point about a wake-up call. As I’ve written for The Hub at different points, at the precise moment that we need a federal politics dedicated to federal issues – defence, security, diplomacy, etc. – we have a lot of federal politicians who would seem to prefer to be provincial health ministers or local mayors. The costs of such a politics are increasingly manifesting themselves including Canada’s growing isolation on the world stage.

We’ll have a federal election at some point soon. If you’re thinking about running but what you really want to talk about provincial or local issues, then reconsider. Wait for those elections. We need national politicians who are actually interested in the awesome power set out for the national government in the Canadian constitution.

20th September 2023 at 10:01 am

I think it is quite a stretch to say that Stephen Harper was laser focused on international affairs. He was only to the extent that Canadian policy coincided with his Reform agenda.
Given our present situation vis a vis India, I find it incredible that Pierre Poilievre would undermine Canada by placing the burden of proof on the PM. If this is the way Conservatives think it will gain influence in world affairs, it is a sorry day for Canada.

20th September 2023 at 8:34 am
RJK Wells

“I listen with attention to the judgment of all men; but so far as I can remember, I have followed none but my own.“ – Michel De Montaigne

The burden of proof falls to the one making the allegation. By asking the Prime Minister a legitimate question as Leader of the Official Opposition, Pierre Poilievre is not undermining Canada.

For the sake of the nation’s credibility, we had better hope that the Prime Minister can back it up with credible information, and that he hasn’t compromised the integrity of a criminal investigation by prematurely rushing to the microphone.

20th September 2023 at 10:11 am
Michael F

You honestly think any credible western government would make a public accusation of this nature without adequate proof? Skippy is trying to score cheap political points as usual.

20th September 2023 at 12:03 pm
Wow, are you skull phukt Michael F

See display name

7th April 2024 at 9:29 pm
Amal Attar-Guzman

Rahim’s article rightly hits right on the mark. Even when someone has been in a position of power for a long period of time, it really does not equate to actual influence and even a long-lasting impact. That is even in everyday politics, let alone on the global stage. Concrete action in foreign policy infinitives make such an impact, and not diplomatic buzzwords, and we have been really falling behind that for almost the last decade or so, when it comes to noy only defence spending, but also in energy development and critical minerals strategy and even international assistance programs.

On the former, Canada is really behind this strategy compared to competing nations (namely China) but also behind its allies. For years experts have been saying how important we have to develop this but it literally fell on deaf ears. Luckily, back in April, the government signed a joint action plan with the U.S. to advance secure supply chains for critical minerals. But even that might have been too late. It shouldn’t have to take Russia’s invasion on Ukraine to realize this important initiative.

On the latter, since 2017, we have been proclaiming in having a “feminist foreign policy” and there have been a lot of measures in public service to implement a Gender-Based Analysis strategy and lens when assessing international assistance programs. And while that may sound nice and the positive intentions are there (giving them the benefit of the doubt here), the two main glaring areas in this are i) what are examples of programs this has been implemented? Which area of the world and what was the focus? and ii) what were their outcomes and how effective were these analyses, along with their limitations? While I understand there might be some confidentiality surrounding these programs, it would great if the government or even Global Affairs Canada better announce these initiatives, its rationale and outcomes to voters so they can understand the purpose and see tangible results on these initiatives. That way, they can assess whether it was just hot air or there was actually something good that came out of it.

But again, maybe I am being a bit too naive.

20th September 2023 at 10:15 am
Rob Tyrrell

“That way, they can assess whether it was just hot air or there was actually something good that came out of it. “

To your point, it is often difficult for citizens to see the ‘tangible results’ (i.e. level of performance) in many spheres of government programs and services.

20th September 2023 at 11:18 am
Michael F

Being difficult to see hasn’t stopped some from throwing daggers simply because it’s the other guy on the wrong bench.

20th September 2023 at 12:45 pm
Fraser Johnston

Where are the tangible benefits of Trudeau’s added & expensive feel good ministries? We have half of the 35+ cabinet members jet setting around to DEI kumbaya, healing & campfire singalong missions with coast to coast subsidized social activist groups. Not to mention the intangible benefits yet to be derived from LBGTQ+???, $100 million+ & Islamophobia, $? millions & growing, slush funds. Reality expenses, military, etc., are far back in the queue.

20th September 2023 at 1:08 pm
Bill Williams

World leaders are much smarter and more perceptive that Canada’s (mostly) eastern electorate.

20th September 2023 at 9:08 am
Lauraine Howatt

not much of a contrib

20th September 2023 at 12:11 pm
Stuart Thomson

In his piece today on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s lack of influence among our G7 allies, Rahim Mohamed becomes the first Hub writer to quote the movie Chinatown and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It’s an impressive feat.

Do you agree with Rahim? And if so, why has Trudeau struggled to win friends and influence people on the world stage?

20th September 2023 at 6:26 am
Bruce Westmoreland

I totally agree with the author. After all, What has J.T. done in office? Legalize dope. Maybe that’s the problem, everybody’s too stoned to care.

20th September 2023 at 7:47 am
Stephen Peszel

He legalized dope but made it overly bureaucratic, over taxed, poor product, did not persuade people that the government approved stuff was better than what they had before so many stayed with their previous suppliers, who are not hurting but the approved suppliers are and losing money hand over fist and closing down. Not much different from how he and his sycophants handle everything from military procurement to housing. What a pity we collectively can’t vote for the PM. This many is way past his shelf life, he should never have held the position. Lack of ethics, lack of truth, lack of so much that could improve life in Canada. An embarrassment and a polariser.

20th September 2023 at 10:18 am
Lauraine Howatt

I live and deal in truth and facts, this judgemental attitude serves no one or anything.

20th September 2023 at 12:18 pm
Rob Tyrrell

Tangent Alert – It is certainly possible that the “mechanical issue” was an intentional incident meant to embarrass. If so, mission accomplished.

20th September 2023 at 8:22 am
Wilber Deck

If even the Hub is too woke to be able to quote a supposedly famous line from a film, with all its words spelled out (not w*****s, which means nothing to me), then maybe we need a more courageous alternative.

20th September 2023 at 8:08 am
Rob Tyrrell

I agree that not spelling the word ‘whores’ in a quote from an artistic work seems unnecessary, perhaps even skittish and/or prudish. Perhaps it is just being polite?

How is it “woke”? Providing your working definition might be helpful.

20th September 2023 at 8:20 am
Stuart Thomson

Rob, as the editor who made that decision I think it’s probably safe to say that “prudish” is closer to the mark than woke!

20th September 2023 at 9:23 am
Gordon Divitt

Thank you for the clarification. I spent many minutes trying to find a pejorative which fitted. As far I’m concerned ‘whore’ is a job description not a insult

20th September 2023 at 10:10 am
Rob Tyrrell

It is the critical job and service of the journalist to reveal to citizens the information that the powerful want to keep hidden.

We occasionally do see journalists on the ballot, and they should expect, although likely no longer enjoy, the warranted scrutiny from their former colleagues.

20th September 2023 at 11:31 am
Lauraine Howatt

Negativity and laziness are the drivers of most anything media.

20th September 2023 at 12:03 pm
Rob Tyrrell

Weren’t early independent newspapers sensationalist, hyperbolic, and full of partisan misinformation?

20th September 2023 at 4:58 pm
Michael F

Yes, some were and they were rightly labelled as rags and tabloids.

20th September 2023 at 6:19 pm
Rob Tyrrell

Partisanship isn’t necessarily a problem for me. In fact, partisanship is inevitable in analysis and opinion. As such, I seek variety.
The quality I want is substance. That is, nuanced, respectful, data driven, detailed and contextual discussion of solutions to our collective problems and challenges.

20th September 2023 at 4:30 pm
Michael F

Sadly you have a very valid point. And it’s really unfortunate that this is the state of journalism now. Clickbait headlines and rage farming have become the norm.

20th September 2023 at 3:48 pm
Michael F

I had high hopes there would be decent discourse on this medium. While there is some, there is also the typical ranting that is much like the monkeys flinging feces you see on the comment boards of rage puppy mill publications like the National Post.

20th September 2023 at 1:30 pm
Bob S Kwapis

Is there any substantial truth that drugs were found on the Canadian plane that took this plane of evil to India?

20th September 2023 at 7:56 am
Michael F

Are you that gullible?

20th September 2023 at 12:51 pm