Canada is still a middle power

Six months after President Biden’s inauguration – what Canadian leaders saw as a defining moment for Canada on the international stage – it is worth asking, “What has changed?” “.

The unpredictable President Trump has been replaced by a career politician who sees a healthy relationship with Canada as a priority. At least that’s what some Canadians thought. While the winds of optimism have been welcome, President Biden has had little to do with Canada so far.

Soon after taking office, he revoked the license for Keystone XL. Since then, the Biden government has continued to impose tariffs on Canadian solar energy products, remaining adamant on softwood and dairy issues, and despite repeated requests from Canada, it has refused to intervene in the dispute over the “Line 5” transnational pipeline. Of course, the new US president is not threatening to tear up historic free trade agreements or impose tariffs on steel and aluminum for dubious motives, but the game has yet to win Secretary Trudeau.

No one seems to wonder if this coldness in Canadian-US relations is an isolated fact or if it represents the prime minister’s approach to trade and foreign policy.

So far in the latest annual newsletter from canada foreign policy, Mr Trudeau was awarded a D+ in the diplomacy category “for the simple reason that the government has not provided any strategic direction on foreign policy since 2015”.

Here lies the problem. To be a true middle power, you must be prepared to step in.

However, throughout Trudeau’s time, other representatives identified Canadian forays into the realm of diplomacy. Much of the mandate was spent renegotiating NAFTA at President Trump’s insistence; And another party, to try to obtain other powers to donate to Canada vaccines or personal protective equipment manufactured in its territory. On both fronts, the efforts were in vain.

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Before the pandemic, Canada tried to secure a place for itself on the United Nations Security Council, but it acquiesced to Ireland and Norway for a number of reasons, including its low contribution to peacekeeping and foreign aid.

In China, Canada is caught in the middle of a Sino-American stalemate, while the Chinese government is holding Mikhail. At a recent Ryerson University forum, Prime Minister Trudeau said in this regard that he practices “quiet diplomacy,” which is best described as silent diplomacy.

It is clear that in the face of Trump, Biden, China or the United Nations, the current approach does not work. If Canada is serious about exporting its ideals or products to the world, it should do better in two areas: building friendships and adding value.

However, Trudeau’s latest foray into the international scene is particularly bewildering. In an effort to combat vaping among young people, his government has adopted a regulation that reduces the amount of nicotine in these products by two-thirds. I have nothing against that goal, but in doing so, Mr. Trudeau is skipping deadlines for WTO implementation of regulatory notices affecting trade. In fact, it extends from a fixed period of 6 months to only 15 days. The Canadian Chambers of Commerce, Ontario and Quebec drafted a joint statement along with Canadian manufacturers and exporters, warning that the shortened deadline “sets a disturbing precedent noted by our trading partners”.

If Canada is to be seen as a model of democracy, fairness and morals, it must not only respect the rules, but also contribute to their implementation abroad. How can we as a country expect the WTO to rule in our favour over lumber or dairy products when we break the rules in something as simple as it applies?

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Canada should reflect on its place on the world stage and seek to restore its image as a middle power worth listening to. It can be reaffirmed in two ways: by gaining importance, or above all, in terms of relevance.

In the first case, it will choose to increase its economic weight and therefore its international weight. If, in the wake of COVID-19, it is resolved to stop borrowing and rehabilitate its truly stagnant industries, such as manufacturing and natural resources, it will need more people and trading partners and for other countries to take it seriously.

Second, Canada can lead the charge among the middle powers and assert itself in important international conversations, if it truly defends the ideals it expresses so often. It is up to him to get more involved in maintaining peace, helping poor countries buy and distributing vaccines, and asserting his pro-democracy positions.

In short, Canada can either do its best to be invited to the big table or decide to pull a chair for itself. Both paths lead to your destination, and frankly, both paths can be followed simultaneously. The key is to develop a real strategy and stick to it. Because one thing is clear: the hope that President Biden will save us somewhere is not paying off.

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