Marc Garneau’s arrival at the head of the State Department was the result of musical chairs. It wouldn’t have been so if Navdeep Pines had not left his position as Minister of Innovation.
May the future show that the opportunity is doing things well.
There is reason to believe this is good news for Canadian diplomacy.
The former minister is one of the proven values of the Trudeau government. We know he has a good listening ability and we will notice, over the years, his appreciation. It is anything but flamed.
These are traits when one inherits a ministry that requires diplomacy and the search for compromise.
In recent days, we have also talked in the media about his good knowledge of the United States, where he worked for several years.
True, one of his priorities will be to rebuild bridges with Washington. The task should not be taken lightly. The United States is not only our most important trading partner. Above all, they are an essential ally.
And it is true that Marc Garneau’s roadmap, like his experience, is an asset.
Let us remember, moreover, that Justin Tudo appointed him chair of the Cabinet Committee responsible for Canadian-American relations, at a time when Donald Trump’s secession was threatening the Canadian economy.
But let’s be honest, the red lights currently flashing on the Ottawa radar screen are no longer in Washington.
The two countries that should cause Marc Garneau the biggest problems are China and Russia.
This is the real mystery.
They are there, files for which he will have to expend the most energy.
General Jonathan Vance, who is on the verge of stepping down from the position of Chief of Defense Staff of Canada, was recently interviewed by Globe and Mail. He stressed that we live in an increasingly dangerous world, and regarding this observation, we spoke unequivocally about China and Russia.
“The actual and actual level of risk will depend on how the countries of the world hold China accountable,” he said. The same applies to Russia. ”
However, we still lack clear guidance for China in Ottawa. A consistent way forward that everyone can take, across all departments.
We also need – and this is what General Vance also made clear – a “grand strategy” to counter Chinese expansion and, to a lesser degree, Moscow’s ambitions.
Therefore, we will have to redouble our efforts abroad to mobilize our allies.
The work, both for China’s policy and for strengthening our alliances, began when François-Philippe Champagne was Foreign Minister.
But none of this is complete.
Minister Champaign’s personal and vital skills were not sufficient to improve our relationship with China.
Nor for a seat on the UN Security Council.
You’d hardly say we can blame him for this failure. After all, he took over as the UN process neared its end.
However, this slap will also remind us that the State Department’s problems are not superficial.
One day, it will be necessary to revise the modus operandi of this sclerotic ministry, as experience in foreign policy is no longer of sufficient value and long-term thinking is no longer popular; Neither Minister Champaign nor Christia Freeland dared to address him.
But for that, Mister Garneau will have to show the will to change things and it will be necessary … to give him time!
The issue was raised this week in Canadian English: Foreign Ministers are not in office long enough to accomplish great things (including organizing a one-day campaign to sit in the Security Council again!).
So it would allow us, in conclusion, to head straight to Ottawa: it would be wise, if we wanted the State Department to regain its credibility in the past year and finally be able to put in place the “key strategies” that we need, to start with providing him some stability.