In 2003 when Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien opposed the Bush-Blair war on Iraq, many people opposed to the war in the US and UK, looked to Canada as a saner, more reasonable member of the wider English speaking (and occasionally French speaking) world.
In spite of Justin Trudeau being of the same party as Chrétien, his foreign policy stance does not measure up. Canada remains a major trader with Saudi Arabia and worryingly, Trudeau seems to be carrying on the hard-line anti-Russian stance of his predecessor Stephen Harper, one of the most right wing Canadian Prime Ministers of recent decades.
This was solidified with Trudeau’s appointment of someone called Chrystia Freeland as Canada’s new foreign minister. She has little experience in foreign policy making and international diplomacy, but she never fails to shoot her mouth off against Russia.
Canada has a large population of extremist Ukrainian expats, many of whom came to Canada after the defeat of Banderist Nazi regiments at the hand of the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War.
These people, like their counterparts now ruling in Kiev, have a very sick and twisted vision of how the events of the 1940s played out. Such people often dictated the Harper government’s interpretations of events in Russia’s borderlands and under Freeland things could get even worse.
Making matters more embarrassing, Freeland is banned from entering Russia ever since Russia introduced counter-sanction measures against those making inflammatory remarks about Russia. For a country that prides itself on being tolerant and civilised, it is rather embarrassing for Canada’s new foreign minister to be barred from entering a globally crucial state because of her undiplomatic attitudes and proposals.
Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Professor of History at the University of Montreal, Michael J. Carley said:
“This appointment is a catastrophe for Canadian-Russian relations, I cannot understand why the government would have selected her to be minister for external affairs with her stated position with respect to Russia, Crimea, and Ukraine. She’s a Russophobe, a hater of Putin, of Russian politics”.
So much for the kind and welcoming, non-hateful Canada that Justin Trudeau promised. Now, I am not accusing Trudeau of being a bigot. After all he pretends to be a Muslim during Ramadan, a Christian during Christmas, a Jew during Hanukkah, a homosexual during Gay Pride Week and I’m sure he’s adopted many other identities to demonstrate his inclusive programme.
But what about Russia? Will Mr. Trudeau rebuke the hatred of his new Foreign Minister and wear a St. George’s Ribbon on the 9th of May? If every other possible identity is acceptable for him to adopt, surely he can show solidarity with Russians on the day Russians commemorate victory over fascism.
But forgetting Trudeau’s rainbow coalition and its exclusion of black and orange, Canada is exercising a uniquely irresponsible foreign policy, especially when contrasted with the more balanced approach of the current Prime Minister’s father.
For the first time in a while, there is a pragmatist about to enter the White House and an ideologue in Ottawa.