Recently in Canadian Affairs Category

Ramesh Thakur: 'Why Asia Should Matter to Canadian Voters'

Ramesh Thakur, "foundation director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs and distinguished fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation" think tank in Waterloo, Canada, contends in a September 28, 2008, "special to The Daily Yomiuri" of Japan, that:

In Canada's general election next month, voters should pay more attention than normal to the political parties' foreign policy platforms. As the current market turmoil demonstrates only too vividly, economics are intertwined on a global level, yet politics remain stubbornly local.
Mr. Thakur said, "Once elected, however, most prime ministers spend much of their time grappling with foreign challenges. Of the major issues, it is global forces that likely will determine Canada's fate. Asia will impact significantly on issues critical to Canada's welfare and security, and as such, Ottawa's Asia policy needs to be publicly debated," he argues. 

If you want to read more, please see "Why Asia should matter to Canadian voters."

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Why Doesn't Canada Have its Own Version of Barack Obama?

Bob Hepburn, columnist at the Canadian newspaper The Toronto Star , asked in a March 20, 2008, column:

Why doesn't Canada have its own version of Barack Obama?

Many Canadians have been asking that question ever since Obama launched his presidential campaign complete with his spell-binding speeches, his slogan of "Yes We Can," and his promise of real change in America.

Hepburn said, "That question became more obvious after listening to Obama, who is trying to become the first black U.S. president, deliver a bold and passionate speech on Tuesday [March 18, 2008] that confronted head-on the deep racial divisions that have long existed in the United States."

If you want to read more, see "Longing for an Obama of our own."

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Canada Holds Summit of Envoys With Afghan Portfolios

"Canada's envoys to Washington, London, Kabul, Islamabad, Paris, The Hague, the United Nations, the European Union and NATO"... were "summoned to Ottawa [the Canadian capital] for a meeting at Foreign Affairs headquarters last Friday [February 8, 2008] to be briefed on the Manley report," according to a February 14, 2008, CanWest News Service report in the National Post of Canada. See "Diplomats assigned to troop search."

"While they were getting a firsthand briefing, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was leading his visible diplomatic offensive with telephone calls to the leaders of the U.S., Britain, NATO and France," according to the Post.

The publication quotes Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier as saying: "We need strong international leadership [on Afghanistan]. We need better co-ordination. That's why my government asked for a UN special envoy on Afghanistan and the Manley report [which was put together by Captain T. F. Manley] told us that: that the international community must better co-ordinate their work."

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Is Canada's Stephen Harper Mimicking Australia's Foreign Policy?

Canadian "Prime Minister Stephen Harper's trip to Australia next month will offer Canada's leader a chance to look back at what worked and what didn't with the person experts say is the real influence behind his approach to Canadian foreign policy, Australian Prime Minister John Howard," reports Lee Berthiaume in an August 22, 2007 report in Embassy, Canada's Foreign Policy Weekly.

Berthiaume said, "Since the Conservatives took power last year, critics, especially those in the opposition benches, have accused Mr. Harper of mimicking or following in the footsteps of U.S. President George W. Bush when deciding Canadian foreign policy."

"Mr. Harper's handling of Afghanistan, Canada's muted involvement at the United Nations and other multilateral fora, harsh words directed towards Cuba, strong support for Israel, and others have all prompted accusations that where Mr. Bush's Washington goes, Ottawa under the Conservatives follows," Berthiaume noted, adding:

"Yet experts on Australia say those accusations are wrong and that, in fact, Mr. Harper took a page from Mr. Howard's book when he was elected to power last year."

To read more, please see "Harper, Howard Meeting a Chance to Take Stock."

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Canadian Prime Minister To Visits Latin America, Caribbean

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper embarks July 15, 2007, "on an ambitious six-day visit to Latin America and the Caribbean, where he is expected to spell out his government's new foreign policy focus on the Americas," Alan Freeman reported July 12, 2007, in a Globe and post headlined "Latin America visit by Harper to focus on foreign policy."

Mr. Freeman said, "The six-day trip, which will take the Prime Minister to Colombia, Chile, Barbados and Haiti, reflects a new emphasis on the Western Hemisphere when it comes to trade, development assistance and broader foreign policy aims."

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Is Canada Cheapening Its Diplomacy?

Lee Berthiaume, writing September 27, 2006, in Embassy, "Canada's foreign policy newsweekly," reported that Canada's "Conservative government will be holding back on new diplomatic posting overseas and consolidating some missions abroad as part of its announced $2 billion in federal spending cuts." The Canadian's announced the move September 25, 2006. To read more, please see "Cheapening Diplomacy.

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