Canada loses its bearings chasing the globalist ideal chimera

Wanted: Principled foreign policy.

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER Justin Trudeau takes a knee during a rally against the death of George Floyd, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, on June 5. (photo credit: BLAIR GABLE)
CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER Justin Trudeau takes a knee during a rally against the death of George Floyd, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, on June 5.
(photo credit: BLAIR GABLE)
Three days after his resounding election victory in October 2015, an exuberant Prime Minister Justin Trudeau swanned into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs HQ in Ottawa.
He was swarmed by public servants for selfies and basked in the unrestrained and wildly inappropriate display of full-on hero-worship from a work force that extols its political neutrality and professionalism. Very bad form.
The Prime Minister’s Office billed Trudeau’s appearance as a “spontaneous” drop-in. It was anything but. Standing in the ministry’s cavernous entry hall, Trudeau praised the 10,000-plus full-time employees of the department and commiserated with their contempt and dislike of former prime minister Stephen Harper. Equally important, he endorsed the policy inclinations prevailing in the department – a misty-eyed yearning for the glory days of Canadian leadership in post-war peacekeeping ventures.
Earlier that week, on election night, Trudeau gloated: “To this country’s friends all around the world, many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world. Well, I have a simple message for you. On behalf of 35 million Canadians: We’re back.”
Full disclosure: At the time of the 2015 election, I was serving as the Canadian ambassador to Israel, having been appointed to the position by Harper in January 2014. The Department loved to hate Harper and openly derided his principled approach to foreign policy, which clashed with their squishy, opportunistic doctrine of “Aw, shucks, can’t we all just get along?”
Except when it came to Israel. The department had a well-understood antipathy toward the Jewish state and its sympathies were openly Arabist. When appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephane Dion declared that Canada would again embrace its traditional role as an “honest broker” in the Middle East, maligning Harper for having been a “dishonest broker,” primarily due to his strong support of Israel.
Canada was back, indeed.
My colleagues in the department were giddy at the usurping of Harper, proclaiming repeatedly, “Canadian values are back.” When I had the temerity to ask several department professionals if they questioned the propriety of this overtly partisan display, they shrugged it off.
FROM THE very beginning, the overarching foreign policy priority of the Trudeau government became the goal of ensuring Canada’s success in being voted this June to assume one of several rotating and temporary seats on the UN Security Council. Since its founding, Canada had settled into a comfortable and assured routine of taking the coveted seat every decade, more or less. When the 2010 vote came along, and in the years preceding, then-prime minister Harper made it clear he put little, if any, stock in the council. He viewed it as corrupt, virulently anti-Israel and hostile, generally, to Western interests.
So when Canada lost the vote in 2010, there was a media pile-on decrying Harper’s “hard-hearted” approach to foreign policy, which was also derided – in the department as well – as destroying Canada’s “nice guy” foreign policy legacy. The leading lights in Canada’s foreign policy establishment seemed not to have noticed a rather dramatic realignment of geopolitical reality that had occurred since 1945.
Trudeau went to town, trashing Harper at every opportunity for diminishing and demeaning Canada on the world stage, culminating in his failure to deliver the Security Council seat. He was beyond confident he would deliver in 2020 and made sure the foreign affairs bureaucracy filtered every decision taken by how it would contribute to Canada’s success at the council vote.
Initially, the accolades for Trudeau were over-the-top and unceasing. Rolling Stone Magazine anointed him the poster boy for progressive liberals globally; Vogue featured a steamy and embarrassingly inappropriate photo on its cover, with the PM’s hand planted firmly on his wife’s buttock as they gazed lustily into one another’s eyes. Bono, Obama and a bevy of global celebrities were besotted with the impossibly handsome and woke premier of Canada.
The years have been kind, and not, to prime minister Trudeau. He’s proven himself to be a master of slogans but a little light on substance, characterizing his role as being “more ceremonial” than operational. Having said that, he made the “rolled-up shirt sleeve” thing a signature look, superficially signaling he was getting into the muck and working hard.
THINGS BEGAN to turn during a Trudeau family trip to India in February 2018. It was an unmitigated disaster, as the whole family dressed up daily in multiple bespoke ethnic costumes that were mocked viciously by the Indian press.
And then there were the photos of the PM, in his youthful days (including while working as a teacher at age 29) costumed in full-body blackface; having smeared dark makeup, carefully, all over his body, ears, knees showing through holes in jeans – a highly professional enterprise. He cannot recall how frequently he indulged this peculiar passion.
As is his tendency, once exposed, he apologized for his white privilege and assured the nation that “we” – not “he” – had best redouble “our” efforts to be sensitive to racial tensions and stereotyping.
And then, incredibly, Canadians reelected him, though a little chastened, with a minority government. Truth is, he won because the opposition parties ran appallingly bad campaigns with worse candidates, leaving the electorate with little in the way of choice.
The public rebuke did nothing to tamp his enthusiasm for chasing the UN Security Council dream, which he continued to identify as a national priority. As countrywide rail blockades dealt a massive economic blow to the already faltering Canadian economy in January and February, the PM saw fit to hop around Africa to try to swing votes to Canada and away from Ireland and Norway, which had run strong campaigns for the preceding decade.
In the final days leading up to the council vote on June 17, Canadian UN Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard issued a two-page letter to all his peers writing that in spite of Canada’s general support of Israel, we would be vigilant and tough should there be any abuses of power. He minced no words in condemning the proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank as being in flagrant breach of international law. Pretty standard EU kind of stuff.
 Most interesting is that Ambassador Blanchard commented only on Israel. Not a peep about China, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah or any one of the many regimes that egregiously and proudly murder LGBTQ individuals, treat women and girls like chattel – or worse – and generally spit on every human rights and climate issue that PM Trudeau purports to hold so dear.
In the end, Canada lost, receiving even fewer votes than under Harper.
Personally, I think the whole Security Council obsession is a colossal waste of time and money. Trudeau has fetishized the corrupt UN as the embodiment of the globalist enterprise he so values. But he’s wrong. The UN was a magnificent ideal in the beginning, but devolved quickly into a toxic snake pit obsessed with the vilification of Israel.
If I had a wish, the prime minister of Canada would call out the farce for what it is and focus on influencing global conduct in conjunction with more powerful, like-minded countries. Realpolitik, we used to call it. It actually works.
Pipe dreams do not.