International Gesturing or Dismantling Foreign Policy

Let me start by expressing my concern over the situation in the Ukraine and voice my support for the Ukrainian people, both over there and here in Canada.  For once I agree with our government in the condemnation of these actions.

With that said I am concerned over just how seriously Canada’s voice is being taken given the ongoing decline in our international credibility.  With two of Canada’s most distinguished diplomats, now retired, voicing concerns over just how seriously our reputation has sunk on the international stage how much help will Baird really be?  I don’t disagree with his comments but they really amount to little more than empty gestures and to me that look much more like election pandering than real diplomacy.

This has been going on for some time.  From the denigration of Richard Colvin to strike action by the Canadian diplomatic corp this governments approach to foreign policy has been dismal.  The Conservative governments reaction to almost anything on the international stage has been disappointing.  The loss of one of the two rotating seats on the UN Security Council was a first for Canada and that speaks volumes to Canadian credibility.

There have been numerous “firsts” for Canada when it comes to international affairs.  How much respect can the Canadian government expect when you denigrate the United Nations Special Rapporteurs during their visit to Canada?  How seriously can one expect the rest of the world to take Canada’s stance on the environment when we become the only nation to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Accord?  Then the government expresses wonderment over the United States dragging their heels on the Keystone Pipeline decision while at the same time ignoring all of the information from the Copenhagen Accord.

Prime Minister Harper doing press conferences informing the US that he will not take “no” for an answer regarding the Keystone Pipeline is nothing short of a hollow threat.  How does he plan on backing up that threat and what does that say about this governments approach to international diplomacy?  When we can’t even negotiate effectively with our most supportive neighbour what message does the world receive regarding Canada’s foreign policies?

I am old enough to remember those days of having to practice getting under your school desk if the alarm went off.  Like hiding under your wooden school desk would really protect you in the event of a nuclear strike!  However that was how life was in the cold war and I for one do not want to return to that.  Canada making hollow gestures when our international standing is at an all time low is not going to help.  This government has had enough time to show Canadians just how effective we can be on the world stage and we have failed at every turn.

These actions are now coming back to haunt us and the threat level to the rest of the world is growing.  How will we, as a country, be able to regain our former international status is a demanding question.  It’s going to take a while and I am concerned that we may not have that amount of time.  Unfortunately it appears that Canada has been relegated to the role of a back bencher on this issue.  And like our own elected back benchers our opinion means little!

Just one man’s opinion!

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