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Liberals Follow the Conservative Line on Foreign Politics

Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Our turbulent times reveal how emphatically, and how permanently, the Harper government has transformed Canada’s foreign policy. Though Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has called for a ratcheting-down of hardline Conservative rhetoric and a return to Canada’s role as an honest broker in the world, when push comes to shove, Liberals and Conservatives are shoving together.

Celebrating Canada's Culture of Accommodation

Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Is Canada the most tolerant place in the world because Canadians are more enlightened than others? The answer is no. Accidents of geography and history account for our blessings.

The Politics of Polarization

Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Canada has a new politics, the politics of polarization. This is why Canadian foreign policy has become polarized as well. Many people have difficulty accepting this. Following on the publication of his new book, How We Lead, former prime minister Joe Clark is once again criticizing what he calls the “megaphone diplomacy” of the Conservative government.

Today's Canada in Today's World

Thursday, 22 May 2014
Justin Trudeau wants to undo a decade of Conservative foreign policy and return Canada to its Pearsonian tradition of being a helpful fixer in the world. The problem is that the country has changed and the world has changed. If Mr. Trudeau simply wants to turn the clock back, he will fail. The question is whether he has the insight to adapt past Liberal principles to current reality. Those closest to him insist the answer is yes.

Justin Trudeau's School of International Relations

Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Everything that is attractive about the prospect of Justin Trudeau leading this country, and everything about that prospect that is worrying, can be found in the Liberal leader’s nostalgic approach to Canada in the world. Until recently, we had little idea of how Mr. Trudeau planned to manage foreign affairs should he win the next election.

Pacific Trade and Canadian Elections

Monday, 21 April 2014
If Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe can hammer out a deal on agriculture subsidies this week, then next year’s Canadian election could be the first in a generation in which trade is a key issue, with Stephen Harper favouring the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Thomas Mulcair and (possibly) Justin Trudeau opposing it.

As with pipelines, so with trade

Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Once again, Stephen Harper’s political fortunes are being held hostage by American domestic politics. First it was the Keystone XL pipeline. Now it’s the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Prime Minister may soon have to choose whether or not to champion a TPP agreement that could end protection for dairy and poultry farmers — a very risky move politically -- even though the United States might never ratify the treaty.

Farewell, Mr Flaherty

Thursday, 20 March 2014
Brand Canada today stands for a well ordered financial sector, prudent fiscal and monetary policy, skilled management of the recent financial crisis, and a rigourous approach to restoring balanced budgets. As Finance Minister from February 2006 until last Tuesday, Jim Flaherty played a starring role in that story, though he was by no means the only star. Whatever Canadians might think about Mr. Flaherty’s legacy, the world will remember him as the man who sat in Canada’s chair when Canada set an example for the world.

Harper's foreign policy: Ukraine and the Diaspora vote

Wednesday, 19 March 2014
The crisis in Ukraine has, once again, divided the Canadian foreign-policy establishment, with some veteran observers harshly criticizing the Harper government’s gung-ho approach, while others rally to its defence. But Ukraine is in some ways a proxy in this debate. The real, raw wound is Israel.

Harper’s Trade Deal Overshadows Quebec Elections

Monday, 10 March 2014
If you didn't catch the historic significance of Stephen Harper heading to South Korea to sign a trade deal at the same time Quebeckers once again debate their future within Canada, then you don’t understand where this country is heading.

Is Keystone XL the Tipping Point for Canada-U.S. Tensions?

Thursday, 20 February 2014
On the surface, this week’s Three Amigos summit produced nothing but boilerplate. Below the surface, relations are tense. Every major file is on the cusp of decision. If those decisions go Canada’s way, then Barack Obama and Stephen Harper will be able to take credit for the most productive relationship between a president and a prime minister since the days of Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulroney.

The Big Break

Friday, 31 January 2014
Under the Harper government, Canada has experienced the most radical shift in foreign policy since the Second World War. What was elitist is now populist; what was multilateral is far more bilateral; what was co-operative has become assertive; what was — you name it: global security, global governance, conflict resolution — is now trade before all.

Is Free Trade Canada's Next Election Wedge?

Monday, 13 January 2014
The Liberals and New Democrats hope the next Canadian federal election centres on allegations of Conservative corruption and deceit. The Conservatives hope the real issue is their economic record. But what if the next election is about neither of these things?