Mark Collins – Canadian Foreign Policy: “The Liberals and their ‘magic’ morality”, Russia Section

Terry Glavin turns his sights on the new government’s approach to the Bear (amongst other things):


It was about Russia that [foreign minister Stephane] Dion went right off the rails: “Canada’s severing of ties with Russia had no positive consequences for anyone — not for Canadians, not for the Russian people, not for Ukraine and not for global security.” This is a powerfully unconvincing claim, and not just because Harper’s Ottawa did not sever ties with Moscow.

It’s one thing to ditch a previous government’s foreign-policy initiative by resort to an elaborate retroactive justification that you didn’t think to articulate at the time you were against it while in opposition…

It is another thing altogether to reconstruct the recent past of foreign policy in one’s own image and likeness. This is what Dion attempted in a lengthy digression on Canada’s economic and diplomatic responses to the Kremlin’s invasion-by-proxy of eastern Ukraine and its treaty-shredding annexation of Crimea in 2014. It was a rant.

Back then, the opposition Liberals were every bit as militant on the subject as the ministers and MPs on the government benches. The top-drawer neophyte Toronto Liberal Chrystia Freeland, now minister for international trade, insisted on a multi-partisan “united front” to defend Ukraine, and she got it. When Freeland was one of 13 Canadian lawmakers from all parties, government officials and others placed on a Kremlin banned list, she was proud of it. When the Conservatives presented a motion to condemn Putin’s military adventurism and temporarily recall Canada’s ambassador to Moscow, the Liberals unanimously endorsed it

At least the Liberals are ditching the “honest broker” cliche that has long been the party’s ideal for Canada’s role in the world. The bad news: they’re trading it in for “fair-minded and determined peace builder.”

I can see a smile curling on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face already.

So can I. Mr Glavin also has fun eviscerating erstwhile polisci prof. Dion’s tortured efforts at committing political philosophy.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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