Trudeau government: Room for improvement on key security issues

As we are about to adjourn for Canada Day and our first long weekend of summer, it is a fitting time to provide a mid-term evaluation of some of the issues we have been tracking over the last few months.

Arms Trade Treaty

First the good news: Foreign Minister Dion announced today, June 30th, that on June 17th he had tabled the UN Arms Trade Treaty in Parliament as a first step to fulfilling the government’s election promise to accede to the treaty. In that announcement he stated:

Accession to the treaty will reflect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s commitment to multilateralism. In addition to bringing Canada into line with its NATO and G7 partners, finally becoming a full participant at the ATT Meeting of States Parties will allow the government to be more effective in its quest for a more transparent and accountable arms trade, not only here in Canada but throughout the world.

This is a welcome, but purely symbolic, step forward. We still await the necessary legislation to enable Canada to become a state party to the treaty, a process the government hopes to complete by June 30th, 2017.

This brings us to the bad news:

Update on Saudi Arabia

New and increasingly damning information on Saudi Arabia is forthcoming it seems almost every day. The latest is a call from several international human rights groups, led by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, for the General Assembly to remove Saudi Arabia from its membership in the Human Rights Council. The statement reads in part:

We call upon the United Nations General Assembly to immediately suspend the membership rights of Saudi Arabia in the UN Human Rights Council.   …

Failure to act on Saudi Arabia’s gross and systematic human rights violations committed in Yemen, and its use of its membership to obstruct independent scrutiny and accountability threatens the credibility of both the Council and the General Assembly.

See also: Human rights groups call for removal of Saudi Arabia from UN body (Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, 29 June 2016).

Needless to say, an ouster of Saudi Arabia from the UN Human Rights Council would constitute yet more evidence of the need to reassess Canada’s sordid Saudi arms deal.

Canadian Troops to Latvia

More bad news. Today Canada’s Foreign and Defence Ministers issued a joint statement on Canada’s decision to :

…establish and lead a rotational multinational NATO battlegroup which will contribute to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern and Central Europe along with the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.

So the question surely has to be, if this is so important for European security, why is Canada the one to take a leading role? Of the 25 European members of NATO, only Britain and Germany are participating. If France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, the list goes on, are not stepping up, once again we have to ask why Canada is doing so? Could it be that Europe itself is divided over the wisdom of what the German Foreign Minister has called NATO “warmongering”.

We could have committed to a tremendously useful UN peacekeeping role with Mexico to oversee implementation of Colombia’s historic peace agreement. Instead, we have chosen the same old counterproductive NATO sabre rattling that we saw under Prime Minister Harper.

As for what is really needed to move away from escalating confrontation with Russia to a focus on making the peace process work, read: Might NATO and Russia make peace for Ukraine? by Chris Westdal, the only Canadian diplomat to have served as a Canadian Ambassador to both Russia and Ukraine. (Hill Times, 27 April 2016).


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11 Responses to “Trudeau government: Room for improvement on key security issues”

  1. Concerning ProfessionalismJuly 13, 2016 at 6:56 am #

    No photo credit? You’ve taken, edited, and used a photo that is copyright Department National Defence and given no credit to them. Poor form.

    • Ceasefire.caJuly 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

      What photo are you referring to? This blog has a photo that was created in our offices.

  2. Paraic McEneaneyJuly 12, 2016 at 1:20 am #

    CNN is an arm of the white house and the CBC is an arm of Ottawa. Just look at how they the CBC keeps saying about Crimea been annexed by Russia , aren’t there more Russians living in Crimea and did they not exercise democracy by having a vote, and they voted overwhelmly to be Russian territory and not one life was lost. It seems like the CBC is spreading missinformation

  3. Paraic McEneaneyJuly 11, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    Why is Canada supporting western aggression in Eastern Europe against Russia , didn’t Russia give up the USSR ( 14 countries) with a handshake of good will for peace in the world? and now we have Canada deploying one thousand troops to Latvia Tax payers money why? doesn’t seem to me like Canada is a peace loving country anymore like it was when P Trudeau was in power.

  4. margaret beresfordJuly 11, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    Once any leader ends an election by making a point of not addressing very controversial issues (found out during and after the last party) and speaks only in passing about bailout /bail-in clauses that affect only taxpayers —who—have never been fully acknowledged for their paying the taxes of billions (695) simply handed over with no literal guarantee of repayment —and definitely no interest ever paid—-
    Name any loan, credit card, credit line—given in tribute —interest free—and you begin to see how constantly screwed this entire system and democracy has been manipulated first for a decade by Harper and his arses–conservative and now Trudeau and the so-called pro democracy Liberals….sold us out and down….

  5. Mark CollinsJuly 7, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

    NATO Latvian option first decision:

    “US, New Government and Canadian Forces: UN Peacekeeping (Colombia, Africa)? NATO in E. Europe? Both?”

    Mark Collins

  6. Sharon EarleJuly 3, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Why does Canada continue the tory trade deal in arms to Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia is thought by many people to be extremely violent against its own people. To supply arms to the Saudi regime that beheads people, it is immoral. Stop it!

  7. Anne StreeterJuly 1, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    It is very upsetting to watch the Trudeau government sell arms to Saudi Arabia when it had every opportunity to kill Harper’s deal with this serious human rights violator. As well, it is more than depressing to watch Trudeau jump on the phoney anti Russia band wagon. NATO (under the aegis of the U.S) is behaving badly and dangerously – and we are shamelessly falling into line! Really, on these issues, where is the difference between Trudeau and Harper! Sunny ways – NOT!

  8. margsviewJune 30, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

    I don’t know why anyone is surprised Trudeau is simply a softer version of Hillary/Obama —-on top of the ‘talk’ translation way of branding the truth in generic terms so all read what they believe they heard. Of course, when the actual events or policies are put into play —oops just doesn’t cover it…..
    And if anyone else is interested the one-and-only news service that has been pushing this vapid ‘branding’ political farce is none other than, our now certifiable arses at CBC News under the blind and generic leadership of the gatekeeper “Mansbridge’ (say it slowly and its almost like dying-of boredom or falling over in a stupor). No real values any more their not necessary–as the newly minted hostess with the leastest –Rosemary Barton said when asked to explain the ISDS clauses at the core of each any every trade agreement —laugh because she doesn’t understand these deals either.—-She likes laughs and excitement –no taken too seriously…….We need to clear out and total vet this now slight step up from Sun TV—
    Don’t get me wrong,—the documentaries, most of the posted articles and the Fifth Estate and Marketplace are the best—-BUT—-the management which has brought us so many scandals and sordid low-level behavior are still in place and Mansbridge with his pleasing speech-a-fying for fees is no longer committed to hard news based on facts—more Bay street’s view of how the truth is not as important and saying nice things and ignoring the unpleasant…..
    Let’s hope whatever made Canadians fight with and for the goals of the campaign that got rid of Harper and his psychos, will now turn to another campaign to free us of warring and corporate rule…..


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