Will Trump derail Canadian multilateralism?

20170110_pg2_01To better position Canada for the impending Trump presidency, PM Trudeau has shuffled key Cabinet portfolios, replacing veteran Stéphane Dion at Global Affairs with former International Trade Minister and Trudeau insider Chrystia Freeland. At the same time, he announced that Freeland will keep the all-important Canada-USA trade file.

Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason asks:

By adding Canada’s most important trading relationship to the  Foreign Minister’s responsibilities is PM Trudeau not exacerbating a risk already inherent in the Trump Presidency—that Canada’s broad multilateral agenda will be sidelined, if not completely derailed?

We know that Canada’s re-engagement in UN peacekeeping has run into heavy flak at National Defence. Given Trump’s open hostility to the UN, we need a Foreign Minister keenly focused on the broad international “Canada is back” agenda, while Canada-USA trade is managed by a strong Trade Minister.

Then there is Chrystia Freeland’s “problem” with Russia.

How exactly does Canada pursue a more constructive dialogue with Russia—an objective we allegedly share with the incoming President—when our new Foreign Minister, under personal sanctions because of her outspoken, indeed Harperesque, support for Ukraine, cannot even travel to Russia?

Only time will tell, but it seems to us that the appointment of Chrystia Freeland as Foreign Minister could have substantial downsides for Canada.

Photo credit: PM Trudeau official website

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Will Trump derail Canadian multilateralism?”

  1. EricMarch 18, 2017 at 3:14 am #

    Freeland is bad news: a cold warrior, far too involved with Ukraine’s right-wing government for Canada’s good.

    That’s before we get to the controversy about her Nazi-collaborating grandfather. She’s not responsible for her grandfather, of course, but she is responsible for dissembling anti-Russia allegations to distract the media and public about it. And it emphasizes her antagonism to Russia, which again is not good for Canada.

    (Not to mention her enthusiasm for corporate rights charters euphemistically called ‘free trade’ deals.)

  2. John VickersJanuary 18, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

    Mr Putin does what is convenient for him. If he wants to talk to Canada’s representative he will. Electronic means of voice/visual communication are less expensive and frankly safer than people flying around to meet each other. I should suspect Mr Putin might also prefer talking to someone who speaks his language and it is always better to discuss issues with someone you know, even if you don’t agree with or like them. From my naive perspective I do not see Ms Freelands situation a problem but representative of a positive trait, her intelligence and caring nature.

    Above all I feel Ms Freeland will be a more assertive and thus effective representative representative than Mr Dion. While I respected him, he always seemed too much of the academic to be an statesman.