Obama Speech to Parliament

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NAFTA and Trump

Reality check: Canada has ‘no appetite to scrap trade,’ despite NAFTA poll

The Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, Mich., is the busiest international border crossing in North America, handling 25 per cent of all merchandise trade between Canada and the U.S.

Jason Kryk / The Windsor Star filesThe Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, Mich., is the busiest international border crossing in North America, handling 25 per cent of all merchandise trade between Canada and the U.S.OTTAWA — With Brexit and growing U.S. protectionism as a backdrop, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, standing next to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, warned Tuesday that “turning inwards” will come “at the cost of economic growth.”

But as headlines indicated this week, only one in four Canadians thinks the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is good for the country, according to the Angus Reid Institute.

It’s a “stunning rejection” of the “free-trade agenda,” the Council of Canadians proclaimed Tuesday. But others question whether policymakers and politicians have managed to communicate the benefits of integration.

How do we really feel?

NAFTA came into effect in 1994, replacing the 1987 Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement.About 10 years on, a 2003 Ipsos Reid survey found 70 per cent of Canadians supported the deal.

But 22 years later, half of Canadians were neutral or unsure. A quarter think it’s bad, but another quarter think it’s good.

There is no appetite to scrap trade. Canada … has morphed into a pro-trade country.

Though 34 per cent said the deal should be “renegotiated,” 24 per cent said it should be “strengthened and expanded.” More people would leave it as it is (11 per cent) than would kill it (nine per cent).

Nearly a quarter don’t know how they feel. Roughly the same proportion were found in U.K. polls to be unsure about leaving the European Union, three months before last week’s referendum.

“There is no appetite to scrap trade,” said pollster Shachi Kurl. “Canada … has morphed into a pro-trade country.” Polls last year found 57 per cent of Canadians saw international trade as the No. 1 foreign policy priority.

Laura Dawson, director of the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute, said NAFTA is a “bad brand,” but people still support exports and foreign investment.

But what has NAFTA actually done?

Canada and Mexico both do far more trade with the U.S. than with each other.

The U.S. sees a modest, but positive, impact from NAFTA, most think-tanks agree. Some debate whether the deal has stymied Mexico’s growth. Canada is generally seen as a winner.

A special report from BMO Capital Markets last week shows Canada’s total trade within NAFTA went from $239 billion in 1994 to $567 billion in 2015. Concurrently, unemployment went from 10.4 per cent to 6.9 per cent.

The Council of Canadians blames NAFTA for the loss of about half a million jobs. But the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations estimates job gains in Canada at 4.7 million since NAFTA’s entrance.

Free trade is an easy but unfair target when job losses hit, explained Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Manufacturing-heavy Ontario and British Columbia were indeed the only provinces to show more negative than positive reactions to NAFTA in the recent poll, Kurl noted.

In 2014, the Canada-based Centre for International Governance Innovation concluded that although NAFTA could be “significantly improved,” it exceeded trade and investment expectations.

The Canadian Press files

The Canadian Press filesIn April 2015, a yard in Gascoyne, N.D., stored hundreds of kilometres of pipe that was supposed to go into the Keystone XL pipeline. it hasn’t and TransCanada Corp. is seeking more than $15 billion compensation under the North American Free Trade Agreement following the U.S. government’s rejection of the proposed pipeline.

What does the future look like?

Enter Donald Trump. The presumptive Republican presidential candidate called NAFTA “the worst trade deal in the history of this country” Tuesday, promising either to withdraw or renegotiate it.

A recent Bloomberg poll found 44 per cent of Americans see the deal as bad for their economy.

Casting another shadow, TransCanada Corp. launched a $15-billion lawsuit against the U.S. government under NAFTA rules Friday for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.

Though Dawson said Canada would still be among trade allies under a Trump presidency, renegotiating NAFTA could open Pandora’s box — and “a lot of things go flying out.”

Still, she said, Trudeau, Pena Nieto and outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama will take pains Wednesday to quell fears and assert existing trade relationships are “not going anywhere.”

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Mexico Canada: Visa and Beef

Beef industry celebrates ‘symbolic’ re-opening of Mexican market

Normalization of trade in Canada’s 3rd-largest beef export market a ‘high priority’

By Janyce McGregor, CBC News Posted: Jun 28, 2016 3:28 PM ETLast Updated: Jun 28, 2016 3:28 PM ET

The North American beef industry soon will be fully integrated once again, following Tuesday's announcement that Mexico will lift its remaining restrictions on Canadian beef imports Oct. 1.

The North American beef industry soon will be fully integrated once again, following Tuesday’s announcement that Mexico will lift its remaining restrictions on Canadian beef imports Oct. 1. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Mexico will fully re-open its market to Canadian beef imports on Oct. 1, offering Canada’s farmers valuable new customers for their mature cattle this fall.

The resumption of full trade in beef was part of a suite of announcements as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held bilateral talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Parliament Hill Tuesday.

Canada announced it will lift its visa rules for Mexican travellers on Dec.1, removing another longstanding irritant between the two countries.

Mexico was among dozens of countries that suspended beef trade with Canada after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was detected in 2003.

While imports of some products later resumed, live cattle and meat from animals over 30 months of age (referred to as OTM products) were still restricted, cutting off trade in ground beef and other specialty meats.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says that normalized trade with Mexico marks the removal of one of Canada’s few remaining BSE-related restrictions: only China, Taiwan and Indonesia continue to block certain Canadian beef products.

Fall change timely

CCA president Dan Darling said the reopening gives Canadian farmers the confidence they need to expand their herds in the future.

“When our production increases to previous levels, I believe that Mexico could again import more than $250 million per year, like it used to,” he said in a statement. Between one-quarter and one-fifth of that used to be OTM beef.

The Oct. 1 effective date is timely.

“The months of October and November are traditionally the time of year when Canadian beef farmers send most of their mature breeding cows to market,” Darling said.

Even with the limited access, Canadian beef exports to Mexico have averaged over $130 million annually for the last five years, according to the Canadian Meat Council.

Mexico is seen as a growing market, with expanding middle-class appetites for beef that exceed domestic production.

“The full normalization of trade in beef products with Mexico has been a high priority,” said Canadian Meat Council President Joe Reda.

Signal to other new markets

Mexico is considered a high-value market for certain beef products that don’t sell as well elsewhere.

In a release, the council estimated incremental sales worth $10 million annually from Tuesday’s announcement. (Incremental sales value results when a new export market is prepared to pay more than current customers for the same products.)

But beef producers are also celebrating the signal this market restoration sends to other potential customers, as the North American industry becomes fully integrated once more.

“The concession by Mexico on beef is really symbolic,” former diplomat Colin Robertson told CBC News. 

“We’re very anxious to get into other markets — the United Kingdom as well as Asia — and having a clean bill of health from the Mexicans was something that was holding us back a little bit when we were trying to sell into places like Korea, China, Japan and Europe.”

Carlo Dade from the Canada West Foundation called the announcement great news, especially for Western Canada.

But he noted “a huge disconnect” in the fact that many Albertans supported keeping the visa restrictions against Mexico despite its industry benefiting from the beef deal.

“What happened with beef and the visas is an object lesson that will be completely lost on the people of Alberta,” he said.

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Three Amigos Summit

In Canada, Mexican President calls for ‘economic integration’ of North America

Robert Fife – Ottawa Bureau Chief

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Jun. 27, 2016 11:39AM EDT

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto arrived in Canada Monday for an official state visit, using his first remarks to call for the “economic integration” of North America.

Governor-General David Johnston welcomed the Mexican leader at the historic Citadelle in Quebec City as Mr. Nieto begins two days of bilateral talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the premiers of Quebec and Ontario as well as business leaders in advance of Wednesday’s summit of the North American leaders that will include U.S. President Barack Obama.

“Canadians and Mexicans alike share values and development goals and we also share a single vision of the world we want,” Mr. Nieto said. “Let us take stock of our affinity and agreement to bolster innovation and environmental sustainability and also to foster the economic integration of North America.”

During their bilateral talks, officials say Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Nieto will remind North Americans “how lucky we are to be where we are … and we are a lot more successful when we tackle shared problems together rather than put up walls.”

The three leaders of North America will trumpet the benefits of liberalized free trade and the necessity of countries to work in unison when they gather in Ottawa for a summit that had been set up largely to focus on the environment but has been turned upside down by the stunning British vote to exit the European Union.

But the shocking British vote to secede from the EU has forced the leaders to reassess the game plan and put a greater emphasis on free trade when they gather for the one-day summit to be held at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

“These three leaders are aligned in believing we need trade relations and we are very lucky to have a continental approach,” Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said in an interview. “When you look at the North American market, it is a very significant market. It is a great message to the world that we are working together and we believe in trade.”

Mr. Trudeau will also rescind visa restrictions on Mexican travellers, a major irritant since 2009, when they were imposed by the former Conservative government to curb the flow of bogus refugees.

“We are a progressive government. The visas are being lifted. That is a campaign commitment to Mexicans,” Ms. McKenna said.

Sources say the two leaders will sign agreements on educational exchanges, and share “best practices” on ending the social isolation and exploitation of indigenous people in both countries. Canada will also offer intelligence and training to combat Mexico’s drug violence.

However, Canadian and Mexican officials say the real aim of the discussions is to set up a partnership to combat what both leaders see as rising protectionist sentiment in the U.S., their biggest trading partner.

A Mexican official noted that both countries teamed up to fight U.S. action, through the World Trade Organization, on country-of-origin labelling for meat products, as well as an attempt by the United States during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to allow Japanese vehicles to be imported tariff-free to North America, with just 30-per-cent content. Canada and Mexico forced the cap up to 45 per cent. It is currently 62.5 per cent.

“The protectionist fires are starting to blow, whether we are talking about Hillary Clinton and her opposition to TPP or Donald Trump, who is anti-everything and wants to build a wall between Mexico. We are going to need allies to try and fend off these protectionist winds,” Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said in an interview. “Working with Mexico on country of origin and the TPP, we were able to push back – but especially on country of origin, which is basically a protectionist measure. By both threatening retaliatory action, Congress folded. On our own, we would not have been successful.”

About 40 per cent of what the United States buys from Mexico starts out in the United States, while 25 per cent of what Americans buy from Canada comes from the United States.

Measures to tackle climate change, including a commitment from Mexico to join Canada and the United States to reduce methane gases by 40 per cent, will be announced on Wednesday, as well as harmonization of environmental regulations.

“Canada and Mexico will sign a memorandum of understanding to work together on sharing information on how to foster native languages, protect indigenous art and help women facing domestic and street violence, as well as look at ways to engage indigenous people as partners in resource development.

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Three Amigos Meet

Three Amigos expected to make some real deals on energy, tout North American trade

Lee Berthiaume, Ottawa Citizen and Marie-Danielle Smith | June 27, 2016 9:48 PM ET

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, left, with President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila in November.

Susan Walsh/The Canadian PressMexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, left, with President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila in November.
OTTAWA — Get ready for hard commitments on clean energy and a soft sell on North American trade.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosts Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on a state visit this week, before U.S. President Barack Obama joins them for the Three Amigos summit on Wednesday. Climate change will figure prominently, but so will the importance of all three countries working together economically.

Here’s what to expect:

Climate change and clean energy

Eric Feferber / AFP, Getty Images

Eric Feferber / AFP, Getty Images President Barack Obama delivers a speech during the plenary session at the COP 21 United Nations conference on climate change, on November 30, 2015.

In his last year in the White House, Obama has been pushing for real action on climate change.The three leaders will follow that up by committing to increase the amount of clean energy produced in North America from 37 per cent today to 50 per cent in 2025. The ambitious goal, revealed by the White House, includes producing more energy by renewables, nuclear and carbon capture technologies.

The commitment will form the foundation of a comprehensive North American clean energy action plan, said Obama’s senior adviser, Brian Deese. “We believe this is an aggressive goal, but for all three countries, one that we believe is achievable continent-wide.”

Liberal officials say growing the share of clean energy produced across North America goes hand-in-hand with advancing closer economic integration. “It’s about sustainable jobs and sustainable growth,” said one official.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the three leaders will also talk about ways to integrate alternatives into continental energy grids and harmonize energy efficiency standards to make it easier for the clean energy sector to grow.

North American trade

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Joe Raedle / Getty ImagesFree-trade along the Canada-U.S. border could come up at the so-called “Three Amigos” summit.

Pena Nieto, meanwhile, began his visit to Canada in Quebec City on Monday, where he called for greater economic integration. Liberal sources say it’s a message that has taken on added importance amid NAFTA-bashing in the U.S. presidential race, and after last week’s Brexit vote.

“The rhetoric will only get hotter south of the border,” said one Liberal official. “And (Brexit) hit home for us that protectionist sentiments exist everywhere and have to be confronted.”

A poll by the Angus Reid Institute found about one quarter of Canadians felt the North American free trade deal was good for the country, and an equal number thought it was bad. However, the same number said they didn’t know. Officials say it’s those people the government plans to talk to over the coming days.

“I think it’s the same message you saw around immigration and welcoming Syrian refugees,” said another Liberal official. “That we’re stronger together than apart.”

Former Canadian ambassador to Washington Michael Kergin said the message of economic co-operation will be directed not just at North Americans, but also Europeans, in hopes of easing “cynicism” and “anxieties” about the concept of regional unity.

Nevertheless, all three North American leaders are going to have to be careful about how they broadcast their message to make sure they don’t stir up the type of anti-free trade sentiments they are trying to fight, said Carlo Dade, an expert on North American trade and investment at the Canada West Foundation.

Trade disputes

Peter J. Thompson/National Post

Peter J. Thompson/National PostTrade rules for lumber remain a major U.S.-Canadian conflict.

The three leaders will be all smiles when talking trade, but some disputes have been bubbling beneath the surface. The main concerns for Canada are the softwood lumber dispute with the U.S., and Mexico’s continued ban on some Canadian beef.

The beef ban goes back to 2003, when bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in Canadian cattle, and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association estimates it will cost Canada about $10 million this year. Officials, however, have indicated a deal will be announced during Pena Nieto’s visit.

A solution to the softwood lumber dispute is less likely. At stake is billions of dollars for Canada’s softwood lumber industry, and Canadian officials are terrified it could become an election issue down south.

Of the softwood lumber dispute, former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson, now vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said: “In the past this has been a real friction point for Canada and the U.S. This is one you would prefer to put behind us.”

Mexican visas

The Liberals will start to make good on their election promise to lift visa requirements for Mexican travellers. Officials warn, however, that the visas won’t automatically disappear. Rather, Trudeau will announce an “ambitious” schedule for having them removed in the coming weeks.

The Harper government introduced the visa requirement in 2009, after thousands of Mexicans flooded Canada’s refugee system. While the Conservatives said it was necessary to keep out “bogus” refugees, it quickly became a barrier to relations between Canada and Mexico.

Reinstating visa-free travel will remove that barrier, but officials say they will be watching closely to see whether there is a spike in refugee claims from Mexico.

U.S. election and human rights

Trudeau and Pena Nieto are expected to pick Obama’s brain about the upcoming U.S. presidential election, with an eye toward dealing with President Clinton or President Trump. Clinton previously served as Obama’s secretary of state.

Meanwhile, Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, said refugees from Central American countries are regularly persecuted in Mexico and it’s “unconscionable” for leaders to talk about free-flowing borders without addressing this “dramatic human rights crisis.”

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Three Amigos Summit

Three Amigos, three tests for Trudeau

The Globe and Mail Jun. 26, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces three tests during this week’s North American Leaders’ Summit. The first is to reset the relationship with Mexico. The second is to sustain with U.S. President Barack Obama the positive momentum of the recent Washington summit. The third, a challenge for all three leaders, is to demonstrate anew, post-Brexit vote, their collective commitment to continental economic integration.

Resetting the Mexican relationship is overdue. It will start when – as repeatedly promised during last year’s federal election campaign, in the mandate letters to cabinet ministers and in his initial meeting at the G20 with President Enrique Pena Nieto – Mr. Trudeau lifts visa restrictions for Mexicans visiting Canada.

Official relations have been in the doldrums since the Harper government imposed a visa in July, 2009. Mexicans had become our top refugee claimants. The visa stopped the claimants, although much of the problem was our own laxness, since remedied in subsequent legislation.

Canadian trade and investment in Mexico is under-appreciated. Mexico is our third-largest market with real potential for further growth. It’s our most popular tourist destination after the United States. But imposing the visa made the flow a one-way street, significantly curbing Mexican investment, tourism and study in Canada.

Once the visa is lifted, the Mexicans are keen to expand the relationship – including climate and energy, trade and investment, and people-to-people connections.

On the cultural front, Mr. Pena Nieto’s visit coincides, by intent, with an exhibition of the celebrated Mexican modernist painter Rufino Tamayo at the National Gallery of Canada.

We should reciprocate with a similar exhibition and link it to another in the successful series of innovation missions led by Governor-General David Johnston. We should also use such visits to increase by tenfold the number of exchange students studying in our two countries.

We worked closely and successfully with Mexico in persuading the U.S. to lift its iniquitous country-of-origin-labelling requirements on our beef and cattle trade. By standing together, we have a much better chance of rebuffing the protectionist headwinds generated in the current U.S. election campaign.

As a first step, our ambassadors and consuls in the U.S. should meet regularly to share their playbooks and to co-ordinate messaging about the value of North American economic integration. Few Americans appreciate that 25 per cent of what they buy from Canada and 40 per cent of what they purchase from Mexico was made in the United States.

Mr. Trudeau’s second test is to further consolidate with Mr. Obama measures to advance regulatory co-operation and to ease border congestion for people and goods. Much of this can have trilateral application. We both need to deliver on our respective legislation enabling pre-clearance for those travelling from Billy Bishop and Jean Lesage airports and by rail from Montreal and Vancouver, and to share no-fly lists.

Mr. Obama needs to give a final nudge – an executive order would be nice – to departments and agencies to fully implement the spirit of “cleared once, accepted twice” on goods entering our shared perimeter.

Significant differences” continue to divide Canadian and American negotiators on softwood lumber. A recent update by International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman effectively punts the Freddy Krueger of trade irritants down the road. The Trudeau government must avoid letting softwood lumber become the drag and focus of the relationship that the Keystone XL pipeline permit became for the Harper government.

Leaving the file with the USTR, probably the most Canada-unfriendly of U.S. agencies, is a recipe for litigation and confiscatory levies. Here again, Mr. Obama could give a helping push from the White House (as did George W. Bush in reaching the 2006 accord).

The third test for leaders Obama, Pena Nieto and Trudeau is to renew their nations’ commitment to closer economic and environmental integration.

The trilateral work of our Foreign, Energy and Trade ministers will be reinforced and advanced by the leaders. We can and should be beacons against the increasingly dark forces of xenophobia and protectionism of which Brexit is the most conspicuous manifestation. Ottawa promises to be a “green” summit – building, in continental fashion, on the achievements of the Paris climate accord.

We make things together, increasingly, in a sustainable fashion. This is the North American competitive advantage: energy independence and abundant resources; a lead in research and development; and, if we would only lift the mobility constraints, a talented labour pool.

North American integration demonstrates a different model from that of Europe. It is less centralized and less bureaucratic. It works for each of us, reinforcing rather than undermining our respective sovereignties. It’s a message that our leaders need to communicate at home and abroad, loudly and clearly, again and again.

A Primer to the North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS)

A_Primer_to_the_North_American_Leaders_Montages.jpg

Image: SUSAN WALSH / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

by Colin Robertson
CGAI Vice-President and Fellow

June, 2016

DOWNLOAD PDF


Table of Contents

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Preparing for Three Amigos Summit

Brexit prompts new agenda for North American Leaders’ Summit

Robert Fife – OTTAWA BUREAU CHIEF

The Globe and Mail

Published Sunday, Jun. 26, 2016 9:24PM

The three leaders of North America will trumpet the benefits of liberalized free trade and the necessity of countries to work in unison when they gather in Ottawa for a summit that had been set up largely to focus on the environment but has been turned upside down by the stunning British vote to exit the European Union.

Senior Canadian and Mexican officials told The Globe and Mail last week that there would be little focus on free trade at the summit to avoid causing any political damage to Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, who is battling anti-free trade Republican contender Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election.

But the shocking British vote to secede from the EU has forced the leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico to reassess the game plan for Wednesday’s North American Leaders’ Summit, to be held at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, officials say.

“Obviously it is going to be a much bigger issue than had there been a Remain vote,” a senior Canadian official said on Sunday. “All three leaders, who have spoken on the phone, are all keen to express the sentiment that there is a part of the world that believes in openness and trade, and free exchange of people and goods.”

Officials say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who arrives in Canada on Monday for a state visit, will remind North Americans “how lucky we are to be where we are … and we are a lot more successful when we tackle shared problems together rather than put up walls.”

When the summit gets under way on Wednesday with the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said, the world will hear a strong message about the advantages of free trade.

“These three leaders are aligned in believing we need trade relations and we are very lucky to have a continental approach,” Ms. McKenna said in an interview. “When you look at the North American market, it is a very significant market. It is a great message to the world that we are working together and we believe in trade.”

When Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Pena Nieto meet over the next two days, sources say their focus will be on forging a new partnership to act as a counterweight against rising U.S. protectionism.

The Mexican leader arrives in Quebec City, where he will be greeted by Governor-General David Johnston. He later flies to Toronto to speak to a business group and dine with Mr. Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Mr. Trudeau will also rescind visa restrictions on Mexican travellers, a major irritant since 2009, when they were imposed by the former Conservative government to curb the flow of bogus refugees.

“We are a progressive government. The visas are being lifted. That is a campaign commitment to Mexicans,” Ms. McKenna said.

Sources say the two leaders will sign agreements on educational exchanges, and share “best practices” on ending the social isolation and exploitation of indigenous people in both countries. Canada will also offer intelligence and training to combat Mexico’s drug violence.

“We are going to have a wide-ranging discussion on security, and for Mexico, it truly has very significant security issues,” a Canadian official said. “We have world-class talent on that part on all of our institutions, from the RCMP, CSIS [Canadian Security Intelligent Service] and CSE [Communications Security Establishment]. We have world-class assets that countries like Mexico could really learn from.”

However, Canadian and Mexican officials say the real aim of the discussions is to set up a partnership to combat what both leaders see as rising protectionist sentiment in the U.S., their biggest trading partner.

A Mexican official noted that both countries teamed up to fight U.S. action, through the World Trade Organization, on country-of-origin labelling for meat products, as well as an attempt by the United States during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to allow Japanese vehicles to be imported tariff-free to North America, with just 30-per-cent content. Canada and Mexico forced the cap up to 45 per cent. It is currently 62.5 per cent.

“The protectionist fires are starting to blow, whether we are talking about Hillary Clinton and her opposition to TPP or Donald Trump, who is anti-everything and wants to build a wall between Mexico. We are going to need allies to try and fend off these protectionist winds,” Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said in an interview. “Working with Mexico on country of origin and the TPP, we were able to push back – but especially on country of origin, which is basically a protectionist measure. By both threatening retaliatory action, Congress folded. On our own, we would not have been successful.”

About 40 per cent of what the United States buys from Mexico starts out in the United States, while 25 per cent of what Americans buy from Canada comes from the United States.

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney said on Friday that continental free trade created almost five million jobs in Canada and doubled the country’s GDP to $1.8-trillion since 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect.

Measures to tackle climate change, including a commitment from Mexico to join Canada and the United States to reduce methane gases by 40 per cent, will be announced on Wednesday, as well as harmonization of environmental regulations.

“This is a real opportunity – it doesn’t come that often where you have governments who are extremely aligned on a clean-energy, clean-growth strategy,” Ms. McKenna said. “There is an economic opportunity when we have standards that are similar, so when it comes to vehicles and trucks, there are things we can do there.”

Canada and Mexico will sign a memorandum of understanding to work together on sharing information on how to foster native languages, protect indigenous art and help women facing domestic and street violence, as well as look at ways to engage indigenous people as partners in resource development.

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Senate National Defence Committee on Peace Operations

THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE

EVIDENCE


[English]

OTTAWA, Monday, June 20, 2016

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 10 a.m. to study on issues related to the Defence Policy Review presently being undertaken by the government.

Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.

The Chair: Colleagues, welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence for Monday, June 20, 2016.

Before we begin, I would like to introduce the people around the table. My name is Dan Lang, senator for Yukon. On my left is the clerk of the committee, Adam Thompson.

I would like to invite the senators introduce themselves and state the region they represent, starting with the deputy chair.

Senator Jaffer: Mobina Jaffer. I’m from British Columbia.

Senator Raine: Senator Greene Raine from British Columbia. I’m subbing in for Senator Dagenais from Quebec.

Senator Day: Good morning. Senator Joseph Day from New Brunswick.

Senator Beyak: Lynn Beyak from Ontario. Welcome.

The Chair: Today, we will be meeting for five hours to consider issues related to the defence policy review that was initiated by the government. On April 21, 2016, the Senate authorized our committee to examine and report on issues related to the defence policy review presently being undertaken by the government and to table its report no later than December 16, 2016.

We are considering issues around Canada’s possible participation in future UN peace support operations as well as other items related to the review.

Prior to introducing our witnesses today, I want to inform members of the committee that it will be our intention to have a meeting on Wednesday to deal with Bill S-205, the bill presented by Senator Moore. At that as well, I would like to discuss the steps forward on the study that we are in the process of, which I just indicated earlier. Time has not been scheduled yet. Hopefully, it will be earlier on Wednesday morning. We have free time and will organize accordingly.

Senator Day: That’s the normal time slot for Veterans Affairs. We were hoping to have five or ten minutes of that time to talk about future business as well.

The Chair: Perhaps what we could do, senator, is schedule it earlier in the morning to be flexible on the time. We may not have to do it at 12 o’clock. Perhaps we can do it earlier in the morning, if that’s okay with you on steering.

Senator Day: I don’t know about caucus.

The Chair: We will have to see our scheduling, but on Wednesday, we would like to get some time to deal with Bill S-205 and also future plans.

Senator Day: The normal time slot is 10:15 to 12:15.

The Chair: Hopefully we can do it a littler earlier.

I notice Senator Meredith is here. Welcome.

Colleagues, joining us for our first panel of the day are Elinor Sloan, Professor of International Relations, Department of Political Science, Carleton University; and from the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, Colin Robertson, Vice-President and Fellow, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary.

Ms. Sloan, as this is your first visit, as far as I know, to the committee, a special welcome.

Mr. Robertson — who has been here many times — welcome back.

I understand each of you has a statement. We have one hour for this panel.

Colin Robertson, Vice-President, and Fellow, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute: Chair, senators, Dag Hammarskjöld, the second United Nations Secretary-General, once said, “The United Nations was created not to lead mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell.” Hammarskjöld’s observation holds true today. It is of particular relevance to this committee in its consideration of how Canada could best respond to UN Secretary-General’s Ban Ki-moon’s request for more help with peace operations.

For all its faults, the United Nations is still our best vehicle for supplying peacekeepers to separate warring factions in providing food, aid and development, and saving endangered women, children and minorities. But the UN peace operations need our help.

Transparency International and Human Rights Watch have assessed the militaries of the 30 countries, almost all developing nations, which provide the most soldiers and police officers to UN peacekeeping operations. They observe that these militaries are among those most susceptible to corruption and guilty of abuse and crimes against those they are sent to protect. In short, they need better training in operations and in the field. Canada can help, drawing on our acknowledged expertise in successful pluralism and good governance. As a people, we celebrate diversity in our many cultures. We define progressive pluralism, the ability of people of different origins to get along together. Our constitutional commitment to “peace, order and good government” means that for us governance is a continuous work-in-progress, and we are good at it.

During its two decades of operation, the Pearson Centre trained more than 18,000 people coming from the military police and civilian communities of more than 150 countries. Those graduates went on to contribute to global peace and security operations, and they brought this knowledge and experience back home. Some of the Pearson Centre’s work was picked up by the U.S.-based Peace Operations Training Institute. With an international advisory staff, it now provides accessible and affordable self-paced, online, on-demand courses on peace support, humanitarian relief, and security operations, but the Secretary-General argues there is a need for more.

There is a seller’s market for peacekeepers given increasing situations involving failed or failing states. Many less developed countries are effectively renting their soldiers as peacekeepers. Today’s average peacekeeper — there are 120,000 of them — comes from a country not just poor but also less democratic and institutionally underdeveloped. The training combat experience and relatively high salaries these peacekeepers receive put them in a position to affect politics when they return home. Their training is important, not just for the immediate mission but for the longer term.

In teaching them about peace operations we are also developing and reinforcing habits around good governance that will make a difference when they return home. Colonels and generals often become prime ministers and presidents in later life. I ask this committee to include in its recommendations the re-establishment of a Canadian peace operations training capacity that draws on Canadian expertise.

We should aim to have equal representation of men and women. Our bilingualism is a real asset in our trainers. Thanks to our enlightened immigration policies, we have significant language capacity in our Armed Forces which we can mobilize. Our trainers should also reflect Canadian cultural diversity, including those from the LGBT community. Our training approach would be different from before and likely involve setting up regional centres in other countries. It would draw on the best of what we achieved through the Pearson Centre, but with equal emphasis on immediate stabilization of the situation and sustainability for the longer term.

In teaching the profession of arms in asymmetric warfare conditions, increasingly the essence of contemporary peacekeeping, we would draw on our Afghan experience. We are well placed to develop a UN standard, the equivalent of an ISO 14000. Call it UN blue helmets certified to protect. As an incentive, we could make UN allowances conditional on a set of performance measures. We would draw on other agencies of governments, diplomats, police, intelligence, lawyers, doctors and nurses. There is considerable practical experience in our civil society, for example Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam and the Parliamentary Centre, drawing on their experience in disaster relief, longer-term humanitarian relief and good governance. If we have learned one lesson from traditional peacekeeping, it is that while our blue berets are essential to stabilization of the situation, long-term peace depends on those with experience in policing, diplomacy, development and the re-establishment of law and order.

Having spent much of my professional career abroad as a foreign service officer, I know that we are among the most blessed nations. Canada has talent and experience. To those whom much is given, much is expected. There are many other things we can also do, such as provide lift support and logistics command, but I believe our most useful role would be as trainers for those engaged in peace operations. Inscribed in our peacekeeping monument not far from Parliament Hill are these words:

We need action not only to end the fighting but to make the peace… My own government would be glad to recommend Canadian participation in such a United Nations force, a truly international peace and police force.

What Lester B. Pearson said then is still what Canadians expect of their government. Thank you, chair.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Robertson. We will go to questions and start with Senator Jaffer.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much to both of you for your presentations, and I certainly appreciated what I heard. Some of the things you touched on are things I am struggling with, so I’m glad you touched on them.

One was the issue of pluralism, and I believe in a defence policy that involves who makes up our defence forces, how we encourage people to be part of our bilingualism and our multiculturalism, who we are and what our values are. All of those are very important things. I have had the pleasure of travelling with men and women in uniform, and I’ve always felt when they got on the ground they always demonstrated our values, and that was our biggest strength.

I would like both of you to speak about the use of police forces. I find them very effective. Police from our country, for example, help with training in how to do rape investigations and better policing skills, and I’d like both of you to first comment on that.

Ms. Sloan: I believe that police forces are a critical part of security sector reform, and that was half the component in Afghanistan. The Afghan National Army was being trained but also the national police, and it is thought that perhaps the effort to train them did not go far enough or start early enough. We have RCMP in Haiti. Security sector reform within states is extremely important, and normally that’s what police do, not military forces, which generally look outside of borders, if you think of the Canadian example. Building police forces that are well trained, not corrupt, that follow rule of law and that can be trusted by the citizens is a very important starting point in the areas of the world we want to stabilize.

Mr. Robertson: Yes, I think police training, just to reiterate what my colleague Dr. Sloan said, is absolutely vital once you stabilize the situation. Inevitably, you have people, particularly now, literally tens of millions, who are refugees in camps, and you do need policing in situations that will have longer-term duration.

We have considerable experience. We’ve done training of police in Iraq, Jordan, Haiti and in other places, and we have the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec, the OPP and other police forces. We do have a lot of capacity, and these police forces, as you alluded to, reflect the diversity of Canada, and that’s a good signal to send when they see women police officers who speak their language. In some of these countries, that does a lot to reinforce the values we also can bring to peace operations.

Senator Jaffer: When I was in Darfur, our police taught the police there how to do rape investigations, and now when I go back to the region, they say that was the best protocol set up. There is a lot of help we can get from our police force.

I go to the regions a lot, especially in the Middle East, and see war being fought in very different ways from what we’ve seen before. I’d like your comments on whether you agree with me. I think you will, but the nature of war has changed. Extremism and what we see happening with ISIS — they don’t have a lot of equipment, but the way they do is very destructive. I believe that we are going to have to prepare in a different way, and I would appreciate hearing from both of you as to how we can work with the United Nations so that we can use our pluralism and multiculturalism more effectively to fight the war and extremism.

Mr. Robertson: When we first got involved, as Dr. Sloan has alluded to, we were separating basically warring militaries, but now we are dealing with conditions of asymmetric warfare where the bad guys are not far from being bandits in many cases, and the Geneva conventions on warfare do not uphold, so that puts additional pressures on the men and women of our Armed Forces and on peace operations. I think the training for that is different from the traditional training. Again, I don’t think that, according to the UN and other organizations that have looked at recent peace operations, those in the military we are employing from other countries have that capacity.

So I think that’s an area where we can make a difference, drawing on the experience we have had particularly in Afghanistan during that 10 years there and time in other places where we may have been small in number, but, as Dr. Sloan said, it is not quantity. It’s quality. I think what Canada brings is highly qualified experience in peace operations.

Ms. Sloan: The biggest difference between Cold War peacekeeping and current peacekeeping, starting with the Bosnia conflict, is that during the Cold War it was a zone between states, where the government controlled the forces, and there was basically a buffer zone.

Once you moved from interwar to intra-war, like civil war, dealing with civil war became much more dangerous. Peacekeepers could be lightly armed during the Cold War because the states involved controlled their forces. As long as you made sure there were no transgressions, things were fine.

Within states, there is no central authority controlling the people, and so it’s much more dangerous. In some ways peacekeepers need to be more heavily armed today than they were during the Cold War because the circumstances are much more dangerous, and that’s why the Under-Secretary-General is asking for combat helicopters. That’s why I say if our forces are to be deployed, they have to be prepared for warfare. In the big picture, in order to rebuild a society, you first need security, so the military role is to provide that environment. Once that’s provided, other institutions can come in and build governance, and, indeed, the police can start to come in and build police forces.

Just as a brief comment, while that sort of warfare continues and has exploded in the post-Cold War era, we are seeing, at the same time, a return to potential conflict between states, and Canada needs to be ready for that as well.

The Chair: Can you expand on the rules of engagement? If we do send troops to be involved in one manner or another, the question of engagement comes in and how they respond if a conflict erupts. What are your observations in that case, because whether or not that’s clear must be a concern regarding peacekeeping operations under the United Nations?

Ms. Sloan: Of course, our Chief of the Defence Staff and the militaries would define exactly what the rules of engagement are. But during the Cold War, the three principles were consent of the parties, impartiality and use of force in self-defence. It was only use of force in self-defence during the Cold War. In the post-Cold War era, the missions went beyond that to having to forcibly get humanitarian aid through. The rules of engagement changed to become closer to warfare-like circumstances.

Senator White: Thank you very much to the two witnesses. My question is on the discussion around increasing our role outside and whether or not we have the capacity today to do that, and, if not, have you given much thought to where we would have to go from a manpower perspective?

We need to remember force readiness and the importance of that and some of our other tasks we have. If we are going to increase our peacekeeping role, where do you see us having to go from a financial perspective with the National Defence budgets?

Ms. Sloan: Areas of the world that we should prioritize, is that what you’re saying?

Senator White: No, I’m asking what we would have to do as a country, where our budget would be if we were to take on some of the tasks that it’s anticipated that you’re recommending and others are recommending as well. It’s 1.7 percent or 2 per cent of GDP. Do you see those numbers as being important to us?

Ms. Sloan: I believe that defence spending is too low and that it should be increased, and that if the government wants to play the role in the world that it indicates it does, it will need to increase the defence spending. It would be beneficial for Canada to contribute in a major way to UN peace support operations in the areas that I’ve indicated, security sector reform or certain areas of the world that I’ve highlighted, but also to participate in the NATO mission that is addressing Russian aggression as well.

Senator White: You’re talking about discussions around deploying troops into the Baltic, for example, or into Eastern Europe? Is that what you’re referring to?

Ms. Sloan: That’s right, yes. I would support that. In the 1970s, the Canadian military was much larger. It basically drew down from World War II up until the Mulroney and Chrétien era. But during the 1970s, we had 5,000 troops in Europe, and we also had 1,200 people in Egypt. The Canadian military, if it’s sized and equipped, can definitely sustain those two sorts of operations at one time.

Senator White: Thank you. Mr. Robertson?

Mr. Robertson: If you want to use a standard, as members of NATO, we have committed to 2 per cent defence spending, and our current spending is at 1 per cent, so you can take it from there. The Secretary-General, even as recently as the last couple of days, has encouraged all countries, including Canada, to contribute, as you pointed out, to the operations that NATO is looking for support for in Eastern Europe in the face of Russian aggression. This is a choice for governments as to how far they’re going to spend.

But if we are to fulfill our NATO commitment and have the kind of robust involvement in peace operations that the current government is talking about, inevitably you have to cost this through. It will mean larger budgets for the Department of National Defence, but it will probably also mean an examination of what we spend under that umbrella department of Global Affairs in terms of development, because so much of what I’m talking about in terms of peace operations comes from a variety of budgets, not just that of National Defence. But what you’re describing, inevitably if we were to do what we are being asked to do as part of our alliance responsibilities and support for the international order by the Secretary-General of the UN, would involve more expenditure.

Senator White: Thank you very much for that response. If I may, Mr. Robertson, we had a little bit of a discussion here on UN peacekeeping, police operations and training. Presently the funding, I understand, for UNCIVPOL and policing flows from Global Affairs to the RCMP.

In reality, though, when we talk about who they’re supporting, often it’s actually for National Defence when they get there. Would it make more sense for that funding to be reallocated from Global Affairs to National Defence? They work hand in glove in every theatre that I know of.

Mr. Robertson: Senator, yes, that would be a logical response. But my experience is that defence budgets are always under such extreme pressure that it is probably better, if you’re looking for an end result, to have those budgets available in other departments and to have other departments also defending the whole concept of peace operations. If you’re simply talking about the sharp end, then that is National Defence, but for example, having that policing funding come from a very large government envelope is, bluntly, easier to build political support for. There are advantages to having parcels of money in different departments because then you have different ministers who tend to be broadly supportive.

This is your domain, politics.

Senator White: It’s not mine, actually. I wish I was better at it.

Mr. Robertson: But you might have a group of ministers who are broadly supportive of what we’ll call peace operations, not just the Minister of National Defence, so that he or she is not the one carrying that to cabinet.

Senator White: Ms. Sloan? It’s okay to disagree with me.

Ms. Sloan: Yes, I’m not sure about the budgets. I read the testimony of the Minister of National Defence before this committee three weeks ago. One of the things that he talked about was being able to find countries that are at a tipping point. There’s an awful lot of talk about preventive peacekeeping right now and finding areas that will become a problem in the future and going there before the problem arises. It came to mind, when I read that, that critical to that whole preventive component of peace support operations is having diplomats around the world, watching and having intelligence and CSIS, et cetera.

When we talk about revitalizing peace support operations, it’s partly a military aspect but also a diplomatic one as well, and we might want to look at revitalizing our foreign service and going to different places around the world. Indeed, that was a big part of the Lester B. Pearson time. We had folks on the ground, diplomats.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: I have a supplementary question. Mr. Robertson, we often hear about the 2 per cent of GDP. I agree with the principle, but within this 2 per cent of GDP, what are the two or three objectives that Canada should focus on? We cast a wide net with respect to the 2 per cent of GDP; it can go to different sectors. Can you suggest the two or three areas of investment that should be priorities for Canada? Should Canada give priority to defence or peacekeeping operations? What are the areas of investment that would make it possible to achieve this objective?

Mr. Robertson: Thank you for your question; it is a good one. I think you will get a more accurate answer though if you ask the committees examining defence policy.

I can say this much: most government investments go to the defence of Canada, then to the defence of North America and, finally, to its international obligations. Our international obligations help stabilize and maintain peace around the world which, in my opinion, is enshrined in peacekeeping operations

[English]

Senator Beyak: Thank you both for your exceptional presentations. Your knowledge and understanding of this issue are very impressive. You have answered all of my questions in your presentations, but from a practical side, for those watching at home, National Security and Defence is watched by many Canadians. Should Canada be prioritizing UN-led peacekeeping missions or NATO- and alliance-based? In your opinion, which would be best to do, and why or why not? Am I asking that clearly?

Ms. Sloan: I’m hard of hearing in both languages.

Senator Beyak: In your opinion, would we be best in prioritizing UN-led to support operations or NATO-based, alliance-led missions?

Ms. Sloan: In my view, we should prioritize our NATO commitments. My number one recommendation would be to support the effort to boost military forces in the Baltic region versus Russian aggression. Perhaps we disagree.

I believe that when it comes to stabilizing countries, security sector reform is the most important thing, building credible military forces and police forces. It is not a decision of which organization we should support; it is the function we support, which is security sector reform. What we have seen is that NATO has been heavily engaged in this over the past 20 years. Canada has been part of that effort, and the EU is heavily engaged. Not that we should take part in the EU operations, but there are other organizations than the UN.

Mr. Robertson: Senator, I don’t think it’s a question of either-or. As a G7 country and the kind of country Canada is, I believe we can and will do both reflecting our respective interests. We have interests in Eastern Europe, so the request from the Secretary General of NATO is indeed something to consider.

At the same time, we are also founding members of the liberal national order represented by the United Nations. Again, we have interests — the kind of police training we have done in Haiti, the stabilization our forces provided after the earthquake in Haiti. That’s the kind of thing we can do. We are ambidextrous, but it does underline why we need to be prepared for a variety of situations and challenges ranging from the sharp end to issues involving diplomacy development and longer term development.

Senator Beyak: Do we need to reorganize the spending to do that?

Mr. Robertson: Inevitably, we don’t set the international situation, so it’s very hard to forecast. The best of forecasters find it very difficult to predict. Who would have predicted 9/11, for example?

What we have learned over time is to be prepared, like the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared,” for a variety of situations, and be sure that the capacity that we have can address a variety of situations, which is what the Canadian Forces have been very good at. We’re talking particularly of Canadian Forces’ ability to react to situations of humanitarian relief but also to be able to perform credibly in situations of warfare, real or asymmetric.

Senator Beyak: Thank you.

Senator Day: Dr. Sloan, I’m going to focus first of all on the United Nations’ UNPROFOR in the Balkans and the rather poor show that resulted from the United Nations participation there, and then your quote that the Secretary-General said that neither the Security Council nor the Secretary-General are ready to do the kind of military intervention that’s necessary. Given the structure and the veto in the Security Council, can we ever expect that the United Nations would have a role to play that would challenge the role that NATO has been forced into outside of theatre nowadays?

Ms. Sloan: That quote is from 20 years ago. I guess the question is, has the UN come further from that?

It’s still a challenge for the United Nations to mount high-intensity peace support operations. I know that sounds like a strange way of putting it, but peace support operations, depending on the circumstances, can be very dangerous. It can still be very challenging for the UN to do that, which means that there is still a role for regional organizations, such as NATO, to undertake these dangerous missions, and it is exactly what happened in Bosnia.

Senator Day: One of you referred to preventive peacekeeping. Was that you, Dr. Sloan?

Ms. Sloan: Yes.

Senator Day: Does that include deterrence as well, the role that NATO is engaging in now to deter Russian intervention in the Baltic nations by showing strength and preparedness to intervene, if necessary?

Ms. Sloan: Preventive peacekeeping would be similar to deterrence in that in both cases you don’t know if it’s worked. You assume deterrence has worked, but you don’t know if something would have happened if you hadn’t done anything. They’re similar in that vein.

The key distinction between peace support operations and war fighting is, as I indicated in my comments, based on political intent. If the political intent is to intervene, be impartial, stop the killing, then you’re basically not a party to the conflict — you just want the killing to stop; you’re impartial that way — as opposed to a war-fighting situation where an enemy has been defined and you’re against the other side and you’re a party to the conflict.

To deter Russian aggression, Canada would be part of NATO and would be looking at Russia, whereas in preventive peacekeeping it would not be a party; it would just be trying to intervene to stop the conflict from starting in the first place.

Senator Day: Thank you. Do you want to put me on round two, then?

The Chair: I don’t know if we’re going to get to round two. Is it a quick supplementary?

Senator Day: I wanted to make sure we weren’t leaving Mr. Robertson out of this.

What was the problem with the Pearson Centre? Did it lose its way, or was it just that we couldn’t afford to maintain it? What you are envisaging now is that there will be regional centres around the world. That is not something that Canada could handle on its own, I’m assuming. If you could comment on that briefly, that would be appreciated.

Mr. Robertson: As to what happened at the Pearson peacekeeping centre, it was a combination of factors, but I think budgetary considerations were central to the decision to wind it down.

The conditions were such that it was something that the world admired and used, as indicated by the number of nations, 150, and the number of graduates from different countries. When it was no longer there, it was deeply missed, and it is something that we could resurrect but in a different form.

When I talk about, as you suggest, regional centres, we may well take the lead and provide the trainers but not necessarily finance it. If we did, it would be in cooperation with other countries. I think we wouldn’t necessarily have to bring people here, but we could set up regional centres where our trainers could go. Again, there should be some sharing and the host countries, the beneficiaries, could provide funding as well as other parts of the UN. We would probably have to do that.

If we could set this up, it would be quite useful to start training potential trainers for the future from host countries because that would have great long-term value, if we could take the lead in this but then spread this out into other parts of the world.

Senator McCoy: Thank you for coming.

I think you called this operation Blue Helmet. I was quite intrigued in that too. So you’re seeing physical structures in other countries, or at least dedicated premises?

Mr. Robertson: Yes, senator. I think you could indeed take peace training in the sense that we have trained abroad. We’re training police in Haiti, and we have trained Iraqi police in Jordan and Afghans in Afghanistan. You take the same concept and take it abroad, so you wouldn’t have to necessarily have to bring everybody to Canada as we did in the past. Now, with tools and technology, I think it would probably be more cost efficient. Cost is always a big issue and drives, as several senators have suggested, defence diplomacy spending. If you could make efficiencies but at the same time bring it to the host countries where perhaps you are close to the countries, where you have a base in Africa or Asia, for example, I think that would have real value.

Senator McCoy: These institutes would then be set up all over?

Mr. Robertson: We’d have common standards and trainers. It would be like satellite university campuses abroad. That’s the principle.

Senator McCoy: How much do we have dedicated to that now?

Mr. Robertson: It’s piecemeal, incremental and kind of ad hoc. We don’t have that cohesive point of reference we had previously with the Pearson peacekeeping centre. We do some training, of course, in Iraq, but bringing together the various components of government, which would include the longer term, policing, law and order, training judges, for example, and how you run elections. These are all important pieces.

Yes, it is necessary to have our forces stabilize the situation, but what you want is the long-term stabilization of a country, and that involves much more. We know this, and the force would be the first to admit it: It’s not just someone in a uniform with a gun; you need policemen, critically, to provide peace and order, but you also need lawyers, judges and a free press.

There’s a lot that we can teach, again drawing on our pluralism. That’s one of the great values Canada has, and if we can bottle it up and transfer it abroad, that would make a huge contribution to international peace and security.

Senator McCoy: Would you do that under the UN umbrella?

Mr. Robertson: I think the UN umbrella is the most logical place to do it because that is the only international organization — could you do this under NATO? Perhaps, but I think the UN mantle and the blue helmets, their tradition, would make a lot of sense.

Senator McCoy: Professor Sloan talked about security as well. Do you think there should be preconditions before you engage in or dedicate more of our resources — or human resources, for that matter — to UN peace support operations? Should there be any conditions laid down as a prerequisite for our participation?

Ms. Sloan: I believe we need to prioritize based on our security interests. That pertains to our allies and our Five Eyes partners in areas of the world that pose a threat to our allies. I mentioned that stabilizing Northern Mali, for instance, would be very valuable, as would Libya, because of the threat of Islamic terrorism and migrant instability. I believe stabilizing Afghanistan remains important, and our allies have just decided to extend that NATO mission. We need to prioritize the security threat to Canada and its allies.

Then, of course, when it comes to the actual mission, is it viable? Is it well commanded? Are there enough forces? Are the forces properly equipped for the mandate at hand? All of those criteria have to come into play.

Senator Raine: Thank you very much. This is very interesting. I have a simple question, I think. If you go back into the olden days, Cyprus time, we knew who was fighting whom, we had agreements, peacekeepers would come in and there were conditions. Now it seems like the biggest threat — the thing that, as a Canadian, I’m afraid of — is this threat of ISIS. It seems that it can go everywhere and flare up everywhere. Is the United Nations peacekeeping force the best way to deal with the threat of ISIS?

The Chair: That’s a loaded question.

Ms. Sloan: I have not looked into the details of the Mali mission, but I believe that they’re struggling and that quite a few peacekeepers have been killed, et cetera. It’s proving dangerous and difficult for the UN. Germany has recently committed to that operation. The Netherlands is committed to that operation. A country like Canada could make, I think, a good contribution, but other organizations like NATO or U.S.-led coalitions can be very important, as we’re seeing in Iraq and also Afghanistan. As the mission gets more and more dangerous, it tends to move toward other organizations. That’s not to say that it always has to be that way, but so far that’s what we’ve seen.

Senator Raine: I guess I could say, then, that in some situations it turns out that you’re not keeping the peace; you’re really making war against this enemy that has surfaced. That’s the difference between peacekeeping and —

Ms. Sloan: Yes, there’s no peace to keep. In Bosnia, there was something like 34 ceasefires. Oftentimes, ceasefires are sort of negotiated in the fall and broken in the spring, so it can be very difficult because there is no peace to keep and you get caught up in the conflict.

Senator Raine: Yes, it’s complicated. Thank you very much for your insight.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: My comment is in the same vein as Senator Raine’s, namely, that we should review the mission or mandate that the UN gives peacekeeping forces. Sometimes, there is no peace to keep. We are in that situation. At other times, however, we can destabilize forces by supporting one group over another or, if we are in self-defence mode, we witness atrocities between the two camps, but are not able to intervene.

How important is defining a mandate and what should our role be based on the definition of that mandate before we commit to a mission?

[English]

Ms. Sloan: I would say that each operation would be different, but in many of the operations that we’re seeing now, it’s the protection of civilians. If you’re going to go in and protect civilians, you have to be well armed to do that. But each mandate will be different.

[Translation]

Mr. Robertson: I agree that the United Nations is sometimes unable to respond to the challenges. That is why we have turned to other organizations, such as NATO, working with special coalitions led by the United States.

Each situation is different but the key is protecting civilians, women and children. That is very important. That is why we are endeavouring to keep this responsibility.

[English]

Ms. Sloan: The big value that the UN brings is a sense of legitimacy. There may be places where NATO could go as well, but it’s better if the UN goes. At the end of the day, NATO is seen as a military alliance with a particular perspective, whereas the UN can have a greater sense of legitimacy to the folks on the ground, so to take measures to make UN operations more effective would be very valuable.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Has NATO become the UN’s police force when the UN is unable to do the job itself?

Mr. Robertson: Sometimes that is preferable. Sometimes NATO is called upon to protect civilians.

[English]

Ms. Sloan: NATO and other regional organizations are part of the UN system; they’re part of the UN charter. So to go with a NATO operation, you’re not entirely going out of the UN; it’s just been delegated to a regional organization.

Senator Meredith: Thank you so much, both of you, for your presentations.

Ms. Sloane, in your discussion of security sector reform, you stressed training, and you talked about Bosnia and Croatia. In fact, I’ve engaged with some of those officers who were deployed.

You also stressed influence of corruption. What measures are in place to safeguard our officers when they are deployed to these hotspots to ensure that there are no influences of corruption?

Ms. Sloan: I apologize. I don’t have an answer to that question.

Senator Meredith: In terms of training, we are being deployed to ensure there is security on the ground, so my question would be around that in terms of influences. You mentioned it twice in your statement with respect to corruption or those individuals who are engaged in activities that could be considered as corrupt.

Ms. Sloan: Our Canadian Forces are well trained and professional and would go into that circumstance trying to pass on those rule-of-law principles that would be ingrained within the soldiers and officers of the Canadian Forces.

Mr. Robertson: You will remember we disbanded a regiment for what we saw as lack of professional conduct in Somalia. Our rules and the code of conduct are extremely rigorous, but that doesn’t apply to some of those currently involved. That’s something where training should make a difference.

That’s why I argued for the certified to protect, and you could condition performance measures for those countries that are currently providing. If their troops don’t measure up, they would not be doing so, because they bring disrepute to the whole concept of the blue beret and the United Nations peace operations.

Senator Jaffer: Ms. Sloan, you said UN delegates to NATO. That’s not my understanding. NATO goes into areas that it decides; it does not do it under the UN banner. It’s not like the UN is telling NATO to go in; NATO is doing this on its own. It’s not delegated by the UN.

Ms. Sloan: Let me clarify. Chapter 8 of the UN charter covers regional organizations and says something to the effect that if the Security Council cannot agree, then regional organizations can undertake measures until such time as the Security Council can agree.

Senator Jaffer: I understand that. What I’m saying is it’s not like NATO gets permission or is asked by the UN. NATO does it on its own. When it goes under the banner of NATO, it goes with the countries that are part of NATO. It’s not doing it under the UN banner.

Ms. Sloan: That’s right.

Senator Jaffer: It doesn’t have the moral authority of the UN.

Ms. Sloan: That’s right.

The Chair: The question of the UN and their legitimacy was questioned when we had the two previous ministers as witnesses last week. As far as our committee is concerned and recommendations going forward to the government, would it be feasible for a recommendation to look toward us working with our normal allies to ensure that when we go into the United Nations and go under their umbrella and do work on behalf of the United Nations, that there is a clear understanding of the rules of how we are going to conduct our business?

I would like to hear your comments on the question of a recommendation that any recommendation that comes out of this for the purpose of this report, that the financial commitments have to be over and above what has already been committed to the Department of National Defence.

Ms. Sloan: Command arrangements have to be transparent, and if Canada is to be part of a UN operation, the methods through which we are going to operate have to be very clear. Basically your first statement I agree with, yes.

On the financial side, the Department of National Defence has a budget, and then operations end up coming out of that budget. It would be very helpful if there was an increment to that budget to cover operations, as I believe is the way in the United States.

Mr. Robertson: I agree with both of your premises. Yes, we should have a clear sense of the rules of engagement and the terms of engagement when we go in. This has been reiterated by former Canadian commanders who participated in UN missions, ranging from Lewis MacKenzie to Romeo Dallaire.

In terms of the budgeting, yes, although it makes sense to have a supplemental budget, but that’s very hard to get through. I would argue that we provide our Department of National Defence with sufficient funding at the outset, because otherwise what happens is they end up scalping other parts of the operation because there is never an assurance you will get these second supplementary estimates that are sometimes hard to get.

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Public Diplomacy and Canada’s Foreign Service

Diplomats feel as though they are emerging from a decade of darkness

Colin Robertson The Globe and Mail Tuesday, Jun. 07, 201

Canada’s top diplomats are in Ottawa this week for a pep talk about the country’s place in the world and what they can do to advance our interests and values.

Once the best in the world, Canada’s foreign service endured a difficult decade of cuts and contempt under a Harper government that perceived it as whiny, leaky, barely competent and untrustworthy.

With its renewed emphasis on economic diplomacy, the Harper government told diplomats to “take off your tweed jacket, buy a business suit and land us a deal.” The objective was sound, but the tone was insulting.

Mr. Harper’s government also oversaw the sale of official residences, some of them given to our country as reparations for Canadian sacrifice and valour during the Second World War. These historic and iconic residences were the best platforms to promote our trade and diplomatic objectives. It was all lost on the Harperites, however, who perceived them as grand living.

In short, the relationship between the foreign service and the Harper government was one of mutual contempt.

Now, with that decade of darkness behind us, we need a compendium of best practices – our own and those of other nations’ – to encourage traditionalists to think out-of-the-box. Canada’s diplomats need to change their mindset from that of compliance in just carrying out government orders to one of policy innovation and public diplomacy.

One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first initiatives was to write to every head of mission, abolishing the strict controls imposed by the Harper government. Mr. Trudeau said he would rely on our diplomats’ “judgment, insights, discretion, and work ethic.” He underlined their critical role in advancing a new era of Canadian international engagement “through direct contact, the media, and social media.”

Given his rapid immersion in international summitry, it was a smart move on the part of Mr. Trudeau and it has paid off.

Mr. Trudeau’s personal grasp of the zeitgeist accounts for much of his subsequent success on the multilateral circuit – G20, Commonwealth, APEC, Paris climate change conference, Davos, UN, G8 – and during his recent bilateral meetings in Tokyo and Washington. But having our diplomats enthusiastically advance, deliver and then follow up is critical in the continuing demonstration that “Canada is back.”

Canadian re-engagement will hinge on the embrace of public diplomacy. It will oblige our diplomatic missions to fully utilize the sophisticated 500-plus social media channels they operate in over 20 languages. In Tunisia, for example, our embassy flew the LGBT flag (a first for any embassy in the Arab world) and used its French and English Facebook pages to promote the end of the criminalization of homosexuality.

The heads of missions should leave their meetings this week with a clear idea of their role and what they are expected to deliver. Delivering on the commitments in the mandate letters is the Trudeau government’s self-imposed barometer for success. Key questions that need to be answered include:

How do we protect our interests against rising nativism and protectionism, not just the “Trumpism” in the U.S., but elsewhere, too?
What are the specific measures Canada should take to become an international leader in combatting climate change?
What is “peaceful pluralism” and how do we advance respect for diversity and human rights?
What are we doing to showcase Canadian culture abroad?
What is the game plan for each European mission to ensure CETA (Canada-EU trade agreement) implementation and then how do they expand development of trade and investment?
What is the Plan B if the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership fails?
How can we better attract investment and talented immigrants, and encourage foreign students to study in Canada?
What is our China strategy?

In a globalized world, power comes from connectedness and the ability to quickly mobilize coalitions to implement, support or protest. Traditional hierarchies matter less; we need new networks, enabled by technology, that include entrepreneurs, women and civil society organizations.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau will need to make it clear that there is a high tolerance for risk and experimentation. Letting our envoys be creative may have diplomatic repercussions; our diplomats need to know that these ministers have their back and that they will adequately fund public diplomacy.

This week’s meeting of our 130 heads of mission coincides with the annual Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers awards, celebrating their roles as consuls, trade commissioners, visa officers, cultural envoys, negotiators, and analysts. Their stories, captured in the foreign service’s publication, bout de papier, are moving tributes to their quiet professionalism on behalf of Canadians.

Diplomacy, the second oldest profession, is enjoying a comeback in the face of a shifting international order. Like the oldest profession, diplomacy also needs to learn new tricks. And, like the oldest profession, diplomacy is still as much art as craft.

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Canada China Relations and Press Freedom

une 5, 2016 11:09 am

Chinese may not care Canadians offended by minister’s outburst: ex-diplomat

Former diplomat Colin Robertson and Senator Jim Munson join Tom Clark for a discussion on the visit to Canada of China’s foreign minister, and his tirade against a journalist.

China’s foreign minister made headlines in Ottawa this week for all the wrong reasons when he took exception to a question posed by a journalist. But experts say it’s unlikely the Chinese care about the bad press.

“They’ll have to deal with damage control,” former diplomat Colin Robertson told the West Block’s Tom Clark.

“But I’m not sure that they care. There are a number of things that take place that they feel they’re getting bad press (on) from the western media.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion stood next to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, seemingly stunned into silence, as the Chinese politician ripped into a journalist from news website iPolitics. Wang called the question on the jailing of a Canadian, Kevin Garratt, “irresponsible.” The question had not, in fact, even been directed at Wang.

 WATCH: China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs blasts Canadian journalist


Current senator and former journalist Jim Munson said he was deeply offended by Wang’s outburst on Canadian soil.

“It was very upsetting,” Munson said.

“He couldn’t have picked a worse time, and particularly for me because I’m quite emotional about this issue, having seen children and adults killed in Tiananmen [Square]. There was a massacre in Tiananmen. And to say this on our territory and to say this about a journalist, my goodness, it hit home again to me what is wrong in China.”

READ MORE: Trudeau says Canada expressed ‘dissatisfaction’ with China for berating reporter

Both Munson and Robertson said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now has a responsibility to address themes of press freedom, the consular immunity of Canadians in China and human rights on his next visit to the country.

“Certainly the first public speech that we make over there would probably have to touch on all those three themes,” said Robertson. “Because you do not want to look like you’re going in to deal with the Chinese on the back foot or from a period of weakness.”

— Watch the full panel discussion above.

THE WEST BLOCK
Episode 37, Season 5
Sunday, June 5, 2016

Host: Tom Clark

Guests: Jim Munson, Colin Robertson

Location: Ottawa

Tom Clark: On this Sunday, China’s foreign minister lashes out at a Canadian journalist for asking about human rights. Well, we’ve got a few more questions.

Tom Clark: Well, in Ottawa last week, China’s foreign minister lashed out at a Canadian journalist for having the temerity to ask about human rights in China. And it happened right in front of Canada’s Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion who remained silent throughout. Take a listen to what happened:

Voice of Interpreter speaking for Wang Yi: I have to say that your question is full of prejudice and against China and arrogance where I don’t know where that come[s] from. And this is totally unacceptable.

Tom Clark: Well joining me now is senator and former journalist Jim Munson and former diplomat Colin Robertson. Welcome to you both. You know what’s ironic about this in some sense is this whole thing comes on the 27th anniversary of the slaughter in Tiananmen Square. You were there Jim, I was there. The Chinese then didn’t apologize, haven’t apologized since, and it seems to me that they’re not about to apologize now for what they’ve said in Canada. What’s your take on that it Jim?

Jim Munson: Tom, look Tiananmen never happened as far as the Chinese government is concerned, as far as this foreign minister is concerned. Talk about timing with Mr. Wang Yi in what he said earlier this week. It was very upsetting. He couldn’t have picked a worse time, and particularly for me because I’m quite emotional about this issue, having seen children and adults killed in Tiananmen. There was a massacre in Tiananmen. And to say this is on our territory and to say this about a journalist, my goodness, it hit home again to me what is wrong in China. And it hasn’t gotten any better, I think, in terms of censorship. In terms of an iron-fisted rule of government, it’s gotten even worse.

Tom Clark: Well I can back you up on what happened in Tiananmen Square, both you and I were there. But Colin, from a diplomatic point of view, does this even enter into a sphere of a diplomatic faux pas or is this just something that we have to put up with when it comes to China?

Colin Robertson: Oh, I think a faux pas. Because it’s going to make it more difficult for the government which is anxious to have some kind of a free trade arrangement with China and we do want to sell more to China to be able to frame this in a way that we don’t look as a supplicant. That’s one of the challenges is that we don’t want to look like we’re trying to give up more. And so that’s why the Chinese, from their perspective, this was what I call in baseball terms, an unforced error. This was unnecessary because they too want to have a good relationship with the new Trudeau government. They’ve made a big deal about Mr. Trudeau and they’ve linked it back to when his father was there with Zhou Enlai. They would like to have this go along seamlessly, so this was unforced error. But I do think that in terms of their attitude towards western media, this was entirely reflective, not just of foreign minister, but at the same time that he was in town we had vice-chair from the (inaudible) in and he said similar kinds of things about the media and irresponsible reporting and highly prejudiced.

Tom Clark: And that was behind closed doors that you heard that.

Jim Munson: And aren’t diplomats supposed to use diplomatic language? I mean I’ve been inside the room with a prime minister when these kinds of things go on in human rights in China with prime ministers and with the president and the prime minister of China. I thought he would at least use diplomatic language. You know he could have come into town, left. Nobody knew he was here and yes, laid the groundwork for an economic free trade agreement. But that did not happen.

Colin Robertson: That’s why I say, Jimmy, unforced because the question wasn’t even to him, so unnecessary to do so. And now they’ll have to deal with damage control. But I’m not sure that they care. There are a number of things that take place that they feel they’re getting a bad press from the western media both on human rights and on cyber. I think there’s certainly much more on cyber which they have to be accountable for that we have to hold them accountable.

Tom Clark: I just want to jump in here for a second just to bolster your credentials. Of course Colin, you served time in China in Hong Kong representing Canada.

Colin Robertson: Yes, I was there through Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong and people coming out.

Tom Clark: Listen, part of the story now becomes how did the Canadian government react to this? I mean here we had somebody who, in my analogy, walked into our living room and defecated on our carpet. And we saw that Stéphane Dion, the Canadian foreign minister, stood their stone-faced, didn’t reply, didn’t say anything at all. But I want you to take a listen. On Friday, Stéphane Dion had a conference call and somebody asked him about this incident. And just listen for a second as to what he said:

Stéphane Dion: “I consider Madam Connolly as a professional with a thick skin and she does not need me to go to her rescue.”

Tom Clark: Need me to go to her rescue. It seems to me that he completely missed the point. This was not about defending a journalist. Surely this is a question of defending some basic values. He was a guest in this country and yet the government has remained almost mum on it. Is that acceptable, Jim?

Jim Munson: Not acceptable. I thought that Mr. Dion from the get-go could have stepped into that at a moment, maybe used some humour at that time and just talked about this is Canada, Mr. Foreign Minister. I’ll answer the question for you. We’ll have lots of time to talk about these things. And foreign ministers do have a responsibility to protect the press. Very briefly, after Tiananmen, I was thrown in the Forbidden City jail covering the anniversary of Tiananmen and still living in Beijing. Well there was a former minister, Barbara McDougall who worked in the Mulroney government, who was given a call to get me out of that jail. I mean Canadians are Canadians are Canadians. This happened on our soil. I mean we can be outraged and upset, but I think that Mr. Dion could have used humour, better language to get out of that situation.

Tom Clark: Colin, let me turn this around a little bit, do we have the capacity when you look at the power imbalance between Canada and China. Do we actually have the power or the capacity to say no to China?

Colin Robertson: Well to say no to what?

Tom Clark: Well say no in the sense of if the Chinese say this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to come in, I’m going to say these things, I’m going to demand that I meet with your prime minister and you’re going to step up to the plate on trade deals. Do we have to take it in other words?

Colin Robertson: I think that we want a positive relationship with China. It will serve our long-term interest for us to have a much improved relationship than what we had. I think the prime minister gets that entirely, so he is reaching to the Chinese leadership that as Senator Munson says that it was a missed opportunity by our foreign minister at that point. But with that done, he moved forward. I think the prime minister has responded and said look we stand up for journalistic freedom. This is an opportunity for him but it does make it harder for the government now to move forward because you’ve seen the Opposition criticism that where the Conservative Party’s coming from in particular and with the relationship with China which was always a bit schizophrenic. But this was an opportunity to stand up on both consular immunity of Canadians, Mr. Garratt, as well as human rights and journalist freedoms. So I think that’s something that you’ve seen echoed now by Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Dion in their subsequent comments. And certainly the first public speech that we make over there would probably have to touch on all those three themes for this very reason because you do not want to look like you’re going in to deal with the Chinese on the back foot or from a period of weakness.

Tom Clark: In the minute we’ve got left, that’s a really interesting point. Do we, when Justin Trudeau goes to China in the fall, does he have to say something on Chinese soil that addresses this whole question of a free press?

Jim Munson: He better do that. He must do that. Mr. Trudeau has an opportunity to be straightforward and talk directly to the Chinese people. We’ve had that about 10 years ago when Mitchell Sharp, our former foreign minister, went to speak at a university in Shanghai to students. Under a previous regime, it’s not that long ago, they didn’t seem to be that fearful of Canada’s voice. You know it’s not a big voice in China but it’s an important voice in China. So absolutely, Mr. Trudeau has to speak in a strong language. What are the Chinese leaderships scared of? Because I mean everything that is said in China is censored anyway, but at least it would give our country a good feeling that our prime minister can speak out, not just for journalists, but for free speech.

Colin Robertson: And consistent with how other prime ministers have done so and foreign leaders. So yes, I think Mr. Trudeau will have to and will do so.

Tom Clark: I want to thank you both for this insight from two people who really know China extremely well. Collin Robertson and Senator Munson, thank you very much for being here. I appreciate it.

 

 

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