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08 June 2017, 01:39 | Cedric Leonard
Freeland says Canada needs hard power to support global order
In a major foreign policy speech in the House of Commons today, she doesn't mention Donald Trump by name, but makes an unabashed pitch for the global rules-based order that the USA president's America First policy is attacking.
Canada plans to strengthen its military presence in the most risky parts of the world, Ms. Freeland said, and will on Wednesday release details on spending plans for a new defense policy.
Canadians understand that, as a middle power living next to the world's only super power, Canada has a huge interest in an global order based on rules.
"Canadian diplomacy and development sometimes require the backing of hard power", she said.
"This is about us standing on our own two feet, having a foreign policy that expresses as an independent and sovereign country what we need to achieve in the world to guarantee our safety and security and also to promote our values", the top diplomat told reporters following her remarks.
"It would be naive or hypocritical to claim before this House that all Americans today agree", she said.
Freeland did not name Trump during the speech, yet she alluded to his repeated criticism of global security and trade agreements. "But worldwide trade is the wrong target", she said.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has said Canada will increase defense spending and rely less on the United States, a major foreign policy shift.
Echoing complaints made recently by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chrystia Freeland told Canada's House of Commons that Washington is no longer committed to its position of world leadership, forcing Canada to invest in its own armed forces to defend liberal democracy.... "To say this is not controversial: it is simply a fact", she added.
Welcome to the Trudeau Doctrine: Canadian foreign policy seeks to preserve multilateral institutions and the Western alliance in the wake of America First.
In her speech, Freeland stressed that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the alliance's collective defense principle (Article 5) would remain "at the heart of Canada's national security policy".
Tuesday's speech cast Canada's interests in sharp contrast to those of the Trump administration, which Trudeau has to date been reluctant to criticize.
She reiterated the government's disappointment in the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
"Whatever their politics, Canadians understand that, as a middle power living next to the world's only super power, Canada has a huge interest in an global order based on rules", Freeland said.
"On the military front, Canada's geography has meant that we have always been able to count on American self-interest to provide a protective umbrella beneath which we have found indirect shelter", Freeland said.
Some specialists stated that Freeland's speech is the prelude to the much-anticipated report on the defense policy review that will be submitted tomorrow by the Canadian Minister of National Defense, Harjit Sajjan, after months of deliberations and consultations.
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