LILLEY: What country hasn’t Justin Trudeau pissed off?
Canada is currently involved in a major dust-up with Saudi Arabia that will cost this country billions.
Because Justin Trudeau’s foreign affairs minister decided to conduct diplomacy by Twitter. Isn’t that something liberals have mocked Donald Trump for?
What could have, and should have, been dealt with through quiet diplomacy is now a major diplomatic incident. The Saudis have recalled thousands of students studying in Canada, they are busy selling off Canadian stocks, bonds and other assets and stopping the import of wheat and other commodities.
All over Twitter diplomacy.
Look, I’m all for standing up for basic human rights against oppressive regimes but the man that claimed Canada was back is turning Canada into a pariah.
Trudeau was elected in 2015 claiming, falsely, that Stephen Harper had alienated Canada on the world stage. He promised to renew relations with Russia and Iran, bring Canada closer to China.
Other than trying to improve relations with Iran, itself an oppressive regime, Trudeau has failed.
Now in the face of a spat with Saudi Arabia, Trudeau and his foreign minister Chrystia Freeland are claiming that we have a values-based foreign policy. One that values feminism, human rights, free speech.
Sounds good but if so, why are we cozying up to Iran and China?
Iran continues to crack down on political dissent, women have been arrested for violating mandatory dress laws and elections are far from democratic. China continues to prosecute human rights activists, various ethnic and religious groups are persecuted and state control of media is near complete.
Yet, Trudeau wants to reopen an embassy with Iran, establish closer ties with the regime and is even financing the purchase of Bombardier planes by the Iranian government.
With China, he has been pursuing a trade agreement.
That fell flat and Trudeau was left without a deal when he visited last December. Seems Trudeau annoyed his Chinese hosts and they decided not to give him the deal he wanted, even though Trudeau was busy doing their bidding.
Trudeau’s trip to China came just after his visit to Vietnam where he scuttled the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership deal. The deal is seen as a counterbalance to China’s economic power in the Asia-Pacific region and Beijing has never liked it.
So when leaders were supposed to meet and sign the deal, Trudeau didn’t show up.
That infuriated Australia, Japan and other countries.
Canada has since signed on to the TPP but Trudeau is being slow to ratify it, again, best not to anger China.
Trudeau famously angered Donald Trump after the G7. As CBC reported at the time, Trump’s furor, and own Twitter tirade, was caused by Trudeau telling the world Canada wouldn’t be pushed around by the Americans just after Trump granted a major concession in NAFTA talks.
Trudeau is a walking disaster internationally.
His trip to India earlier this year left us alienated from one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Now as the spat with the Saudis grows, we can’t even count on allies to come to our aid. The U.S. and U.K. have stated they will not take sides.
Countries such as Bahrain and Qatar have taken the Saudi side. So too has the Palestinian Authority, an organization that the Trudeau government pledged $50 million to just over a month ago.
So we are going to suffer economically, we are alienated from allies and, at the end of it all, what was accomplished?
The original issue was the continued imprisonment of blogger Raif Badawi, whose wife and children are Canadian, and the recent arrest of his activist sister Samar.
Has their treatment improved as a result of this tweet?
Will their treatment improve?
In fact, I worry things could get worse for them.
Saudi Arabia can be a brutal and backwards regime but it is a regime that Canada was engaging with and encouraging to continue in its reforms.
Now, we are frozen out.
Don’t worry though, Justin told us that Canada is back.