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Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age

Edward Campbell

Army.ca Myth
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Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, is a report on a provocative new study by the Canadian International Council, which describes itself as being a private and non-partisan agency:

A call for a new kind of Canada: Report urges NORAD responsibility for North
Canadian think-tank calls for greater integration with the United States, including jointly managed border crossings

John Ibbitson

Ottawa — From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
Published on Tuesday, Jun. 08, 2010

How to manage the Northwest Passage: Give it to NORAD.

A new report from the next generation of Canadian foreign policy thinkers upends conventional wisdom on how Canada should make its way in the world. A copy of the report, which is to be released Tuesday, was obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy calls for deeper integration with the United States, including jointly managed border posts and land swaps to accommodate them.

Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age (PDF 6 MB)
Download this file (.pdf)

It urges the Canadian government to take advantage of its large Asian population to make Canada the first country in the world that successfully negotiates a dual-citizenship agreement with China .
It seeks a slowing of the oils sands development until new green technology is able to make extraction environmentally friendlier.

Most provocatively, it would expand the mandate for the North American Aerospace Defence Command, which protects American and Canadian airspace, to include maritime protection as well.

Rather than arguing over whether the Northwest Passage is Canadian territory or international waters, Canada and the United States would jointly assume responsibility for protecting Arctic waters from vessels and crews not equipped to traverse them.

“Once in a century the world shifts. ”— Edward Greenspon, panel chairman

“On the eve of the Canadian G8 and G20 summits, at a time when United States influence is declining, we wanted to get us all to consider bold and innovative ways to seize the opportunities offered by this historic shift,” Mr. Greenspon said in a release accompanying the report. Mr. Greenspon is the former editor of The Globe and Mail.

While Mr. Greenspon is an old hand in analyzing Canadian foreign policy, most of the panel’s members – who were largely drawn from the private sector, non-governmental organizations and universities – came of age in the digital era that followed the end of the Cold War.

Mostly in their 30s and 40s, they appeared uninterested in the usual foreign-policy dichotomy of either integrating more fully with the United States, despite its perceived relative decline, or courting the rising Pacific powers.

If the federal government  adopted their recommendations, Canada would filter much of its overseas actions through an environmentally sustainable lens; greatly increase funding for research and development, while aggressively courting foreign investment; deploy its revitalized military to keep failing states from collapsing into anarchy; and co-ordinate foreign policy with the Council of the Federation, which represents the provincial governments.

The report is funded by the Canadian International Council, a foreign-policy think tank, and its more provocative passages are not so much a wakeup call as slap in the face of current thinking, especially within the Conservative government of Stephen Harper.

It calls Norway, an oil-producing nation that is pursuing a green-energy future, social justice and world peace, “the new Canada.”

“We think Canadians would like Canada to be the new Canada,” the report maintains.

The panel that authored Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age identified several “game changers:”

•  The relative economic decline of the USA;

• The ‘rise’ of China and India;

• The changing nature of sovereignty;

• The recognition that innovation, not metal bending, generates real wealth;

• Terrorism as a global tactic;

• He ‘threat’ of climate change; and

• The social impact of information technology.

They then set out 12 “principles of action:”

1. Develop clear international strategies and policies. The world outside matters to us more than ever and is changing rapidly. We need to confront the future and shape it to our advantage. A plan helps.

2. Enhance Canada’s global economic position. The prime objective of our diplomacy must be the well-being of Canadians. Only through economic success will Canada have the resources to pay for policies to make the country and world a more just place.

3. External relations are no longer a distant cousin of domestic policy but a sibling. With 23 federal departments and agencies represented abroad— and provinces, too—the line between domestic and international has blurred to the point of being almost meaningless.

4. United we stand, divided we fall. For better or worse, Canada is a decentralized federation with constitutionally empowered sub-national units. Before we go overseas, we must broker necessary domestic trade-offs. The provinces are generally the implementers of policy in Canada; you need to win their cooperation upstream if you hope to execute agreements downstream.

5. National interests do not wear partisan badges. Of course, politics will always factor into decision-making, but the national interest is not served by sudden shifts in policy when governments change or opposition parties want to score points. Majority or minority Parliaments don’t matter. We are talking here of the Canadian national interest.

6. Be constructive in our diplomacy. We do not want to be known as a country that speaks loudly and carries a little stick. Condemnation is easy and satisfying, but moralism is not a policy. To serve as a mediator, a problem-solver and an influencer means a willingness to speak softly and carry credibility on both sides of a dispute.

7. Be prepared to lead. In a networked era, governments that fail to take leadership risk having followership thrust upon them. In a U.S. planning exercise in late 2008, the authors contemplated a scenario in which nation-states fail to address global warming, see their legitimacy erode as extreme weather events occur and end up losing control of the agenda to a coalition of environmental and religious groups and philanthropic foundations. Governments that don’t lead risk losing relevance.

8. There is no shame in being joiners, but the point is to produce results. We often mock ourselves for being members of so many clubs of nations. In a networked world all connections count, although some count more than others.

9. Stick with the plan. Canada has a distressing tendency toward stop-go policies. We are hot on China, then cold, then hot again. The same with Latin America. And development. As a mid-sized country, Canada must apply its resources carefully and give ample time to generate results and build influence. Patience is a virtue.

10. Live up to our commitments, which starts with being serious about the commitments we make. There is nothing more corrosive to our international credibility and confusing at home than the gaps between what we say about development-assistance goals or greenhouse gas-emission targets or peacekeeping and what we actually do.

11. National interests and values are not competing concepts. It would be nonsensical to imagine that our interests can be served by projecting values antithetical to Canadian sensibilities. Getting others to adopt our values serves our interests.

12. Knowledge is a tradable good. In an age in which brainpower has overtaken horsepower, Canada needs to hitch its future at home and in the world firmly to knowledge. Let’s make Canada the centre of as many knowledge networks as possible.

There's not too much in either the "game changers" (factors in the appreciation of the situation) or in the "principles" with which I would disagree. But the devil is in the details.

The panel presents several detailed and, in some cases, controversial proposals which require some more reading and thinking.

More to follow.


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Open Canada to the world’s new ways, by Steady Eddy Greenspon on the CIC piece:

This is nuts: 

After Afghanistan, we should specialize at getting failing states up and running. To send our revitalized military back to the barracks would squander a great asset..." 

Right.  Send a pretty tapped out CF off again right away, one which at its hardest has only been able to sustain some 3,000 people abroad.  And as Afstan, Haiti, Congo etc. show saving failed states ain't no piece of cake and takes time.  A whole lot of it.  So another mulit-year CF mission in some rather nasty and brutish place?  And which sucker, er, mindless do-gooder countries, are going to rush along to accompany our rather small expeditionary force in that nameless failed state? 

What criteria will determine which place to rescue?  There are quite a few of them. 

That "panel of Canadians, a post-Cold War digital generation largely in its 30s and 40s" certainly live in fantasy land.  Or maybe they're just plain ignorant. 



Edward Campbell

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Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail is an interesting promotion by foreign policy expert and insider Allan Gotlieb:

Not just another foreign-policy review
There are signs Canadians are finally looking out for their self-interest. To make progress, the leadership must come from Ottawa

Allan Gotlieb

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

In recent months, Canada has been standing taller on the international stage. Taller than what? Well, taller than before. And taller than a number of countries whose profile has been shrinking of late, thanks to their economic profligacy.

But there are a number of factors contributing to our enlarged image, including our Prime Minister’s disciplined stewardship of two international summits and the performance of our economy, our banks and our currency. At home, Stephen Harper is seen as a leader who is introducing significant shifts in our foreign policy. Relations with China and India, marked by important state visits, have become a high priority. Canadian leadership is being shown in favour of international fiscal sobriety, global initiatives have been undertaken on behalf of women and children and a free-trade agreement with Europe has been launched.

So what’s unusual about this?

It’s that these shifts were not preceded by the conducting of a foreign-policy review. In power for several years, the Harper government still has not conducted one.

Conducting such reviews has been one of Canada’s bad habits. We have had more than half a dozen, all in pursuit of the restoration of the “golden age” of Canadian diplomacy. We may be mediocre in conducting it, but we excel in reviewing it.

Since Pierre Trudeau’s examination of our foreign policy, the mother of all reviews, similar exercises have been carried out by the governments of Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien (twice) and Paul Martin.

Foreign policy reviews are products of long and cumbersome consultations, involving competing bureaucracies, activist groups and special-interest lobbyists, commercial interests, organized labour and so on. As consultation slowly unfolds and consensus is sought, the world moves on, driven by events that make reviews obsolete. Neither of the Chrétien government’s two major foreign initiatives – the Team Canada campaign and Lloyd Axworthy’s human security agenda – were the products of foreign policy reviews, nor was Brian Mulroney’s Canada-U.S. free trade initiatives. The Harper government deserves credit for resisting such narcissistic exercises.

But into the void has now stepped a private organization, the newly created Canadian International Council, which put together a team of accomplished young Canadians under the leadership of former Globe and Mail editor Edward Greenspon. It christened its task the “GPS Project,” and recently released its report, Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age.

My reaction on picking up the document was “Yikes, not another foreign-policy review,” “Ugh, what a pretentious title” and “Oy, not another attempt to project our values on the unwilling of the world.” Then I read the 88-page document and realized I was wrong.

I don’t mean to suggest that its plethora of recommendations are likely to have much direct influence on Canada’s diplomacy. It won’t. I was wrong because I failed to anticipate that the panel would produce a highly intelligent and exceptionally well-written study of our foreign policy. Its real significance lies in a refreshingly grown-up attitude. If it contributes to the demise of inflated ideas about Canada’s mission in the world, our governments will be better placed to ground their policies on intelligent self-interest.

In every area of our foreign policy, the report provides a clarity of outlook based on realism and the need for effectiveness. Gone are outdated notions of sovereignty, nationalism and Canadian values as lodestars to guide our policies. It says, for example, that “The prime objective of our diplomacy must be the well-being of Canadians.” Other notable statements:

• “Canadians display an unusual reticence to think in terms of national interests. We often seem to prefer the gauzy candescence of ‘value discussions’ to the hard reality of producing a more prosperous and secure future.”

• “Moralism is not a policy.”

• “We must not fall into the trap of confusing policies that merely allow us to feel good from those that actively do good.”

• “Our diplomatic core sometimes treats the multilateral system – the UN in particular – in quasi-religious terms where fealty and process matter more than results.”

At the core of its analysis, the report identifies three great “game changers” – the rise of China, India and other players in the global economy, the entry of the United States into a period of relative economic decline and the hardening of the border between our two countries since 9/11.

At the very outset, it attempts to come to grips with the issues arising from our massive dependence on U.S. markets. “The longest undefended border,” it tells us, “may now be one of the most fortified borders between democratic states.” It warns us that if the border grows even thicker or closes in response to a terrorist attack, the Canadian economy will be thrown into crisis, since a huge portion of our GDP derives from the joint production of goods as if there were no border. In short, our geographic adjacency to U.S. markets is in danger of becoming our comparative disadvantage.

In order to reduce dependency, two central strategic propositions emerge: Widen our relations with the new economic giants while deepening our relations with the United States, even in the face of its severe economic challenges.

But as the panel looks south, the road gets rocky.

The report sees our long-term goal to be a “Grand Bargain” with the United States that would assure access through a customs union or common market. “The Grand Bargain adherents may have the right vision,” it acknowledges, but “it is the wrong time.” We cannot achieve a Grand Bargain because of the “rigidities and obsessions of U.S. politics. The Department of Homeland Security is not about to outsource its security to facilitate greater Canadian economic access; Congress will not allow a dispute settlement process to frustrate its political rights of obstruction.” It’s impossible to argue with these propositions.

But the outlook gets even worse. Adherents – like myself – to the idea of securing a single Canada-U.S. economic space always believed that our energy would be a major bargaining card for Canada. Today, it is far from evident that the U.S. recognizes the strategic value of our energy exports. If we pay attention to the fulminations of Henry Waxman and his congressional band of haters of our so-called dirty oil, it seems some powerful legislators don’t want our oil at all.

“If a Big Bang is out,” the report concludes, “the best approach is a series of little bangs, a steady drumbeat of small gains that build confidence and momentum toward a more ambitious plan at a more propitious date.”

If only. This is not the way the U.S. political system works. Incremental gains are hard to achieve in Congress because it is much easier for a special interest to block a small deal than a big one. The narrower the lobby, the more effective it can be. The broader the agreement, the greater the tradeoffs, so that winners can outnumber losers.

The reality is that Canada can expect to face more obstacles to access, rather than fewer – in the form of unvarnished protectionist measures (such as Buy American), environmental ones pretending not to be protectionist, or more regulations affecting vital supply chains. We are deceiving ourselves if we believe we can create a “steady drumbeat of small gains.”

So what should Canada do? The report tells us that as the world’s economic gravity shifts, we must diversify our trade by deepening economic relations with the great “game-changing” countries of the Far East. Yes, we must, but to do this, vast pipelines must be constructed to enable our resources to reach Pacific markets. As the building of our great railroads demonstrated long ago, infrastructure determines history. But the new infrastructure will not be built unless it becomes a national priority. As of now, there is little evidence of this. What are we waiting for?

As for deepening our relationship with the United States, congressional obstacles are not the end of the story. History shows that it is in the White House and administration, not in the Congress, that America’s long-term strategic interests come into play. If a president takes the lead and the vision is grand, support can be mobilized in both parties. More than 40 senators opposed the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement until Ronald Reagan put his might behind it.

Regrettably, there is little evidence that Barack Obama’s administration has a strategic view of Canada. This state of indifference is inconsistent with the history of our relationship and is unlikely to continue indefinitely. There is no country of greater strategic importance to the United States than Canada. This is true from the standpoint of America’s national defence, its security, its economy, its environment and its requirements for oil, gas, electricity and resources.

In the short term, a government’s foreign policy can be driven by public opinion and special interests. But in the long term, nations act in accordance with their national interest. If we are to move the White House from short- to long-term thinking about our continent’s future, the leadership must come from Ottawa. In Canadian foreign policy, this is our Prime Minister’s greatest challenge.

Allan Gotlieb is a former Canadian ambassador to the United States and a senior adviser to Bennett Jones LLP.

The report, available at the CIC web site is worth a read but, on the most important single aspect of Canada’s foreign policy, relations with the USA, it is wrong. It fails, as Gotlieb points out, to take full and proper account of how continental relations are ‘managed’ in the USA. We can and will achieve progress in the directions upon which both Gotlieb and the CIC agree when the US political and business elites see such progress as being in their best interests.

(Gotlieb notes that there appears to be little recognition of the importance of Canadian energy to US security. The best way to focus US minds on their own vital interests is to build a new trans-mountain pipeline to make Alberta heavy oil available to China.)

My comments relate, inter alia, also to:

• The size of the CF thread;

• The Afghanistan: why we should be there … thread;

• The The making Canada relevant again … thread; and

• The Canada’s new (Conservative foreign policy thread.

The major flaw with the “Open Canada” paper is that it lacks any sort of strategic assessment; we are treated to a small laundry list of ‘game changers,’ some of which do belong in a strategic assessment but the paper jumps to conclusions from a ‘base’ of nothing. There is a brief, albeit disconnected discussion of failing states but no useful conclusions are attached. Now, strategic assessments are need to be at the core of any ‘master plan.’ One problem is that there are, usually, too many of them. Here in Canada, as with e.g. the USA, we can count several major and competing strategic assessments: there is one, at least, in DFAIT – endorsed by a Deputy Minister (DFAIT has more than one) and Foreign Minister Cannon (there is, most likely, another, also endorsed by a Deputy Minister and Trade Minister Van Loan); there is another in DND – also endorsed by the Deputy Minister and Defence Minister MacKay; there is a third or fourth, in the Privy Council Office – endorsed by the Clerk and briefed to and in the possession of the Prime Minister; then there is a fourth (or fifth)  one – prepared by the Prime Minister’s Office (the political office) and also briefed to and in possession of the PM. I need to reemphasize that these assessments are competing with, not complementing, one another. Only one, that produced in PCO, might be characterized as having a national base. The others all aim to present a strategic assessment that supports their narrow, specific policy goals: the ‘trade’ and ‘defence’ bureaucracies (uniformed and civilian) have different world views and they are at odds with one another. This is, by the way, a near mirror image of the (much more puiblic0 situation in the US, UK, Australia and so on.

(It is most likely that, at least, an unclassified version of the Executive Summary (all the PM reads, anyway) of the PCO’s strategic assessment has been discretely provided to Michael Ignatieff. The Clerk has an interest in keeping the potential next PM “in the loop.” The legend is that Jean Chrétien, as opposition leader, was well briefed on several issues going into the 1993 election campaign, including DND’s urgent requirements of a replacement for the aging Sea King helicopters. Chrétien heard a different message on the hustings: the Liberals’ Red Book was “selling” well and it said nothing about new helicopters (or new anything) for the military. Chrétien ignored his own current and future advisors and made a snap political decision: “zero helicopters,” for which we, Canadians, are still paying a price.)

Anyway, some of “One Canada’s” solutions are bang on, but they are jumped to from no firm base; others are silly and some are pie in the sky. But it’s worth a read.

When we, here, discuss things like equipment needs or force structure it ought to be based upon some sort of strategic assessment which says: here are the two or three big problems that we will face over the next quarter or half century and here is what we need to respond to them. Policy proposals cannot come “out of the blue.”

Several, many, indeed most of us will arrive at different conclusions because we have different strategic points of view. I, for example, do not see Asia (China or India) as “threats;” competition, yes, threats, no. I see the Islamic Crescent (Morocco through the Middle East and West Asia to Indonesia) as being the “problem” for the next generation, at least. I believe it will ‘explode’ in a rapidly increasing series of crises that will spread throughout Northern Africa and into Black Africa, too. I believe South America – including Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico - will, once again, fail to live up to its potential; it will, in fact, make worse than normal social, economic and political decisions and will, yet again, be a problem area.

My foreign and defence policy focus, therefore, is on creating and maintaining robust, (relatively) light military forces that can deploy quickly and effectively on a global basis and conduct, unilaterally, low intensity and, with allies, mid and even high intensity operations for sustained periods – decades. To get and keep that capability I believe, for reasons I have stated before, that we must ‘grow’ the defence budget to 2%+ of GDP, and keep it there. Thus, I believe, that the Conservative’s Canada First Defence Strategy is wholly inadequate and is a recipe for unilateral disarmament and the "Open Canada" strategy is nothing of the sort.

Edward Campbell

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Patrick Graham, a pretty ordinary writer, has a not very interesting piece in the Globe and Mail – one of those tiresome Wither Iraq? articles which includes these little, quite perceptive, gems:

”Politicians, historians, columnists are taking stock. Again. What went wrong? Most things. Whither Iraq? It's already withered. The resilience of Iraqis is astonishing, but history and geography work against them.”

”Iraq has been an inkblot test for nearly a decade. A person's opinion on the place would tell you more about them than about Iraq. But each time it looked like somebody was right, that they understood it, the place morphed.”

”This ignorance wasn't true of just journalists. For a long time, the U.S. military seemed to be on Fantasy Island, looking up at its own planes. After I published an article on the Iraqi insurgency in Harper's magazine, an American colonel involved in intelligence told me that he had handed it out to “everyone in the field.” The idea that the U.S. Army read Harper's to find out about its enemy still strikes me both as reassuringly open-minded and terrifyingly ignorant. What were they reading before the invasion?”

I was struck by the truth of his second point – except for George W Bush and some of his advisers, it was never “about Iraq,” it was always about everyone's reaction to America.

I think that President Bush really believed, probably still believes, that democracy is the natural desire of most people and that once planted it will grow and thrive in Iraq and then spread throughout he region. I do not believe that; I think that is a misguided (to be charitable) idea. I am, in Mead's parlance, a Jeffersonian; I think democracy is a fragile flower that does not transplant easily and may be impossible to transplant into 'soil' that is not prepared with a healthy dose of e.g. religious reformation or toleration and socio-economic and political enlightenment.

But, my concern is Iraq as a vision of America.

No matter what anyone may have thought (and still thinks) about the casus belli, the fact remains that most of the world was, and remains, unalterably opposed to America's decision to prosecute that particular war. It, the global reaction, wasn't about 9/11 – although too much of he world thought (still thinks) that America “had it coming” as punishment for some unnamed sins of commission and omission. Even in those (quite a few) countries that decided, for strategic reasons, that it was 'right' to join America in Iraq (e.g. Australia and Britain) public opinion was decidedly at odds with government policy; in most countries, from Canada to Chile and China, both public pinion and government policy were opposed to the US invasion – the reasons, public and political, were often inchoate, grounded more in emotional anti-Americanism than in sound policy arguments but, for most people, reason has never been an important part of their reflexive anti-Americanism.

It is fair to note that the international 'top dog' is always fair game for criticism and, often, 'action' by lesser powers. In the mid 19th century America enjoyed ”twisting the (British) lion's tail” whenever and wherever it could, including giving (limited) support to the Fenians who tried to invade Canada. It must not be surprising, therefore to find that, 150 years later, America suffers the same fate.

But, I believe that the reflexive anti-Americanism that we see around the world today is more than just political penis envy. I think it is a struggle between Anglo-American liberalism and the illiberal (not conservative) tendencies of e.g. France, Germany, Italy and Spain. (The world's truly conservative societies such as China, Japan and Singapore have different, deeper policy differences with America but, oddly enough, they are less anti-American than are most Europeans, Latin Americans and people in the Islamic Crescent which stretches from North Africa through the Middle East and West Asia all the way to Indonesia.)

In my opinion illiberal ≈ statist. There is a fundamental philosophical split between liberals, like the Americans, and statists, like the French; the split is not over e.g. democracy or even the rule of law but, rather, the roles and rights of individuals and to property. The liberal sees the main duty of the state as being to protect the sovereign individual from all collectives, including e.g. organized religion and the state itself. The statist (the illiberal) sees the main duty of the state as being to protect the individual from himself/herself and from her/his own base, selfish instincts. This division is irreconcilable and dooms the two 'sides' to perpetual enmity. Even when, as now and during the Roosevelt administration, the USA has a statist, illiberal government in Washington the country, itself, remains resolutely liberal. Even when France has a modestly liberal government, as it does now, the country remains statist. It is deeper than passing, partisan political philosophy; it is part of the 'national DNA.'

Brian Lee Crowley (in Fearful Symmetry: The fall and rise of Canada's founding values) sees Canada as split between instinctively liberal English (and new immigrant) Canada and instinctively illiberal Québec. It is tempting to fall back onto bits of Max Weber and the idea of the Protestant work ethic, but I'm not sure all the blame for illiberalism can be laid at the feet of the Roman Catholic Church. What I am sure of is that the liberal/statist split is wide, deep and cultural. The split between liberals and statists is deeper than that between liberals and (mainly Asian) conservatives. And that split is, I believe, the 'root cause' of the reflexive anti-Americanism that allows, even forces, many Western governments to adopt anti-American policies even when doing so may be harmful to their own strategic best interests. Very often, as we see in Canada and the USA, governments are far less liberal than the people who elect them. Governments are often (usually?) somewhat disconnected from the people. Governments are the creatures of political activists – a tiny minority subset of the the minority (or slim majority) of active voters. In Canada and the UK and USA most political activists are, or appear to be more illiberal, i.e. statist, and, consequently BQ, Liberal and NDP supporters, than is the case for most of the population.

So what?

There is an increasingly loud call, in the USA, for a reformation of the 'West' – a reconciliation with Europe and Latin America and some sort of a rapprochement with the Arabs all to 'face off' against a resurgent Asia. That, in my view is a fundamentally misguided strategy. I believe that Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and West Asia are culturally mismatched with America and the Anglosphere; so are the rising Asian giants, China and India, but both are, I think less hostile towards us than our many of our traditional allies.

In my view the better strategy is to accept a deeply divided world with competing liberal, illiberal and conservative 'blocs,' none of which need to be our enemies, per se, This means, in my opinion that we need to take a long, hard, cold and calculating look at our vita interests and make our mid and long term strategic decisions in pursuit of our own vital interests. That means that 'old friends' may not be seen as being very friendly and strangers, with strange socio-economic and political values might seem friendlier.

What are our vital interests? I continue to use the overly simple formula: Peace and Prosperity. Peace is, as I have said before, more than just an absence of war and prosperity is more than just “a chicken in every pot.” The two tend to go together and to reinforce one another. Being at “peace” does not mean that we disarm or even that we eschew tough, bloody combat operations overseas. We should do neither. We must be prepared to do our full and fair share, including some combat operations, to preserve the broader, global peace. (And yes, I am reminded of the old slogan that “Fighting for Peace is like F_cking for Virginity” but the correlation is not perfect.) We need to remember Lord Palmerston's admonition that we (he was talking about 19th century Britain) do not have permanent friends or permanent enemies but we do have permanent interests, to with: Peace & Prosperity. We, in the American led Anglosphere in general but especially in Canada, need to focus on our interests, not look for new enemies.   

Edit: typo

Edward Campbell

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E.R. Campbell said:
Army.ca regulars will know that:

1. I harp, mercilessly, on productivity (or lack of same in Canada) – which just might be the most boring subject in the world; and

2. I am a ‘fan’ (I guess that’s the right word) of Kevin Lynch. I had the pleasure of working for him, for a bit, while still in uniform and we still meet, less and less frequently as I get older and older, at a handful of social events.

This opinion piece, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail is classic Lynch: it’s cogent and tightly reasoned and it’s all about economics:

1. Mr. Lynch misrepresents Francis Fukuyama. I’m about 99.9% sure that Lynch knows better and so I guess that he’s using the End of History as shorthand for the “irrational enthusiasm” that pervaded policy thinking in the later ‘80s and early ‘90s. Fukuyama actually predicted an evolution away from the worst sort of illiberal political systems because, quite simply, they don’t work. He thought that Western liberal democracy was (is) the best of the available models but he did not predict that it, and it alone, would reign supreme. There is not a complete disconnect between e.g. Fukuyama and Fareed Zakaria – one leads to the other and Zakaria uses Fukuyama, amongst others, to illustrate why liberal democracy is not the only acceptable model for the future but why capitalism, albeit heavily tempered (regulated) capitalism, probably is; and

This article, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright act from the Globe and Mail provides me with a spring board to expand upon some of my ideas about democracy:

Africa’s outcasts build a new path out of poverty
Microfinance lender offers trust and sense of family along with money

Geoffrey York

Nairobi — From Saturday's Globe and Mail

In the ashes of a looted market in one of Africa’s biggest slums, gang leader Bernard Njira stood with a machete in his hand, trying to decide whether to kill the man who had approached him.

It was 2008, in the depths of Kenya’s post-election bloodshed, and his gang of young thugs had just destroyed one of the biggest markets in the Kibera slum. Now came a man who wanted them to rebuild it.

Mr. Njira had been a criminal for 10 years: a thief, a mugger, a drug dealer and killer. The man who approached him was from Jamii Bora, a microfinance lender that supported many of the market’s impoverished vendors. The gang assumed he was a police investigator.

“I almost killed him,” Mr. Njira recalls. “I removed one of my machetes.”

The man refused to back down. Amazed by his courage and persistence, the gang leaders began talking to him. A few weeks later, they rebuilt the market – and gave up their life of crime. They joined the microfinance group and became its most visible supporters, creating a metal workshop and a soccer team to bring hope to the slum.

Criminals, beggars, prostitutes and homeless people are among those who have become leading members of Jamii Bora (the name means “good families” in Swahili). With more than 300,000 members, it has become Kenya’s fastest-growing microfinance organization, offering a new way of rising from poverty in Africa.

“Jamii Bora actually saved my life,” Mr. Njira says, showing the scars on his hands from his gang battles. “I’ve seen a miracle happening in my life. They came into my life when nobody else in Kenya would help me because of my bad doings. The government would have shot me dead because I was a hooligan.”

Microfinance, which offers tiny loans to some of the world’s poorest people to help them create small businesses, began in Bangladesh in the 1970s and has grown dramatically since then, providing loans to more than 150 million people.

Most of this growth has been in Asia and Latin America. Microfinance has been slow to reach sub-Saharan Africa, which has less access to banking than any other region of the world. Africa contains only 4 per cent of all the institutions that offer loans to low-income people worldwide, according to a report by the development agency CARE, a pioneer in microfinance in the region. The report describes Africa as “the last frontier for microfinance.”

Jamii Bora was founded in Nairobi in 1999 by Swedish architect and housing activist Ingrid Munro, who – along with her Canadian husband – had adopted three street children in the city. Through the children, she befriended a group of beggars, who helped her to create Jamii Bora and became its first members. Beginning with small loans to 50 beggars in 1999, the organization has grown rapidly, lending more than $40-million to its members in the past 10 years.

“Jamii Bora doesn’t accept excuses,” Mr. Njira says. “They don’t say that you, Bernard, are a thief and cannot change. Or you’re so poor that you cannot do business. They take people as equals. They explain to you how you can start a small business, and from there, you can change. They don’t allow anyone to say, ‘No, I cannot do it.’”

To receive a loan, its members must prove they can save money. If they save money for six weeks at Jamii Bora, they can receive a business loan of up to twice as much as their savings. The first loan can be as small as a dollar and as large as $130, and the member must repay it within 50 weeks, at an interest rate of 0.5 per cent per week.

Many members repay their loans within a few weeks and then move to a bigger loan. After repaying three loans on time, they can qualify for two-year business loans of up to $9,000.

Jamii Bora became so successful that it expanded into loans for school fees and housing. It created a health-insurance plan, a business academy, a counselling program for street beggars, and a treatment program for alcohol and drug addicts. Last year, it acquired a majority stake in the City Finance Bank in Nairobi, allowing it to expand its formal banking services for low-income people.

Despite the impressive growth, some experts question whether microfinance is the best model for solving Africa’s poverty problem. “People have to do more than join the kiosk economy, which is what a lot of microlenders do,” says Ian Smillie, an Ottawa-based researcher who has written a book on microfinance. “That may help them add to their livelihoods, and in some cases it might tip them over the edge upwards out of dire poverty, but it isn’t a profound answer to systemic poverty and the disconnectedness of the poor.”

For people such as Bernard Njira, however, the microfinance organization has made a huge difference. He was a Grade 4 dropout from a rural village who became a criminal in Nairobi when he was still a teenager. He teamed up with another criminal, John Ouma Oyoo, known as “the General,” and they formed a gang that terrorized the Kibera slum.

In the election violence of 2008, they burned down the Toi Market and claimed its land as their property. That was when the two gang leaders were approached by Andrew Onyanga, a field officer at Jamii Bora, who wanted to negotiate passage for emergency food supplies for the 1,700 vendors who had lost their stalls when the market was torched.

Although their first impulse was to kill him, Mr. Njira and “the General” soon became intrigued by the man from Jamii Bora. “You can be good people,” he kept telling them.

After they rebuilt the market, the two gang leaders were given loans of $130 each from Jamii Bora. They immediately went to a bar, planning to spend the entire amount on alcohol – until Mr. Onyanga spotted them and persuaded them to stick to their business plan.

“Jamii Bora is like a family,” Mr. Njira says. “It’s like my second god. Now I’m free from violence and stealing, and I’m free from beer and drugs. Jamii Bora taught me how to save money, borrow money, make a profit from my business. The change that you’re seeing in me now – it only came because of Jamii Bora.”

When John Locke advanced his theories of rights he included property, as a natural right, ranking right up there with life and liberty.

The story illustrates, again, that property is one of the most important keys to civil peace and order which is what drives us to form governments.

It is well known to many here that I have a theory about democracy that derives from Fareed Zakaria’s 1997 article in Foreign Affairs: The Rise of Illiberal Democracy. I expanded the definition to include liberal, illiberal and conservative democracies. In my model conservative is not the opposite of liberal; conservative and liberal are collegial, two forms of the same thing. The opposite of liberal democracy is illiberal democracy. Further, I posit that we do not measure democracies on some sort of linear spectrum. Rather, I suggest, we need to use a gravity well as our model.


We’ve all seen these in science museums. We know that, after a few spins, gravity will suck every ball down. We also understand that balls can be kept circling at the top if, somehow or other, we can give them a little bit of acceleration every so often. In my gravity well model a few successful countries are democracies having built in accelerants (the plural matters) that keep them in orbit at the top of the well; the countries that fall to bottom are those that lack some, maybe even all of the necessary accelerants and they fall, quickly or slowly into the pit. The successful democracies are of both the liberal and conservative variety. The unsuccessful countries include the illiberal democracies – being a democracy is not, in and of itself, sufficient to remain at the top.

So, what are the necessary accelerants:

First: government with the consent of the governed. For some that’s the definition of democracy but I will argue that it may (perhaps even must) be possible to achieve the people’s consent without some of the trappings of democracy like elections.

Second: open (honest) civic institutions. By this I mean courts and administrative tribunals and similar mechanisms. See the famous CPI for countries that have (the top 20) and have not (the bottom 50) those open civic institutions. The top 20 just barely includes the USA but I believe all are likely stay in orbit at the top of the well, the bottom 50, which includes Cambodia, Paraguay and Ukraine will, in my view, probably fail.

Third: respect for natural rights, including property rights. This leads to capitalism – often highly regulated or even constrained capitalism but free markets exist even when faced with predatory government.

The countries orbiting at the top include e.g. liberal-democratic New Zealand and Canada – left leaning welfare states that, despite their socio-economic desires understand that they must not kill the capitalist goose that lays the golden (welfare state) egg. These countries have strong civic institutions that protect property even against governments. Also orbiting at the top is conservative-democratic Singapore. Now some people argue, mistakenly, that Singapore is not a real democracy because some civil rights that we take for granted in America, Britain and Canada, such as freedom of speech and association are constrained in Singapore. That’s true: some civil rights are constrained but all natural rights, including the right to property, are carefully and fully protected in Singapore – even more so than they are in Canada. The people of Singapore consent, over and over again over the past 45 years, to the government they have – restraints and all. Many (most) Singaporeans believe that such restraints are proper in their very conservative (Confucian) society. All of the top 20 in the CPI are capitalist democracies; most are liberal, three (Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan) are conservative. (And I do regard Hong Kong as a democracy – a highly constrained one but Hong Kong is more democratic than e.g. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates which rank in the top 50.

It is capitalist democracy that I want to introduce as an idea. Democratic capitalism can be liberal or conservative and, I think that it may be possible to have some form of capitalist democracy without all the trappings of liberal democracy as we, in the American led West, see it.

I am not sure that democracy is the be all and end all for the bottom 50. It seems to me that open civic institutions matter most because they protect property and when private property is protected then capitalism (and prosperity) will, eventually, follow. Once a country is peaceful (open civic institutions include an effective security apparatus to protect life and property) and prosperous (which means capitalist) then, most likely, it will drift into some form of democracy – maybe even into a form that includes free and fair general elections. This, in my opinion countries need, in order:

1. Open (honest) civic institutions – including courts, the policy, tribunals and bureaucracies, the army and so on;

2. Prosperity based on free market capitalism – however constrained by the predatory nature of welfare states; and

3. Democracy – of some sort.

We, liberal democracies like Canada, are not, necessarily, the "best." We must learn to deal with a world that includes other political and economic successes and in which some of our traditional friends, including e.g. France, are possibly doomed to fail.

Edward Campbell

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Paul Heinbecker represents all that has been wrong with Canadian foreign policy for 40 years. He personifies the Liberal consensus which was wrong when it was conceived in 1968 and remains wrong today.

In this article, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, he demonstrates just how deeply flawed his very influential 'thinking' really is:

My comments are inserted after each of Heinbeckers prescriptive points.

What to do if Canada wins a seat at the Security Council table

Paul Heinbecker

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Victory is not in the bag, but chances are still good that Canada will win a seat in the UN Security Council election to be held on Oct. 12. We have been elected every time we have run, roughly once each decade, since 1948; governments from Pearson and Trudeau to Mulroney and Chrétien have built a solid reputation at the UN for Canada over many years; and we have been campaigning for this election off and on since we last left the council in 2000. Our ambassador in New York has been burning the midnight oil for several years pursuing the 128 votes we need to get elected. The G20 and G8 summits and the Olympics, serendipitously in Canada this year, will at least have shown Canada as a significant country, in spite of the extraordinary costs. But is this a case of needing to be careful of what we wish for? If we win, can Canada carry its end of the electoral bargain? What should Canada do for the next two years on the council? And why should Canadians care about it all, anyway?

There is no doubt that Canada can play this game. We proved it the last time we served on the Security Council, when we implemented a well-thought-out agenda, from leading the fight on blood diamonds, to promoting the creation of the International Criminal Court, to protecting civilians caught up in armed conflict, to promoting “smart sanctions” against recalcitrant regimes, and more. That Human Security agenda still resonates strongly internationally, even if the term has been excised from Canada’s current diplomatic lexicon, for ideological reasons.

But do we have the ideas to succeed this time? What should we actually do on Jan. 1, 2011, when, if all goes well, we take our seat? The possibilities are endless but here is a decalogue of suggestions.

First and foremost, we need to take ourselves seriously again, to pursue an active foreign policy informed by facts and compassion, rather than by ideology and partisan calculation. To get back in the game at the UN, we should tear a page from the British playbook, and make ourselves indispensable, or at least so valuable that others seek our help. The world body provides us with a key platform for promoting our ideas and protecting our security interests, notably on arms control and disarmament; human security, human rights and democracy; and poverty alleviation and aid accountability. It should be possible, for example, for the Harper government to advance its maternal and children’s health objectives in the council, because conflict aggravates the risks for women’s health.

Motherhood. Of course we need to take ourselves seriously and of course we should promote our ideas and prorect our interests and of course the UN provides a (one of several) useful platform for that. And what's alternative? Act like clowns and ignore our own vital interests? One down, nine to go.

Second, we need to take the UN seriously again. We need to recognize that in a shrinking and integrating world, as the financial near-meltdown showed, good global governance has become an end in itself, or very nearly so. The processes of global governance have also become an integral part of pursuing the goals of security, safety, prosperity and dignity, internationally as well as nationally. A lot of water has flowed under the UN’s bridge since 1945, and the institution has its problems, which are largely the consequences of an increasingly integrated and complex world, in which power is shifting and consensus is scarce on just about everything but the law of gravity. It is all the more important, therefore, that Washington, Beijing, Brasilia, Berlin, Brussels, London, Paris, Moscow, Delhi, Pretoria, Tokyo, Ottawa and all the other leading capitals find a shared vision, and engage constructively in New York. Further, despite the emergence of new institutions, especially the nascent G20, we need to recognize that the world still needs the sexagenarian UN to succeed, and it also needs the synergies that are possible if the two entities co-operate. U.S. leadership is key and Chinese engagement is increasingly important. But Canada can help, too. And we can work from our seats at both tables to promote co-operation between them.

Motherhood. I remain convinced that the UN should not be disbanded but it is not the centre of the universe. As Heinbecker notes other, more nimble and effective organizations – in most of which Canada has a real voice – play increasingly important roles in the world.
Third, Canada, the country that invented “the responsibility to protect” civilians in conflict, should participate again in UN-led military operations and upgrade their capability. We rank an embarrassing 49th in our contributions to UN-commanded missions. Even if we count our contribution to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, as professional and dedicated and costly as it has been, we still would not rank in the Top 10 troop contributors. Moreover, after Afghanistan, we will have a high-quality military force, both combat-capable and operationally savvy. We should use it to good advantage. There are strategic benefits in working through the UN with its greater international legitimacy and its capacity for peace-building, which are absent in American-led coalitions of the willing, and even in NATO operations.

X Nonsense.  Heinbecker was, evidently, asleep during the past 20 years and has failed to notice that traditional, baby-blue beret style, Pearsonian peacekeeping is no longer – at least not often - necessary nor, even when it might be useful, very effective. The 'new model' of peacekeeping benefits from a UNSC vote of confidence but it is totally and completely beyond the UN's ability to manage.
Fourth, to help make the UN work better, we should tackle its internal governance issues, which impede progress and undermine the legitimacy of the Security Council, especially the vexed questions of permanent membership. The countries that aspire to permanent seats regard the present council as anachronistic and only quasi-legitimate. They are right. But giving them permanent seats would be the wrong response. Instead, we should aggressively promote the creation of additional elected seats, with longer terms than the usual two years. Winners could run for re-election immediately; they could be re-elected ad infinitum, but only if the membership wished. Such an approach would reflect changing power realities, but would preserve the council’s capacity to act efficiently and accountably. And, if done skillfully, it would open the door to extended service on the council by Canada, too.

Yes!. This is a (small) step beyond motherhood but it may be in the wrong direction. Reform of the UNSC is, probably, impossible – even though it may be be highly desirable. What needs real reformation is the governance of the general secretariat which is, now, corrupt and inept.

Fifth, at the same time, we should continue to oppose the creation of new permanent seats, with or without accompanying vetoes. Democratic accountability requires that seat-holders face their electorates from time to time. Further, standing for election forces candidates to take an interest in the concerns of their electors.

Motherhood. See above. It's the wrong problem but it may be a good solution.

Sixth, we should press for restrictions on the use of the veto by the five permanent members. In recognition of the increasingly unified character of European Union policy, we should urge that the British and French undertake formally to employ their vetoes only jointly. We should also urge them to cast their vetoes only with the acquiescence of the European Union membership as a whole. Further, we should continue to press for a formal undertaking by all five veto-holders that they will never employ vetoes to prevent collective action on genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and will exercise the veto only in cases of supreme national interest.

X Nonsense. This is a practical impossibility, even if it might be somewhat desirable and Canada would be silly to waste diplomatic/political capital on it. IF we win a seat on the NSC we have more important things to accomplish than tilting with windmills. If one wonders why Stephen Harper apparently mistusts he advice from DFAIT one need only read this.

Seventh, we should promote a more transparent way for choosing the secretary-general. Under current practice, the broader membership has had no option but to endorse a choice for secretary-general made in a process dominated by the U.S. and other veto-holders that is as opaque as a papal conclave. Canada could lead in a creative reinterpretation of the Charter that would entail, as a minimum, a formal vetting process of candidates – including, ideally, a formal vote for the next secretary-general.

X Nonsense. See above; same problem: tilting with windmills.

Eighth, we need to make the rule of law a priority. The West will not dominate the next 65 years of international affairs as it did the past 65, so now is the time for Canada to emphasize the rule of law as codified in the UN Charter and treaties, and reinforce a culture of compliance with the law in international relations.

Motherhood. What else would anyone (except ¾ of the UN'a members states) want to do?

Ninth, we should help to enhance the UN’s military effectiveness. It is more constructive to pitch in and help than to simply remain on the sidelines and disparage the UN. If we did so, it should also be possible to bring a greater sense of accountability to UN military and peace-building missions. We should insist that the council respect sound military principles when it deploys forces, and we should reject mandates that are diplomatically appealing, but militarily under-resourced. We could also promote greater participation of troop-contributing countries in the council’s negotiations over military mandates.

X Nonsense. See the third item. This is worse than tilting with windmills; it is trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear. It is stupid advice from a totally unqualified source.

And tenth, Ottawa should make it a priority to have qualified Canadians appointed to senior positions in the Secretariat, where they have become as rare as Atlantic cod. These senior people, while working dutifully for the UN, would bring Canadian perspectives and values to the issues they handle, which is indirectly beneficial to Canada.

Motherhood. It doesn't even merit comment – except to nore that Heinbecker served and advanced in a foreign service that, for 35 years, has been most notable for lowering its own standards.

Why should we care enough to do all this? Because the Security Council is important. The horseshoe-shaped table we all have seen on television is the world’s top security venue. Issues that affect Canada and Canadians directly and indirectly are brought there for debate and, where possible, disposition. It was around that table that the council endorsed the American right of self-defence after 9/11, and refused to sanction the Bush administration’s war in Iraq in 2003. The council brought an end to the bloody conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, and co-ordinated international efforts to contain the suspected North Korean and Iranian nuclear-weapons programs. The council proscribed access to the international banking system by terrorists and created the notorious “no-fly” list. The council’s decisions under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter are binding on UN member countries, whether or not they have seats at the table. Not even the vaunted G20 has that kind of power. Council members recognize that it is better to be a policy-maker than a policy-taker.

So this is one job we can confidently wish for. We have never been richer, better educated, better connected or generally better able to conduct a successful foreign policy. All we need now is leadership and engagement. And of course a win on Oct. 12.

Paul Heinbecker, a former Canadian ambassador to the UN, is currently with the Centre for International Governance Innovation and Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. He is the author of the forthcoming book Getting Back in the Game: a foreign policy playbook for Canada.

Maybe there is a better place for this. If someone wants a Mod to move it I am happy with that.


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...pursue an active foreign policy informed by facts and compassion, rather than by ideology and partisan calculation
Which is to say: replace the current government's ideology with his ideology and their partisan calculations with the Trudeaupian calculations of the Liberals

And in re the provision of professional forces to the UN, it is of a piece with those that search for some means to generate a universal tax.....on something: small arms, financial transactions, carbon, any or all of the above.  Like the EU the UN can not be a serious contender as a governing body unless it has both those things that need to be governed (the levying of taxes) and the tools with which to govern (ie restrict), which is to say a Police Force.

The Internationalists, with their fondness for an imposed brotherhood of man governed by themselves, are nothing if not consistent and persistent.

Edward Campbell

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Kirkhill said:
Which is to say: replace the current government's ideology with his ideology and their partisan calculations with the Trudeaupian calculations of the Liberals

Yes, indeed; that's a given for the likes of Heinbecker and the Good Grey Globe; they cannot come to grips with the idea that e.g. Israel might be in the 'right' every now and again or that e.g. Russia might be in the wrong. It goes against their vision.

Edward Campbell

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If one wants to know why Diefenbaker, Mulroney and now Harper so mistrust the public service and, especially, mistrust Foreign Affairs, one need only look at this article, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Ottawa Citizen, reporting on a highly partisan book by a long time senior diplomat/bureaucrat Paul Heinbecker:

Harper driven by fear of losing UN vote, not altruism: author
PM's interest only 'intermittent,' says former ambassador


SEPTEMBER 30, 2010

Paul Heinbecker, Canada's former ambassador to the United Nations, has raised eyebrows with an assertion in his new book that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's campaign for a two-year rotation on the United Nations Security Council seems more motivated by "fear" of being the first Canadian government to lose the vote than by the good that could come of it.

Government officials will not comment on the book, Heinbecker's assertion, or the timing of its official release just a week before the Oct. 12th vote by the UN General Assembly.

But there was a government response Wednesday stressing that Harper has campaigned for "accountability and transparency in the UN system" and that the government is proud of its track record in hosting the G8 and G20 summits; participating in UN missions in Afghanistan, Sudan and Haiti; and taking a tough line against Iran and North Korea.

"One way or the other, whatever happens, regardless of the result at the UN Security Council in October, we'll continue to show leadership in our foreign policy and our economic leadership toward helping those most in need in developing countries will continue to shine," said Catherine Loubier, spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

Aside from invoking UN endorsement of the mission in Afghanistan "for whatever political cover that affords," Heinbecker says in Getting Back in the Game, A Foreign Policy Playbook for Canada, that the Harper government has shown only intermittent interest in UN affairs.

"Harper's commitment to Canada's campaign for a two-year seat on the Security Council, a seat that Canada has won once a decade since the late 1940s, has seemed to be more motivated by a fear of being the first government to fail to do so, with the political costs that that might entail domestically, than by either the benefits a victory would bring to Canadian foreign policy or by the opportunity it would provide for making a mark on the world," he wrote.

Advance copies of the book are out and the official release date is Oct. 5, a week before the vote by the 192-member UN General Assembly. The assembly is to choose from Canada, Germany and Portugal to fill two Security Council seats reserved for Western countries in 2011-2012.

Heinbecker, a career-long diplomat, was chief foreign policy adviser to former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney, Canada's ambassador to Germany and Canada's ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations from 2000 to 2003, serving as Canada's representative in the Security Council.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Heinbecker is a very popular expert commentator because he is reliably and vehemently opposed to Stephen Harper’s world view. It’s not surprising, Heibecker represents the Toronto Liberal/NDP consensus about as well as anyone can. He has a remarkably narrow, even closed world view, like many of his current and former colleagues in Foreign Affairs. That view is, broadly: anti-American, anti-Democratic, anti-Capitalist and anti-Progress. It represents all that was worst about the Trudeau world view that captured the hearts, but never the minds, of Canadians; it is a view that ‘celebrates’ our status as a moral superpower and friend of the third world. We are, of course, neither. We have, for the better part of two generations, stood aside while our real friends and traditional allies did the heavy lifting in maintaining world peace and security and we have, equally, rebuffed all efforts to help the poorest of the poor help themselves. It has been, all in all, ever since 1967, a third rate performance which has made us a second rate nation.

Maybe we should have appointed Heinbecker as GG – he’s certainly a fitting representative for Trudeau’s Canada.



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And everything he says will be front page/ lead in the media who will milk and milk it. How sweet the ice cream sundae is.


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Old style pork meets the new global order:


U.S., EU join fight over Ontario’s green energy plan

by Shawn McCarthy  Globe and Mail

Some of the world’s most powerful countries have joined the battle over Ontario’s green energy plan, threatening the cornerstone of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s renewable power strategy.

The United States and the European Union emerged on Thursday as latest countries to say they have key commercial interests at stake and want to join the consultations on a complaint by Japan to the World Trade Organization.

“This is a wake-up call” for the Ontario government, said David Butters, president of the Association of Power Producers of Ontario. He added that it is clear some major international suppliers in the renewable energy sector are unhappy with the Ontario approach.

Green energy is an increasingly important part of the Canadian economy, with both Ontario and British Columbia racing to make themselves world centres of environmentally friendly power generation.

The United States and the EU filed notices with the Geneva-based trade body this week. The Japanese government launched its action two weeks ago, saying Ontario’s Green Energy Act and its local procurement requirements are a “prohibited subsidy” and violate international trade agreements.

Under WTO rules, countries must enter into consultations to determine whether trade disputes can be resolved before they can begin quasi-legal dispute settlement procedures that can result in trade sanctions.

The Green Energy Act aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector and create thousands “green energy” jobs in emerging technologies.

Mr. McGuinty’s government is under fire over rising electricity costs, with critics partly blaming the feed-in-tariff that ensures wind, solar and small-scale hydro developers receive premium prices for their power.

Under the Ontario plan, developers who qualify for feed-in-tariff contracts must buy from local suppliers up to half of the goods and services needed. The McGuinty government says this will create manufacturing jobs.

“Our position is that Ontario’s Green Energy Act is consistent with Canada’s international trade obligations under the WTO,” Energy Minister Brad Duguid said in an e-mail response to The Globe.

International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan has backed that position.

The McGuinty government is encouraging renewable energy development as part of its commitment to phase out coal-fired generation by the end of 2014, Mr. Duguid said. The minister is due to announce on Friday that the province has permanently shuttered four coal fired-units.

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell has matched Mr. McGuinty’s enthusiastic push for green power, but has not run into trade complaints.

Japan, the United States and European countries also have clean power strategies, and see Ontario’s local-content rules as a threat to their export potential.

“The renewable energy generation sector is of key interest for the EU importers, exporters and investors,” said the European Union submissions to the WTO. “Therefore the EU has a substantial trade interest in the present dispute as well as a systemic interest in the correct implementation” of international trade agreements.

Ontario signed a deal last year with South Korean giant Samsung Group, which agreed to build four manufacturing plants in the province in return for premium energy prices, access to the transmission system and $437-million in incentives.

But many other equipment makers are unhappy with the Ontario approach, saying a balkanized manufacturing system will drive up the cost of constructing renewable power stations.

In a globalized environment it is virtually impossible to make a move without attracting attention, and Governmetn moves like Ontario's "Green Energy Act" is attracting the attention of powerful political rent seekers, the sort of people who have the resources and the incentive to step in (but not on our behalf).

The act itself is a gift to rent seekers in Ontario and favoured clients like Samsung, now the taxpayers will be fed to more vultures.