Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had once declared that Canada’s back on the international stage and five years later, some wonder as to where the country is exactly. This is the assessment of foreign policy analysts like Bessma Momani who says that Canada’s foreign policy is a bit undeclared.
Momani who is a professor of political science at the University of Waterloo has said in an interview that people know them as a welcoming country, a tolerant one, and therefore they think that the foreign policy is being viewed as tolerant, if not passive. But is passive what Canada is going for?
As per the government of Canada website, the Trudeau government has proudly promoted its feminist foreign policy to advance their gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. There is also an emphasis on female entrepreneurs. In his last foreign trip before the COVID-19 pandemic, Trudeau had told an audience in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that when women and girls get their access to education, they shall, thereby lift the communities.
In February 2020, Trudeau had said that they are still missing out on those opportunities, and moving forward towards greater prosperity means ensuring that no one gets left behind.
While many believe that it’s a worthy endeavor, there is still concern that the Trudeau government isn’t putting its money where its mouth supposedly is.
Canada’s international aid budget is only approximately $6 billion a year which equals 0.27 percent of the country’s gross domestic income in 2019. The OECD target for official development assistance is 0.7 percent of the donor’s national income.
That subpar level of spending is the reason why Momani is concerned about the direction Canada has chosen.
Momani has further stated that if they are looking for a policy that they can help them achieve their goals with very little financial resources to it, then that is not what one should put money into because it’s an expensive endeavor and that moving forward they might face a lot of global resistance.
According to Randolph Mank, the June 2019 loss of the United Nations Security Council seat vote has been widely seen as a blow to Canada’s brand.
Significant resources have been spent on lobbying other nations for their respective votes, and now some believe that Canada must focus its attention on some other cause.
Reportedly Mank has stated that they can make declarations but what they need is the ability to pursue their interests. And to do that, they must define them. In their 2019 election campaign platform, the Liberals had promised to establish the Canadian Center for Peace, Order, and Good Government, which is something that seems to fit with their country’s past strengths.
With the country still battling the pandemic and setting a course for an economic year recovery, the government is currently unwilling to devote the resources to reset on foreign policies. Moreover, that review might have to wait until after the next election of a majority government.