Canada will play a larger role in global politics as U.S. pulls back, says Freeland

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, announced on Wednesday that the Government of Canada wants to be more active in global politics, especially with the U.S. “giving up its mantle” under President Donald Trump’s increasingly isolationist policies.

Freeland, in her biggest foreign policy announcement since being shuffled into the position in January, also criticized Trump’s recent decisions to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, closing America’s doors to refugees, and imposing protectionist trade policies.

Canada has recently been in negotiations with the U.S. on its softwood lumber agreement, long a source of disagreement between the nations, and one of the few industries not covered by NAFTA. The U.S. has accused Canada of subsidizing its industry, yet trade courts have backed the Canadians in rulings.

In addition, Trump’s views on trade agreements have sparked anxiety in Canada over whether or not he will withdraw the U.S. out of NAFTA should negotiations not proceed as he planned.

Freeland, however, spoke favourably of America’s “outsized role” in global politics of the past, but warned that they could be straying from the right path in recent years. She went on to praise America’s sacrifices in ensuring global peace, saying that “to do so is not a controversy. It is simply a fact.”

The opposition Conservatives said Freeland’s ” foreign policy was “erratic,” and asked the government to release more concrete plans. They have also criticized the Liberals in the past for their plan to seek a seat on the U.N. Security Council, something the Conservatives see as a waste of money.

The N.D.P. criticized the announcement, calling it a “public relations tool” without any substance, and called on the Liberals to take a harder stance against Trump.

The announcement by Freeland also comes one day before Defence Minister Hajit Sajjan is due to release his roadmap for the Canadian Armed Forces.

(Image: Toronto Star)

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