Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Quotes, reaction to Freeland foreign policy speech

Quotes, reaction to Freeland foreign policy speech

Freeland said Canada doesn't need an inward-looking "Canada First" foreign policy, but given that the now questioning the worth of its global leadership, it is more important than ever for Canada to plot its own course in the world.

Even though she did not mention Donald Trump by name, Freeland rebuffed numerous USA president's policies by outlining the main stances of Canada´s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's liberal foreign policy.

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.

Freeland's emphasis on hard military power is a tougher expression of the country's worldwide interests than Canadians are used to hearing.

"To put it plainly: Canadian diplomacy and development sometimes require the backing of hard power", Freeland said in her prepared text.

And she added that, unlike the United States under Trump, Canada would not reject global alliances, and would continue to "work with other like-minded people and countries who share our aims". It would be "naïve and hypocritical" to pretend Americans still believe in the global order and the US's key position within it, she said.

The Canadian foreign minister did not mention Donald Trump by name, but in context, she didn't have to.

"Many of the voters in last year's presidential election cast their ballots, animated in part by a desire to shrug off the burden of world leadership", Ms. Freeland told a silent House of Commons.

"It is by pulling our weight in this partnership, and in all our worldwide partnerships, that we, in fact, have weight", she said.

Canada will host the G7 next year and is "energetically pursuing a two-year term on the UN Security Council", she said.

"We look forward to working with our continental partners to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement", Freeland added, and said that Canada will "actively seek" new trade agreements that "reflect our values". To say this is not controversial: "it is simply a fact", Freeland said.

She also outlined the three main tenets that will guide Canada's foreign policy, and they all appear to be expressly created to withstand Trump's America First policy.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canadians need to spend billions on "hard power" military capability because they can't rely on the USA or others for protection. In addition to trash talking North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and actively courting better relations with traditional adversaries, Trump has withdrawn the USA from the most comprehensive climate change agreement in history - all in the name of putting "America first".

Freeland's comments echo those of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who after that same visit of Trump's to Europe suggested that the continent could no longer rely on the the extent it once did. "This would not be in Canada's interest".

Freeland didn't once mention President Donald Trump by name in her speech, but her pledge to have Canada build up its leadership role in multilateral alliances in order to maintain "rules-based worldwide order" is a stark contrast to the USA president's "America First" mandate.

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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