Jeffrey Simpson’s latest column is very critical of Canada’s current foreign policy and attempts to refute the argument by the present Canadian government that Canada is ‘back’ on the world stage. His is a centrist voice in Canadian media and his attack on the Conservative’s foreign policy record reflects his concern over the government’s move away from traditional Canadian foreign engagement and its embracing of militarism and trade as the central pivots of the nation’s international engagement.
Simpson points to a variety of issues where Canada’s actions or inactions under the Harper government have undermined the country’s sway in international affairs. These include reducing foreign aid by $319-million, cutting aid to the poorest nations in Africa, a “feeble non-climate-change policy,” refusal to participate in the G20 emergency funding for the IMF, unwavering support for Israel, and removing $170-million from the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Adding insult to injury, Simpson notes, is the government’s penchant for “hectoring” other countries and leaders at multilateral forums, often merely to pander to domestic constituencies.