To show you what I mean, I have reprinted Simpson's column below with my observations in italics:
by Jeffrey Simpson
For those who care about
international reputation and Canada's
ability to influence others in the pursuit of 's self-interest, these are
discouraging days. Canada
Sorry Mr. Simpson, I am pretty sure very few Canadians actually care about
international reputation or its ability to influence others, unless, of course,
you are talking about international hockey tournaments. Canada
Everywhere, there is penny-pinching that makes no sense, a hectoring tone not appreciated by others, and a misunderstanding about how international affairs really work. For a government that has proclaimed
“back” on the international stage, what is actually happening would be funny
were it not serious. Canada
Most things governments do would be funny, if they were not so serious.
For some time now, the euro zone has been in various states of crisis. To observe that the European Union, and particularly those member states using the euro, needs to improve its internal arrangements is obvious, as is any observation that the crisis there is a long way from resolution.
Europe is heading down a fiscal toilet.
But if that crisis deepens, Canadians, like people everywhere, will be adversely affected. And so, concerned countries outside the euro zone have been pledging what we might call “just-in-case” money to the International Monetary Fund to use, if necessary, to stabilize the world economy and assist the euro zone.
Pledges of $430-billion have been made. More are to come from large emerging countries such as
Russia, India and . Countries that have already
pledged include Brazil Japan, South Korea, Britain,
Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Denmark,
Norway, Australia and . Singapore
So let me get this straight. The people who created this fiscal nightmare of European overspending and massive debt have come up with a solution: more spending!!
The Harper government, however, rejects the idea of contributing to an IMF fund.
therefore, stands alone with the United States,
is in terrible fiscal shape. Worse, various Canadian politicians, rather than
at least using a sympathetic tone, prefer a hectoring, morally superior one
toward Canada Europe – a tone ill-becoming a G8
Oh true. Canada has never, ever used a morally superior tone to any other country in its history, unless, of course, you count the million or so times Liberal Prime Ministers have denigrated, insulted or otherwise lectured the
. But maybe
that doesn’t count since the United States of America
was only a major trading partner and a key military ally. At any rate, why should we give our money to the Greeks, wouldn't it just be easier to waste it ourselves? US
Where, except on the Conservative backbench, would one get someone like Pierre Poilievre, MP? He said: “This Prime Minister will not force hard-working Canadian taxpayers to bail out sumptuous euro welfare-state countries and the wealthy bankers that lend to them.” Here is blind ideology blended with profound parochialism of the kind that is giving
well-deserved reputation for being increasingly an outlier, except when it
comes to military interventions. Canada
Hmmm, I wonder if any other Canadian politicians have ever made blind, ideologically blended comments? Hey, what about the time former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien seemingly blamed American "greed" and "arrogance" for the 9/11 terrorist attack? Oops, sorry that was an anti-American comment uttered by a Liberal and is therefore allowable blind, ideology.
Oh no, the UN, that corrupt nest of despots, dictators and pathological killers, doesn’t like us!!! And before Prime Minister Harper came along the “Arab world” loved
, did it?
I guess that’s why, back in 2004, Al Qaeda put Canada on its
hit list. Canada
"hectoring" a government to recognize basic human rights. How shameful! Canada
In the current budget, the government is cutting foreign aid by $319-million and taking $170-million from Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The government is selling off residences (that, properly used, are essential for making contacts with key people in other countries, which is what diplomacy is all about), hollowing out staff at missions abroad, closing consulates (in the U.S.), reducing budgets for outreach overseas. (How do you think Mr. Harper was one of the first world leaders to phone the newly elected President of France, François Hollande? Because the Canadian embassy in
hard to get Mr. Hollande's personal cellphone number. That's called diplomatic
So we need to spend $170 million to get a guy’s phone number! Seems to me a phone book would be cheaper.
The government is eliminating the small but effective program encouraging the study of
in foreign universities. It
has ended the annual trip to the Canadian Arctic for ambassadors posted here
(for which the ambassadors partly pay) – a briefing trip that gave ambassadors
an insight into that increasingly crucial part of the country they would likely
not otherwise receive. Canada
Actually, I agree with Mr. Simpson here. Imagine how it would help
international reputation if, say, Syria’s
was mysteriously eaten by a Polar Bear! Canada
It is all so penny-wise and pound foolish, especially for a country that once prided itself on punching above its weight and, more important, understood that this is a relatively small country with huge international interests. Now,
has retreated into an anglospheric worldview coupled with a focus on trade
deals, but lacking any sense of a wider conception of international affairs. Canada
Not sure what an “anglospheric” world view means, but if it includes annoying the French, I am all for it!
Hectoring and lecturing undoubtedly appeals to the Conservative Party's core voters. It does not impress other governments, including friendly ones.
Unfortunately, for Mr. Simpson, no Canadian Prime Minister has ever lost an election because he was unpopular in
Paris or . Berlin