The Métropolitain

"Mr. Trudeau, the honeymoon is over on foreign policy!"

Par Beryl Wajsman le 25 janvier 2016

Several years ago Canada failed to get elected to a seat at the Security Council in the United Nations. The opposition NDP and Liberals lambasted the Harper government condemning it for not being "balanced" in its Mid East policy and for being too strong an ally in the war on terror in Afghanistan. Frankly, Canada's failure to get that seat was a badge of honour.

The countries that voted against us were for the most part members of - or fellow travelers with - the very same theocratic tyrannies and tinpot dictatorships that are overtly and covertly aiding and abiding the various jihadist groups that have formed a front against western liberal democracies. At the core of those countries is the 50-odd member Arab League.

On the other hand, Canada last week suffered a badge of shame. This country was specifically excluded from a meeting in Paris of the democratic allies fighting ISIS. The reason for the exclusion was the Trudeau government's decision to pull our F-18 fighter jets out of the anti-ISIS coalition. We have written enough about the illogic of that decision. But last week even the Globe and Mail, certainly no bastion of conservatism, editorialized that this was a bad decision that was only made because it had been an election promise which promise followed a childish pre-election quip by Mr. Trudeau about "whipping out our CF-18s to show them how big they are."

Those who support the decision point out that the Prime Minister has promised more training personnel for the Kurds. But the Kurdish Pesh Merga, the most successful fighting force against ISIS, were the ones that asked the west for the one thing it lacks - air support. And that air war has been tremendously effective destroying thousands of ISIS military and industrial installations; cutting it's daily income from oil sales by half and routing ISIS put of its "capitol" of Raqqa. It has also substantially reduced the territory ISIS controls. 

Trudeau would replace that with exposed Canadian soldiers on the ground without air cover. Some have said that air strikes cause collateral damage. They do. But so do infantry engagements on the ground, and much to the same extent. And by the logic of the objections that air strikes cause collateral damage, should the allies not have bombed Dresden and other cities and let the war against the Nazis continue longer?

The meeting in Paris was not just focused on ISIS in Syria. It was also concerned with planning strategies in respective countries. In the past months alone Jihadi attacks have broken out across the globe on an almost daily basis. Since the Paris slaughter, in this month alone, we have seen similar scenes from San Bernardino to Jakarta, from Istanbul to Burkina Faso where six Quebec aid workers were assassinated. And these four are only a few of the successful and failed attacks.

As U. of T. Prof. Randall Hansen, director of the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, put so eloquently, “There’s nothing admirable in letting other countries do the fighting while you hide behind liberal pieties. Liberals played shabby electoral politics with a matter of immense international importance. ” But more than the political opportunism that led to the CF-18 pullout, many Canadians who had given Mr. Trudeau the benefit of the doubt, are now displaying concern about his troubling attitude toward the Islamist threat.

Yves Richard, the husband of one of the Burkina Faso victims, hung up on The Prime Minister, because Richard felt insulted by Trudeau's "canned" rhetoric. He told him to stop his "political blabbing." Soon after the Burkina Faso murders, Trudeau attended an open house at the Peterborough mosque that had been burned. His words were stronger in condemning the burning - rightly saying it was the result of "racism and hatred" - than in any of his comments on Burkina Faso which he stated "saddened him in their senseless violence." In fact those milquetoast words are not very different from his response to the Paris horrors. There has been almost unanimous national criticism of the inappropriate timing of the visit when Canadians were mourning their own victims of Islamist terror. Mr. Trudeau has a history of visiting - and praying in full regalia - at mosques across the country. Some with identified radical alliances. It led columnist Lise Ravary to suggest that perhaps Mr. Trudeau should pay some attention to churches, synagogues and Hindu temples. Particularly in light of the thousands of Copts, Yazidis and other Christians burned alive and beheaded by ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Soon after the Mali terror attack late last year, Trudeau appointed MP Omar Alghabra as Parliamentary Secretary to foreign minister Stephane Dion, who himself had never used the words Islamist or terror in discussing the Jihadi attacks. Alghabra, a former President of the Canadian Arab Federation which lost its charitable status after his departure for its radicalism, has a history of supporting Sharia law in certain areas and even suggesting that listing Hamas as a terror organization went too far. 

This past weekend at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trudeau told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that, “I’ve tremendous confidence in people who don’t think a lot about politics, terrorism," as part of his response to Zakaria's question on the logic behind the air pullout. But frankly, why should we be surprised? In this space last year we wrote that "Mr. Trudeau just doesn't get it." We referred to his incredulous positions on matters of civility and civilization. Trudeau had stated that denying the right to wear face coverings  demonstrated an "insensitivity to minority rights."  We also referred to Trudeau's objection to Canada's new citizenship guide that included a description of practices that Canadians find "barbaric." The practices described as barbaric included honor killings of girls and female genital mutilation. Mr. Trudeau denounced the use of the word barbaric as "insensitive." Insensitive to what?

Mr. Trudeau's attitude, actions and expressions on the challenge of Islamism demonstrates - at the least - coarse political expediency. At the worst, a moral relativism that will pervert the values of Canada as a strong-willed, free-thinking, democratic nation. Mr. Trudeau still doesn't get it. Diversity is not Canada's strength. Liberty is.