Search

 

Cablegate: Canada in the Americas: Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHON #0084 0801722
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201722Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL TORONTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2407
INFO RUCNCAN/ALCAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0001
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0001
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0142
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 0003

UNCLAS TORONTO 000084

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD PGOV PINR PREL CA
SUBJECT: Canada in the Americas: Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic
Warns Against Protectionism, Argues For More Canadian Diplomacy


Sensitive but Unclassified - Please Protect Accordingly.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a March 20 speech before the Canadian Council
on the Americas, Liberal Foreign Affairs critic and newly elected
Member of Parliament Bob Rae argued for increased resources and
better coordination among Canadian foreign affairs agencies, and a
stronger Canadian commitment to the Americas. Rae also warned of
the dangers of protectionism, particularly in the United States, and
noted that renegotiating NAFTA would put "everything" on the table,
to include energy and bulk water exports. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Rae criticized what he described as Prime Minister Harper's
hostility toward the professional Canadian foreign service, and
noted that Harper's (and previous governments) efforts to cut back
and marginalize the public service contradict the increased burden
placed on Canadian diplomacy worldwide. Harper's "command and
control" style of management, according to Rae, is ill-suited for
the management of highly complex organizations like the Canadian
federal government.

3. (SBU) Rae said Canadian diplomacy needs more resources as well as
much better coordination and the elimination of "silos" between
DFAIT and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). He
specifically cited President Bush's request for increased State
Department funding and staffing as an example of what Canada needs.
Canadian public diplomacy should be reinvigorated, with more focus
on education and selling Canada as a unique "brand" to worldwide
audiences, he argued.

4. (SBU) Rae was cautious about the extent of Canada's influence in
the Americas. He said he believes Cuba's transformation "may be
about to begin" and argued that Canada's policy of limited
engagement is the right course because it gives Canada opportunities
to influence the transformation that are unavailable to the U.S. He
expressed disagreement with Venezuela and Hugo Chavez's politics,
but noted that each country is free to choose its own path. He
described Chavez's recent referendum defeat as a hopeful sign of
democracy in Venezuela. Rae also argued for increased engagement
with Mexico and Brazil as their economic influence grows.

5. (SBU) In response to audience questions, Rae criticized
protectionist impulses throughout the hemisphere and said Canada is
far too dependent on trade to restrict it. Canadian policymakers,
Rae said, should emphasize to U.S. leaders the dangers of
restricting trade. He also noted that if the U.S. wants to
renegotiate NAFTA, "everything" would be on the table, particularly
oil and gas and "better protection of our water resources."

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Rae, likely to be a foreign affairs "heavyweight"
in the Liberal caucus in the Commons, presented a spirited case for
increased resources for Canadian international engagement. With the
exception of his comments on NAFTA, his view of Canada's role in the
world is non-controversial from the U.S. perspective. However, his
remarks on Harper's leadership style and attitude towards the
Canadian public service may be a preview of his lines of attack when
he takes his seat in Ottawa after Parliament sits again on March 31.
END COMMENT.

NAY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC