The international community knows by now that the Harper Government -- remember, the moniker is now on official documents -- is full of navel gazers. And navel gazers aren't concerned with facts. The ramifications for Canadian foreign policy are deeply disturbing. Natalie Brender writes in The Toronto Star that:
The Harper government’s tendency toward dismissing the salience of worldly conditions is particularly marked when complex realities outside Canada’s borders are at issue. Globalization means that most policy choices facing us fall into this category of complex international realities. And for that reason, you’d think the government would pin its foreign policy-making to shared facts and knowledge wherever possible.
But that wasn’t the principle that informed the government’s decision last month to make Canada the only country in the world to be a non-member of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. The prime minister said that funding direct action against drought was preferable to remaining part of a bureaucratic “talkfest” – another instance in which Canada sees no need for action to be informed by investigation into facts.
That decision -- in fact, all of Canada's recent foreign policy pronouncements -- has left diplomats scratching their heads:
As former Canadian diplomat Dan Livermore writes, the rest of the world finds us baffling: “A befuddled diplomatic community, both in Canada and abroad, is asking when the real Canada will return.”
But that befuddlement seems to have passed over the head of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird:
This willful obliviousness to realities beyond Ottawa spin extends even to the government’s own assessment of its performance abroad. Just last week, foreign minister John Baird declared that “[o]ur foreign relations record under the principled leadership of Prime Minister Harper has restored respect for Canadian principles and positions, and given us a stronger role on the world stage.
One suspects that the international community shares Megan Leslie's disdain for Baird. Recently she opined that Mr. Baird is "the kid in class with gum on his nose."