Monday, September 14, 2009

The Liberals are Giving Foreign Policy its Due

In his speech to the Canadian Club in Ottawa today, the Liberal Leader drew attention to the Tories' complete lack of regard for the Foreign Affairs portfolio, epitomized by the consistent change in ministers, from Peter Mackay, through Maxime Bernier and David Emerson, to Lawrence Cannon. Foreign Affairs is a portfolio in which stability would usually be cherished, as it is important to have stable international relations that are not jolted periodically by a ministerial change.

But that is only one example of the problem. An important question to ask is: what is our foreign policy? Apart from sporadically reaching an agreement with a Latin American country on an economic deal of sorts, there is nothing concrete anyone could point to. This in what many would consider to be the second most important and influential cabinet position, after the Finance Minister.

The vision Michael Ignatieff offered in his speech today was refreshingly inspirational on this matter. He spoke of ending poverty, giving aid to the African continent, concentrating on developing our ties with India and China. Unlike Harper, he actually has a foreign policy he can present to voters.

Making this difference all the more evident can only be beneficial to Ignatieff. What's more, making foreign policy an important plank of his platform plays to his strengths as a cosmopolitan politician.

And it will cast away the dark ages that have befallen Foreign Affairs in this country.
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