During a speech to the Conseil des relations internationales de Montréal (CORIM), opposition leader Andrew Scheer expounded on a Conservative government’s approach to foreign policy.
The enveloping discussion touched upon Canada’s relations with its allies, national defence and how Canada would deal with threats like China and Russia.
Scheer has pledged to reveal several Conservative policy points in the upcoming months, including his party’s environmental policy.
For a while, Scheer has pledged to do away with the Liberal government’s carbon tax and has sided with several blue provinces challenging the pricing scheme at a constitutional level.
Throughout his speech, Scheer criticized Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy as “disastrous” and “unserious”, particularly targetting the PM’s visit to India, calling it the “the most disastrous foreign trip by any Canadian prime minister ever.”
“Being a good ally and contributor on the world stage requires more than just talk. Both our allies and adversaries respect strength and confidence. The current government demonstrates neither,” said Scheer.
Scheer’s vision of a Conservative government’s approach to foreign policy is one that sees Canada further involved in a leadership role in world affairs.
“Some politicians want Canada to be the referee, I want Canada to be on the starting line,” said Scheer.
Particular attention was paid to foreign threats like China and Russia. Scheer indicated that China was Canada’s primary threat followed by Russia.
“The rise of China, the re-emergence of Russia’s cold war mentality and states who export terrorism and extremism are just some of the foreign threats to Canadian security and prosperity in the 21st century.”
Furthermore, Scheer pledged that while Canada will continue to seek further economic activity with the Chinese government, his government would impose several measures to pressure China towards Canadian interests. Among those specific policy points, Scheer indicated that he would look at ending funding for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, taking the canola blockade to the World Trade Organization and restraining investment by China-operated companies.
Scheer also pointed to Russia as a predominant threat, particularly to Canada’s arctic region.
“Russia also remains a very serious threat. Vladimir Putin cannot be allowed to act with impunity when it comes to his military adventurism. While today he is occupying ukraine tomorrow it could be Canada’s arctic waters,” said Scheer.
With regards to the arctic, he pledged that Canada would strengthen arctic defence systems, including submarine capability and a reiteration that the region is part of Canada.
“Above all, we must establish, without a doubt, everywhere in the world, that our sovereignty over the North is non-negotiable. The Arctic does not only belong to us. It is us,” said Scheer.
Finally, Scheer criticized the Trudeau’s government departure from being in sync with the United States on matters like Iran and Israel.
“The Canada-United States relationship transcends the personalities of those who occupy each respective office. And its longevity is crucial to our respective peace and prosperity. It must be strengthened,” he said.