National Newswatch

To be a world player, Trudeau must spend on defence

Feb 18 2016 — Colin Robertson — In developing Canada’s new defence strategy, the federal government faces the pressure of events and some fundamental constraints. The first and most challenging constraint is budgetary. Budgets are to strategy what teeth are to lips. The Speech from the Throne promised investment in a “leaner, more agile, better-equipped military.” It will certainly be leaner, given […]

How Paris can bend the curve on climate change

Dec 8 2015 — Colin Robertson — Climate talks wrap up in Paris this week. The leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, spoke passionately on the need for action. But the Copenhagen, Bali and Kyoto climate conferences were also suffused with passion and eloquence. The test this time will be whether the commitments promised in Paris are global, verifiable and continuing. Meanwhile, […]

Why we need to reset our relationship with the U.S.

Nov 10 2015 — Colin Robertson — It’s time to reset our relationship with the United States. Three events last week set the stage for redefining the relationship. First, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau re-established cabinet government. New ministers lead newly re-minted departments with a very different approach to policies, notably on climate change. Second, President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada’s Keystone XL permit […]

It’s time for Canada to stop sleepwalking across the global stage

Sep 28 2015 — Colin Robertson — Canada’s international brand needs a make-over. It starts with a strategic plan, focused priorities and specific initiatives for international re-engagement. In preparing for Monday’s foreign policy debate, our party leaders should read Roland Paris’ letter to the next prime minister, Ian Brodie’s After America and a recent study by Robert Greenhill and Meg McQuillan assessing Canada’s […]

How Canada could be doing more to stop the migrant crisis

Sep 1 2015 — Colin Robertson — They are desperate people taking desperate measures as they flee war, persecution and poverty. They endure abuse, starvation and, for the unlucky, death in their search for asylum. The numbers are numbing. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 60 million displaced persons are on the move. Each day an additional 42,500 […]

What NATO members must do to empower the alliance

Sep 2 2014 — Colin Robertson — “Keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down” was how Lord Ismay, NATO’s first Secretary General (1952 to 1957), described the Alliance that has since become both the sword and shield of our liberal international order. Recent events revalidate Lord Ismay’s trope except that Germany now needs to take on responsibilities within […]

Why free trade is the unfinished business of Confederation

Aug 22 2014 — Colin Robertson — When our 13 provincial and territorial leaders meet next week in Charlottetown for their 55th annual conclave, they will discuss, yet again, how to create free trade within Canada. It is the unfinished business of our Confederation. The intention in the Constitution is clear: “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one […]

Rather than get even, Canada needs to get smart on Keystone

Apr 29 2014 — Colin Robertson — Disappointment, frustration, even anger, are natural reactions to the Obama Administration’s Good Friday decision to delay, again, permitting the Keystone XL pipeline. It belittles the Administration’s promise of fair and timely process. It’s a rebuke to a loyal ally who is also America’s biggest customer. Extending the process for more review, even with the Nebraska challenge, rings […]

Have the West’s actions encouraged the world’s rogues?

Apr 15 2014 — Colin Robertson — It’s a testing moment for the international order. How will we respond to Russian actions that Prime Minister Harper describes as “aggressive, militaristic and imperialistic”? Is the NATO Alliance prepared to draw red lines? Will we defend the system that President Obama said we have worked “for generations to build”? Collective diplomacy gets its shot […]