The restoration of Canada’s reputation abroad was one of the great achievements of the last Conservative government. Once again, Canada would stand with our allies for security at home and play a role in global security commensurate with our size, abilities and values as a nation. Canada would not look the other way when our allies were attacked or when instability overseas was threatening our security in North America. We would not join in on unfair UN resolutions nor would we participate in organizations or events that had been captured by special interests.
Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberals have brought us back to the failed era of Liberal foreign policy – appeasing dictators, abandoning our friends, and pursuing the myth of Canada as an “honest broker” without interests in the world. It is clear Justin Trudeau is willing to sacrifice our security and relationships and risk the lives of Canadian soldiers in his multi-year bid to curry favour for a non-permanent Security Council Seat.
I will restore Canada’s place as a dependable ally and principled voice for freedom and democracy around the world. To do so, I’ll concentrate on acting through NATO, OAS, OSCE and other organizations that reflect our values to get things done in the world. I will also work with our allies to modernize and improve the performance and international governance of multi-lateral organizations that Canada is involved with.
An O’Toole government will:
- Support Israel as a democratic, Jewish state with secure borders: Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel has been ready to sign a final peace deal several times. Each time, the Palestinian leadership has walked away from the table because they still refuse to accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State. It is this, and not settlements, that is the primary obstacle to peace. An O’Toole government will advance peace by:
- Ending Canadian funding to the UNRWA, an organization that undermines efforts to secure a just and lasting peace;
- Establishing an exchange program between the Canadian Armed Forces and the Israel Defence Forces; and
- Vocally opposing efforts to isolate Israel, such as the recent UNSC resolution that the Trudeau government has remained silent on.
- STAND UP TO RUSSIAN AGGRESSION: Our Conservative government stood side by side with the Ukrainian people during their revolution. An O’Toole government will maintain this kind of international leadership in the face of continued aggression and posturing by Vladimir Putin, and will:
- Support Ukraine and pressure the Putin regime through increased sanctions and international isolation until such time as Russia ends its occupation of Crimea and its interference in the Donbas region;
- Implement Sergei Magnitsky legislation proposed by Conservatives to target sanctions and implement travel bans against corrupt foreign officials who are responsible for abusing their positions of power and committing human rights abuse;
- Ensure continuation of Operation UNIFIER and enhance cooperation between the CAF and the Ukrainian military by implementing the Ukraine-Canada Defence and Security Cooperation Agreement negotiated by the Harper government but ignored by the Liberals;
- Defend our airspace from continued Russian attempted incursions; and
- Through NATO, continue to defend our allies in Eastern Europe and the Baltics.
- Advocate for Free Trade: Free Trade, including with the U.S. and Europe, has been one of the signature accomplishments of Conservative governments, and it is a cornerstone of our prosperity. In a world where too many are turning inward, we need a Prime Minister who will champion the importance of trade to create jobs. An O’Toole government will vigorously defend Canadian interests in trade disputes and ensure that we get the best trade deals possible for Canada.
- Recognize that China presents economic opportunities for Canada but that we can’t allow those opportunities to blind us to human rights abuses, hacking and corporate espionage and increasingly worrisome signs of expansionism in the South China Sea. As former Canadian Ambassador to China David Mulroney recently noted, Trudeau’s China policy is driven by naiveté. Recent cash-for-access controversies involving the Prime Minister and the influence of Chinese business interests on the Trudeau Foundation suggest that Justin Trudeau may be compromised when it comes to ensuring Canadian security and economic interests are protected in our dealings with China.
- An O’Toole government will seek to make Canada a permanent Dialogue Partner of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting, an important forum for discussing the security situation and peace in that important region.
- Strengthen our relationships with the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, key traditional allies, Commonwealth members and partners, by:
- Providing citizens of these countries with the same exemption from the Electronic Travel Authorization that we do for U.S. citizens;
- Seizing uncertainty arising from Brexit to launch free trade talks with the United Kingdom. With their exit from the European Union, they are free to sign new free trade deals. Canada should be aggressively pursuing free trade with our closest partner after the US, the United Kingdom. We risk being left behind as other countries move ahead with free trade deals; and
- Taking a lead role in promoting a Canada-UK-Australia-New Zealand trade and security pact, which could include reciprocal freedom to live, work, and invest in these four like-minded countries with historic ties and common interests. It would also include an enhanced defence partnership and intelligence cooperation. This is the natural evolution of our relationship with our Commonwealth and Five Eyes partners.
- Advocate aggressively for the reform of the United Nations (UN) and use Canada’s UN contributions to give weight to our efforts.
- The UN does important work but, as multiple former UN officials (such as Anthony Banbury) have pointed out, it is currently failing and is in dire need of reform. Yet, instead of pushing for such reform, Justin Trudeau is going along to get along in pursuit of a non-permanent Security Council seat. An O’Toole government will ensure Canada contributes far more to the world than we possibly could during a term in a non-permanent Security Council seat by modernizing and improving the UN.
- The first year of an O’Toole government will see the establishment of the 10% UN Reform Holdback. Canada will withhold 10% of Canada’s UN funding in order to push for long overdue reforms at the UN and we will urge our allies to do the same. As a founding member of the UN, the best way Canada can ensure that it meets its ideals is to push for reform in this way. Each year, the 10% Holdback funds will not go to the UN, but will be devoted on an annual basis to acute global health needs in consultation with partner NGOs like World Vision and Medicins Sans Frontiers. The 10% UN Reform Holdback will advocate specifically for :
- Reform the Security Council to better reflect today’s world rather than the world of 1945p
- Reform the Human Rights Council to be worthy of its name, by limiting membership eligibility to countries which themselves respect human rights (such as those ranked as at least “Partly Free” or higher by the internationally-respected NGO Freedom House);
- Reform peacekeeping, so that participating nations ensure that their peacekeeping troops will be held accountable for human rights violations and other crimes, by suspending the right of countries that fail to hold their troops accountable to participate in such missions;
- Reform and modernize the global refugee response through a single UN Agency – UNHCR. There should not be two classes of refugees and two bureaucracies within the UN umbrella. UNRWA, which was set up as a temporary agency in 1950 and has ballooned into a behemoth bureaucracy, should be phased out as UNHCR fulfills its true mandate as the UN Refugee Agency;
- Reform the operations of the UN to increase effectiveness by overhauling the personnel system to ensure timely hiring of qualified personnel and removal of those proven to be ineffective or corrupt; and making the sponsoring nation responsible for the debts or funding abused by their national official working within the UN; and
- Capping administrative expenses for the myriad of UN agencies at a fixed percentage of their operational costs and requiring an annualized independent audit of spending by agency.
- Show leadership throughout the Americas, recognizing the importance of our hemisphere and the opportunities and risks we face. From the looming collapse of Venezuela under a Marxist government to the threats of instability posed by drug cartels and paramilitary forces we face a range of threats to peace, geopolitical stability, and economic development. An O’Toole government will:
- Work with bilateral institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the Inter-American Defence Board, the Organization of American States and the Conference of Defence Ministers of the Americas to strengthen our relationships and encourage multilateral hemispheric trade while at the same time reinstating the visa required for visitors from Mexico; and
- Continue to deploy the Royal Canadian Navy to engage in counter-narcotics operations as they did so successfully under the Conservative government.
- Continue supporting the Halifax International Security Forum, which brings military and security leaders from over 60 countries to Canada each year. There is no better way to ensure that Canada speaks with a loud voice on the world stage than to bring that stage to Canada each year.