by Stephen Saideman
Several years ago, I had heard in various bars in the Byward Market that the Canadian government under Stephen Harper had engaged in a serious Lessons Learned exercise about Afghanistan. I heard that the document was buried (I used the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark to illustrate). I tried an Access to Information Request in January of 2013, but got rejected because the document was viewed as “advice to cabinet” and containing sensitive information about Canada’s allies. I thought this was hogwash, so I appealed. I got the document just before my recent trip to Brazil (here it is),* so I didn’t have time to process it.
By Stephanie Carvin
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A stalling Chinese economy. And of course, refugees.
When the election was called in August, it is likely that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party anticipated that they had the foreign policy issues locked down. From their view they could make an argument to have taken a strong stance against Russia and Iran, fighting terrorism abroad, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq and spending billions of dollars on aid to improve maternal, newborn and child health globally.
But things have not quite worked out the way they planned. The Conservatives hard security stance has – thus far – seemed off-key in light of recent events that have largely called for “soft” (diplomacy and negotiation) rather than “hard” (military) power. In short, there has been foreign policy issues in this election – but not the ones Stephen Harper counted on.