Trust is the issue on F-35s

The Harper government and the Canadian Forces say Lockheed-Martin's F-35 is the right plane to replace the country's aging fleet of CF-18 fighter jets. Except they aren't willing to prove it. Instead, they're asking Canadians to trust them on faith—even though neither has helped its case over the years.

Another nail in CIDA's coffin?

Canada's international development agency, CIDA, is in the news for the wrong reasons again: Its minister has lied to Parliament over the already-controversial decision to cancel funding to a faith-based group. That after a year of confusion over aid to Haiti and stalled progress on projects in Afghanistan—and that's not even accounting for those who forever gripe about giving millions of taxpayer dollars to corrupt governments in Africa.

Now is the time for accountability

CIDA Minister Bev Oda has apologized for deceiving everyone about the now-infamous KAIROS memo, Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai howled during a Foreign Affairs committee hearing on Feb. 14. Let's move on.

Open border deal is necessary

In this corner, weighing in at a hefty $1.3 billion in trade per day and counting the country's largest companies and business associations among its most ardent enthusiasts are Canadian trade interests with the United States. And in this corner, standing up for social, economic and environmental justice, championed by NGOs and labour unions, is Canadian sovereignty.

Self-interest will win on Egypt

Israeli diplomats in Canada and other Western countries have been ordered to start encouraging their host governments to refrain from criticizing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Ha'aretz reported over the weekend. As a result, ambassadors like Miriam Ziv will be stressing the importance of Egyptian stability in meetings with Canadian officials.

Master and Manipulator

On Jan. 20, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews spent thousands of dollars on a special trip to Vancouver to deliver an important message: Canadian attitudes on refugees are souring.

Clamping down after KAIROS

With opposition members using documents about KAIROS that Embassy obtained through Access to Information to call for CIDA Minister Bev Oda's resignation, it appears the government is determined not to let more fuel be put on the fire.

Don't expect embassy news

In April 2009, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon was presented with a memo related to Canada's diplomatic missions in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Hamburg, Germany; Cape Town, South Africa; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Lilongwe, Malawi.

Where did the year go?

Three days into 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office sent out a press release calling this "an International Year for Canada." This was appropriate enough as over the next 12 months the country was to host the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and numerous ministerial G8 and G20 meetings before the big leaders' summits in June. It was also campaigning hard for a UN Security Council seat, with the vote to be held in September.

Language explanation is due

Over the past few weeks, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women has been conducting hearings into changes the Conservative government was making to foreign policy language last year—changes that Embassy was the first to make public.

A Mexican journalist's inspiration, warning

For years, Luis Najera covered the border beat for the respected Mexican newspaper La Reforma. The paper has three editions: one in Mexico City, one in Monterey and one in Guadalajara. Najera wrote from the calamitous Juarez-El Paso area along the border with Texas. He covered migration, the drug wars and human trafficking. His stories would often run on the front page of all three editions of La Reforma.

Putting our talent to good use

In early 2008, officials at Canada's environment, foreign affairs and natural resources departments, as well as diplomats at the embassy in Washington, were in a bit of a tizzy. The reason? Environmental groups and some members of Congress, notably Henry Waxman, were looking to include the oil sands in a controversial piece of legislation that would bar the US government from purchasing dirty fuel.

Get your head out of the oil sand

Another international climate change conference is here and, after an eventful year, Canada will show up in Cancun with few lessons learned and even less to offer.

Becoming what we oppose

In defending his policies on Israel in a high-profile speech last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper admitted that he has put Israel's interests ahead of Canada's.

Think before you sign the ftas

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a study on Oct. 27 warning that a free trade deal with the European Union could cost the country between 28,000 and 150,000 jobs.

Is Liberal hypocrisy back?

In the aftermath of Canada's shocking UN Security Council campaign loss, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and members of his caucus fired shot after shot at the Harper government's foreign policy.

The red flags keep coming

It has been months since the dispute at Rights and Democracy made front-page headlines across the country. Remember the sudden resignations of several renowned citizens from the Crown corporation's board? The tragic death of its late president, Remy Beauregard? The staff petition calling for several Conservative-appointed board members to be sacked? The shady contracts to lawyers, auditing firms and others?

A square peg in a round world

Last week was a bad one for Canada and the Harper government on the international stage. There was the United Arab Emirates booting the Canadian military from its base near Dubai, mounting pressure for Omar Khadr's repatriation and, worst of all, the UN Security Council loss.

Air Canada and the UAE

The comment sections of websites that follow stories about political and international issues should carry the warning "Proceed at the risk of your respect for fellow Canadians." Mean and awful things are often written in those spaces.

Supporting a vision

Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold was welcomed to Canada with open arms last week. In Ottawa he met Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and other senior government officials. Then he was off to Toronto to sit down with representatives from the mining-laden Toronto Stock Exchange and other Canadian business representatives. His trip ended with a stop in Vancouver for similar exchanges.

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