Transcript: Time for Canada to Scrap Pearsonian Diplomacy? | Oct 15, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and brown tie.

A caption on screen reads "Time for Canada to scrap Pearsonian diplomacy? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says IN THE POST WORLD WAR II ERA, CANADIAN DIPLOMAT, FOREIGN MINISTER AND FUTURE PRIME MINISTER LESTER B. PEARSON WAS AWARDED THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR HIS ROLE IN BRINGING ABOUT A MULTILATERAL PEACEKEEPING FORCE, THE U.N.'S SO-CALLED "BLUE HELMETS." THE STYLE OF INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION THAT EMERGED IN A RULES-BASED GLOBAL ORDER CAME TO BE A SIGNATURE PART OF CANADIAN FOREIGN RELATIONS AND KNOWN AS "PEARSONIAN DIPLOMACY." WELL, WE'RE A LONG WAY FROM THAT TIME AND PLACE. IS IT ALSO TIME, THEN, FOR CANADA TO TAKE A DIFFERENT STANCE IN THE WORLD? LET'S FIND OUT. AS WE INTRODUCE OUR GUESTS, FROM FURTHEST AWAY TO CLOSEST TO OUR STUDIO AS IS OUR CUSTOM. WE START IN REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN WITH JENNIFER WELSH. PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY AND DIRECTOR OF MCGILL UNIVERSITY'S CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY STUDIES...

Jennifer is in her fifties, with brown hair in a short bob. She's wearing glasses, a black jacket and a burgundy scarf.

Steve continues IN RIVER HEIGHTS, WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, LLOYD AXWORTHY, FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER OF CANADA, NOW CHAIR OF THE WORLD REFUGEE AND MIGRATION COUNCIL...

Lloyd is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing glasses, a black blazer, gray sweater and blue shirt.

Steve continues AND IN THE ANNEX NEIGHBOURHOOD OF TORONTO, BEN ROSWELL, A DIPLOMAT...

Ben is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair. He's wearing a gray suit and a white shirt.

Steve continues IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU THREE ON TVO TONIGHT. BEN, I WONDER FOR THOSE WHO ARE NEW TO CANADA OR FOR THOSE WHO DON'T REMEMBER MIKE PEARSON, WHEN WE TALK PEARSONIAN DIPLOMACY WHAT DO WE MEAN?

The caption changes to "Ben Roswell. Canadian International Council."
A caption reads "The Golden Age."

Ben says I DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PEARSON THE MAN AND PEARSONIAN TRADITION WHICH IS AN EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING HE DID. AN EXAMPLE OF THAT IS WHEN YOU VISIT OUR FOREIGN SERVICE IN OTTAWA IT'S CALLED THE PEARSON BUILDING. YOU TURN TO THE LEFT THERE IS A SHRINE WITH A GOLD MEDAL. IT IS THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE THAT LESTER PEARSON WON IN 1967 BY CREATING PEACEKEEPING. AT A TIME WHEN CANADA WAS SEARCHING FOR A NEW IDENTITY DEALING WITH RISING QUEBEC SEPARATISM BREAKING AWAY FROM THE U.K. AND CREATING NEW RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE UNITED STATES, THE INTERNATIONAL ACCOLADES THAT CAME FROM THAT ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM GAVE CANADIANS GREAT PRIDE. I THINK WE HAD BEEN GENUFLECTING AT THAT ALTAR. AND I COUNT MYSELF AS A FORMER DIPLOMAT AS PART OF THAT TRADITION BECAUSE THE STORY IT HELPS US TELL AS CANADIANS HAS BEEN A REALLY CENTRAL PART OF OUR FOREIGN POLICY. FOR MANY YEARS THAT'S SERVED US WELL BUT I THINK THE WORLD HAS CHANGED.

Steve says FOLLOW UP IF YOU WOULD. DO YOU THINK IT'S TIME TO BURY PEARSONIAN DIPLOMACY NOW?

The caption changes to "A wake-up call."

Ben says I DO. AND NOR ME THE PIN THAT DROPPED WAS OUR FAILED BID TO GAIN A SEAT ON THE SECURITY COUNCIL. I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY CANADA WOULD WANT TO PURSUE A SEAT ON THE COUNCIL. IT'S THE TOP SEAT AT THE TABLE. IT'S PLACES WHERE WAR AND PEACE IS DEBATED IT'S WHERE CANADIANS WANT TO BE. YET MOST CANADIANS... I'M SURPRISED... BY THEIR OPPOSITION EVEN TO THEIR HOSTILITY TO THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS PURSUING THIS. IT OCCURRED TO ME THAT THERE'S BEEN A DANGEROUS GAP THAT'S EMERGED BETWEEN WHAT CANADIAN CITIZENS FEEL ABOUT INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, THE LEVEL OF THEATRE THAT WE HAVE AS THE WORLD HAS BECOME MUCH MORE DANGEROUS, A GROWING DISORDER. AND THIS CONTINUING PURSUIT OF A STORY THAT WE LIKE TO TELL ABOUT OURSELVES. AND I THINK THAT GAP IS DANGEROUS. WE NEED TO BE MUCH MORE ASSERTIVE. AND WE NEED OUR CITIZENS TO BE ON BOARD. I THINK WE NEED TO GET PAST THIS IDENTITY BUILDING OR STORY TELLING COMPONENT OF OUR FOREIGN POLICY THAT CONFRONTS THE REALITY TODAY.

Steve says JUST BEFORE I GET LLOYD AXWORTHY TO REACT TO WHAT YOU JUST SAID MAYBE WE CAN DO A LITTLE BACKGROUND FIRST Mr. ACTION WORTHY. YOU ARE THE AMONG MOPPING US TODAY WHO ACTUALLY HAD A SHOT AT KNOWING MIKE PEARSON. HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD HIM SPEAK?

The caption changes to "Lloyd Axworthy. World Refugee and Migration Council."

Lloyd says I WAS 17 YEARS OLD. HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT IN THE NORTH END OF WINNIPEG. AND OUR HISTORY TEACHER, A.J. PHILLIPS, TERRIFIC GUY SIDE WE HAD TO GO DOWN TO THE OLD AUDITORIUM TO LISTEN TO A POLITICIAN. SOME OF US WEREN'T TOO THRILLED BUT 25 percent OF OUR MARKS WERE AT STAKE SO WE WENT DOWN AND I GOT TO TELL YOU IT CHANGED MY LIFE. IT WASN'T SO MUCH THAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT PEACEKEEPING. HE WAS TALKING ABOUT CANADA. AND HOW WE HAD A CERTAIN DISTINCTION BASED ON OUR HISTORY, OUR CULTURE, OUR GEOGRAPHY THAT WE HAD TO FOLLOW. HE TALKED ABOUT HOW THERE WAS THE COMING TOGETHER OF SO MANY DISPARATE GROUPS FROM SO MANY DIFFERENT COUNTRIES THAT WE BEGAN TO LEARN HOW TO GET ALONG. WE LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT THE ART AND SKILL OF MEDIATION AND NEGOTIATION AND FINDING WAYS OF COMPROMISE AND ACCOMMODATION. HE ALSO TALKED IN PARTICULAR, I GUESS, WHAT ATTRACTED ME AS A YOUNG TEENAGER, JUST BEGINNING MY EDUCATIONAL CAREER, THAT WE COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE. THAT CANADA HAD A CERTAIN DISTINCTION. IT WASN'T JUST ABOUT PEACEKEEPING. I RETURN TO A POINT THAT BEN RAISED. IF YOU LOOK AT THE PEARSON'S PRECEDENT, HE WAS THE CHAIR OF THE ORIGINAL BEGINNING OF THE FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATION. WORRYING ABOUT FOOD SECURITY. WHAT'S MORE RELEVANT TODAY THAT THAN FOOD SECURITY? HE WAS VERY HEAVILY INVOLVED IN THE UNITED NATIONS RELIEF REHABILITATION AGENCY. AND WHAT WAS IT DEALING WITH? DISPLACED PERSON. ANOTHER FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME. HE WAS ALSO, AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, VERY MUCH INVOLVED IN THE CREATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS. BUT ON THE BASIS THAT GREAT POWERS SHOULDN'T BE TOTALLY CAPABLE OF PARALYZING AN INSTITUTION. HE FOUGHT AGAINST IT. AND CERTAINLY DURING THE DISCUSSIONS. SO THE PEARSON TRADITION HAS A LOT MORE SORT OF STRANDS TO IT THAT HAVE TO BE WOVEN TOGETHER. AND I'M NOT SAYING THAT THE PEACEKEEPING OF 1956 IS OUR MODALITY. BUT I AM SAYING THAT THE BASIC IDEA THAT WE HAD TO COLLABORATE IN CANADA'S BEST INTERESTS IN TERMS OF OUR STRATEGIC POSITION AS WELL AS OUR VALUES WAS TO BE IN COLLABORATION, COOPERATION WITH OTHER GROUPS, COUNTRIES, AND GOVERNMENTS. AND I THINK THAT'S BEEN STILL I THINK A BASIC GOLD STANDARD THAT CANADA HAS TO RECOGNIZE.

Steve says WELL, THE CURRENT PRIME MINISTER HAD SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT ALL THIS AT THE UNITED NATIONS NOT TOO LONG AGO. LET'S PLAY A SNIPPET OF THAT AND COME BACK AND CHAT AGAIN. SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD, THE CLIP.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "September 25, 2020."
In the clip, Prime Minister Trudeau stands in his office and speaks.

He says IN THEIR ERA, THOSE SYSTEMS WORKED. BUT THAT WAS 50, 60, 70 YEARS AGO. TODAY, ALL THOSE INSTITUTIONS NO LONGER SERVE US WELL ENOUGH ON WHAT THEY WERE DESIGNED FOR: DEFENDING MULTILATERALISM AND INTERNATIONAL LAW. PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS AND OPEN MARKETS. WE ARE IN DEAD LOCK. THE INTERNATIONAL APPROACH WE'VE RELIED ON SINCE THE SECOND HALF OF THE 20th CENTURY WAS BUILT ON AN UNDERSTANDING THAT COUNTRIES WOULD WORK TOGETHER. BUT NOW THAT'S SAME COUNTRIES ARE LOOKING INWARD AND ARE DIVIDED. WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE WHERE WE ARE. THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. THE WORLD IS IN CRISIS.

The clip ends.

Steve says WELL, JENNIFER WELSH, THE PRIME MINISTER CERTAINLY SEEMS TO THINK THAT PEARSONIAN DIPLOMACY MAY BE IN TROUBLE RIGHT NOW. WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON WHETHER THE SO-CALLED "RULES-BASED INTERNATIONAL ORDER" STILL WORKS?

The caption changes to "Jennifer Welsh. McGill University."
Then, it changes again to "Rules to live by, no longer?"

Jennifer says WELL, HE'S RIGHT IN THAT A LOT OF THESE INSTITUTIONS ARE PARALYZED BY GREAT POWER POLITICS. YOU KNOW, IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL AS AN EXAMPLE, IT'S NOT JUST THE FACT THAT IT'S FAILED TO AGREE ON EFFECTIVE ACTION IN SYRIA. BUT THAT WITH RESPECT TO AN ISSUE LIKE THE CURRENT PANDEMIC, IT TOOK MONTHS FOR IT TO EVEN BE ABLE TO PASS A RESOLUTION. BUT I DO THINK WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT SAYING THAT THE ENTIRE SYSTEM HAS FALLEN APART. WE HAVE A NUMBER OF INSTITUTIONS GLOBALLY. NOT ALL OF THEM ARE AT THE GLOBAL LEVEL. SOME OF THEM WORK AT REGIONAL LEVELS. AND SO WHAT WE NEED TO BE THINKING ABOUT ALONG THE LINES I THINK THAT BEN HAS SUGGESTED IS WHERE IT MAKES MOST SENSE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS WE FACE. AND IT MAY MEAN, YOU KNOW, PEARSONIAN DIPLOMACY IF IT WERE TO BE REVIVED, IT WOULD BE LOOKING FOR CREATIVE NEW WAYS TO COOPERATE. AND I THINK THAT PART OF PEARSON'S AGENDA IS VERY IMPORTANT. YOU KNOW, MUCH OF WHAT HE DID WAS IN THE CONTEXT OF RIVALRY BETWEEN GREAT POWERS THAT HAD MADE COOPERATION DIFFICULT. AND TRYING TO FIND A WAY THROUGH THAT PATH. I DON'T NEED TO TELL THE MEMBERS OF THIS PANEL, YOU KNOW, THAT WE FACE THE SAME KIND OF RIVALROUS SITUATION WHERE IT AFFECTS ALMOST EVERY ASPECT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS TODAY WHETHER IT'S THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL, WHETHER IT'S TRADE OR THE DIGITAL WORLD. THAT PART OF PEARSON'S LEGACY I DON'T THINK IS DEAD. I DO THINK THE CANADIAN TENDENCY TO SUPPORT INSTITUTIONS FOR THE SAKE OF INSTITUTIONS, THAT DOES HAVE TO BE RETHOUGHT. AND WE NEED TO BE MUCH MORE CLEAR-EYED ABOUT THE KINDS OF INSTITUTIONS THAT EITHER WE WANT TO BUILD OR THAT WE WANT TO INVEST IN.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says BEN, I HAVE HEARD YOU MAKE THE COMPARISON OF SOME OF THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS TODAY TO THE OLD LEAGUE OF NATIONS WHICH I PRESUME IS NOT A GREAT COMPARISON TO MAKE BECAUSE THAT FAILED AND NO LONGER EXISTS. SO JUST PUT A LITTLE MEAT ON THAT BONE. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

The caption changes to "Ben Roswell, @benroswell."

Ben says WELL, THE POINT I MAKE IS THAT THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CONTINUED TO EXIST UNTIL 1946. OBVIOUSLY THROUGH THE ENTIRE SECOND WORLD WAR. I DON'T THINK MANY PEOPLE KNEW THAT BUT THE DIPLOMATS WOULD ACTUALLY GATHER IN THE HALL IN GENEVA AND WOULD PASS RESOLUTIONS AND THE TRAPPINGS OF DIPLOMACY WOULD CONTINUE. I'M NOT PREDICTING THAT THE U.N. IS GOING TO FAIL IN THE WAY THAT THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS DID. BUT I DO THINK THAT THE MECHANICS OF DIPLOMACY HAVE A WAY OF GRINDING ON REGARDLESS OF THE SUBSTANCE THAT NECESSARILY COMES FROM THAT. AND WE TEND, AS CANADIANS... I THINK AS JENNIFER POINTED OUT, WORE INSTITUTION BUILDERS SO WE DO BUILD VALUABLE INSTITUTIONS. BUT WHEN THE OUTCOMES THAT ARE BEING NEGOTIATED ARE NOT HAVING A TANGIBLE OUTCOME ON OUR LIVES WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT CREATING NEW INSTITUTIONS, ABOUT FINDING OTHER WAYS TO PROJECT OUR POWER. AND I THINK I WOULD GO A BIT FURTHER THAN BOTH MY CO-PANELISTS AND SAY WE PROBABLY NEED TO ADD TO OUR TOOL KIT BEYOND COLLABORATION. THAT IS VERY MUCH PART OF THE PEARSONIAN TRADITION. IN A WORLD WHERE IT'S MARKED BY VERY SERIOUS CONFLICT AND DISORDER, I THINK WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO CONFRONT AND TO COMPETE AS WELL AS TO COLLABORATE. WHEN YOU'VE GOT A RISING GREAT POWER THAT ARRESTS OUR CITIZENS WITH IMPUNITY AND HOLDS OUR ECONOMY HOSTAGE IN ORDER TO EXERT POLITICAL PRESSURE ON US, THE DESIRE STILL TO FIND WAYS TO COLLABORATE. AND I CAN UNDERSTAND THAT. BUT I DO THINK THERE'S A RECOGNITION THAT CHINA'S AFFRONT TO CANADA WILL ONLY BE MET WHEN WE'RE WILLING TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS THAT ARE WILLING TO COMPETE AND TO CONFRONT CHINA. AND THAT I THINK WOULD BE TERRITORY THAT LESTER PEARSON WAS VERY FAMILIAR WITH. THIS IS A FOREIGN MINISTER THAT BROUGHT US INTO THE KOREAN WAR TO FIGHT AGAINST THE UNITED NATIONS AGAINST STATES THAT OPPOSED THEM. THIS IS A LEADER WHO ALSO HELPED TO NEGOTIATE AND CREATE THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY AND NATO. SO THERE WAS A CAPACITY TO COMPETE AND TO FIGHT IF NECESSARY, THAT PEARSON EXHIBITED. BUT THAT HASN'T SURVIVED AS PART OF THE PEARSONIAN TRADITION WITH ITS FOCUS REALLY EXCLUSIVELY ON OPERATIONS. I THINK WE NEED TO RELEARN SOME OF THOSE ABILITIES OF CANADIAN FOREIGN POLICY.

Steve says LET ME GET LLOYD AXWORTHY TO RESPOND TO THAT. DO WE NEED AT THIS POINT, GIVEN WHAT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINA IS LIKE AND GIVEN THE KIND OF WORLD WE LIVE IN TODAY, DO WE NEED A MORE... WELL, PICK THE WORD YOU LIKE... A MORE MUSCULAR, A MORE POWER GRABBING, A MORE BELLICOSE FOREIGN POLICY APPROACH?

The caption changes to "Lloyd Axworthy, @lloydaxworthy. Former Foreign Minister of Canada."
Then, it changes again to "Playing the power game."

Lloyd says TO BEGIN WITH LET'S ASK WHAT THAT MUSCLE FLEXING HAS COST US IT HAS PUT US IN HANDCUFFS WHEN IT COMES TO DEALING WITH SOME OF THE REAL TRANSGRESSIONS IN CHINA. WHEN IT COMES TO RESUME APP HUMAN RIGHTS, HONG KONG AND OTHER ISSUES. BUT WE'VE PUT OURSELVES IN A BOX BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T PUT OURSELVES IN THE TOOL KIT OF DIPLOMACY TO FIND A WAY OF ACCOMMODATING. PLUS THE FACT THAT I THINK IT WAS CLEARLY A REACTION TO WHAT HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY IN OUR UNIVERSE IS THE TRUMP DELUSIONS AND WE'VE HAD TO BUY INTO MANY OF THEM WHICH WE HAVE DONE TO KEEP THE PEACE ON THE BORDER AND TO GO ALONG WITH OUR NEIGHBOUR SOUTH OF US. BUT THE REALITY IS THAT IN MANY WAYS I WOULD MAKE A CASE QUITE THE OPPOSITE THAT IT IS PROBABLY EVEN MORE NECESSARY TO HAVE DIPLOMACY AT WORK. I JUST DON'T MEAN DIPLOMACY IN TERMS OF PEOPLE IN STRIPED PANTS MEETING IN CORRIDORS OF SOME CHANCERY SOMEWHERE. I'M TALKING ABOUT THINGS LIKE DIGITAL DIPLOMACY. THE ABILITY TO USE THE NEW TECHNOLOGY TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE, CITIZENS AROUND THE WORLD. AND I THINK THE DEFINITION THAT'S NOT BEING REALLY ADDRESSED HERE IS THAT PART OF THE CANADIAN TRADITION BUILT ON THE PEARSONIAN FOUNDATION WAS THE PROTECTION OF PEOPLE. CIVILIANS. I MEAN I CAN STILL... WHEN WE TALK ABOUT POLITICS... IT'S NOT BEGINNING TO RUB OUR ELBOWS IT'S HOW DO YOU PROTECT PEOPLE WHO ARE STARVING RIGHT NOW? HOW DO YOU PROTECT PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING DISPLACED FROM THE REFUGEE CAMPS IN GREECE? HOW DO YOU PROTECT PEOPLE WHO ARE FACING VIOLATIONS LIKE THE HZIDIS THAT WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME WITH BACK IN THE 2019. BUT NOW THEY'RE TRYING TO GET BACK TO THEIR HOME LAND AND THEY'RE BEING ABUSED, VIOLATED AND RAPED ON THE WAY BACK AND BEING FACED WITH PASSING THROUGH LAND MINES. THIS WHOLE IDEA THAT IT'S BLACK AND WHITE, WHAT YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT IS THE VALUES, EXPERIENCE AND LESSONS BUT WHAT I THINK WE NEED TO DO AS CANADIANS WE HAVE TO SUBSTANTIALLY REINFORCE AND BUTTRESS OUR DIPLOMATIC, OUR SECURITY, OUR INTELLIGENCE TOOL KIT. AND HERE'S SOMETHING, STEVE THAT I THINK LET'S PUT THIS DISCUSSION ON A DIFFERENT PLANE. IT'S NOT JUST KIND OF MUSCLING IN BETWEEN CHINA, U.S., RUSSIA AND CHINA AS BEINGS ON THE SECURITY COUNCIL. WE'RE NOW DEALING WITH EXISTENTIAL RISKS. SO MANY INEQUITIES OF THE WORLD. THE HOVERING CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT IS CREATING MASSIVE SHIFTS IN TERMS OF MIGRATION OF PEOPLE. THESE ARE THINGS THAT CAN ONLY BE ANSWERED INTERNATIONALLY. THEY'RE NOT SOMETHING THAT WE CAN EVEN PUT TOGETHER IN A SMALL KIND OF CONCLAVE. WE HAVE TO GET REAL COOPERATION GOING. AND I THINK WE'RE WORKING AT THAT. BUT I THINK AT THE SAME TIME WE HAVE TO RETAIN OUR INDEPENDENCE. WE HAVE TO RETAIN OUR ABILITY TO MAKE OUR DECISIONS NOT JUST SIMPLY FOLLOW THE FLAG WAVING OF ANOTHER COUNTRY. PARTICULARLY A BIG COUNTRY. I THINK THAT WOULD BE A SERIOUS MISTAKE. AND THAT TO ME IS ONE OF THE PRIME LESSONS OF THE PEARSONIAN TRADITION: HOW DO WE RETAIN OUR ABILITY AS A COUNTRY WITH THE KIND OF RICHNESS WE HAVE, THE EDUCATION WE HAVE, THE KILLED PEOPLE WE HAVE TO MAKE THE IMPORTANT INTERCESSIONS, INTERVENTIONS INVOLVEMENT. LET'S NOT SAY THAT PER ZONIAN IS JUST ABOUT DIPLOMACY. I GO BACK TO WHEN WE WERE PUTTING FORWARD THE HUMAN SECURITY POLICY AND WE WERE FACED WITH A CHOICE WHETHER WE WOULD BE PREPARED TO JOIN IN A NATO FORCE DEALING WITH THE ETHNIC CLEANSING AND THE GENOCIDE GOING ON IN KOSOVO. AND WE PUT OUR MEN AND WOMEN THE TOUGHEST DECISION I EVER MADE AS A FOREIGN MINISTER. BUT THE REALITY IS IT DID STOP THE KIND OF WHOLESALE TRANSGRESSIONS AND VIOLATIONS OF A PEOPLE IN A SMALL STATE. THOSE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS THAT THE TOOL KIT IS MUCH BROADER THAN JUST PEOPLE AT SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGS. ALTHOUGH I WOULD SAY THIS: UNFORTUNATELY, AND I THINK BEN WILL VERIFY THIS: OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES, INCLUDING NOW, WE ARE REALLY SORT OF EVISCERATING OUR DIPLOMATIC CAPACITY. WE'RE NOT PUTTING OUR RESOURCES TO WORK TO THE NO ONLY BOLSTER WHAT WE CAN DO. BUT WE'RE CUTTING BACK ON INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AID. WE'RE NOT PROVIDING THE KIND OF PRESENCE THAT WE NEED IN SO MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD. ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE DIDN'T MAKE THE SECURITY COUNCIL ELECTION IS BECAUSE WE SIMPLY DIDN'T HAVE THE KIND OF PEOPLE OUT THERE ON THE GROUND WORKING FOR US. WE DIDN'T HAVE AN AGENDA THAT SAID TO THE REST OF THE WORLD WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ON THE SECURITY COUNCIL? HOW ARE WE GOING TO PROTECT PEOPLE WHATEVER THE AGENDA SHOULD BE? AND THIRDLY, OUR RECORD IN TERMS OF OUR COMMITMENTS ON DEVELOPMENT AID AND... OR ONE OF THE WORST IN THE WORLD. AND EVEN IN THE AREAS OF HUMAN RIGHTS. I MEAN THERE WAS A REPORT JUST YESTERDAY BY TRANSPARENCY THAT CANADA HAS ONE OF THE WORST RECORDS IN PROSECUTING PEOPLE WHO ARE MONEY LAUNDERING IN OUR COUNTRY, WHO ARE BRIBING IN OUR COUNTRY. I MEAN WE STEP BACK A LOT FROM SOME OF THOSE BASIC VALUES. AND I'D THUNDER STRIKE TO SEE IT RESTORED TO US. I DON'T MEAN WE GO BACK TO 1956 BUT WE GO BACK TO THE ETHOS OF THAT TIME THAT WE HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says I TAKE YOUR POINT ON ALL OF THAT. AND CERTAINLY THE NEED FOR COOPERATION. BUT I WONDER, JENNIFER, WHETHER WE DO HEAR MORE VOICES IN CANADA THESE DAYS SAYING, OKAY, COOPERATION, FINE. BUT THIS IS A WORLD TODAY THAT'S ABOUT NAKED POWER GRABS. AND CANADA NEEDS TO EXPRESS ITSELF IN A MORE POWERFUL WAY GO IT INTENDS TO BE A PLAYER IN THIS KIND OF WORLD. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT VIEW?

Jennifer says WELL, I DO THINK THAT ALL STATES... NOT JUST CANADA... HAVE TO... YOU KNOW, ARE FACED WITH THIS CHALLENGE OF A RIVALRY BETWEEN TWO GREAT POWERS AND ALSO OTHER STATES WHO ARE IN RELATIVE DECLINE AND NOT COPING WITH THEIR RELATIVE DECLINE. I'M THINKING HERE OF RUSSIA. SO IT IS ABSOLUTELY CLEAR WE'RE IN A PHASE OF POWER TRANSITION. AND HISTORY TELLS US THAT POWER TRANSITIONS ARE VERY UNSTABLE. SO ALL STATES NEED TO BE VIGILANT. THEY NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW POWER CAN BE EXERCISED. BUT I DO AGREE THAT THINKING ABOUT OUR FOREIGN POLICY AS BEING POWER-BASED WILL LOOK VERY DIFFERENT GIVEN THE KIND OF STATE THAT WE ARE. AND I GUESS I'D MAKE TWO POINTS HERE. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE CLAIMS I THINK THAT BEN IS MAKING IS THAT IT'S DANGEROUS FOR CANADA RIGHT NOW TO TRY TO IDENTITY BUILD THROUGH ITS FOREIGN POLICY. RIGHT, TO KIND OF TELL STORIES AND BUILD OUR OWN NATIONAL IDENTITY THROUGH OUR FOREIGN POLICY. I'M IN PART AGREEMENT. BUT I WOULD ALSO SAY LET'S EXPAND OUR HORIZONS. MANY STATES TRY TO CRAFT THEIR NATIONAL IDENTITY THROUGH THEIR FOREIGN POLICY. HISTORICALLY, THE UNITED STATES HAS TRIED TO DO THAT. BUT BOTH OF THE COUNTRIES THAT WERE COMPETING WITH CANADA FOR A SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT DO IT IN GREAT MEASURE. NORWAY HAS A NATIONAL IDENTITY THAT IS CRAFTED THROUGH WHAT IT DOES IN THE WORLD. WHERE I THINK BEN IS RIGHT IS TO SAY WE CAN'T DO THAT ON THE CHEAP. IF WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO CREATE A NEW AND MODERN CANADIAN NATIONAL IDENTITY THROUGH OUR FOREIGN POLICY, WE HAVE TO PUT OUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS. WE HAVE TO REALLY INVEST. IF I TAKE A COUNTRY LIKE NORWAY... WHICH IS MUCH SMALLER THAN CANADA... CANADA IS THE MANY MORE TOP TABLES... IT IS VERY ACTIVE IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIATION. AND IT HAS, AS Mr. AXWORTHY WILL KNOW, ONE OF THE MOST CREATIVE AND ACTIVE ORGANIZATIONS ON REFUGEE ISSUES. NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL. SO I DO THINK, WHEN WE THINK ABOUT POWER IN THE WORLD, OF COURSE WE HAVE TO BE PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT THE DISTRIBUTION OF POWER IS. WE ALSO HAVE TO BE REALLY REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT WE CAN ACHIEVE. AND WHERE I THINK BEN HAS MADE AN IMPORTANT POINT IS THAT WE DO HAVE TO RECOGNIZE WHO WE CAN ACT WITH IN DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES. I AM ONE WHO BELIEVES THAT THE FACT THAT CANADA IS A LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC STATE IS NOT IRRELEVANT TO ITS FOREIGN POLICY. IT'S DIFFICULT IN OUR CURRENT WORLD, GIVEN WHAT'S HAPPENING TO DEMOCRACY WORLDWIDE. BUT WE HAVE TO AT RELEVANT MOMENTS STAND WITH OTHER LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES AND WORK WITH THEM CONSTRUCTIVELY ON ISSUES THAT WE CARE ABOUT. WHETHER IT IS, AS Mr. AXWORTHY HAS SUGGESTED, A PROTECTION AGENDA, WHICH IS NOT GOING AWAY. IF WE LOOK AT THE CONFLICTS AND THE MORE COMPETITIVE WORLD THAT BEN IS DISCUSSING, WE KNOW, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT CIVIL CONFLICTS ARE LASTING ON AVERAGE LONGER TODAY THAN THEY DID THREE OR FOUR DECADES AGO. THAT IS AN ISSUE WE CAN'T RUN AWAY FROM. AND SO WHAT IS CANADA'S APPROACH GOING TO BE IN A WORLD IN WHICH WE ARE GOING TO HAVE PROTRACTED CIVIL CONFLICTS, IN WHICH THERE WILL BE MIGRATION AND THERE IS GOING TO BE A PROTECTION AGENDA THAT STILL REQUIRES OUR INVESTMENT.

Steve says BEN, MAYBE I COULD GET YOU TO PICK UP ON THAT THREAD IN THAT DO YOU THINK CANADA SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON A FOREIGN POLICY THAT IS FOCUSED ON ACHIEVING MORE POWER?

Ben says I DO. I DON'T DISAGREE WITH ANY OF THE ASPIRATIONS OR GOALS TO WHICH WE APPLY OUR FOREIGN POLICY. BUT THERE HAS BEEN A DRAMATIC AND GROWING GAP BETWEEN WHAT WE SAY WE WANT TO ACCOMPLISH AND WHAT WE ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISH. I THINK THAT'S BECAUSE WE'RE FOCUSING ON THE ENDS NOT THE MEANS. IF WE'RE MORE CONSCIOUS OF OUR OWN POWER NOT JUST THE POWER DYNAMICS WHICH ARE CHANGING DANGEROUSLY AND DRAMATICALLY IN THE WORLD. BUT THINK ABOUT WHAT CITIZENS NEED, HOW WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE OUTCOMES THAT HAPPEN BEYOND OUR BORDER IF WE'RE GOING TO PROTECT THE PROSPERITY OF OUR CITIZENS, THE SECURITY OF OUR CITIZENS, THE HEALTH OF OUR CITIZENS IN THE FACE OF A VERY REAL GLOBAL THREAT, WE NEED TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO HOW WE CAN ACCOMPLISH THOSE OUTCOMES. A LOT OF THAT WILL BE THROUGH COOPERATION. BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY. WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT THE CAPACITY THAT WE HAVE. WE NEED TO INVEST FAR MORE. I WOULD CERTAINLY AGREE WITH LLOYD ON THAT. WE NEED TO HAVE A MASSIVE INCREASE IN OUR DEVELOPMENT. WE NEED TO HAVE A MASSIVE INCREASE IN OUR MILITARY AND EXPEDITIONARY CAPACITY. AND THROUGH MORE DIPLOMATS, MORE EMBASSIES. BEYOND THAT I THINK WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO ENGAGE IN GRAND STRATEGIES TO CONSIDER WHAT IT IS THAT WE'RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH. HOW WE'RE ACTUALLY GOING TO GET THIS. WE'RE FOCUSING MORE ON WHAT WE ACTUALLY DELIVER FOR CITIZENS THAN ON THE ASPIRATIONS THAT WE SET.

Steve says Mr. AXWORTHY, I HATE HAVING TO BRING EVERY DISCUSSION BACK TO THE GUY WHO'S IN THE WHITE HOUSE RIGHT NOW, BUT THE FACT IS HE IS THE MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN THE WORLD. AND I GUESS PEOPLE ARE WONDERING RIGHT NOW, THAT IF HE LOSES THE NEXT ELECTION, GIVEN THE DISRUPTIVE EFFECT HE'S HAD ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND, FRANKLY, ON OUR ABILITY TO COOPERATE WITH THE UNITED STATES IN DOING THINGS AROUND THE WORLD, IF TRUMP LOSES, DO THINGS GO BACK TO NORMAL, QUOTE-UNQUOTE?

The caption changes to "A new way of doing things?"

Lloyd says WELL, I THINK, STEVE, THERE ARE SEVERAL SCENARIOS. IF JOE BIDEN WINS IN A VERY LARGE WAY, AND THERE IS A PEACEFUL TRANSFER THAT'S ONE SCENARIO. IT SEEMS TO BE INCREASINGLY MORE LIKELY THAT TRUMP LOSES BUT HE DOESN'T GO AWAY. AND HE USES HIS KIND OF AFFILIATIONS WITH ALL KINDS OF EXTREMIST GROUPS TO CHALLENGE THE ELECTION. AND TO THROW THE UNITED STATES AND INTO A SERIES OF TOTAL CONFUSION AND CHAOS. AND IF TRUMP WINS, THAT'S ARMAGEDDON. THAT'S A WHOLE NEW STORY AND WE BETTER START BUILDING A WALL ON OUR SIDE OF THE BORDER BECAUSE I THINK TRUMP HAS NO RECTITUDE AT ALL TO START DEMANDING THINGS OF US AS A CANADIAN. TO BEGIN WITH, LET'S BE CAREFUL ABOUT GRAND DESIGNS RIGHT NOW. I THINK WE'RE NAVIGATING INTO A VERY UNKNOWN LANDSCAPE. THE KIND OF EXISTENTIAL RISK I JUST TALKED ABOUT EARLIER, I THINK ARE REALLY THE PRIME SORT OF FOCUS. BECAUSE THEY REALLY RISK HUMANITY IN A WAY THEY'RE JUST NOTARIES BEINGS CANADIANS. WE HAVE A ROLE TO TRY TO FIND SOME SOLUTION TO THAT. THE DECISIONS AREN'T JUST... LET'S NOT TALK ABOUT DIPLOMACY. I SAID THIS BEFORE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IT AS SOME KIND OF ARCANE, ARCHAIC FORM OF JUST DISCUSSION. DIPLOMACY NOW IS A PUBLIC DIPLOMACY. WE HAVE TO GO AND CHANGE MINDS OF PEOPLE. INCLUDING CANADIANS. PROFESSOR WELSH IS TALKING ABOUT THE DOMESTIC SCENE. THE PROBLEM IS WE'RE NOT INVESTING AS A GOVERNMENT AND A COUNTRY IN GETTING CANADIANS MORE AWARE AND CONSCIOUS AND AGREEING ON WHAT IT IS THAT WE WANT TO DO. HOW DO WE ASSERT OURSELVES BOTH IN A HARD OR SOFT KIND OF WAY. WE DO HAVE A SECURITY ISSUE OF QUITE SIGNIFICANT MEANS. BUT SOMETIMES IT MAY BE THE WAY OF DELIVERING IT IS THROUGH A DARK MISSION. LIKE HAITI WHEN IT HAD AN EARTHQUAKE AS OPPOSED TO SITTING BACK AND SIMPLY IGNORING THE KIND OF TRAGEDY THAT TAKES PLACE. WE HAVE TO DEVELOP... LOOK, IF I MIGHT GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. ABOUT SIX WEEKS AGO, THROUGH OUR REFUGEE AND MIGRATION COUNCIL, WE PARTNERED UP WITH A GROUP CALLED THE INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S REFUGEE NETWORK. WE CONTACTED 700 REFUGEE WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD TO TALK ABOUT HOW HAS COVID AFFECTING THEM? WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THEM BECAUSE THEY'RE AT THE BACK OF THE QUEUE. THAT WAS THEIR CONCERN: NO GOVERNMENT SPEAKS FOR THEM. THERE ARE MANY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN THIS TIME OF EPIDEMIC WHO DON'T HAVE A VOICE AS TO GETS THE VACCINES OR REMEDIES. THAT'S A ROLE THAT CANADA SHOULD BE PLAYING. I THINK WE ARE. WE'RE PART OF THE KOVAX COALITION BUT IT'S VERY MINOR IN TERMS OF THE KIND OF EFFORT AND RESOURCES WE'RE PUTTING IN. THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT IT IS A RESOURCE ISSUE. BUT I THINK IT ALSO HAS TO BE DIRECTED TO HOW WE START REBUILDING OUR OWN INSTITUTION. LOOK IT, WE'VE WATCHED THE PARLIAMENT. I KEEP LOOKING AND SAYING WHERE'S THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENT IN DEFINING WHERE WE'RE GOING IN THE WORLD. WE USE THE EXAMPLE WHEN BILL GRAEME WAS A CHAIR OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, WE DID A MAJOR REVIEW OF OUR NUCLEAR POSITION WHICH LED TO US TAKING A STRONG STAND AGAINST THE FIRST USE NUCLEAR POLICY OF NATO. THAT'S THE KIND OF ROLE THAT I THINK IS VERY MUCH IN THE PEARSONIAN TRADITION. BECAUSE THERE'S KNOW GREATER RISK THAT WE STILL FACE THAN THE POTENTIAL OF A NUCLEAR WINTER THAT COULD DESTROY THE ENTIRE WORLD ITSELF. I THINK BEFORE WE GET INTO THESE KINDS OF LET'S HAVE ANOTHER SORT OF GRAND DESIGN, LET'S DO A LITTLE POUR BIT MORE CAREFUL NAVIGATING. I CALL IT WEIGHT BEARING WHERE YOU LOOK AT THE KIND OF HANDICAPS AND THE PROBLEMS YOU HAVE BUT YOU HAVE A GOAL. IT SHOULD EVENTUALLY COME TO THE POINT WHERE PEOPLE ARE SAFE AND SECURE AND THAT MEANS CANADIANS AND CANADIAN SECURITY IS GOING TO BE VERY MUCH DEPENDENT ON THE SECURITY AROUND THE WORLD.

Steve says BEN MAYBE YOU COULD WRAP IT UP AND PUT A BOW ON IT FOR US. DO YOU THINK THE UP ROOMS-BASED INTERNATIONAL ORDER IS SALVAGEABLE?

Ben says IT IS. BUT I THINK WE SHOULD TAKE SERIOUSLY THE POSSIBILITY THAT IT NO LONGER EXISTS BECAUSE WE'RE SO DEPENDENT ON IT FOR OUR SECURITY, FOR OUR PROSPERITY, FOR OUR HEALTH THAT IF IT DOES DISAPPEAR WE'RE GOING TO BE IN A REAL SCRAMBLE. I WOULD RATHER DO THAT THINKING BEFORE RATHER THAN AFTER. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A PLAN FOR WHAT HAPPENS IF TRUMP IS RE-ELECTED. I THINK A WALL IS NOT GOING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH. WE CAN'T BE DEPENDENT ON THE UNITED STATES. WE NEED TO BE INDEPENDENT OF THE U.S. SO IF WE HAVE FOUR MORE YEARS OF A PRESIDENT WHO ATTACKS THE INSTITUTIONS AND ALIGNS ON WHICH WE DEPEND FOR OUR SECURITY, WHO CALLS US WITH THREATS TO NATIONAL SECURITY THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE OTHER OPTIONS THAT REQUIRE THINKING ABOUT POWER AND STRATEGY AND I THINK WE OWE IT TO CANADIANS TO DO THAT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Steve says GREAT OF ALL THREE OF YOU TO JOIN US TONIGHT ON TVO. THANK YOU JENNIFER WELSH, THANK YOU BEN ROSWELL AND CAN I SAY TO LLOYD AXWORTHY IF THIS IS WHAT 80 LOOKS LIKE RIGHT NOW I'M NOT ALL THAT SCARED OF THE FUTURE. AS I MIGHT ONCE HAVE BEEN. YOU ARE OUR THIRD 80-PLUS FORMER CABINET MINISTER TO BE ON THE AIR THIS WEEK. AND WELL, GOOD ON YA.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Lloyd says STEVE, EXPERIENCE COUNTS.

Steve says AMEN TO THAT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH YOU THREE.

Watch: Time for Canada to Scrap Pearsonian Diplomacy?