Canada will no longer play the "honest broker" role that has epitomized Canadian foreign policy for decades, Prime Minister Paul Martin said yesterday.
He said Canada has to have a "very active and very aggressive foreign policy" that includes leadership in areas like human rights.
"The role of traditional mediator that Canada has played consistently between great powers is not the foreign policy that I would envisage," he told a gathering of municipal politicians in Vancouver.
He was referring to the views of several Canadian governments that it was well-placed to play a mediating, or "honest broker" role, between Britain and the United States and, during the Cold War, between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.
Alliances and aims may change, but one rule will never change: soft power diplomacy requires a hard power military to back it up.
The Senate defence committee understands this rule:
The military budget should double and the Canadian Forces should sign up thousands of new recruits, a Senate committee said Thursday.
The budget should be $25-billion to $35-billion a year instead of the $14.3-billion earmarked this year and the Forces should have 90,000 people in uniform instead of the 62,000 authorized today, the report said.
In a world of escalating disasters – both natural and man-made – the military is likely to be more important to Canadian well-being over the next few decades than it has since the Second World War, the senators argued.
“Canadians should think of Canada's military as a tool box for the government to use to fix things that are of vital interest to Canadians ... our tools are rusting.”
The peacekeeping myth would never have been born, had Canada not had the military force to contribute to Lester Pearson's novel idea to resolve the the Suez crisis.
Canada would not have had a seat at Versailles as a country in its own right, equal to Britain and the other Allied powers, had it not raised a great army in World War I.
How can we speak in defence of liberty elsewhere, if we cannot defend our own liberty properly?