Given Canada's proximity to the United States, we tend to take our peace and security for granted. This comfortable distance from most of the world's violence has also led us to underestimate how useful Canada might be in defusing threats elsewhere using an item some people overlook as leverage: energy. Canadians might have a general sense that oil in particular matters to world affairs; but given that Canada has never been a superpower, it has never been responsible for the wider world order to ensure that oil (or natural gas) flow to countries that need it. Given recent developments at home and abroad, that blissful unawareness merits re-thinking.
Most of the laws in force in Germany today originated in Brussels. If an unpopular topic is rejected in the domestic arena, politicians frequently try to push it through via the EU. This often infringes the principle of subsidiarity, which stipulates that the EU should only handle what member states cannot handle themselves.
Despite the very tangible political or economic benefits it could bring, Russia never considered peacefully ceding any of its remaining territorial holdings to its neighbours. During the 1998 financial crisis for example, President Boris Yeltsin never thought of selling the sparsely populated, almost vestigial property of Sakhalin Island in the north Pacific to a cash-rich, land-poor Japan, even as Russia desperately needed hard currency to prop up a crashing ruble. If and when Crimea votes to leave Ukraine for Russia, Western economic sanctions will surely follow if Russia happily embraces the peninsula.
Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, is attempting to justify the recent changes to the refugee determination system and refugee health care with divisive language and misrepresentation of the facts. This is not a reasonable way to develop public policy that affects some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
With the Ex-Ukranian PM, Yulia Tymoshenko, announcing Monday that she will be leaving to Germany for medical treatment it is now clear that she will not be written into the new political narrative. The future appears to belong to younger, untarnished politicians such as former heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko.
Russia is home to the biggest Ukrainian diaspora in the world, an estimated 20 million or so persons of Ukrainian descent live there. The Russian minority in Ukraine is estimated to be as high as 40 per cent of its 45 million population. Frankly, if a division along EU versus Russia lines exist the country as now constituted is untenable.
Ukraine's Orange Revolution 2.0 has been underway for months and crowds are now demanding that the President leave office. Ukraine's only hope is to join the European Union because its leaders have proven to be corrupt and undemocratic or ineffectual. The EU would, as it has with other former Soviet satellites, become steward and provide a template for modernization of Ukraine. Yanukovych and Putin alike have overplayed their hand by authorizing snipers to murder innocent people in the streets of Kiev.
The Obama administration, the Harper government and the Peña Nieto administration in Mexico all hope to boost economic growth and create jobs by opening up global markets and letting the best North American firms and workers compete. Before stepping into the ring with the world's heavyweight economies, North America needs to listen to Muhammad Ali.
If you thought our global food crisis can't get any worse, guess who's winning this year's Nobel Prize of Agriculture? Robert T Fraley, Executive VP of Monsanto is one of the recipients of this prestigious award (equivalent to the Oscars) on World Food Day October 16 for creating genetically modified organism (GMO).
The G20 summit this week, and the growing Syrian catastrophe, underscores the reality that we are living in a G-zero world. The bonds that once held nations together have severed, and there is nothing close to an international consensus on any hot-button matter being discussed today. Welcome to the G-Zero world, where we exist in a geopolitical power vacuum as the west declines and emerging nations (China, India) concentrate on their own domestic problems. It may be this way for a long while.
On my official visit to Canada this week, I want to thank Canadians for all that you have done to support the sovereignty and security of Kosovo, the youngest state in Europe and a new member of the worldwide family of multi-ethnic democracies. Canada recognized Kosovo shortly after the country declared independence in 2008 and now our nations have full diplomatic relations.
Right now, Europe is having serious economic and social problems. But that's no reason to challenge the award of the Nobel Peace prize to the European Union. When it comes to handing out peace prizes, you can't ask for a lot more than traditional enemies beating their swords into ploughshares. And lions lying down with lambs. This Peace Prize is truly well-deserved.
It is no secret that the idea of amalgamating into a single country, which was farthest away from the minds of the rulers of these countries, was only contemplated as a direct result of the Arab Spring which toppled several Arab dictators who were thought to be completely invincible, and left the rest of them asking "Who will be next?" Now more than ever, a union of the Arab Gulf states is possible.
The G8 Summit was oddly clarifying: With Europe riven with divisions over the euro and the sclerosis of welfare states in aging societies, the United States wrapped up in increasingly parochial domestic politics, Japan adrift and Russia backsliding into authoritarianism, Canada stood alone as a country with healthy economic prospects and a stable government.
Quebec's unruly students are no different than the Greeks. Both have enjoyed free rides for years, both are being asked to pay their share of the tab and both are refusing to do so. The Greeks are going to fall behind the Romanians in living standards in short order while the students are making a fuss over a pittance. That makes the Quebec students, in a sense, even more irresponsible.