With direct eye contact and a confident handshake, Trudeau firmly placed his left hand on his host's right shoulder to quickly define "his bubble." We almost heard him say, "This, is my border Mr. President." Trump's handshake talks. Trudeau's does, too. And yours, do you know what it says about you?
The high level of cooperation between Canada and the United States over many decades has deeply intertwined our two countries and preserving Canada's long-held partnership with the United States will no doubt be at the top of Prime Minister Trudeau's to-do list in Washington. But he must be clear in sharing the message that mutual observance and commitment to upholding human rights must be at the very centre of the special bond between Canada and the United States. Worryingly, President Trump has so far given much reason to believe that regard for human rights is not high on his own to-do list.
While president Trump's America-first policies focus on turning inwardly to protect, promote and privilege Americans, a Canada-first approach to international relations does the opposite. The overwhelming response over the weekend shows that Canadians value hospitality, diversity and internationalism.
From 1990 to the present, cuts to our aid budget were triple that of domestic programs in percentage terms. Given that aid accounts for a mere two per cent of total spending, this was nickel-and-diming the poor was downright unconscionable. We now spend a miserly 0.26 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) on aid.
As minister of International Development and La Francophonie, I have visited 15 or so countries and Canada's re-engagement was pointed out to me during each of them. But what does this re-engagement really mean? Here are five major achievements that speak to Canada's re-engagement on the international scene and the impact of our actions.