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Friday, January 3, 2014

Michael Den Tandt: On foreign policy, Tories closer to Main Street than critics suggest

Stephen Harper and his Conservative government have, it is a given, laid waste to Canada’s formerly sterling international reputation.

We know this because various and sundry former diplomats, led by the venerable Paul Heinbecker, have been telling us so for years. They’re backstopped in this by a cohort of thoughtful, stern-minded academics, most recently the University of Ottawa’s Peter Jones writing in Thursday’s Globe and Mail, saying more or less the same thing: Harper and foreign minister John Baird are blinkered Visigoths, stomping about the world stage with their good-versus-evil, black-versus-white world view, shattering the fine china of international diplomacy as they go.

This portrait is eagerly embraced by the opposition parties, of course, because it helps create ideological distance between them and the government — a logical necessity if change (beyond putting new behinds in old seats) is ever to be embraced.

But then along comes something like the New York and Copenhagen-based Reputation Institute’s list of the world’s 50 “most reputable” countries — an online survey of 27,000 respondents from across the G8 — to give that thesis a hard shake. The G8 includes the United States, the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Russia. If this sampling, published last summer in Forbes Magazine, is to be believed, Canada’s international reputation is in fine health. Indeed, we’ve topped the ‘global reputation’ survey for the past three years.

More at The Vancouver Sun

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