Can Canada Have An Independent Foreign Policy?
Publication:
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 30 Jan 1969, p. 148-169


Description
Creator:
Cohen, Dean Maxwell, Speaker
Media Type:
Text
Item Type:
Speeches
Description:
Foreign policy as a very fashionable subject. Some characteristics of the concept of foreign policy. The great attractiveness of foreign policy. The "inter-penetration" between domestic policy and foreign policy. Two simple Canadian illustrations. An examination with some realism, of the areas where Canada has an influence, the arenas where Canada can have an impact, and those where we cannot. A look at the "great issues" and Canada's freedom to choose among them. First, an outline of a new modern world image that seems to be evolving. Some issues covered include life style; the global village; the city, its rise and its decline; the impact of science and technology; the concept of rising expectations; the permanence of terror and the acceptance of violence; the decline of what the speaker calls the taming forces. The issues which arise from this world image as we come to the 1970s. What we do about them; ways to approach the problem. Classifying the issues into groups. The present call for a restatement of foreign policy futile unless it moves towards some larger concern for other men and other places. Canada's foreign policy choices. Ten suggestions for a possible Canadian programme as foreign policy is reviewed. The need for a well-represented National Advisory Council on Foreign Policy. Choosing, together, Canada's policies wisely and well.
Date of Original:
30 Jan 1969
Subject(s):
Language of Item:
English
Copyright Statement:
The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
Contact
Empire Club of Canada
Email
WWW address
Agency street/mail address

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

100 Front Street West, Floor H

Toronto, ON, M5J 1E3

Full Text
JANUARY 30, 1969
Can Canada Have An Independent Foreign Policy?
AN ADDRESS BY Dean Maxwell Cohen, DEAN OF LAW AT MCGILL UNIVERSITY
CHAIRMAN The President, Edward B. Jolliffe, Q.C.

MR. JOLLIFFE:

Benjamin Disraeli once advised the British House of Commons that a university should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning. How much light--how much liberty--and how much learning? These have always been matters of opinion, and sometimes controversy.

In recent times, however, and notably since Roosevelt became President and Churchill Prime Minister, the academic community has been called on, repeatedly and increasingly, to advise or assist or participate in the practice of statesmanship and government: in other words, public service outside or above and beyond the call of duty within the peaceful, uneventful, cloistered ivy-covered walls of a university.

Dean Maxwell Cohen, Q.C., our distinguished and versatile guest today, is an example. Since 1964 he has been Dean of the Law School at McGill University, which now includes both great streams of our jurisprudence--both the civil law and the common law derived and developing from French and Anglo-American sources.

Apart from a long and brilliant academic career-begun at the Universities of Manitoba and Harvard- he has served from time to time with the Combines Investigation Commission of 1938, with the Department of Munitions and Supply under C. D. Howe, with the Canadian Army and Defence Headquarters as a Major, at the United Nations both as a Canadian delegate and with its Technical Assistance Administration. He has frequently acted as a Commissioner and adviser of the federal government on special problems. He is a leading member of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. He has given much thought to the topic on which he will speak to you today, one which is under general review and is widely and anxiously discussed: Can Canada have an independent foreign policy? Dean Cohen.

MR. COHEN:

Mr. President, my lords, deans, Mr. exDean, Gentlemen: I am delighted to be here. And I think my first duty is to express my own sense of loss at the passing of Wallace McCutcheon. I knew him very well over a long period of time. He was a strong supporter of a number of things in which we were both involved, notably the biannual McGill Conference on industry and government, which he attended regularly and gave his full intellectual and personal support to.

But he was also a very rare mixture of a man who was able to move from law to business and yet retain a certain professional detachment about the things he was doing.

I will always recall the kind of air with which he surrounded his sojourn in the business world. It was not just a businessman's air--and I use that in no derogatory sense. He was able to rise above the day-today demands of the business community and see it in that impartial way which his initial professional training perhaps had helped him to do.

So I too wish to add my word to the passing of this very distinguished Toronto and Canadian figure.

When you were kind enough to invite me here, Mr. President, you also sent me a frightening document. It was the list of your 1,600 speakers you had in the past 60 or 70 or 80 years. Among them were people of high rank; very few of low rank. I didn't know where quite I fitted in that spectrum of history.

But I felt I was really at home. I was for a number of years the President of the Royal Commonwealth Society in Montreal. If you can survive the presidency of the Royal Commonwealth Society in the present Montreal environment, not entirely sympathetic to either title or content, you can certainly come to The Empire Club of Toronto with a feeling that you have been through it once before.

Indeed the courage with which you are retaining your title I think is a tribute to the stamina and historical perspective of the organization.

I am glad, as perhaps your President indicated, to leave academic life for a day. It is not quite as Disraeli described it one hundred years ago or so. Recently I was reflecting on the difference between academic life and public life, and I came to the innocent conclusion that in public life the knives come at you from the front.

The whole theory of the New Left, which is occupying so much of our time, I think was beautifully epitomized in a phrase of that remarkably longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer the other night, when he said that whatever may have been the contribution of Louis the Fourteenth to the cliches of western thought -one of them being "Apres moi le deluge," the motto of the New Left seems to be "Apres le deluge-moi."

And I suspect that there is a great deal to that particular concept. And leaving Montreal in the last 24 hours to the natural quiet and stability of Toronto seems to me re-opens the door to the mood and the image I once had of academic life.

Though I must say to wake up in the morning and discover that our Drapeau is at half mast, with "man no longer of his world," was not the easiest way to face this difficult day.

Nevertheless, since I almost practised law in Toronto, and since I now am the Dean at a law school that is accredited to the Law Society of Upper Canada--with my old friend the Treasurer here, who helped usher in that day for us--I can always feel that asylum awaits me across the Ottawa River if need ever arises.

Mind you, I am one of those who have an abiding faith in the continuity of both this country and the commonsense which underlies the vast majority of its people.

If you detect in me a slight mood of pessimism, it has nothing to do with the federal system of Canada; it has nothing to do with my belief in Canadian viability. It is only whether I can stand another year or two of what I have been going through lately.

Mr. President, you suggested that I might come down and speak to The Empire Club on a subject perhaps that had not been discussed too often before--foreign policy. Foreign policy is a very fashionable subject. People can make reputations on not too much substance. We are hearing debates now between ideas and "postmaster-generalities."

The truth is that I think one can in fact say that there is hardly a field in which public opinion of varying degrees of competence feels readier for a judgment than foreign policy. How easy it is really to have a strong view on Viet Nam 9,000 miles away from one's personal knowledge and observation. How attractive it is to be able to sit back and say, "This is what we ought to be doing in Biafra," because none of us has been there and really bear no responsibility for the consequences.

How easy it is to say that the attitude of NATO in the communique on the entrance of the Russians into Czechoslovakia shows a "hawkish" mood which obviously indicates that NATO is being misled by some hoax and therefore Canada should have no part in it; and we sitting here in Toronto and Montreal really can judge these things with the merit of detachment and distance.

There is about foreign policy therefore a great attractiveness, simply because--and I say this with, I hope, declining cynicism--because the truth is that one can have very large judgments about things that are far away. And in a sense this is a good thing to recognize, that one does have very large judgments about remote events. But one must be sufficiently humble about them to at least recognize that what you are judging are materials and history and data about which one can really have very little knowledge at a distance, without also a high degree of personal involvement, and justifying only a limited range of viable opinions.

Let me suggest another element in foreign policy discussions too that is somewhat disturbing. We forget perhaps the strength and unconscious penetration, or interpenetration, between domestic policy and foreign policy.

Let me give you two simple Canadian illustrations. The whole attitude of Canada toward France and toward the French-speaking community throughout the world is vitally being influenced by the bicultural debate. There can be no doubt that were it not for the peculiar relationship of the bicultural debate as to how we see Canada in the bicultural future, we would have a quite different view of DeGaulle's interest in Canada, of Canada's interest in the Frenchspeaking, 150,000,000 community, of the world.

So if ever one wanted to see the direct penetration between a domestic problem strictly so-called and the movement of our international interests, one can see it right before our very eyes in the evolving new Canadian policy towards the international French-speaking community.

One sees it, of course, more directly in economic matters, with which we are more familiar: the entire debate over the future of the wheat economy, the conception of a Canadian interest in a North Atlantic free trade organization, with all of its quasi-federal political overtones perhaps; the attitude we take toward our competitive position and what it means as we encourage or discourage foreign investment; its effects on our commercial policy--all of these--and in turn the effects of our commercial policy on our trading partners in Japan and Europe and the United States and their independent relationship with us--make really the evolution of domestic policy and foreign policy almost a single network. And it is virtually impossible in some areas now to have a domestic policy so-called without being internationallyminded, or an international policy without being totally conscious of the domestic, political and economic implications.

Finally, on foreign policy in general, let me say that there are some very large issues where I think the Canadian voice and the Canadian impact is not readily detectable where one might hope to have some direct Canadian influence.

For example, let me say that the question of "poverty" is global. And we shall see in a moment, that the Canadian impact upon global poverty is virtually marginal, whatever we do. Equally, the Canadian interest in the whole movement throughout the world toward a higher level of human rights achievement towards an improved social environment in the developing countries of the world--what is the direct impact we can make by specific Canadian policies either bilaterally or multi-laterally through the various agencies of which we are members?

We must therefore begin by examining with some realism the areas where we have an influence, the arenas where we can have an impact, and those where we cannot.

And so I would like to look for a moment at what I might call the "great issues" and Canada's freedom to choose among them.

Do we really have much scope for choice, considering these issues and their scope?

Now, before one can look at the great issues, I suggest it might be worthwhile to outline a new modern world image, that we all share as members of western, Canadian society, and that seems to be evolving in our own time.

What is the new World image emerging about us? What are the components out of which the specific issues of foreign policy, great and small, tend to be related and emerge from them? Well, may I suggest a few of elements in the modern world image that is developing before our very eyes.

I think, first of all, the life styles of all of us, all over the world, are being challenged by the young, and sometimes by the not-so-young. There is a vast area of international malaise, of peculiar dissatisfaction, in affluent societies as well as a non-affluent, among affluent families and nonafuent families. Something has gripped the human imagination, the human psyche, to make for a continuing emergence of evidence that there is dissatisfaction with our life styles.

I don't know quite what this means. I not only know it as an objective fact evident from student unrest in so many parts of the world, but also student unrest in so many parts of the world, but also as a total image somehow or other of the emergence of instability as almost a chronic characteristic of our time.

Secondly, I think there is the sense, to use Marshall McLuhan's phrase, that we somehow are being reduced and have been reduced to a "global village" because of the impact of communications on each other.

The very image of a central African native carrying his transistor radio set around with him in the village as he listens to broadcasts near and far makes of the sense of distance something quite different than it was a generation ago. The television screen carrying the burning of a village in Viet Nam, or a refugee problem in the Middle East, or an equally harassing event elsewhere, brings home at once, it seems to me, a sense of what Marshall McLuhan thinks when he uses a phrase that is so protean as "global village."

Certainly it means a degree of empathy or possible empathy, a degree of communication that no one could have foreseen a generation ago. And this must have an impact upon policies, must have some impact upon domestic public opinion everywhere where that impact is felt.

A third element in the development of a new world view, of course, is the problem so universally felt of the city, its rise and its decline. From Calcutta to Montreal to Buenos Aires to Rio and New York something has happened to the intensity and complexity of city life. They all seem to be facing problems similar in structural character if not in detail: the problem of accommodating and making life livable for the millions who come together in cities which are both the glory and the terror of so much of modern life.

How to reconcile the advantages of the great city with all of the headaches they seem to pose for modern government surely is one of the great global issues that have restructured so much of our thinking. And indeed it is extraordinary to contemplate that the great bulk of humanity, now moving toward three and a half billions of people, are now to be seen not on great plains, not on the land, but in the growing cities and towns of the world.

What this does to the style of life; what this does to the organization of government; what this does to international understanding of similar structural, governmental problems, because they share so much in common, has yet to be fully understood.

But it is re-shaping much of our thinking, almost unconsciously, so that the city dweller in Africa or the city dweller in Canada have, because of city life, a difficulty in common which, together with the global village and other communication aspects, are restructuring thought and bringing a degree of trans-national uniformity one could not have seen again a generation ago.

The impact of science or technology is part of this. Mankind is almost being homogenized by communication and technology. And with it there comes--to use Adlai Stevenson's now classic phrase--the revolution of rising expectations.

And so the combination of tele-communications, the nature of the city, science and technology and its impact, and the revolution of rising expectations, are all involved with each other and are changing the whole image with which we see ourselves and the world around us.

Indeed one of the ironies of the revolution of rising expectations is that although it was used by Adlai Stevenson as a phrase to describe the developing countries, it has just as much relevance at home. It is equally a revolution in our own society.

One has only to hear the dialogue of the young students in the new post-secondary colleges in Quebec to see that they have rising expectations and are saying that Quebec and Canada are not planning for those rising expectations. "Where will be the jobs for us?" "What is society doing to give us a chance to share in the rising gross national product which characterizes Canada as the second, or third, or fourth most affluent society per capita on the globe?"

And so the concept of rising expectations has both its domestic and its international aspect. And they interpenetrate with each other and cause a revolution too in our self-image and our world view.

The inter-penetration of the world economy seems to me to be going on in a way which one could not wholly have foreseen for the intensity as it now offers. We always have understood the international aspect of economic life, but when one takes for granted that balance of payments questions in Germany can immediately have the impact they do on domestic interest rates in Canada, and therefore on housing in Canada, and therefore on what appear to be the most urgent domestic concerns, we are slowly being educated into the inter-penetration of economic activity in a way which we may have understood on the surface a generation ago, but never knew with the sense of immediacy we are feeling today.

The permanence of terror in the world. Here we are over almost 24 years since the first atom bomb was exploded over Nagasaki and Hiroshima; and are we any closer to a resolution of that fundamental problem? We, almost, in the other cares of the moment forget the extraordinary degree of over-kill that now exists in the hands of the USSR and the USA, and the rising capacity for thermo-nuclear destruction that appears in the policies and the achievements of mainland China.

And yet here surely, if anything, ought to be the dominating concern of mankind. It ought to be, but what can we do about the permanence of terror that could annihilate in the space of 15 or 20 minutes perhaps a quarter of mankind, and possibly the most productive part of mankind in the northern hemisphere. And yet somehow we seem to have accommodated psychologically, accommodated politically to that balance of terror, hopefully expecting the great powers, the super powers, to come up with some answers, but meanwhile going about the enormous complexity of other business in the hope that this fear will not intrude to make meaningless all other exercises.

The new acceptance of violence seems to me to be another element of an international character changing the image we have of mankind. Not that we accept violence in the sense that war itself is to be always an immediate danger, or that we are prepared to accept thermo-nuclear weapons as a phenomenon we are prepared to live with.

On the contrary, I suppose despite the balance of terror, we are hopeful of keeping the third world war and its nuclear potential far away as long as mankind's brains can do it.

But violence and the nature of man has now a new respectability. It is as if we had given a secular rationale to the doctrine of original sin. It is as if we had said to ourselves in the new ethology man is part of nature, all nature knows of violence; therefore we must not underestimate the extent to which human aggression is part of the natural inheritance of man.

I am sorry to see the seeping into the private culture of almost everyone the acceptance of the new ethology, the idea that certain styles of life are expressed in "aggression" as part of the natural ritual of existence, and therefore men also will be engaged in "aggression as part of their existence. We soon may take this almost for granted in a subtle way, penetrating our domestic and international political thinking.

And finally as part of the whole image of our contemporary existential experience there is the decline of what I would call the taming forces, the decline of the liberal tradition, the decline of the religious tradition, the decline of even the modest balance between authority and freedom which the nineteenth century bequeathed to us.

Think of the extent to which authority has departed from church, from family, from school, from university. Ask what are the cements that now will hold us together; what are the links; what are the mechanics; what are the new rules of the game to replace the taming influences that for so long seemed to at least provide a framework in which other rules, secular rules, could be worked out.

Something has happened to the working assumption of our time. The great liberal tradition is under attack. Religious tradition clearly is under a cloud. The school, the school teacher, all the viable father images seem now no longer to have their old respectability and acceptability. All of this, it seems to me, provides for a kind of instability to which foreign policy will be related and provides the perspective against which it certainly must be viewed.

Well, now, if that is the New World image, in as optimistic or gloomy a picture as I can create in a few moments, what are the issues which arise from this world image as we come to the 1970s?

I would suggest that the kind of issues which emerge are the following. What can we do, first of all, about nuclear threats and arms control? What can we do about the rising expectations of developing countries? What can we do about the historic accident that most of the developing countries are non-white and the affluent countries of the world are white, and you get this extraordinary mixture therefore of colour (and the gulf of colour) and affluence side by side? So, as if it were not hard enough to foresee a solution to bridging the gulf between white and non-white, we have to bridge that gulf where it also touches that equally sensitive area that the white minority of this planet are "rich" and the non-white majority are "poor." What are some of the ways in which we may approach that problem?

And what do we do also about a whole series of very specific issues: the Middle East, which at this very moment in time seems so threatening; China, East Asia in general and Viet Nam in particular? What kind of contribution; what kind of thought can we give to the future of Mainland China? What kind of thought should we give to the ultimate resolution of the UN's many problems? What do we do about the future of Germany and Berlin and perhaps of NATO in relation to them?

Much of the recent Canadian debate on foreign policy I think is regrettably concentrated on NATO; although I wish to make it clear that I think it is important, yet it may be disproportionately taking up our attention.

What do we do about the future of USSR's relations to Canada, with a new very special relationship in our sharing of the Arctic Basin? What do we say about the future of Canadian-American relations which, in my opinion, is the transcendent and most important problem we face in the immediate future--how to work a viable, systematic approach to our long-term relations with the United States?

What is our conception of the future of the United Nations, of the Commonwealth? How do we work out a decent relationship with France and the French-speaking communities of the world, now that we are pulled more deeply into it by our own adventure with the new bicultural Canada?

And, finally, do we have really an interest in Latin America sufficient to warrant some serious, new Canadian policy?

Now, I think we can take a look at these various issues and begin to ask some questions about priorities; the things we can do and ought to do and the things we cannot do and perhaps should take a secondary position on. We must, I believe, not be caught between the zeal of pretentiousness and the fatalism of futility.

We must on the one hand feel we can be everywhere, or on the other hand believe we can be nowhere. We have to have, I think, a sensible balanced view of where it is we can be most effective. I have tried to classify these issues in terms of the degrees of potential effectiveness in which we can operate.

Let me classify the first group: issues where Canada can have very little direct effect but perhaps some indirect consequences. I put here nuclear weapons, arms control, the future of Mainland China and its relationship with the rest of the world, the USSR and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and global economic development. On these issues I think we can only have a marginal, indirect effect.

It does not mean we should not expend brains on them. It does not mean we should not spend time on them. I simply hope to give us a sense of proportion as to where our best interests lie and where our best energies and expectations can be applied in the formulation of Canadian foreign policy.

The second group: issues where we may have a more direct impact. Here I would put, clearly, NATO, the United Nations, the future of the Commonwealth, the future of Canadian-Soviet relations on the Arctic basin, the future relations of Canada to France and to the Common Market countries--and to the U.K., of course, as well.

Here, it seems to me, we can have a more direct effect. These are a more recognizable area of manageable problems where we can see some of the consequences of our policy bearing fruit within a reasonable period of time and within reasonable scope.

Thirdly, the area where we could have the most direct consequences; and that is U.S.-Canadian relations. I know of no area where our impact can be more effective than in resolving the extraordinary continental partnership which nature has imposed upon us with the United States. And not to give our first priority in terms of brains to the political, economic, military problems of CanadianU.S. relations is, it seems to me, not to see where our primary interests must lie in essentially geo-political terms.

Mr. President, the present call for a restatement of foreign policy therefore may begin with self-interest, but it is futile unless it moves towards some larger concern for other men and other places. The determined retention of our own Canadian well-being may be the dominant (perhaps selfish) national goal. Yet today we all live under the fear of nuclear threat to all mankind, and even a regional threat to Canada itself, as well as under the consequences of global changes in life styles and expectations.

For Canada is regarded as one of the world's most fortunate countries, measured by its location, its resources and even by its international problems--acute though the present Canadian crisis may be in French-English relations, in language rights, and in its federalism generally. We belong, as I said a moment ago, to the white affluent minority on a planet where the non-white majority is mostly very poor, under-developed, and powerfully aware of its deprived status.

Even Canadian poverty by contrast is sadly bearable when measured by global standards of ill-being in the less advanced sections of other nations.

Our foreign policy choices therefore begin with a certain world image, the converse of Canada, as well as our own self-image. Moreover, any future decision we make must fit into the existing framework of political and social reality. We must reassess the value of any special systems of which we are already a part, such as NATO, NORAD, the Commonwealth and the United Nations. And with our reassessment we must somehow also resolve certain specialized Canadian problems, of which the bilateral U.S.-Canadian question is the transcendent issue of day-today interest to Canada and all Canadians.

Viewed against this background and within this context, what choices can we make for a foreign policy for tomorrow?

Certain assumptions are inevitable and necessary. And one primary premise is that a foreign policy must be one that in advancing Canadian interests makes the strongest possible impact intellectually, morally, economically, politically. But in having interest and impact as principal goals, it must be said, as I have tried to show, that Canada is not really very free to choose among some apparent options.

We are for the most part historical prisoners of the great issues such as thereto-nuclear threats, the gulf of colour and affluence, the life styles of the world, the growing dangers of ecological and urban damage which affluence and industry are escalating. We have very little direct control over most of these immense imponderables.

Nevertheless Canada in its own interest is bound to take those steps that advance the progressive forces and programmes now in the international community. At the very least Canada should make those choices that she is relatively free to make, or to influence the major decision-makers, such as the United States, the Soviet Union, and perhaps even Mainland China, whenever that influence can be brought to bear.

Let me suggest, Mr. President, the following conclusions and possible Canadian programme as we review our foreign policy. First, the primary involvements and instruments of Canadian foreign policy are likely to be in the immediate future the given systems and the geopolitical neighbourhood of which we are now a part: NATO, NORAD, the Commonwealth and the United Nations as systems; the United States and the Soviet Union as neighbourhood, with the United States the primary arena of our day-today involvement.

What is new, however, in this regard is the recent recognition of the Soviet Union provides an immensely fruitful new opportunity of neighbourhood as we rediscover sharing with her the Arctic Basin and the Arctic frontier. We have not yet begun to exploit the possibilities of this new Soviet-oriented neighbourhood--scientific, economic, intellectual, geographic. And it is time for us to do so.

Secondly, our UN policy is basically sound; but it can be no better, of course, than the willingness of states, and particularly of the great powers, to take small security risks in and with the UN.

Our reliance, for example, on the United Nations for maintaining peace and security is not worth very much if the UN itself through the great powers is no longer or unable to maintain a serious role in world security problems. We therefore must ask ourselves whether the part Canada plays in the UN is not now becoming one that almost entirely emphasizes emergency alarm techniques on the one side and social, social economic and human rights programmes, as well as the development of international law, on the other.

But the main problems of security, both major or even brush-fire tend now to be maintained within systems outside the UN itself; for example, Viet Nam, Berlin, Biafra; all are outside the working day-today life of the UN.

Only the Middle East is clearly now an item of importance in the security area on the UN agenda. And here Mr. Jaring, the UN representative, is not able to do much unless the parties and the great powers co-operate to make the UN presence meaningful--although the UN cease fire to begin with was very helpful in bringing the June 1967 hostilities to a halt.

Future peace-keeping and observation projects in which Canada took part so ably over the past generation are now being bedevilled in the UN by the unresolved financing and constitutional issues. Yet even the social, economic and human environment subjects of the UN are too often affected now by the chronic debate over apartheid and related areas, distracting that organization and often converting the General Assembly into a forum whose priorities and votes are determined heavily by colour and not per se on the merits. Nevertheless a programmatic faith by Canada to the UN is absolutely indispensable.

The Canadian NATO policy review must not be too discouraged by the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia, tragic though that was. For NATO to become excessively hawkish or bullish because of the convulsive effort of the Soviet Union to hold its disintegrating empire together would, in my opinion be a mistake. And Canada need not give hostage to that error.

Nevertheless, if Canada is to maintain any West European credibility among her present allies and friends a slowly-phased reduction of our NATO commitment would be tolerable, while an abrupt change of policy might not be. A three to five year phasing out programme, other things being equal, is politically manageable and militarily might not be objectionable.

Nevertheless events could change this timetable, not the least of which is the future problem of Germany, now becoming the strongest NATO participant outside of the United States in NATO. Canada has a vital stake in continuing the dilution of German power inside the NATO system; almost as much a stake as in balancing off the USSR through the alliance.

So let us not convert the present NATO debate into a cabinet seminar on the limits of collective responsibility.

Fourthly, we need the Commonwealth. It continues to play an unconventional, perhaps even exotic role, providing Canadian access to the masses and institutions of many non-white nations, and it is the basis of much valuable diplomacy as well as of external aid arrangements uniquely suitable to the Canadian programme.

Yet it would be a mistake to exaggerate the Commonwealth's influence for power or to underestimate its growing political burdens, as the last London Prime Ministers' Conference indicated. Increasingly it may involve us in awkward conflicts, both by the Rhodesian and Biafran questions.

On balance the Commonwealth's assets, however, far outweigh its burdens; and we should continue to support it.

Fifthly, Canada has an entirely new international role not foreseen a half dozen years ago in its relation to francophonie or the French-language communities of the world.

What this will mean is difficult to forecast. But clearly to service that relationship with the French communities requires new types of external aid, bilingual Canadian foreign service officers and institutions, and an authentically bicultural world view on the part of Canada itself.

The immediate feed-back, both ways from Canadian B. and B. changes to this francophonie interest, and again from the new francophonie relationships back into the new B. and B. policies will be among the most interesting and delicate developments in foreign policy and its management over the next decade.

General De Gaulle's indirect contribution--and I stress the word: "indirect"--may have hastened the Canadian evolution towards this dual image and links with the world by Canada. Our influence on General De Gaulle, was to say the least, not a dividend of this new commitment. It well may be in the case of his successor.

Sixthly, the United States remains the primary arena of Canadian international concern. We share with her a common continent, virtually a common economy and defence policy, and, without really admitting it, we share, to a very large extent, an implied common foreign policy in many vital areas.

We need to develop new techniques for the management of this continental economy so as not to be simply the involuntary responding agent to U.S. mastery. The earliest possible establishment of a Joint Economic Commission is essential for balancing off our respective size and vulnerability through the technique of a joint agency not unlike the International Joint Commission under the Boundary Waters Treaty. Here, you may recall, we have a fifty/fifty position (three members each) with the United States in the decision-making and advisory processes of that Commission. Considering the extraordinary economic, legal and administrative involvements of the two economies and the two societies with each other, what we need is something similar.

The new agency would give advice on and do research into and possibly help to depoliticize issues and make minor executive decisions on a variety of economic and legal questions which now intertwine these two countries.

Moreover we should also begin to test the generosity and the limits of U.S. friendship. Both in our as yet modest thereto-nuclear commitments in NORAD and in our very early recognition of Communist China Canada may have a chance to test the limits of United States cordiality, and the possibility of true choices (not easily acceptable to the U.S.) within our own immediate neighbourhood.

NORAD no longer requires obsolete BOMARCS in Canada and on Canadian territory. But this does not mean that it is realistic for Canada to opt out of NORAD itself. And we have yet to see a modern up-dated programme which takes into account the natural desire of the United States to have an ally on its northern frontier (and of Canada to respond) without committing Canada to an obsolete, thereto-nuclear policy on its own territory. (These remarks were made before the present debate began over the ABM and Canadian NORAD policy.)

Seventh, Canada should undertake major efforts in the field of disarmament and arms control research, at the universities and elsewhere, if only to assure itself of an independent judgment on the technical options available to mankind in the face of the monopoly of judgment so far in the hands of the United States and the Soviet Union and, to a lesser extent, in the U.K.

How can we really have any influence on the great decisions as to disarmament, or the techniques of arms control, if we do not do the research in that area? And, since we cannot do it as a great power and swing our weight, let us do it in terms of brainpower and swing our thoughts. Let us have first-class research on arms control in Canada. And let that influence the dialogue taking place in Moscow, in Washington and in the Disarmament Committee of 17 in Geneva.

Eighth, we are exploring a variety of experimental approaches to external aid. I think we should go farther. And I make two proposals which so far I have not seen discussed sufficiently in Canada.

First, I believe in the external aid area we must consider the role of tariff preferences for developing countries. If a rapidly developing country like Canada could have taken tariff preferences from the Commonwealth and the U.K. for so many years when she needed them far less than developing countries need them today, why should we deny the same principle to many developing countries?

Secondly, we should train possible teams for administrative assistance in the area of economic and social organization for developing countries, and do what the United Nations itself in the Technical Assistance Programme tried to do but did not always succeed in doing, namely, assist in the creation of strong public services in the developing area countries.

I think we have a special contribution to make here, particularly in Commonwealth countries where the style of government, the English language tradition, the common law and the Westminster model are well known. And we can do these with an effectiveness perhaps that few other members of the Commonwealth can do.

But, above all, we must prepare for the day when mass poverty abroad will be regarded as a more serious obligation than "pocket poverty" at home, here in Canada.

Ninth, we should search for a Latin-American policy perhaps as seriously as we are now seeking an Asian one. This may or may not require us to join the Organization of American States. But this issue is itself not that urgent and is less significant than somehow or other marrying up our Caribbean experience to the goodwill we have in some other parts of Latin America, while retaining as much objectivity in these operations as possible, considering vital U.S. interests in the area. We must not allow ourselves to be put in the position where we are being used either for or against the United States either by our Latin-American friends, or by the United States itself.

Trade and aid, scholarships and cultural exchanges are waiting to be explored--with Quebec a Latin link here of high utility.

Tenth, we must see Japan, China and Southeast Asia as an immense inviting world, whose Pacific waters we share, and whose economy, particularly Japan's increasingly impinges on our own.

Think, for example, of the role of Chinese wheat purchases over the past eight or nine years on the Canadian economy and the balance of payments. That story speaks for itself. Think of Japanese and Canadian trade reaching new levels of unexpected magnitude.

Above all, the continuing alienation of Mainland China from general world politics needs thoughtful Canadian initiatives, despite the diplomatic and Formosan difficulties. Yet the future of Formosa is a matter of concern to us. We simply cannot make the assumption that we have no moral obligation to the people of Formosa, but we must not allow the permanent difficulty of Formosa to stand in the way of a creative policy toward Mainland China.

While we can guess at it, we cannot really predict the extent of the possible Canadian function in a Viet Nam settlement, which may require policing by the International Control Commission, of which we are a member. Is Canada ready for such a prolonged, expensive and essentially thankless a burden as policing a Viet Nam settlement, if we are called upon to do so?

I suspect there is no body of Canadian opinion yet ready to face that prospective invitation, should it ever come.

Now, Mr. President, little of this analysis may be new in the eyes of eternity, for in the end we are likely to discover that not only are the choices limited, but the foreign policy is too important to be left to excessive idealism or to bland realism. What we shall need, I think, in the near future is a well-represented National Advisory Council on Foreign Policy, in which we have representatives from the academic community, business, labour, agriculture, and elsewhere to stimulate, and take sounding on, programmes and ideas. It need not and should not be anything as elaborate as the Economic Council of Canada, but its aim should be the creation of a source of counsel to governments beyond the able public servants and private members living in their special day-today worlds of urgent decisions, and influenced heavily, as they must be, by immediate political and administrative considerations.

Participatory democracy is a dangerous phrase when used in aid of disorder and chaos. It is an invaluable idea for the democratic process, if that process is to embrace the best the country has to offer, without naively believing that the complex, urban, technologically-oriented society, such as we now live in, really permits a "townhall" decision-making process. Let us choose, together, our policies wisely and well.

Thanks of the meeting were expressed by Mr. Jos. Sedgwick, Q.C.

Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit




My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.










Can Canada Have An Independent Foreign Policy?


Foreign policy as a very fashionable subject. Some characteristics of the concept of foreign policy. The great attractiveness of foreign policy. The "inter-penetration" between domestic policy and foreign policy. Two simple Canadian illustrations. An examination with some realism, of the areas where Canada has an influence, the arenas where Canada can have an impact, and those where we cannot. A look at the "great issues" and Canada's freedom to choose among them. First, an outline of a new modern world image that seems to be evolving. Some issues covered include life style; the global village; the city, its rise and its decline; the impact of science and technology; the concept of rising expectations; the permanence of terror and the acceptance of violence; the decline of what the speaker calls the taming forces. The issues which arise from this world image as we come to the 1970s. What we do about them; ways to approach the problem. Classifying the issues into groups. The present call for a restatement of foreign policy futile unless it moves towards some larger concern for other men and other places. Canada's foreign policy choices. Ten suggestions for a possible Canadian programme as foreign policy is reviewed. The need for a well-represented National Advisory Council on Foreign Policy. Choosing, together, Canada's policies wisely and well.