Paging Ari Fleischer


Glen Pearson talks to Jeffrey Sachs.

Since he travels to 40-50 countries a year, I naturally asked him how Canada was viewed from an international perspective. His comments were insightful … and troubling:

  • your country has lost its distinctive voice
  • Canada should be the conscience of the continent, but instead we’re just a business partner
  • his discussions with many world leaders revealed that Canada had lost its presence – the legacy of Lester Pearson is no more
  • Canada has lost its brand
  • leaders in Canada have become so enamored with financial markets that they have denied this country’s own historical DNA that saw it as a beacon of peace to the world


Paging Ari Fleischer

  1. Hence why we need Michael Ignatieff to bring it back!!

    Clearly Harper hasn’t been doing a good job.

  2. Though tempted to offer partisan commentary, I will instead state: at least we have our minor league hockey.

    • Speaking of minor league, does Harper ever preach the ‘Canada’s back’ cow dung to anybody but his most blinded partisans?

  3. Given the documents released within the last 48 hours, I think its safe to say we are living on a continent that has spent the better part of the past 8 or so years not bothering to listen to its conscience. It’s unlikely that talking truth to power would have meant anything.

    • But failing to even try has undermined our reputation and – dare I say – our brand.

      Canada has long punched above its weight on the international stage, in large part because 1) we’ve commanded respect for our integrity and devotion to principles and, 2) our connectedness (members of OAS, G7/8, La Francophonie, The Commonwealth, NAFTA, NATO, etc etc etc).

      If we start to view the world through a strictly economic lens (*cough* Harper *cough*), it may start to view us the same way. Logically that would reduce our international prestige and influence to where our puny military, economy and population would dictate.

      This is a major risk. I initially thought Harper would understand that but I don’t believe he does.

  4. The italics are from Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University (down with intellectuals!).

    I can see how you could miss that in the frothing ad hominen attempt.

  5. Longtime unionised public servant as in he was a FIREFIGHTER!!!!! Everybody loves firefighters.

  6. Neither Harper nor any one particular party is to blame for this. This is the result of a long-term decline in any focus or direction at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    Joe Clark and Lloyd Axeworthy were the last Foreign Ministers to bring real direction to the department (partisan hacks feel free to attack the merits of that direction, but it is undeniable that they had a mission, which is my point).

  7. Hmmmm….he was a firefighter – the CPC try to portray them as heroes and buff them up for votes and now you try to bring his down. How un-Canadian.

  8. Three years ago, when the newly-elected PM Harper promised that we wouldn’t recognize Canada when he’s through it, he wasn’t just talking from a Canadian’s perspective. Like our neighbours to the South, we’re disappointing the international community with every counterintuitive decision.

    • Counter-intuitive Party of Canada, Eh?

  9. Longtime unionized public servant Mr. Pearson has established a pattern of telling tales out of school, self serving anecdotal tales which are difficult to believe and a bit immature in the way he presents them. Thanks for exposing this MP, Aaron.


    You don’t have to comment if you have nothing to say, you know.

  10. I always love how when American conservatives criticize Canada they receive the scathing condemnation they deserve but why do we tolerate this garbage from American liberals? Here’s a lovely quote from Jeffrey Sachs in the Globe and Mail:
    Indeed, for the last 10 years, it’s hard to think of Canadian leadership on any international development issue.

    10 years? That brings us all the way back to the middle of the Chretien era. And I think it’s fair to say that in the last 10 years Canada has played a leading role in Afghanistan. Sachs may not like the militaristic nature of the Afghan mission, but he shouldn’t pretend for a minute it’s not an important international development issue in which Canada hasn’t played a significant role.

    • but why do we tolerate this garbage from American liberals?

      Usually, the criticism from American liberals isn’t so abysmally ignorant as what the American conservatives come up with.

      I wouldn’t agree with Sachs’s assessment here,but neither would I assert that Canada’s actions in Afghanistan have been all that Earth-shattering, despite the casualties and the money we’ve spent. We’re only there because our sycophantic political/business elite was too afraid to upset our bestest friend and largest trading partner. Which didn’t help us, in any event.

      I frankly couldn’t care less what Americans have to say anymore. And that includes Jeffery Sachs, who seems to have little memory of the mess that was Russia’s introduction to free market economy, in which he played no small role.

      • Yes. We do forget what wonderful service the market maven miracle workers performed for the good people of Russia. It did lead to some very good football clubs in Europe, though. But not so much in Russia.

  11. Oh! how I miss the good old PearsonianTrudeau days when Canadians walked large in the world, striding the stage with confidence and coolness maple leafs on our packs and telling one and all we are not yankees .. but alas here we are now just another country with 1/10 the population of the USA and 10 times the resources humbly hiding in our shelters counting the shekels and not daring to thank our lucky stars in public and possibly jeapordize where we are right now .. thank you very much.

  12. “His comments were insightful … and troubling:”

    Why troubling? Honestly, what did you think comprises Canada’s international image? Have you thought about Canada’s international image prior to this? Have you spent any time abroad or spoken extensively with non-Canadians?

    I don’t think anybody interested in politics who has spent any significant amount of time abroad would be surprised in the least by these comments.

  13. As much as I love Obama and wish him well, but it seems to me that in trying to appease right wing and not do something very controversial during these difficult times he is simply continuing the dark chapter of Bush administration. All the goodwill he has mustered abroad is in danger of evaporating and he is setting himself for being branded justifiably a hypocrate if he continues to shy away from actively investigating and prosecuting war crimes committed under Bush administration. The irony is that during Hitler regime it was the doctors who actively participated in the war crimes and under the Bush administration it is the lawyers.

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