Canada’s approach to foreign issues to change with Trudeau
TORONTO (AP) — A look at how Canada’s approach to international issues could change with Liberal Justin Trudeau replacing Conservative Stephen Harper as prime minister:
KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE
Outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been angered and frustrated by President Barack Obama’s reluctance to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas. Trudeau supports the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline, which is crucial to Canada as it seeks infrastructure to export its growing oil sands production. But Trudeau says relations between the two major trading partners should not hinge on one project. White House spokesman Josh Earnest seemed to agree Tuesday, saying it would be “shortsighted to reduce the relationship between our two countries to one issue” but Earnest also stressed Harper and Obama have worked together on other issues.
Trudeau has said he’ll take in 25,000 Syrian refugees before the end of the year. Harper declined to resettle more Syrian refugees, despite the haunting image of a drowned 3-year-old washed up on a Turkish beach that spurred calls for action. Canada has long prided itself for opening its doors wider than any nation to asylum seekers, but the numbers waned under Harper. In times of crisis in decades past, Canada resettled refugees quickly and in large numbers. Trudeau says a compassionate Canada is back.
Trudeau has said he’ll remove Canada’s six fighter jets from the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, but said he’ll leave special forces in northern Iraq in a training role. Canada has about 600 military support personnel based in Kuwait as part of the air campaign. Trudeau said he spoke to Obama by phone Tuesday and said Obama understands Trudeau is committed to ending Canada’s role in the combat mission.
Harper has backed Israel’s right-wing government and has promoted his support domestically in an effort to woo Jewish voters in Canada. Trudeau believes in a two-state solution, as Harper does, but Trudeau is expected to employ a more balanced approach.
Environmentalists labeled Harper a climate change pariah for pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol and protecting the oil sands region of Alberta — which has the world’s third largest oil reserves. Trudeau has vowed to do more on global warming and has said he’ll consult with Canada’s provincial premiers before he heads to the Paris summit on climate change in November. Trudeau said Canada’s years of being a less enthusiastic actor on climate change are behind Canada.