Rupa Subramanya: Trudeau’s India comments put Liberal electoral calculus ahead of Canada’s interests

National Post

Farmers dance along a blocked highway during a demonstration against the central government's recent agricultural reforms at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border in Ghazipur, India, on Dec. 18. PHOTO BY MONEY SHARMA/AFP

The federal Liberals are not the only party that plays this game, but they have taken it to a dangerous new level

While Sikh-Canadians amount to only about one per cent of Canada’s population, they are heavily concentrated in key ridings in the Toronto and Vancouver areas, and thus are more politically consequential than their numbers suggest. Trudeau’s remarks evoked a sharp reaction from the Indian government, which has left no doubt that this intervention in domestic Indian affairs will prove damaging to its relationship with Canada. Not only is India the world’s largest democracy, the Asian nation is a crucial counterweight to an increasingly aggressive and assertive China, and an important emerging economy that continues to be one of the largest recipients of Canadian institutional investment funds, including from the Canada Pension Plan. You would think a mature democracy like Canada, with its historical success as a consequential «middle power,» would resist contorting foreign policy into placating one parochial constituency after another.

Imagine how absurd it would be if India’s stance towards Canada were driven by the anti-Canadian rhetoric of committed Quebec sovereigntists. An equally blatant instance of the Trudeau government bending foreign policy to pursue special interest politics at home is its reversal of a longstanding commitment that Canada would stand with Israel at the United Nations, and either vote against, or abstain, when anti-Israel resolutions are raised in the General Assembly. Under Trudeau, Canada at the UN has now routinely begun to vote against Israel. While such votes are largely symbolic, they threaten to rupture Canada’s long-standing friendship with Israel, and could stoke anti-Semitism in Canada, which is already on the rise.

It is noteworthy that Canada’s Muslim minority has served as a rich vote bank for the Liberals, which could help explain this damaging U-turn. The impact of playing off one group against another with an eye to maximizing electoral advantage only leads to a fragmentation of society into increasingly self-ghettoizing communities, each pushing their own agenda and forgetting where Canada’s national economic, geopolitical and strategic interests lie. Canadians need to ask why Canada, too, is treading down this dangerous path, where public policy degenerates into an à la carte menu laid out at the table of special interest groups, rather than working for Canada’s national interest.

Source: Rupa Subramanya | National Post

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