On Sunday, the Pope landed in what we call Treaty Six Territory, but you are more likely to know it as Edmonton, Alberta. The purpose of his visit was delivering an apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement in the genocidal project known in Canada as residential schools — a system that forcibly removed Indigenous children from their parents and tried to assimilate them into Euro-Christian society.

“I am deeply sorry — sorry for the ways in which, regrettably, many Christians supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the Indigenous peoples”, Pope Francis said.

The Pope addressed his comments to several thousand residential school survivors in a pow wow arbor.…  Seguir leyendo »

I often hear elite-level American intellectual types — pundits and academics and futurists and so on — express great optimism about Canada’s potential. The country is framed as a glimmer of hope in a bleak world, a dynamic, modern, urbane, democratic, multicultural, open-minded success story, free of the toxic nationalism and populist authoritarianism steering the rest of the planet into a ditch.

The great blind spot of such optimistic analysis has always been Quebec — a province housing 8.7 million of Canada’s 38.7 million citizens, and a place preoccupied with pursuing policies at odds with every flattering Canadian stereotype. On virtually any metric one might correlate with a promising, modern society — a hospitable business climate, an up-to-date education system, open and inviting communities, robust protection of individual liberties, a moderate and rational political class — Canada’s second-largest province marches unapologetically in the opposite direction.…  Seguir leyendo »

An oil drum at a grand opening event for the Suncor Energy Fort Hills oil-sands extraction site near Fort McKay, Alberta, in 2018. (Ben Nelms/Bloomberg News)

“The world needs more Canada”.

The phrase began life as a bookstore slogan, but has since evolved into the foreign policy mantra of a certain sort of Canadian.

“We’re Canadian, and we’re here to help”, was how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put it in his 2016 address to the United Nations.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the shake-up of the world order that it has provoked, Canadians inclined to view their country as the world’s answer to everything have emphasized one particular helping hand they’re eager to extend: oil and gas.

European nations import around a quarter of their oil and about 40 percent of their natural gas from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Desde hace una semana, Ottawa, la capital de Canadá, es una ciudad en estado de emergencia. Miles de camiones y decenas de miles de manifestantes han tomado su centro en torno a la sede del Parlamento canadiense, en Parliament Hill.

Todo empezó con un grupo de camioneros que hicieron sonar los cláxones de sus vehículos contra las restricciones del Gobierno de Justin Trudeau, que ha prohibido a los transportistas no vacunados atravesar la frontera con los Estados Unidos.

Según una encuesta de Abacus Data citada por la BBC, el 32% de los canadienses dice tener “mucho en común” con los transportistas.…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente de Estados Unidos, Joe Biden, da la bienvenida al presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, en la Oficina Oval de la Casa Blanca en Washington, Estados Unidos, el 18 de noviembre de 2021. Esta fue la antesala de la cumbre trilateral con Justin Trudeau. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Durante la cumbre de líderes de América del Norte —conocida como Los Tres Amigos—, donde participaron los presidentes de Estados Unidos, México y Canada en la Casa Blanca estadounidense, hubo muchos saludos, abrazos y charlas, pero no cambios ni acuerdos sustanciales. Sobre todo, en uno de los temas principales: la migración.

En las reuniones entre el estadounidense Joe Biden, el mexicano Andrés Manuel López Obrador y el canadiense Justin Trudeau —y sus equipos— quedaron claros los temas por solucionar que los líderes de América del Norte comparten: la pandemia por el COVID-19 y las vacunas que se requiere que los países desarrollados donen; el bloque comercial que Biden impulsa para confrontar a China; el anhelado y complicado combate al cambio climático; y, principalmente, la idea de un acuerdo continental para regularizar la migración, que tantos problemas causa a los presidentes de México y Estados Unidos, y tanto dolor a las personas migrantes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Foto de archivo del 5 de marzo de 2012 de la reunión entre el entonces vicepresidente estadounidense, Joe Biden, con el entonces candidato presidencial mexicano Andrés Manuel López Obrador, en Ciudad de México. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini, File)

Ha transcurrido un lustro desde que se celebró la última reunión de “Los tres amigos”, como solía llamarse al encuentro frecuente entre el primer ministro de Canadá y los presidentes de Estados Unidos y México.

El expresidente estadounidense Donald Trump fue quien suspendió estas citas anuales, que iniciaron en 2005, porque su gobierno prefirió priorizar las relaciones bilaterales. Pero la semana pasada las tres administraciones que conforman el bloque norteamericano anunciaron la reanudación de esta práctica que en ocasiones anteriores ayudó a profundizar la cooperación y a resolver los desacuerdos.

La expectativa sobre la agenda de temas es tan grande que los tres gobiernos están obligados a jerarquizar las preocupaciones.…  Seguir leyendo »

The strange and unpredictable world of geopolitics played out over the Pacific skies Friday as one commercial jet carrying the j ust-released daughter of one of China's most prominent tycoons flew westbound while another carrying two Canadians incarcerated in apparent retaliation for her arrest flew in the opposition direction.

The arrangement, in effect a modern-day version of a Cold War prisoner swap, brought an abrupt end to a saga that has severely poisoned relations between Canada and China, cast an unwelcome spotlight on one of China's trophy tech companies, Huawei, and complicated Beijing's public relations efforts to project a happy face with the Winter Olympics less than five months away.…  Seguir leyendo »

In an election few wanted and which ended up as the most expensive in Canadian history, Justin Trudeau, on Monday managed to return his party to the government benches in the House of Commons for the third consecutive time.

He failed to obtain a majority of seats -- forcing him once again to reach across the aisle to opposition parties in order to pass key legislation, and the costly exercise should raise questions about Trudeau's credibility, especially when the Covid-19 crisis remains far from over.

The Liberal Party leader never said he was gunning for a majority, but his opponents -- including his main opponent, Erin O'Toole of the Conservatives -- insisted a wasteful power grab was the objective.…  Seguir leyendo »

Statement on China's Release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor

Of all the words Crisis Group has written it’s hard to imagine any meaning more to us than these: Michael Kovrig is free.

After more than 1,000 days in detention in Beijing, our colleague Michael was released, together with another Canadian Michael Spavor, on 24 September. Both Michaels are on their way back to their loved ones in Canada. We’re relieved the government of China has righted this wrong.

Crisis Group is hugely grateful to many people who have worked tirelessly in support of Michael. We thank the Canadian government for securing his release and the resolute efforts of many Canadian officials throughout his detention.…  Seguir leyendo »

Canada's prime minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau delivers his victory speech with his family at election headquarters in Montreal, Canada after winning a third term. Photo by Dave Chan/Getty Images.

Justin Trudeau gambled on an early election call hoping to benefit from the public support for his government’s management of the pandemic, but exhausted voters seemed annoyed at the sudden intrusion of electoral politics into already complicated lives.

Although the prime minister averted a looming disaster in the middle of the campaign when the opposition Conservative Party overtook his Liberal Party in the polls, he emerges from the election a victorious yet diminished figure. His party will continue to stand by him – he won, after all – but questions about his future electoral prospects are likely to return.

His main rival – Conservative leader Erin O’Toole – faces more immediate problems within his own party following his failed electoral strategy to win more Conservative seats by moderating his party’s positions on issues such as climate change and gun ownership, which had alienated centrist urban and suburban voters in previous elections.…  Seguir leyendo »

Over the past 50 years, China has undeniably established itself as a global power. It has made progress on many fronts, particularly in furthering the development agenda. Nonetheless, President Xi Jinping’s efforts to cast his country as a responsible and benign super power ring hollow when his government continues to engage in hostage diplomacy. As a current academic dean and a former business executive and diplomat, I can unequivocally say that the world is eager to see China firmly commit to not using people as bargaining chips.

This is especially relevant to me because a staff member of the International Crisis Group – an organization that I co-chair – today marked his 1,000th day in Chinese detention for no other reason than the fact of his Canadian citizenship.…  Seguir leyendo »

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians behind bars in China

In what Canadian officials have described as "arbitrary" decisions, Chinese courts this week have handed down a harsh sentence to Michael Spavor, accused of espionage, and upheld a death sentence for Robert Schellenberg, convicted of drug smuggling in the Asian country in 2018. The decisions come as the extradition trial of the Chinese tech giant Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is entering its final stages in a Vancouver courtroom.

Meng is wanted by the United States on multiple serious charges, including bank fraud and violating US sanctions against Iran by selling telecom equipment. She was arrested in late 2018. Meng and Huawei have denied the allegations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Against all odds, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau managed to beat a Covid-19 vaccination benchmark that even his counterpart to the south, US President Joe Biden, was unable to meet.

After initially bungling its Covid-19 vaccine rollout, falling behind many other developed nations, including the United States, over the weekend Canada moved ahead of its southern neighbor in per-capita vaccinations.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) vaccine tracker, as of mid-day Tuesday, 50.8% of Canadians were fully vaccinated. By comparison, just 48.6% of Americans have taken their full dose of vaccines, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the difference for people given at least one dose is even greater: 69.7% and 56.1% respectively).…  Seguir leyendo »

Flores y zapatos infantiles colocados frente a una iglesia en protesta tras el hallazgo de los restos de 215 niños en un orfanato.Andre Pichette / EFE

En el viejo internado de Kamloops, en la provincia canadiense de la Columbia Británica, se descubrieron a finales del pasado mes de mayo los restos sin identificar de 215 menores indígenas. Desde entonces han aparecido más cuerpos en otros dos internados, elevando así la cifra a 1.112. Todo apunta a que el horror y la conmoción que sacuden al país no han hecho más que comenzar, ya que quedan 136 escuelas más por investigar.

Esta red de internados, llamados escuelas residenciales, fue creada en 1883 por el primer ministro John A. Macdonald con el objetivo de “civilizar” a la población indígena erradicando su cultura.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le monument de Maisonneuve à la place d’Armes. Photo: iStock

Les statues de bronze souhaitent rendre éternel tel personnage célèbre en son temps ou perpétuer le souvenir de tel ou tel événement. Elles ont pour ambition de marquer l’espace et surtout de défier le temps… que rien ne défie vraiment. De ce point de vue, toute statue, tout monument, sans exception, a pour inévitable destinée de devenir, à plus ou moins brève échéance, anachronique. C’est inévitable, puisque les uns comme les autres témoignent de valeurs du passé, et donc de valeurs révolues ou en voie de l’être.

Le monument de Maisonneuve à la place d’Armes comme celui de Dollard des Ormeaux au parc La Fontaine témoignent effectivement, comme le stipule M.…  Seguir leyendo »

Canada Should Open the Border

Hockey fans rejoiced last Sunday when Canadian health officials agreed to let National Hockey League teams cross the U.S.-Canada border for the Stanley Cup playoffs. It was not a big surprise; the Montreal Canadiens are looking good, and they stand to bring the Cup north for the first time since they won it last in 1993.

I, on the other hand, still cannot cross into Canada, at least through June 21. My case may not be quite as compelling as the N.H.L.’s, but a neighbor up on the Laurentian lake where we have a cottage called last week to say a tree had snapped and a branch threatened to crush a shed where I’ve stored many important things.…  Seguir leyendo »

If Quebec Premier François Legault was head of a country rather than Canada’s second-largest province, he’d surely be regarded as one of the world’s nastiest right-wing populist leaders. Since his election in 2018, he has cut immigration by 20 percent in the span of a year, imposed prohibitions on Muslim headscarves and Sikh turbans, and presided over petty crackdowns on the public use of minority languages. And now, he wants to add text to the Canadian constitution declaring that Quebec, a diverse, multicultural democracy, should be primarily understood as housing the “nation” of the French Canadian Québécois people: “Les Québécoises et les Québécois forment une nation (form a nation)” as the French version of the bill puts it.…  Seguir leyendo »

Une erreur de communication qui alimente l’hésitation vaccinale

C’est à titre de professeurs en communication en matière de santé que nous tenons ici à exprimer notre étonnement devant les propos tenus lundi par le Comité consultatif national de l’immunisation (CCNI), dont une partie du message a depuis été rapporté dans plusieurs médias : « Le CCNI continue de recommander de préférence les vaccins à ARNm contre la COVID-19 autorisés en raison de l’excellente protection qu’ils offrent, de l’absence des signalements préoccupants. »

Si cette prise de position semble cohérente avec ce que les experts du CCNI affirment depuis plusieurs mois, le message, tel que formulé et perçu par le grand public, soulève d’énormes problèmes aux conséquences potentiellement désastreuses.…  Seguir leyendo »

Quand un symbole du sexisme religieux devient un droit fondamental

La Loi québécoise sur la laïcité de l’État (loi 21) a été validée en bonne partie par le jugement de la Cour supérieure du Québec, au grand soulagement de ses défenseurs craignant son invalidation par le Tribunal. Toutefois, le contenu de ce jugement est décevant à maints égards.

Dès le début du procès, il était clair que le juge Marc-André Blanchard penchait en faveur des contestataires de la loi. Dans son jugement de 240 pages, il adopte leurs arguments voulant que cette loi porterait atteinte aux droits fondamentaux des minorités, particulièrement ceux des femmes musulmanes. La loi n’a donc été validée que grâce à la disposition de dérogation, renouvelable tous les cinq ans, ce qui rend son avenir précaire.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sur la stérilisation forcée des femmes autochtones au Canada

Le 22 février, la Chambre des communes a adopté à l’unanimité une motion déclarant que « la République populaire de Chine s’est livrée à des actions correspondant à ce que prévoit la résolution 260 de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies, couramment appelée “convention sur le génocide”, dont la mise en place de camps de détention et de mesures visant à prévenir les naissances à l’égard des Ouïgours et d’autres musulmans turciques ». Nous ne nions pas cette caractérisation de génocide et nous joignons nos voix aux appels mondiaux exigeant une fin immédiate à la persécution des Ouïghours. Cependant, l’honnêteté morale impose aux parlementaires l’examen d’une réalité troublante : le Canada n’a jamais officiellement reconnu qu’il a commis un génocide contre les peuples autochtones ici.…  Seguir leyendo »