What Does Canada Want from Santa?
Paterson Chair in International Affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs
‘Tis the season when we wonder what Santa will give us this year. I thought I would try to guess what is on Canada’s wish list. To be fair, while Santa is magical, there are only so many miracles that St. Nick can pull off, so don’t expect to get everything on this list:
1. Just one major defence procurement project that comes in on time and on budget. It could be the next fighter plane, the next ships, whatever. We don’t want to be greedy. Just one, please!
2. The North Pole. Oh sure, this seems greedy but perhaps the scientists can make a credible case that persuades the UN, the Russians, and those pesky Danes. And then Santa would be a Canadian citizen so he wouldn’t have to lie when he puts a Canadian flag on his mighty backpack while travelling abroad.
3. A seat at the UN Security Council. It does not have to be fancy. Just a small space where the Canadian ambassador can occasionally bang his/her shoe.
4. The illusion of complete message control. This would make the prime minister happy while letting the rest of those in (and near!) government speak their mind from time to time.
5. Three units of relevance in Iran’s foreign policy. This would, of course, increase Canada’s total relevance to Iran to … three and a quarter.
6. A budget increase for DFATD so that the over-worked folks there do not start pronouncing their acronym “defeated”, and to give the students from my school more job opportunities.
7. A Stanley Cup for a Canadian team (does this count as a miracle?). Perhaps the relocation of a few teams from very warm places to very cold places?
8. More trade deals that cut away at supply management. Anything to make my homemade pizza less expensive.
10. Heaps of gold medals at the Winter Games in Sochi.
11. A ® for “punching above our weight” so that Canada is the only NATO country that can use that phrase. Or, perhaps even better, some of the under-punchers could give more resources and more effort so that the over-punches can rest a bit.
12. A strategy for Canada’s place in the world that confronts the tradeoffs directly. And this just might give another group their most desired present – policy relevance.
13. A terrific online site dedicated to Canadian international affairs. Oh wait, we already have one of those.
I would include a bridge or two for Montreal, but Quebec wanted to write its own list.
The good news is that Canada does not have to ask for more basic stuff, such as security, stability, and prosperity. Instead, the country can ask for stuff that might be handy (a procurement program that works, strategy) or fun (more and better hockey, Olympic success). Oh, and a shiny red bike would be pretty cool.
May the readers of CIC get all that they hope for this holiday and may 2014 be a year of continued peace (as it would allow me to win a long-standing bet), prosperity, and perhaps just a bit less Rob Ford.