“Canada must reclaim its role as a world leader” (The Globe and Mail)

Jean Chrétien, former Liberal prime minister of Canada (1993-2003). (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Jean Chrétien (Contributed to The Globe and Mail):

In my travels around the globe, I am regularly asked: What has happened to Canada? What has happened to the advanced, peace-seeking, progressive country Canada once was? What has happened to the country that was a model for peace and stability in a tumultuous world? These questions evoke great sadness in me.

I am sad to see that in fewer than 10 years, the Harper government has tarnished almost 60 years of Canada’s reputation as a builder of peace and progress. During all these years, government leaders, whether Liberal or Progressive Conservative, have sought to understand, engage and influence their international peers, including those with whom they disagreed. They did not try to embarrass or give other countries lessons in good behaviour. Rather, they patiently sought to convince others of the universal values that make our global community a better and safer place to live.

Of course, peaceful dialogue does not always work. War is sometimes unavoidable. But solutions should come from the world community working together – not from a handful of countries acting outside international institutions to which they belong.

Canadians will soon choose their next government. When considering the role of Canada on the world stage, I hope they will choose a government in line with our great tradition of peace-building, initiated by Mr. Pearson and promoted by all of his successors until the arrival of the Harper administration.

Let’s take back our place in the world.

Full column here

See also: “Jean Chrétien says Stephen Harper has shamed Canada