Canada has formally joined a German-French coalition aimed at saving the international world order from destruction by various world dictators and autocrats — and U.S. President Donald Trump.
The initiative is part of ongoing Canadian government efforts to shore up international co-operation at a time of waning American leadership and Trump’s outspoken disdain of institutions created after the Second World War, including the G7, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland offered Canada’s support for the Alliance for Multilateralism during a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Dinard, France earlier this month.
Japan also joined the new alliance during the meeting, and Freeland marked the moment on Twitter posting a photo of herself with Jean-Yves Le Drian, Heiko Mass and Taro Kono, her French, German and Japanese counterparts.
“Many of today’s greatest challenges are global and they can only be solved when we work together. That is why Canada stands united with its German, French, and Japanese friends,” Freeland said in the photo’s caption.
Freeland also avoided any direct mention of the Trump administration, as has been her approach generally in her frequent critiques of the attacks on the world’s multilateral order and the need to defend against them.
Le Drian and Maas appeared to dance around the fact that the United States was not a member when they formally unveiled the new alliance in early April at the United Nations.
France’s envoy to Canada, however, connected the initiative to Trump in a recent interview. “Mr. Trump doesn’t like to value multilateralism,” said Ambassador Kareen Rispal, referring to his withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement, and his criticism of the UN and WTO.
“It sends the wrong message to the world if we think that because Mr. Trump is not in favor of multilateralism, it doesn’t mean we — I mean countries like Canada, France, Germany and many others — are not still strong believers.”
During testimony last week before the Senate foreign affairs committee, Freeland said that Canada joined the alliance over concerns in the G7 over the growing threats posed by authoritarian regimes and their disinformation campaigns aimed and discrediting democracy and its institutions.
She commended “G7 partners” Germany, France and Japan, but again made no mention of the U.S.
“We agree that the greatest challenges of our time like climate change, income inequality, managing the power of global technology platforms, maintaining rules-based global trade and mass migration, are truly international challenges,” Freeland said.