Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time today with the member for Yellowhead.
The government's foreign policy is not serving the country's interests nor its values, and the Speech from the Throne we are debating today does little to address this shortcoming. It does little to address Canada's decline on the world stage. The Speech from the Throne makes no mention of a foreign policy review.
We have not had a significant foreign policy review in this country for almost 20 years. Countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia have regular foreign policy reviews. These are anchored around white papers that set out the government's foreign policy, its defence policy and its foreign aid policy. They guide the whole of government in implementing the government's policies in those spheres of foreign affairs.
The United States goes through a similar process through the state department in order to anchor American foreign policy to ensure consistency and clarity. It also provides the capacity to respond to changing circumstances, but we have not done this. In fact, the last time I can recall a significant foreign policy review was in 2004, under the previous government of then prime minister Paul Martin, when Jennifer Welsh was tasked with taking a look at the government's foreign policy. Since then we have had no significant policy review, and the results are showing.
We have had five foreign ministers in less than six years in the position of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We have had ministers propose a foreign policy based on responsible conviction, a policy that lasted for a mere year or so before it was replaced with the policy of Canada as an essential country, outlined in a speech given to this House, which was supposedly the government's anchor for its foreign policy, its white paper, which guided the whole government's foreign policy. As a result, Canada's position on the world stage has diminished. That is an incontrovertible fact.
In 2015, the Prime Minister came to office, telling the world that Canada is back. After the government made an attempt to secure a UN Security Council seat, the results came in, in June of 2020. Canada lost that bid for the UN Security Council seat, as it had done a decade earlier, and it lost with six fewer votes than it had won a decade earlier. That is six fewer countries that see Canada as a world leader on the international stage.
In foreign aid, the government came to office promising to do better to help the world's poorest, but in the first five years of being in office, foreign aid was cut by 10% based on the internationally accepted measure of overseas development assistance as a percentage of gross national income, the target number being 0.7% of GNI. Under the government, foreign aid was cut from 0.3% of GNI during the 10 years of the previous government, to 0.27% of GNI in the first five years that this government was in office.
On climate change, the government has failed to meet its climate change commitments. In fact, we have some of the highest per capita emissions in the world. Even south of the border emissions have declined over the last number of years, but in Canada, for each and every year the government has been in office, emissions have risen. In fact, in 2016, the first full year that the government was in office, emissions in Canada stood at 708 megatonnes. They have risen each and every year from that point.
In 2019, the last year for which Environment Canada has data, emissions rose to 730 megatonnes, an increase of 22 megatonnes. No doubt this year we will once again go to record high emission levels because the data that is coming in on oil and gas, and other fossil fuel consumption in this country is indicating that Canada is trending to record high levels of fossil fuel consumption. Again, on climate change, the government has failed to deliver.
The Liberal government came to office somewhat naively, promising to reopen Canada's embassy and re-establish diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, but it quickly realized once in office that it was not going to be able to do so.
On the major issue facing the world today, of the rise of authoritarian governments in places such as Russia and the People's Republic of China, the Liberal government has been either incoherent or naive. On China, the government's policies have been utterly and completely incomprehensible. Here are a couple of examples of what I am talking about. David Vigneault, the head of CSIS has been saying since December, 2018, that China presents a threat to Canada in national security and in intellectual property in five sensitive areas, such as 5G telecommunications, quantum computing and biotechnology.
It has identified Huawei as a threat to our national security and intellectual property, but the government has yet to act. It has yet to take action to restrict or ban Huawei from our telecommunications networks. In fact, it is unilaterally alone and isolated on the world stage in this regard. Four of our closest intelligence and security partners, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, have already taken measures to restrict or ban Huawei from their telecommunications networks.
The Huawei issue highlights the incoherence of the government. In May, 2019, then public safety minister Ralph Goodale indicated that the government would make a decision on Huawei before the 2019 election. Several months later, in the summer of 2019, he reversed course and said that the government would not be making a decision before October 2019, and then that the decision would be after 2019.
Over two years have passed since that time, and still there is no decision on Huawei. In fact, last fall the Prime Minister was asked by Global News if a decision on Huawei was coming. The Prime Minister indicated at that time, in late September or early October, that a decision would be forthcoming in “several weeks.” It is now several months since the Prime Minister indicated that, yet we have no decision on Huawei.
On a new framework on China, the government promised to come forward with something during the year 2020. Apparently that was kiboshed before it got to the federal cabinet for approval. Under the direction of the minister, two foreign ministers ago, we got the three Cs on China: to challenge, co-operate and compete. That then morphed into the four Cs, with the fourth C being co-exist.
That was replaced in the Speech from the Throne with an allusion to a new policy coming forward on the Indo-Pacific Region that would include China. This is apparently forthcoming. I am skeptical about the government delivering on a new policy and a new framework on China.
On Ukraine, the Liberal government has been naive. Ukraine has asked for lethal defensive weapons. The government has failed to deliver. Diplomacy not backed up by the threat of force, and in very limited and in very controlled circumstances, is simply empty talk and rhetoric that weakens our ability to stand up for our interests and values.
Russia has two tools of hard power: its military force, and its ability to cut off natural gas to western Europe. Russia supplies 40% of the gas to the European Union, and is using this as a weapon in order to get its way in Eastern Europe and to threaten Ukraine. This government is part of the discussions about how to ensure that global natural gas supplies are there for Europeans if the Russians decide to cut off natural gas.
For all of these reasons, the Liberal government's Speech from the Throne does nothing to address Canada's decline on the world stage and the need to come forward with a coherent foreign policy.