The Cost of Multilateralism


"Is Canada an essential country, at this time of life on our planet?" asked Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland yesterday. Of course it is. No one wants Canada to be a "client state" of the U.S., as Freeland herself put it. Lurking within the minister's earnest admonitions, however, lies a question Canadians haven't had to ponder seriously since Lester Pearson was PM. Are we willing to actually pay for our commitment to "the global order from which we have benefited so greatly"? Calling Donald Trump out on his gripe that multilateralism places an "unfair" burden on the U.S. is one thing.  Honouring our own NATO and foreign-aid commitments is another.