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Parties competing over values, not substance, in foreign policy platforms

By David Carment, Richard Nimijean      

We can expect discussions of foreign policy to play a big role in the election campaign, as it reaches out to political bases and allows parties to distinguish themselves. But whose foreign policy will it be?

As we near the election date, we can expect far more scrutiny of Liberal pledges championed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, write David Carment and Richard Nimijean. The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade

In the 2015 federal election, Justin Trudeau campaigned on a foreign policy vision that differed radically from that of Stephen Harper, arguing that a decade of Conservative rule meant that Canada had drifted away from upholding the values that underpinned its actions as a global actor. However, in power, the differences between the two are slim. As the Annual Trudeau Foreign Policy Report Card has shown, the Liberal government’s foreign policy accomplishments are far less than what its hyperbolic rhetoric suggests. Given that foreign policy increasingly plays an important role in Canadian federal elections, what can we expect in the 2019 campaign?

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