In The News This Week – June 11, 2017

It’s been a busy week in international politics to say the very least. Here’s everything you need to know, both in Canada and around the world, to start your week informed:

In Canada:

  1. Canada’s (new) foreign policy: On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland gave an overarching speech on Canadian foreign policy, positioning the country as a champion of a rules-based, multilateral world order that believes in the importance of international institutions and free trade. The script for Minister Freeland’s full speech can be found here (and we highly recommend giving it a read!). 
    • The next day, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan rolled out the Liberal’s defence plan, which would increase the defence budget by 70 per cent over the next decade to $32.7 billion annually. (City News, CBC)
  2. Conservative ballot controversy: The ballot counting controversy following the Conservative Party leadership race appears to finally be coming to a close. On Tuesday evening, Maxime Bernier offered his full support for the party’s new leader on Twitter, saying: “As I stated on election night: I support our new leader Andrew Scheer. Unconditionally.”
    • Reports of ballot discrepancies abounded after Andrew Scheer’s surprise win. According to reports, 141,633 ballot were cast but only 133,896 members voted, which the party has attributed to both manual vs. technological recording and human error. (CTV, iPolitics)
  3. Obama in Montreal: Barack Obama was in Montreal last week to deliver a sold-out keynote speech to the Montreal Board of Trade. He speech echoed much of what was included in Minister Freeland’s, warning of illiberal threats to the post war global order. (CBC)
    • ICYMI: After his speech, Obama had dinner with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Internationally:

  1. UK election: UK Prime Minister Theresa May lost the Tories’ Commons majority in Thursday’s general election, an election that was called (with hopes) to bolster their majority and give them a stronger hand in Brexit negotiations. The election ended in a “hung parliament,” with the Conservative Party losing 13 seats and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party gaining 30.
    • Since the results were announced Friday, the Tories have announced that an agreement has been made “in principle” with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP’s 10 seats would give the Tories a Commons majority. (BBC).
  2. James Comey: On Thursday, former FBI director James Comey testified before a Senate intelligence committee, addressing allegations and leaked memos that indicated U.S. President Donald Trump asked him to “quash” the FBI bureau’s investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. This article from Rolling Stone, offers an insightful overview. 
    • In his testimony, Comey indicated the following: that he wrote the memos because he was worried Trump “might lie” about their conversations; that he asked a friend to leak the contents of the memos; that he interpreted Trump’s suggestion to drop the Flynn investigation as a “direction”; and that he has no doubt he was fired as a result of the Russia investigation. (Source: The Skimm Newsletter – Friday, June 9).
  3. Qatar sanctions: Six countries in the Middle East, including Saudia Arabia and Egypt, have cut ties with Qatar, because they say the country is supporting militant groups that are destabilizing the region.Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have sanctioned a dozen organisations and 59 people it accuses of links to Islamist militancy. (BBC, The Guardian)
    • On Friday, Qatar’s foreign minister described the blockade as a violation of international law, and the Qatari government have continued to deny these accusations.
  4. Montenegro joins NATO: Montenegro became the 29th member of NATO on Monday and was praised by the United States for sticking to its path of joining the Western military alliance in spite of Russian pressure. (Reuters Canada)
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Theresa May’s Conservatives are seeking a deal with Arlene Foster’s DUP. Source: BBC
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