Is this Dovishness?

Canada is not a nation known for its military. In fact if you ask Canadians ,we are one of the world's most peaceful of nations. This idea has only grown in the recent year as the election of Trudeau’s liberal government is supposedly a reaffirmation of the ideals which Canada had held for so long which were contrasted with the (at least rhetorically) more hawkish approach of Harper's conservative government. As proven by the recent increase in defense spending however the differences between the Trudeau and Harper governments of national security end with rhetoric as their action prove to be more similar than many Canadians would wish to believe.
The Harper government had proudly advertised it hawkishness by publicly supporting an intervention in Iraq, taking a hard stance on Iran and avidly supporting the operations to reinforce NATO in Eastern Europe. The Harper government talked tough, always seeming willing to support whichever intervention was fashioned by the Americans. They were always willing to take a stand against the “enemies of Canada” in a way that many hold the current government does not. This rhetoric was not mirrored by action however, despite their harsh words for the Russians, our counter offensive actions were seemingly limited to twitter wars, posturing at international meetings, and marching insignificant numbers of troops around hundreds of kilometers from the Russian border. In fact the most solid action the government took against the Russians was to give supplies to the Ukrainian government which consisted of such destructive military armaments as eyewear, helmets and of course the internationally feared tents. Notably missing were actual  weapons with which the Ukrainians could have conceivably fought Russian backed insurgents. If this was hawkishness, then what would dovishness be in the foreign policy sphere?

That is where the Trudeau government comes in seeking to temper the warlike tendencies of their predecessors. When the Liberals were elected to government a degree of pacifism was expected of them. There was a pervasive idea that the Liberals would scale back the military or at least scale back its use in the international sphere. This expected dovishness has since proven to be as much of an illusion as the hawkishness of the conservatives was. The dovishness we expected apparently consists of such pacifist actions as a 70% increase in military funding, and increase in the number of advisers deployed to Iraq and of course the confirmation of a 15 billion dollar arms deal with the Islamist dictatorship that is Saudi Arabia. All the while Trudeau gives interviews and speeches about the peacekeeping objective that is the premise for all this military expenditure, this is even stated on the official website of the liberals. The Trudeau government has peaceful rhetoric but this seems to manifest itself in only violent actions. Is this dovishness?

It is clear that after an examination of the facts that the governments of Trudeau and Harper are not in actuality nearly as different in action as they are in words. In fact in many ways it is Trudeau who is that hawk, and not his predecessor.


  1. Irrespective of your expectations from Harper or Trudeau - what is the policy that strikes the right balance between dovishness and hawkishness for Canada?

  2. It may appear that Canada is a peaceful country is respect to other nations around the globe, however, one cannot deny that we were involved in some of the bloodshed in international conflicts.

    Also, Trudeau can be considered the hawk as he did increase military spending and considered the options of continuing military programs to assist in military conflicts in other country. However, there is this notion how the next group or generation of people will always end up surpassing the previous generation. Similarly, Prime Minister Trudeau can be perceived under the same context. He may be a more potent hawk then Stephen Harper but Stephen Harper has also been someone who displayed hawkishness.


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