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Vol 48 No 17

Published 24th August 2007

Ottawa rewrites the diplomatic and commercial rules

A fierce ideological battle is raging over Canada's foreign policy and the balance between its commitments to multilateralism and the United Nations, where it has been a stalwart provider of funds and peacekeepers, and its deepening alliance with its powerful neighbour, the United States.

Canada's once vibrant enthusiasm for Africa is caught in the middle of this argument. In the left corner are the myriad critics of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government which, they charge, has shuffled off many international responsibilities to the UN and other institutions in favour of closer ties to President George Bush's government. In the right corner is Harper, an unapologetic defender of militarily and commercially assertive diplomacy and thorough reform of the elaborate foreign aid system.

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