By Harvey Oberfeld
Sunday September the 26th, 2015
Little did even I know how prescient I would be when I wrote a blog Sept. 13, predicting this Monday’s Munk leaders’ debate on Foreign Affairs could be a deciding factor for many.
As a result of last Thursday’s French debate, the increasing talk about refugees, the niqab, ISIS … and Friday’s announcement by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau he would double the budget allocation to substantially speed up/expand immigrant family reunification …bringing in many more parents, grandparents, etc. … I’m more convinced than ever.
The Foreign Affairs debate will begin at 4 p.m. Pacific time Monday on CPAC, CBC Newsworld and other TV networks as well.
Meanwhile: here are excerpts from my earlier blog piece to help put it all in context:
Munk Debate on Foreign Policy Could Be Deciding Factor for Many
September 13th, 2015
There are THREE political election debates looming later this month … and barring any knockout blows or terrible gaffes in the first or second, on economic and general topics, I believe the THIRD debate, on Canada’s foreign policy, could be the deciding factor for many who watch.
From Wikipedia re the Munk debate: “The first half of the 90-minute debate will cover five central themes on the economy: Jobs, energy and the environment, infrastructure, housing and taxation. The second half leaves time to look more closely at the leaders’ earlier answers, and to pose questions sent in by voters.”
This will be the first time ever that a federal election debate dealing solely with foreign policy will ever have been held in Canada ….
“Too often, foreign policy issues have been afterthoughts in past federal elections. By holding this debate we will bring greater public scrutiny to bear on the foreign policy prescriptions of the three federal party leaders recognized in Parliament,” explained Rudyard Griffiths, chair of the Munk Debate Forum.
ISIS, Al Qaida, Syrian refugees, terrorist threats, national security, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel-Palestinian dispute, Gaza, Sudan, the UN and American relations … what SHOULD BE Canada’s role/policies/actions in dealing with each?
I believe these are BIG issues for many Canadians … possibly the first time since the Korean War that EXTERNAL issues have occupied such a high profile in Canadian politics.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been taking a LOT of media heat and social activist criticism for going slow on bringing in large numbers of refugees; Tom Mulcair made it very clear this past week the NDP would expedite welcoming 10,000 refugees within WEEKS of an NDP government tasking office AND withdraw ALL Canadian troops from any military role in the fight against ISIS; and, Justin Trudeau said the Liberals would also expedite the bringing in of thousands of refugees (haven’t seen a precise deadline) AND also stop all direct military actions … only do training missions.
These policies illuminate critical differences between the parties on issues that have evoked not just interest and concern among Canadians …but emotion as well.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if this debate draws a larger audience than did the others on what usually is Canadians’ GREATEST concern … the economy!
Can hardly wait to see the results of polls after that one!”