Canada was excluded from a new defense agreement between the United States, Australia and the UK, which was announced on 15 September.
According to a White House statement, dubbed AUKUS, the agreement seeks to “deepen diplomatic, security and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region”.
Party leaders were asked about the deal as they campaigned in different parts of Canada in the last week before the election.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau downplayed Canada’s exit from the deal during a campaign stop in Montreal on 16 September.
“We remain a strong member of Five Eyes, and continue to share information and security perspectives with our allies,” Trudeau said, when asked whether Canada would lose in terms of defense intelligence if it were part of the coalition. Not there.
Trudeau said the deal was primarily about Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear submarines, as the country is increasingly nervous about China’s ambitions in its backyard.
“This is a deal for nuclear submarines, for which Canada is not currently or soon to be in the market; Australia is,” Trudeau said.
“That’s what we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that we are keeping ourselves safe, that we stand up against the challenges posed by China.”
According to the White House, the AUKUS agreement will see Australia, the UK and the United States share information and technology, including the integration of “science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains related to security and defence”.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole reprimanded Trudeau for his failure to join the coalition despite standing as a member of Canada’s Five-Eyes, an intelligence alliance that includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the United States. Huh.
“This is yet another example that Mr Trudeau is not taken seriously by our friends and colleagues around the world,” O’Toole said during a campaign stop in St. John’s, New Brunswick, on September 16.
“It’s another big gathering of our closest allies that Mr Trudeau is not even given a call.”
He said Canada has become “irrelevant” under Trudeau’s leadership.
O’Toole said he would contact other leaders of the AUKUS coalition to push for Canada’s membership in the treaty if elected.
“We need to be part of those discussions,” he said, referring to the defense dialogue as well as discussions on global trade, security, cyber security, human rights and other issues affecting Canada.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh accused Trudeau of missing an opportunity to pressure China to release Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians who have been detained in China for more than 1000 days.
“Canada should have been part of the agreement,” Singh said. “This agreement seems like a potential opportunity to apply more pressure, but Canada was absent.”
With files from the Canadian Press
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times