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Michael Higgins: With 'true friends' like Canada, Japan doesn't need enemies

Opinion by Michael Higgins  9h ago

“Japan is Canada’s partner, ally and friend,” Justin Trudeau told Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last week.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida listens to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a news conference in Ottawa on Jan. 12, 2023. in Ottawa.© Provided by National Post

They were empty words from a hollow man.

“Canada and Japan have a deep relationship,” said Trudeau. “But now more than ever we understand that this relationship is not just about being friendly but being the very best of friends.”

Being best friends with Trudeau means being lectured by the prime minister on decarbonization and the wonderful world of net zero. Being an ally and a partner means not helping Japan wean itself off the natural gas being supplied by the tyrannical Vladimir Putin.

“The world is a tough place right now. But it’s good to know that we can count on our good and true friends to get through this together,” said Trudeau with a cherubic smile and a tone-deaf attitude.

Like German Chancellor Olaf Scholz last year, Kishida came looking for a commitment on liquid natural gas (LNG) exports and instead got a short speech, a pat on the back and the bum’s rush.

Foreign affairs has always been a blind spot for the prime minister. Trudeau is so obsessed with his own ideologies that he ignores the bigger global picture.

Japan is the second largest natural gas importer in the world, with Russia supplying about 10 per cent of that. If Japan could find a friend to reliably supply it with, say, LNG, it would have global repercussions. Such a move would free up other global supplies of natural gas that could then be shipped to Europe to stop those countries from having to import energy from Russia.

With Russia supplying 40 per cent of the natural gas consumed by Europe, it means Putin can hold the continent hostage.out with Kishida was trade — and yes, trade is important — and how the world was moving “aggressively” toward decarbonizing.

However, it’s not just the world moving aggressively. While Putin threatens nuclear armageddon, Trudeau talks batteries.

Japan had “high expectations,” according to sources, that Canada could supply LNG. But Trudeau made no firm commitment and refused to answer a question about whether he would increase LNG exports to Japan from a new facility being built in British Columbia.

In an interview last year during a visit to Canada, Nobuhiko Sasaki, chairman of the Japan External Trade Organization, said energy was now a vital concern for Japan.

“After the war in Ukraine, energy has become a very important subject. Canada is full of abundant energy resources and natural resources, so collaboration between Japanese companies with energy industries in this country is also very important,” he said.

“We are, from an energy point of view, very fragile. So how to secure energy security by importing those resources is quite a big issue for the Japanese government, for the Japanese people.”

Not only is Trudeau deaf to such pleas, he doesn’t even listen to the voices within Canada.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith sent a letter to Trudeau before Kishida’s visit urging him to promote the province’s ability to supply natural gas to Japan.

“Our unparalleled energy resources, commitment to emissions reduction and historical connections with Japan position us to be a key contributor to Japan’s efforts to diversify its LNG supply to one that is responsibly developed by a key ally,” she wrote, according to The Canadian Press.

In a press conference with Kishida, Trudeau gave a shoutout to Toronto and Saskatchewan but was silent on Alberta, showing that he can equally ignore his “friends” both at home and abroad.

LNG can be a powerful weapon against the excesses of Putin. With it, Canada has the capability to play a leading role in global affairs, to help allies and friends, and make a principled stand.

But the world stage has always been too big for Trudeau; it is a theatre where he has embarrassed himself more often than he has triumphed. And now the prime minister has chosen indifference over the chance to make a difference. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Trudeau has combined a passionate lust for power with a curious impotence in its exercise.

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Author of the article:
Tristin Hopper
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