Governor-General off on costly sightseeing junket
Government News Release, March 14, 2022
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, will travel to the Middle East for working visits from March 17 to 23, 2022.
The Governor General will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Kuwait. In each of these three countries, she will meet with Canada’s ambassadors, Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to the region,
as well as heads of state and other senior leaders of the three countries to strengthen our bilateral relations. In these times of uncertainty around the world, bolstering relationships between countries is of utmost priority.
While in the UAE, the Governor General will represent Canada and be a guest of honour at Canada’s National Day at Expo 2020, in Dubai. Her Excellency’s attendance at Expo 2020 will help promote Canadian leadership, innovation, and opportunities throughout all sectors of society while highlighting the importance of collaboration across countries and cultures.
During her visits, Her Excellency will take the opportunity to thank the governments of the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait for their pivotal role in evacuating Canadians and Afghans from Kabul since August, as part of global evacuation efforts from Afghanistan. While in Kuwait, in her capacity as Commander-in-Chief of Canada, she will also tour Camp Canada at the Ali Al Salem Air Base, where she will meet with members of the Canadian Armed Forces stationed in the country in support of Operation IMPACT. In Qatar, Her Excellency will meet with Canadian Armed Forces personnel stationed at the Al-Udeid Air Base.
This will be Her Excellency’s second visit abroad since becoming Governor General of Canada.
“Her Excellency’s visit to the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait will help reinforce Canada’s commitment to strengthening our relations with allies and partners globally amidst uncertain times. Her participation at Expo 2020 will also showcase Canadian culture on the world stage and her visit to Camp Canada will help demonstrate our support for our Canadian Armed Forces members, no matter where they serve,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
- Canada and the UAE have a broad and deep relationship focused on building prosperity for both societies, strengthening regional and global security, and contributing to economic and social development in third countries, including empowering women and girls.
- While its opening was originally planned in Dubai for October 2020, Expo 2020 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It boasts the most participating countries in Expo history, with 192 – each with their own pavilion. Canada’s National Day at the Expo is March 19, 2022.
- Canada and Qatar have enjoyed uninterrupted diplomatic relations since 1974. The Gulf state is an important security partner and diplomatic actor in the region.
- Qatar hosts the U.S. military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) at Al-Udeid Air Base in Doha, including Canadian Armed Forces personnel who are supporting the Global Coalition against Daesh.
- Canada and Kuwait have enjoyed strong bilateral ties since diplomatic relations were established in 1965. Our two countries share common views and interests in several areas, including peace and security, humanitarian affairs, and trade and investment.
- Kuwait houses hundreds of members of Canadian Armed Forces personnel at the Ali Al Salem Air Base. Home to Camp Canada, the air base is the centre for Operation IMPACT.
The Way I see it – It is difficult to imagine a larger waste than this taxpayer-funded junket. According to the National Defence website, our current NATO contingent in Operation Impact is 17 CAF personnel as of November 2020, and the operation is due to expire on March 31, 2022.
We are ‘extras’ in the Middle East play. We have 850 CAF members eligible to serve in Operation Impact, but as of November 2020 only had 2% on the ground. No wonder NATO and our allies look at us sideways. Our GG will advise another one-year extension of our commitment to the operation. That pretty much sums up our position on the world stage – all talk and minimal action.
The notion that Canada can help the UAE in building prosperity is hilarious. Only about 11% of UAE residents are citizens – the remainder are foreign workers. It is one of the wealthiest nations on earth.
Qatar is another nation with about 11.6% of residents citizens. The remainder are foreign workers. The main reason for the visit is an homage to the American base where our tiny contingent of NATO forces is housed.
Kuwait has about 1/3 of its population as citizens. It also has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. There are no hundreds of CAF personnel stationed there. See the lead paragraph above.
All three are Muslim sheikhdoms and significant crude oil and natural gas exporters. Rather than cozying up to middle east oil interests, we need to be developing our domestic oil and gas sector. We also need to make our commitments to NATO more than illusionary .
Our GG should be visiting the hinterlands of eastern and western Canada and make peace where it counts.