Trudeau and the leaders of the Group of Seven gathered together to plan a path back to “normal”
It wasn’t until the jet plane lifted off that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau traveled to the UK for the G7 summit — his first trip abroad since the pandemic broke out — that really felt strange.
This is no stranger to the reporters who gathered at CFB Uplands on the outskirts of Ottawa this morning to board the Prime Minister’s transatlantic flight. Mandatory masks, temperature checks, health issues, social distancing, and ubiquitous hand disinfection stations in the hangar of the air force base are now part of daily life-routine and barely accepted. Even the sight of the flight crew wearing the mask did not seem out of place.
But what shocks anyone who travels by air now is empty The sky seems. Normally, there will be the hustle and bustle of commercial traffic and jet planes coming and going. On the contrary, the sky above the high ground was very quiet this morning, with a straight taxiing and taking off.
Looking down, the streets of Ottawa are also empty, still in the morning rush hour.
On the one hand, Prime Minister Trudeau’s arrival in the UK today for the G7 summit (he will attend the NATO summit next week) provides a comforting sign that things are returning to normal.
On the other hand, it is a clear reminder of how far Canada and the rest of the world have to go to regain what was lost due to the pandemic.
Overcoming COVID-19 and establishing a resilient economic recovery is a challenge for the world’s major democracies as their representatives met on Friday in Cabis Bay on the picturesque southwest coast of Cornwall.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who presided over the event, said that reviving the dying world economy will be the most important task facing Western countries in the post-pandemic era.
After the United States announced that it would purchase 5 billion doses of Pfizer vaccine for distribution to countries in need, discussions on an agreement to share the COVID vaccine with the world are quickly becoming one of the most anticipated informal items on the agenda.
A senior government official who spoke in the background said that Canada is expected to make some comments on this topic.
The foreign policy discussions between leaders on Saturday are expected to revolve around how to deal with the issue of a stronger China.
G7 is facing calls from inside and outside the group to develop a more organized approach to Beijing and its series of democratic, social and economic challenges.
In light of China’s recent suppression of democracy and freedom in this former British colony, some observers, such as Cherie Wong, executive director of the Hong Kong Alliance of Canada, would like to see a firmer stance.
“I want to see Canada and our G7 allies take a coordinated approach, both in terms of sanctions and in formulating a unified strategy for China,” Wong said.
“What China has done in history is to isolate a country and bully it. So we need to unite with our allies, not just in the G7, but the G7 is a good starting point.”
The administration of US President Joe Biden has made a coalition of like-minded democracies to combat Chinese aggression as a priority. Huang said that next, sanctions must be imposed on China for alleged human rights violations involving Uyghurs and Hong Kong people.
Chinese President Xi Jinping may have noticed that the wind is blowing, and recently proposed to show the world a friendlier and gentler foreign policy outlook.
Gordon Holden, honorary director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, said it was no coincidence that Xi Jinping made a statement on the eve of the G7 summit.
“They know the diplomatic calendar and the leadership calendar very well,” Holden said. “I don’t think this timing is accidental.
“I don’t think this kind of thinking is driven by the G7 agenda. I think it will be there for a while. But the fact is not only they are talking, but they are publishing about Xi Jinping and he added that the leadership is considering the cusp of G7, And expressed the hope to resist “the momentum of alliance.”