(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep.
When it comes to Canada’s role on the world stage, the Trudeau government has been quietly siding with the world’s worst tyrants and human rights abusers.
A new report from the independent watchdog group UN Watch issued a scathing report this week on Canada’s voting record at the United Nations.
“Canada broke with the free world and joined Syria, Iran and North Korea by voting ‘no’ on eight separate measures that sought to hold Cuba accountable for widespread human rights violations,” read the report.
On issues of basic rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, workers rights, and political freedoms, Canada failed to join other Western liberal democracies in condemning Cuba.
Instead, our diplomats sided with the oppressive communist regime.
Trudeau’s representatives even failed to join a motion calling for gender equity in Cuba.
When the world’s top male feminist shies away from an opportunity to lecture others on gender, you know something’s not right.
And it isn’t just at the UN that the Trudeau government has shamelessly ignored abuse and sided with Cuba.
Over the past year-and-a-half, mysterious “sonic attacks” have been waged against Canadian and American diplomats and their families in Havana, leaving many with brain injuries and symptoms like gushing nose-bleeds, intense nausea and incapacitating headaches.
Both countries recalled injured diplomatic staff, but while the U.S. has loudly and openly been investigating these attacks and condemning Cuba, Canada has remained silent.
The victims recently spoke out about their treatment in a Globe and Mail report, revealing that the Trudeau government failed to acknowledge their concerns or protect their safety.
“We did not expect to be abandoned, or more precisely, sacrificed – that’s how we’re feeling now,” one said.
According to the Globe report, several diplomats agree that the Trudeau government “considers it strategically important to maintain a comparatively close relationship with Cuba’s Communist regime, for trade and political reasons.”
Trade? Cuba is a poor country with a planned economy; most Cuban businesses are owned and operated by the communist government and its rogue military.
Canadians who visit Cuba may not realize it, but Cuba’s hotel industry is run almost entirely to benefit its military. Your tourism dollars are going towards guns and bullets used to persecute political prisoners and kill innocent people.
And when it comes to Canada’s trade partners, Cuba ranks 47th on the list of countries importing Canadian products.
So why is Canada going out of its way to befriend a military dictatorship?
According to the anonymous diplomat interviewed by the Globe, the Trudeau government doesn’t want to upset Cuba “because of Canada’s bid for a UN Security Council seat.”
In other words, the Trudeau government is so desperate to be part of the UN in-crowd — a group of corrupt, elitist, power-hungry bureaucrats — that it’s willing to sacrifice on core Canadian principles.
When ruthless dictator Fidel Castro finally died in 2016, most Cubans celebrated. I was reporting from Little Havana in Miami where thousands of Cubans gathered to dance, sing and show their support for freedom and reform in Cuba.
Justin Trudeau, by contrast, issued a tone-deaf statement praising Castro, calling him a “larger than life leader” and spreading propaganda about his record as Cuba’s long-standing dictator.
Trudeau’s strange affinity for Cuba, and his willingness to turn a blind eye to Cuba’s repeated belligerence, is a disgrace to all Canadians.
Candice Malcolm is the Founder of the True North Initiative