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How others see us: Canada Day in London’s Trafalgar Square. (LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/AP)
How others see us: Canada Day in London’s Trafalgar Square. (LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/AP)

The Conversation: March 16 letters and other talking points of the week Add to ...

According to former prime minister Jean Chrétien, Canada has lost international stature. Readers, print and digital, suggest that we are seen differently at home and abroad. Where the agreement stops is whether that’s a good thing

I’ve been hearing my whole life how Canada is losing international stature. People in other countries do not really care what Canada thinks.

And that’s perfectly fine, because why should they? Do Canadians spend a lot of time asking themselves, “Gosh, I wonder what Bulgaria’s position on this matter is?” Of course not. Let’s get over ourselves, for God’s sake.

Rick Jones, Burlington, Ont.

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Canada has lost its soul, and respect around the world. We were once counted on for our intelligence and integrity. Now, we are not taken seriously and, for the most part, we are ignored. And that so many have either forgotten or never knew the difference saddens me deeply.

Janet Miller, Vancouver

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I’m a Canadian living in France and I agree that we’ve lost stature. Before, Canadians were happy to carry the Maple Leaf with them. Now, overseas, we hide!

Joseph Cardeira, Paris

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I agree we have lost stature, but what we have lost environmentally perhaps has been somewhat reversed by our economy. However, one cannot eat money.

Don Colby, Midland, Ont.

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The day Canada begins running its affairs with popularity being a goal, this country will begin the march to Third World status, and will succeed in a hurry.

David Waterhouse, Victoria

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Jean Chrétien is absolutely correct in his observation that Canada has lost some of its international stature. One major reason for this is that the Canadian government has adopted a less nuanced policy at the United Nations. In the eyes of the world, this has given us the appearance of being an but echo chamber for our good neighbour to the south. Canadian diplomats can and should play a more constructive role at the UN in addressing international disputes, but this will be possible only if our policies don’t lock us into predetermined, predictable positions.

As to our not winning a seat on the Security Council, a hockey metaphor comes to mind. Just because you don’t score a goal in the first period doesn’t mean you take your team off the ice.

Earl Hansen, Vernon, B.C.

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Jean Chrétien did nothing to enhance Canada’s reputation throughout the world (assuming, if you will, that befriending dictators and despots does not enhance a nation’s reputation).

Since his departure, Canada once again stands proudly in the world as a defender of democracy, the rule of law, freedom of thought and expression and human rights.

C. Bryce Code, Calgary

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Canada used to be a respected middle power that could punch above its weight. No more. People around the world are scratching their heads and thinking, “What happened to Canada?”

David Boult, Stittsville, Ont.

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A lot of delusion is going on here. Canada never has been a major player on the international stage. Just doesn’t have the clout.

Never did.

More than ever, Canada is hobbled by internal dissensions, by massive debt, declining manufacturing, provinces that are virtually bankrupt, a military without equipment, and by lobbyists/activists who wish to strip Canada of making use of its natural resources.

B. Andrew Wilson, Toronto

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People in other countries treat Canada as a joke, they question our environmental record, they ask why we blindly support anything Israel does, and why we continue to push dirty oil instead of greener policies. They also can’t understand why we seem so determined to follow the U.S. in areas such as guns and social issues, and the truth is I don’t know why, either.

Lynn Zimmerman, Cape Breton, N.S.

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Why are the musings of a highly partisan former prime minister concerning Canada’s “lost stature” on the international stage considered front-page news? It would have been more newsworthy if Jean Chrétien had praised the foreign affairs record of the current government.

John Bannerman, Calgary

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I travelled a bit in the past few years; generally, Canadians are well received. Not because of our government but who we are as individuals. I do see that changing as well.

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