Trump, Trudeau and the Rules-Based Order

Jan 29, 2019 | Event Summary

Colin Robertson began his discussion briefing the crowd on Canada’s historic role in NATO, the Canada Europe trade agreement and illuminated the international systems which govern our lives and governance.

These systems, Robertson says, are still under construction and need to be altered/modernized.

Robertson spoke about the problematic nature of liberal countries like Canada believing their ideologies of democracy are right, that the way we do things is the only right way in terms of governance.

He also outlined the issues that come with pushing this agenda on countries who have never been receptive.

A prevalent theme throughout the night was the idea that trust in institutions has been lost.
‘People place a lot less trust in governments, church, big business, economic institutions and more’.

Robertson elaborated that it was this factor that played a significant role in Trump’s election.

His election was ‘in a sense voicing the angst that Americans felt from economic depressions and the institutions they felt were failing them’.

Robertson noted that the forces that brought Trump to power aren’t going away.

This sense of populism and fascism breaking through is growing and we are now seeing manifestations of this in Canada. ‘We see it linked in Brexit and in France with the Yellow Jackets protests’.

In tying up his remarks, Robertson posed the important question: What do we do?

He outlined three major issues for Canada: trade, climate and security, stating that to get out of the mess we are in we need a collective effort.

We were left with an optimistic statement that ‘true democracies need to bind together and work with like minded countries, and if we do, we can change things for the better, for the future.’

Robertson received grateful applause and many comments in the room echoed the appreciation for his sharing his expertise in this area.

Several questions were posed around climate change, right fascist movements in eastern Europe and Canada’s role as a potential leader.