Canada is a vast country with rich natural resources. For decades it has relied on global trade and a stable international order to prosper. As Canada heads to polls on the 21st of October, it finds itself with challenges at home and abroad that could bring significant changes to the idea of what Canada is. Its more powerful and influential neighbour to the south, the United States, is in turmoil with divisive politics and unpredictable changes to its foreign policy. Relations with Canada’s second biggest trading partner, China, have hit a low with the controversy involving the telecoms company Huawei. Meanwhile, at home, the country is trying to reconcile its relationship with the oil and gas industries with its leadership on the environment. Canada has been at the forefront of global humanitarian efforts, including accepting large numbers of refugees from Syria, but at the same time it faces discontent over immigration and integration. So what does this election mean for Canada? Do the debates over immigration and indigenous rights require a fresh look at the values that Canadians have taken for granted for decades? Is it time for Canada to redefine its foreign policy and trade priorities in light of a rising China? And what should its relations be with a changing United States? Julian Worricker and guests discuss Canada at a crossroads.
Does the US have a Syria plan?
Following a late evening phone conversation with the president of Turkey, President Trump approved the Turkish decision to send troops in parts of Syria that are now controlled by American backed Kurdish forces. He said that it is time for the US troops to be pulled out. The announcement caught America’s allies by surprise, and the president’s supporters off guard. The move is seen as a major shift in the US policy which, critics say, will embolden Iran and Russia and might even help the Islamic State group to bounce back. They say the absence of US support will put Kurdish forces - America’s strongest ally in the region - in a vulnerable position and expose them to Turkish attacks. There is also concern about the fate of the thousands of ISIS prisoners held by the Kurds. But this is not the first time president Trump has expressed a desire to end American involvement in Syria. So what exactly is president Trump’s policy towards Syria? Will a US pull-out be a betrayal of its allies in the region? Will it open up new front lines and a return of ISIS? And where does it leave America’s standing in the Middle East? Paul Henley and guests discuss president Trump’s endgame for Syria.
Is impeachment a fair process?
In the United States, the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump - only the fourth president to face such an investigation - has become the most talked about issue in Washington. At the centre of it is a phone conversation in which president Trump allegedly solicited the help of the Ukrainian president to undermine a political rival. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the Democratic Party controlled lower house of Congress, says that it had to initiate the impeachment investigation because it could not "ignore what the president did". But is there such a thing as a fair and objective way to impeach a president? How important is the court of public opinion and what do events say about America's political divide? Plus, what are the lessons from history? Paul Henley and a panel of expert guests discuss what it takes and what stands in the way of removing an American president from office.
(Photo: A demonstrator showing support for an impeachment hearing in New York. Credit: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Can China tame Hong Kong?
This week China marks the 70th anniversary of its founding. The great fanfare playing out across the country could be overshadowed by events in the southern territory of Hong Kong, which is part of China but maintains separate judicial and economic freedoms. For months, people there have been taking to the streets every weekend to rally against a controversial extradition bill. These protests have turned into a movement calling for full democracy, and an investigation into allegations of police brutality during the protests. The embattled government of Hong Kong initially shelved and later withdrew the bill. This has not quelled the unrest. The Chinese government has reacted angrily, but it has stepped back from deploying troops. So where do the two sides stand and how will the scenarios play out? Is the standoff just about democracy or a broader series of issues - from wealth inequality to identity? Can Beijing calm the situation without the use of force? And could these protests inspire movements in other parts of China? Celia Hatton and an expert panel of guests discuss the protests and what they say about the rapidly evolving relationship between Hong Kong and China.
Russia's Africa doctrine
In October thousands of delegates are expected to arrive in the Russian resort of Sochi for an extraordinary gathering. It will be the first ever conference between Russia and the countries of Africa. President Putin is due to hold meetings with African heads of state to discuss Russia's ties to the continent. Russia is rekindling links with Africa that existed during the Cold War and creating new partnerships with countries which, in the past, had closer ties to the West. Some have already accepted Moscow's military support while others have signed energy and mining deals with Russian companies. So what is Russia's Africa doctrine? Are these budding relationships more about business or diplomacy? What do African nations gain by moving closer to Russia? And, is Moscow trying to join a race that, in fact has already been won by Beijing? Julian Marshall and a panel of expert guests discuss Russia’s future in Africa.