Peter C. Newman’s column in today’s Nat Post (subscription required) provides a useful though not entirely illuminating nor critical account of Paul Martin’s internationalism, which in many ways sounds even more loony than that of Michael Ignatieff (and here):
What Martin had in mind was nothing less than spearheading the move toward a limited form of world government. His ambitions recognized few limits. He once confided to me that he wanted to duplicate internationally, especially in the underdeveloped world, what we do domestically, including a global system of equalization payments, free education up to the high school level, the formation of global instead of national health care and a universal banking system.
He saw the world as his canvas, which helps explain his ardent globe-trotting since he’s taken office. Under his government, Mr. Martin vowed, the future would not be merely an extension of the past, but a brave new world of possibilities. “The nation state,” he proclaimed in the privacy of my living room, “has evolved into a new kind of entity which has suffered a substantial loss of sovereignty. Central governments such as Canada’s have become too small to deal with the big, global problems, yet they remain too large and distant to deal with local concerns. So the challenge is to reduce the role of Ottawa to doing a limited number of things well, instead of continuing to pretend it can do everything for everybody.”
So Paul Martin wants to use the United Nations to refashion the world in the image of the Liberal Party of Canada. Newman’s not critical of the ideal, but is sufficiently aware of its, um, lack of realism:
I will be fascinated if any of Paul Martin’s idealistic intentions survive his foreign policy review. But I’m not holding my breath.