Friendship between nations is based on shared values and mutual interests. But a friend that fails to show up when it matters is no friend at all.

This is the situation that the United States finds itself in with the Trudeau government in Canada. In March 2023, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met in Ottawa and issued a joint statement in which they stated that both leaders’ “highest priority is to protect our citizens and our sovereign territory.” They named specific areas of cooperation, such as in combating violent extremism and cybersecurity.

Canada has failed to take an important step in upholding this commitment. Taking it would impose no cost on Canada. It is a step that the United States has already taken and one that Trudeau and his Cabinet committed to more than five years ago. Yet, without explanation, Trudeau refuses to list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

The situation has become so dire that a bipartisan group of 14 members of Congress took the unusual step of writing to Trudeau to urge his government to follow through with the terrorist designation.

The charge sheet against the IRGC is long. Most recently, as the members of Congress were eager to remind Trudeau, the IRGC enabled the Oct. 7 massacre and is the source of billions in funding and training for groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

But the IRGC is also a source of lethal repression and mafioso-style corruption at home. In 2020 it shot down a civilian airline flight, killing 176 people including many Canadians. The IRGC played a key role in defending the Assad regime in Syria — helping bring about the utter ruin of that country. It was also likely behind the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina. The IRGC’s cyber army regularly attempts to attack U.S. critical infrastructure, and its agents are most likely behind an attempt to kidnap a well-known Iranian American dissident on U.S. soil. And just weeks ago, the IRGC was revealed to be behind a plot to murder two well-known Persian-language TV presenters in London.

The point is beyond dispute: The IRGC engages in and supports terror around the world.

Trudeau knows this. In October 2022, he and the deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, held a press conference in which Freeland explicitly said: “The IRGC leadership are terrorists. The IRGC is a terrorist organization.” Yet, defying logic and good sense, they did not follow through on actually listing the IRGC as a terrorist group.

Why has Canada refused to act in lockstep with its closest ally? Trudeau refuses to answer. His staff occasionally alludes to a very real but entirely solvable concern that a terrorist listing could ensnare lowly conscripts forced to serve in the IRGC as part of Iran’s mandatory military service. But that is not a legitimate reason because an exemption for those who can demonstrate their conscription can easily be written into the law.

A more cynical explanation is that Trudeau simply undervalues the importance of a Western alliance against forces such as the IRGC that have the West firmly in their crosshairs. He began his time in office by seeking to restore ties with Tehran. Those who advised that such outreach would not fix the Iranian regime’s behavior were proved right when an Iranian-Canadian environmentalist was detained in Iran and died under mysterious circumstances in 2018 (and again when the IRGC shot down Ukraine International flight PS752).

Trudeau may also be motivated by electoral politics. Canada’s Muslim population is a growing part of the electorate, and he may be calculating that a tougher line on Iran might be frowned upon by that community. (That is also the likely explanation for Canada’s recent break with Israel and the United States at the United Nations.)

Many Canadians have already called on the prime minister to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. The letter from 14 U.S. representatives was a welcome push, but it is unlikely Trudeau will respond to their entreaties alone.

It, therefore, falls upon the upper echelons of the U.S. government to deliver a stern message to Canada: The IRGC is making North America, and indeed the world, less safe. Listing the IRGC as a terrorist group matters. Trudeau’s failure to act is a betrayal of the close relationship between our two countries, a betrayal that is noticed in Washington.

Source » washingtonexaminer