“I saw it as being based on the recognition that Washington can’t or won’t lead,” said Paul Heinbecker, a former foreign policy adviser to several Canadian governments who was also the country’s ambassador to the United Nations.
The speech somewhat echoed the remarks by Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, after the NATO summit and Group of 7 meetings in Europe. “The times in which we could rely fully on others — they are somewhat over,” Ms. Merkel said, adding that European countries should “really take our fate into our own hands.”
Still, it is not so simple for Mr. Trudeau’s government to turn its back entirely on the United States. Political, economic and military realities make that impossible, analysts said, despite efforts like a recent free trade agreement with Europe.
“Canadian history is all about talking about it but never being able to escape the United States,” said Greg Anderson, an associate professor of political science at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
But Mr. Anderson said Ms. Freeland’s speech “may have been a shot across the bow, firming things up and saying Canadians need to go a different direction.”
The speech — in which Ms. Freeland never mentioned Mr. Trump’s name — was just the latest evidence of how Canada sees itself in a new light these days.
Both the federal government and provinces are working closely with American cities and states to combat global warming, efforts that have been energized by Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement.
Canada is also reaching out on matters of trade to states like Florida, Indiana and Colorado, for which Canada is their largest export market.
And in her speech, Ms. Freeland said the country aspired to a larger international role in sexual and reproductive health and rights programs for women, after the United States’ retreat from that area.
But these signs of independence came after several months in which Mr. Trudeau and his cabinet rigorously avoided criticizing the president and his policies while also courting his entourage.
Some Canadians thought those efforts sometimes went too far. They point to the time when Mr. Trudeau invited Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, to join him on Broadway for a performance of “Come From Away,” the musical about the embrace by Gander, Newfoundland, of American air travelers stranded by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
But after Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris accord, the tone began to change. Dealing with climate change is a priority for Mr. Trudeau, who worked closely with President Barack Obama on the issue. Neither he nor Ms. Freeland hid disappointment over Mr. Trump’s decision, pointedly noting that it reflected the administration’s stance, not that of Americans in general.
Since the end of World War II, most Canadian governments have viewed international organizations of all kinds and their rules as the most effective counter to superpowers, including the United States. One notable exception were the governments led by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the current prime minister’s father.
The elder Mr. Trudeau preferred dealing with countries directly and was suspicious of international bodies. The Conservative government that Mr. Trudeau’s son dislodged from power in 2015 based its foreign policy on military engagement and judged relations with other nations on how they directly benefited Canadian interests.
At times, Ms. Freeland seemed to be echoing that government’s interest in military might during her speech, a position not previously put forward by her own government.
“It is important to note that when sacrifice was required to support and strengthen the global order — military power, in defense of our principles and our alliances — Canada was there,” Ms. Freeland told the House of Commons.
In her speech, Ms. Freeland noted that Canada had long lived under the military protection of the United States. But she suggested that the country planned to greatly expand its defense capabilities.
“To rely solely on the U.S. security umbrella would make us a client state,” she said. “And although we have an incredibly good relationship with our American friends and neighbors, such a dependence would not be in Canada’s interest.”
A day later, Harjit Sajjan, the defense minister, outlined a program for this expansion. But most analysts said it fell well short of what Ms. Freeland had suggested.
Others also said the foreign minister had promised more than she appeared ready to deliver. As for women’s health issues, “the government decided not to commit a single dollar more to implement this ambitious and bold vision for development,” said Julia Sánchez, a president and chief executive of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, an association of aid groups.
However Ms. Freeland’s statements ultimately translate into action, experts said a world in which the United States was less involved would make things difficult for Canada.
“They’re going to face a very hard time,” said Mr. Heinbecker, the former United Nations ambassador. “The Americans remain our best friends whether we like it or not, and it will remain our most important relationship. But there will be a need now to have diversity.”
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