Just plane embarrassing

Canada’s delegation to the G20 Summit is finally on its way back home after proving that in this country, no one is safe from flight delays. 

Driving the news: Prime Minister Trudeau and his squad spent two extra nights in New Delhi after a technical issue left the 36-year-old government-issued plane grounded, necessitating a rescue plane to be sent. Jeez, didn’t Joe Biden have some spare room on Air Force One to help them out? 

  • It’s not the first time Canada’s aged fleet of Airbus jets have sputtered. Canadian delegations have been left grounded on previous occasions in 2016 and 2019.

In July, the government announced that it signed a $3.6-billion deal with Airbus to replace its fleet with a mix of nine new and used jets. They are expected to come into service sometime this fall (though two of them will be lacking the PM’s traditional VIP section). 

Why it matters: Just like the ongoing saga over what to do with the PM’s decrepit official residence, plane mishaps are bad optics for Canada. No country is going to see an old plane as a reason not to work with Canada, but it’s still not a great look.

  • Canada’s former Ambassador to the UN, Louise Blaise, recently wrote in an op-ed that it’s become “accepted as a fact,” even at Global Affairs Canada, that the country “has lost influence on the world stage.”

Zoom out: The take-off trouble was an all-too-fitting ending for Canada’s rocky showing at the G20 Summit. Coming off of stalled trade talks, Trudeau and Indian PM Narendra Modi shared a super uncomfy meeting where Modi complained about Canada’s handling of Sikh separatist protests, and Trudeau brought up Indian interference in Canadian affairs.—QH