Post a question on Canada's role in the world for Axworthy, Granatstein and myself to discuss

This Tuesday, February 19th, the Globe and Mail will be hosting an online discussion/Q&A with myself, Lloyd Axworthy and Jack Granatstein. In the lead up to this event each of us was asked to write an opinion piece outlining what our vision for Canada’s role in the world.

This discussion will not be like the Globe’s regular one-hour live discussions. Rather, it’s a question-and-answer session. If you are interested in submitting a question, please submit it before 5 p.m. EST today. Answers will be posted no later than 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday. You can submit questions on Tuesday, or in advance, here.

Axworthy’s opinion piece was published on Saturday and can be read here. Granatstein’s was published today and can be read here. My own piece can be read here.

This event was organized by the Globe and Mail and Canada’s World – a national citizens’ dialogue on international policy. You may also be interested in checking out this poll, conducted by the Environics institute.

8 thoughts on “Post a question on Canada's role in the world for Axworthy, Granatstein and myself to discuss

  1. Canadian Tar Heel

    Hi David,

    I appreciated your op-ed in addition to those of Lloyd Axworthy and Jack Granatstein.

    Sadly, however, I grew pessimistic as I read the ensuing discussion. It appears that we do not have a coherent grand strategy (N.B.: If the government has one, it isn’t saying) and that Canadians find it difficult to establish a positive approach. Two recurring themes got in the way of constructive debate – a preoccupation with the US and Canadian myth.

    First, the fixation with the US and American foreign policy frustrates our ability to truly craft a stratagem based on our national interests. On one side, Axworthy defines the Canadian position in the negative, as in how we differ from the US. And on the other, Granatstein stresses the importance of coming to grips with reality regarding our limitations and America’s dominant position. While one may acknowledge their respective points, their remarks suggest putting the cart before the horse.

    Should we not determine what Canada’s interests and goals are before we determine if they’re similar to those of the US, and before we attempt to anticipate how Americans will respond?

    Second, myth clouds the debate, making it difficult to understand Canadian history and to determine our role in today’s world. Examples from the discussion are too numerous to reproduce here. But the topics of peacekeeping and deference to the UN arose several times.

    Does Canada need a reality check (ie, to engage in greater self-criticism and in myth debunking) in order to move forward?

    Reply
  2. Canadian Tar Heel

    Hi David,I appreciated your op-ed in addition to those of Lloyd Axworthy and Jack Granatstein.Sadly, however, I grew pessimistic as I read the ensuing discussion. It appears that we do not have a coherent grand strategy (N.B.: If the government has one, it isn’t saying) and that Canadians find it difficult to establish a positive approach. Two recurring themes got in the way of constructive debate – a preoccupation with the US and Canadian myth. First, the fixation with the US and American foreign policy frustrates our ability to truly craft a stratagem based on our national interests. On one side, Axworthy defines the Canadian position in the negative, as in how we differ from the US. And on the other, Granatstein stresses the importance of coming to grips with reality regarding our limitations and America’s dominant position. While one may acknowledge their respective points, their remarks suggest putting the cart before the horse. Should we not determine what Canada’s interests and goals are before we determine if they’re similar to those of the US, and before we attempt to anticipate how Americans will respond?Second, myth clouds the debate, making it difficult to understand Canadian history and to determine our role in today’s world. Examples from the discussion are too numerous to reproduce here. But the topics of peacekeeping and deference to the UN arose several times.Does Canada need a reality check (ie, to engage in greater self-criticism and in myth debunking) in order to move forward?

    Reply
  3. David Eaves Post author

    Hi Tar Heel,

    I agree about the preoccupation with the United States – something I tried to touch on in my initial response to the other two pieces.

    I feel like Granatstein did a fine job in poking holes in some myths. In addition, I think many of the “myths” around Canadian foreign policy have been prodded a fair bit – I’ve certainly made an effort or two.

    Reply
  4. David Eaves

    Hi Tar Heel,I agree about the preoccupation with the United States – something I tried to touch on in my initial response to the other two pieces.I feel like Granatstein did a fine job in poking holes in some myths. In addition, I think many of the “myths” around Canadian foreign policy have been prodded a fair bit – I’ve certainly made an effort or two.

    Reply
  5. Brenton

    Well done on the Globe, David. I think that the three of you were all quite close on the issues, and that it’s mainly the semantics of the approaches that are significantly different.

    As an aside: How do you see this type of foreign policy discussion relate to your involvement with Vision Vancouver. What role, if any, do you see civic governments playing in foreign policy decisions?

    Reply
  6. Brenton

    Well done on the Globe, David. I think that the three of you were all quite close on the issues, and that it’s mainly the semantics of the approaches that are significantly different.As an aside: How do you see this type of foreign policy discussion relate to your involvement with Vision Vancouver. What role, if any, do you see civic governments playing in foreign policy decisions?

    Reply

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