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Volume 1, Number 1 (Winter 1992/93)

Papers / Articles

Commentary / Commentaires

Canada and the New Internationalism

Barbara MacDougall

As a result of the irreversible erosion of national sovereignty over the last five decades - through globalization and the telecommunications revolution - familiar subjects on the foreign policy agenda such as military security and trade practices have had to make room for new ones such as respect for human rights, good governance, and the advancement of women. The end of the Cold War has accentuated this trend. What is "new" about the "new internationalism" is that it links global and regional security to the domestic issues that were once outside the purview of foreign affairs. Countries today are drawn into each other's internal affairs in ways unimaginable only a few years ago. The key point about the new internationalism is that viable structures for the preservation of peace cannot be established successfully without an understanding of, and respect for, human rights and democratic principles. Over time this means the creation of a new lexicon of international relations in which the terms "non-interference" and "non-intervention" need to be redefined.

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Canadian Foreign Policy: A Liberal Party Perspective

Lloyd Axworthy

The priority of a Liberal foreign policy centres on how to develop a more independent role for Canada and to carve out special niches of opportunity in a world that is becoming more pluralistic. This article presents a Liberal perspective on a number of key issues such as continental free trade, the role of the United Nations (UN), peacekeeping, foreign aid, and the democratization of the foreign policy-making process. It argues that comprehensive multilateral and bilateral initiatives throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America would create more social and economic renewal than the North American Free Trade Agreement. The article emphasizes the Liberal's commitment to make the cause of a reformed, strengthened UN the watchword of Canadian foreign policy in the 1990s. It points out that as the UN moves into a broader mandate of peacemaking, both the statutory and operational capacities of the world organization must be enhanced. The article also states that there is growing disillusionment with the way Canada's aid program is managed and delivered. The final thrust of a Liberal foreign policy would be to democratize Canada's foreign policy by, among other things, allowing Parliament to become a full partner in debating and approving Canada's international intitiatives.

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Justice and Human Rights: Inspiring Canadian Foreign Policy in the 1990s

Svend Robinson

The New Democratic Party (NDP) has called for fundamental changes in national foreign policy priorities to reflect an unwavering commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes; a recognition in a world of global economic injustice of the imperative of redistribution of wealth and power; respect for the rights of women, indigenous peoples, and all minorities; and dedication to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The article presents a number of prescriptions. For example, since the United Nations is playing a more important role than ever, and given its financial difficulties, it should be given the ability to borrow funds internationally. In the post-Cold War, the article points out that Canada should take the lead in pushing for tighter controls on international arms sales, the creation of an international arms registry and, domestically, that it should create a Defence Conversion office. The NDP advocates a Canadian defence policy based on peacekeeping, the maintenance of sovereignty, search and rescue and disaster relief. It does not see the need for a permanent Canadian military base in Europe. On global economic justice, in addition to advocating increased debt relief the NDP would establish a permanent advisory board of NGOs active in international human rights and development fields.

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Crisis and Opportunity in the Republic of Georgia

Neil MacFarlane

This paper describes how the crisis in the Republic of Georgia is multifaceted, embracing intercommunal relations, the economy, legal structure and process, foreign policy, and the state itself. These dimensions of the crisis are not autonomous, but interact perversely. The paper argues that although foreign assistance should not be considered a panacea for the multiplicity of mainly domestic economic, political and security problems facing Georgia, neither should it be discounted as a means to alleviate some of the most compelling concerns such as feeding the population, establishing some government control, legitimizing the state, and negotiating a political settlement among the warring ethnic communities. It is both in Canada's interests and within in its means to play a role in helping to resolve some of Georgia's current difficulties. On the international side, with the power vacuum in the Caucasus opened by the disintegration of the USSR, efforts by Canada and other Western states to underline their support for Georgian territorial integrity may assist in moderating Russian behaviour in the Caucasus and also limit the negative implications of the spillover of the interethnic conflicts in Georgia to Turkey and Iran.

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Straight Talk on Why Canada Needs to Reform its Trade Development System

Andrew Griffith

Canada is a trading nation. Yet it is not a nation of traders. Seventy per cent of Canadian companies do not export; fewer than 100 firms account for 70 percent of Canada's export trade. Nearly 100 years of government services and programs to encourage trade has not changed the paradox of a trading nation bereft of a trading culture. This paper argues that in light of the changinginternational business environment, trade development will need to become more sophisticated in developing linkages to domestic competitiveness and addressing market access issues. The Canadian government's fiscal restraint should be viewed as an opportunity to re-evaluate the services currently provided by the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) and the nature of Canada's trade development programs, with a view to making both more effective and focused. The findings suggest that programs and services should be designed to reduce dependence on government support rather than entrench it; that access to programs and activities will need to become more selective and differentiated; and that current resources and activities are over concentrated in mature markets with diminishing marginal rates of return. Future programs will need to question universal access to government programs and services, enhanced linkages to the basic competitiveness of Canadian companies, and greater devolution of program delivery.

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Challenging Canada's International Business Paradox: A Private Sector Perspective

Tim Reid

Canadians have become increasingly conscious of the international marketplace's role in the shaping of the domestic economy. However, in meeting this competitive challenge a number of troubling paradoxes have come to light: (1) although Canada is an advanced industrialized country its share in world trade has dropped precipitously in the last two decades; (2) Canada is reported to lead industrialized countries in trade promotion expenditures, yet its per dollar return is among the lowest; and (3) in an export dependent economy three out of ten Canadian exporters do not use the trade services available to them. According to this paper these circumstances call for a better integration and co-ordination among federal, provincial, and private sector trade development efforts to avoid overlap, and the need for an enhanced program of export awareness and education, particularly for small and new-to-export companies. In certain areas, such as on a proposed Canadian International Commerce Board and in traditional markets, this paper argues that it makes sense for the Canadian private sector and public sector to explore pilot projects on an experimental basis in the delivery of trade services.

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Zone of Uncertainty: Canada and the Security Architecture of Asia Pacific

Stewart Henderson

The Cold War in Asia and the Pacific was waged through an untidy set of bilateral relationships, but in the post-Cold War and in the absence of European-style alliances this region has beem left with few building blocks to reorient its security structures. This paper describes how in spite of this inauspicious environment, Canada and a number of other countries and regional organizations (Russia, South Korea, Mongolia, Australia, Japan, the United States, ASEAN) have made proposals - some more successful than others - and taken initiatives to improve the security architecture in Asia Pacific. The Canadian contribution to this search for increased regional stability was introduced in 1990 as the North Pacific CooperativeSecurity Dialogue. The focus of this proposal was not to transplant European models or institutions but to encourage the acceptance of a broader definition of security - co-operative security - in regional dialogue.

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Trade, the Environment and Competitiveness

Jean Charest

In Canada, of all countries, there is no conflict between trade and environment objectives. In fact, both are but components of Canada's broader national objective, sustainable development, a concept which encompasses a healthy, prosperous, competitive economy, and high and increasing levels of environmental quality. The article asserts that while in principle protection of the environment and increased trade are fully compatible, in practice some frictions do emerge between the two. These frictions arise because world economies are becoming increasingly interdependent through trade, and because governments around the world are increasingly recognizing both the importance of high levels of environmental quality, and the interdependence of their environments. The challenge, therefore, is to ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account in developing and implementing trade rules and policy, and that trade considerations are taken into account in developing and implementing environmental policy. The article highlights the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with its strong commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection and enforcement, as an important step forward in dealing with trade and the environment. It asserts that NAFTA in fact puts Canada, the United States, and Mexico out ahead of the international community in coming to grips with some of the trade and environment issues currently being examined in international fora such as the OECD and the GATT.

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