Canada's Foreign Policy

Federal Governments Position Summary ( )

Influence depends increasingly on the strength of economic relations, while security issues, some of a new order, continue to challenge us.

Canada, thus, is in a privileged position to influence change and to benefit from opportunities as we move toward the end of the twentieth century. The Government will exercise that influence responsibly to protect and promote Canada's values and interests in the world.

In response to Canadians' aspirations and to meet the challenges of an evolving world, the Government will pursue foreign policy to achieve three key objectives:

The promotion of prosperity and employment is at the heart of the Government's agenda. International markets present tremendous opportunities for Canadians: we can compete with the best in the world. In order to assist Canadians to do so, the Government will work to build a supportive domestic economic policy framework; to gain access for our goods and services abroad; to reinforce an open, fair and predictable set of rules governing international trade and investment; and to provide means to ensure that Canadian firms are able to take advantage of opportunities abroad. The Government will also work to reinforce global prosperity. When other parts of the world prosper, we benefit in many ways. Prosperity helps to anchor international stability and enables progress towards sustainable development.

The promotion of global peace as the key to protecting our security remains a central element of our foreign policy. Stability and security are prerequisites for economic growth and development. However, the threats to security now are more complex than before. A whole range of issues that transcend borders - including mass migration, crime, disease, environmental degradation, overpopulation, and underdevelopment - have peace and security implications at the regional or global level. Our own security, including our economic security, is increasingly dependent on the security of others. More than ever, the forces of globalization, technological development, and the scale of human activity, reinforce our fundamental interdependence with the rest of the world.

The projection of Canadian values and culture is important to its success in the world. Successful promotion of our values - respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and the environment - will make an important contribution to international security in the face of new threats to stability. Acceptance of such values abroad will help safeguard the quality of life at home. Vitality of our culture is also essential to our economic success. In the new knowledge-based world economy, the skills of people, their education, ingenuity and social adaptability, will become key elements of international advantage. Our educational system, cultural diversity and continued dynamic growth in exports of cultural products and services will contribute significantly to our international achievement.

Canadian Studies Program from Mount Allison has a number of sites worth visiting

Canada's Place in the World:


The Changing International Environment
The Emergence of Canada's Political Profile
Civility as a Foreign Policy Principle

Outline of a Civil Foreign Policy

Peace and Arms Control
Bilateral Enclave: US-Canadian relations

Foreign Policy as Identity Policy
The Importance of Culture in Canadian Foreign Policy

From 1945 to 1990 Canada's foreign policy relating to security was applied to state security and the security of states was predicated on the existence of some threat to territorial sovereignty.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s the issue of security was examined.  Central questions:

  1. The National Defence budget
  2. Recognition of non-military sources of instability in the economic, social, humanitarian and ecological fields
  3. Debate on role of Nato and CSCE/OSCE Conference/Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Further References`

Cooper, Andrew F. Canadian Foreign Policy, Scarborough: Prentice Hall Allyn and Bacon, 1997

Daniels, Ronald J and Patrick Macklem and Kent Roach, The Security of Freedom, Essays on Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill, Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Bland, Douglas L. (1997) Canada's National Defence, Kingston: Queen's University