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FINDING OUR WAY BACK: Defining a Coherent International Strategy for Canada

FINDING OUR WAY BACK: Defining a Coherent International Strategy for Canada

Thursday September 22, 2022
9:00 am - 6:30 pm
National Arts Centre - Ottawa

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Where is Canada going? What should be its place on the international scene? At the crossroads of global change, Canada faces new threats, but also many opportunities. As we question how Canada should defend itself and how best to ensure its security, join experts and practitioners to understand the current environment through in-depth discussions on Canada’s international policy.

With two consecutive failures to win a United Nations Security Council seat and declining military capabilities, Canada’s place on the international stage is in question. While the changing role of the great powers and the weakening of international norms are debated, a significant decline in Canadian diplomatic activism is observable. At the same time, Canadian defense policy also sometimes suffers from a lack of clarity. Developing a proactive strategy to reposition Canada on the international scene could, however, change the situation. To become aware of the rapid evolution of the global security environment, this colloquium reviews the state of the international environment and its new threats. Its roundtables focus on Canada’s strategic assets as well as its interests and priorities. The colloquium goal is to better identify how Canada’s international strategy could become more coherent and proactive, and to predict what path it should choose.

Panel 1: Developing a Multi-Domain Approach to New Areas of Confrontation

Technological proliferation, emergence of new spaces, and multidimensional threats—what do these concepts mean and what do they imply? This panel will elucidate both questions by exploring the implications of these new threats for Canada, its people, and its position in the world. With the expansion of geostrategic space toward Asia and the emergence of cyberspace as a battlefield between nations, interstate confrontations now go beyond mere economic and military fields. The experts on this panel will provide insights and analysis to help everyone better understand this reality and what a multi-domain approach for Canada would really mean.

Panel 2: Leveraging International Cooperation & Canada’s Strategic Assets

Canada’s international policy is part of a consciously multilateral approach. This panel will investigate the role Canada plays as a “middle power” within regional and international institutions and how it can succeed in asserting its strategic interests. To understand how Canada could maintain and increase its international status, the experts on this panel will conduct a critical examination of its capacities and commitments. In short, they will aim to identify the place that cooperation can play in Canada’s foreign and defense policy.

Panel 3: Canada’s Strategic Coherence

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gray zone conflicts, the weakening of US hegemony, and the rise of China—the world in 2022 is in turmoil. Caught between its allies, their diverging interests, and its rivals, Canada finds itself faced with the return of great powers competition. Faced with this situation, it must adapt. But how to succeed coherently? This panel will assess how Canada could design a coherent foreign policy in line with its values, but also its national interests. Defining these, its overall strategic priorities, and the budget necessary for their implementation is the challenge that this panel’s experts will tackle.