Canada's Hub for International Affairs

Anouk Dey Anouk Dey is the former deputy editor of and an Action Canada fellow. Anouk recently completed her M.Phil in International Relations at Oxford University, where she was a Donovan-Moody scholar and received an Oxford Blue (ski racing). Anouk is founder and president of Reclaim Childhood, a non-profit organization that seeks to expose Iraqi refugee girls to sport. Anouk holds a B.A. (Hons) in International Relations from Williams College.

Yung Chang on Boxing, Mao, and Individuality in China

| May 4, 2012

China increased its military spending by 11 per cent this year. But it’s also investing in another kind of fighting. OpenCanada talked to Yung Chang, director of China Heavyweight, about what China’s approach to boxing tells us about the country’s approach to the world.

What did Mao have against boxing?

The history is that there was a fight and, in this fight, a Chinese boxer died in a competition with a western fighter. It was 1959, and communism at the time was very anti-western and anti-capitalist. In Chinese culture, aggressiveness was not something that they wanted to teach. China is about humility, reserve, and containing your anger in the face of confrontation. Boxing was seen as something so American that they decided to put an end to it.

In 1987, just as things were opening up in China, they lifted the ban on boxing. Primarily, this is because the Olympics had just opened to China and there were 13 categories in boxing. That meant 13 medals. So they decided to start training these kids.

At the time we started filming, the Olympics had just opened up to female fighters, so there were 13 new categories for potential media glory. So they started recruiting female boxers. More …

Brian Knappenberger on Anonymous, Scientology, and Freedom

| May 4, 2012

There was Ghandi. Now there is Anonymous. OpenCanada talked to Brian Knappenberger, director of We are Legion: The Story of Hacktivists, about why the group that pranked the Church of Scientology  is “the civil disobedience group of our time.”

What drew you to a group without a name?

The first time I ever heard of Anonymous was when they attacked the Church of Scientology back in 2008. I was mesmerized by that. Here you had a church that was created by a science-fiction author being protested by people wearing masks [created] by a science-fiction author. [It was] a very strange situation. I don’t think it had happened, up until that point – the internet calling forth live humans to protest in the street in those kinds of numbers. I think it was a moment of innovation. More …

Fixing Canada First

| April 27, 2012

Foreign Minister John Baird has made the protection and advancement of women’s rights “a key pillar of Canada’s foreign policy.” This is commendable.

Before looking abroad, however, perhaps Baird ought to look at home. In the cabinet in which Baird serves, women represent less than 25 per cent of ministers. The same proportion plagues Parliament, ranking it 40th in the world on the count of female representation. We are trounced not only by the usual suspects – Finland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark – but, ironically, also by many of the countries to whom our foreign aid agenda has traditionally been directed, such as Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia, among others. More …

What Went Wrong In Canada?

| April 19, 2012

Canadian troops said farewell to Afghanistan 50 years after U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower said farewell to the American people and warned them of the threat war poses to democracy. Coincidence, as Einstein put it, is God’s way of remaining anonymous.

How does Eisenhower’s solemn caution on the influence of the military-industrial complex apply to Canada’s Afghanistan experience? According to those present when major decisions about Canada’s longest-ever military commitment were made, the war in Afghanistan fundamentally weakened Canadian democracy. Last week, when asked what went wrong in Afghanistan, former Liberal leaders Michael Ignatieff and Bill Graham suggested that the real wrongdoing occurred in Canada. More …

A Brief History of Canada and the International Criminal Court

| April 12, 2012

Ten years ago yesterday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) came into being. The Rome Statute required 60 ratifications to bring the Court to fruition and, on April 11, 2002, the 60th ratification was earned, giving the international body the jurisdiction to try acts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity from that date onward. Shortly thereafter, Canadian Philippe Kirsch was elected president of the ICC. Canada had played a crucial role in the establishment of the ICC and continued to throughout its first few years. Recently, however, Canada’s role has waned. On the 10th anniversary, we celebrate Canada’s contribution to the ICC. More …

Making America Smile

| April 3, 2012
Making America Smile

Americans like Canada. In a recent Gallup poll rating their perceptions of other countries, Americans awarded Canada the highest score by far, 96 out of a possible 100. This is good for Canadian egos, but also for Canadian GDP. So why is our prime minister trying to change the way Canada is perceived?

This week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Washington with two goals in mind: to promote North America and to make clear that Canada’s energy strategy is focused on Asia, not the U.S. Neither of these goals inspires a positive view of Canada in the United States. More …

The Mulcair Doctrine

| March 27, 2012
Thomas Mulcair

“Make no mistake about the importance of what happened in Toronto this weekend,” John Ibbitson reminded us on the front page of The Globe. It may have happened in Toronto, but Thomas Mulcair’s ascension to the leadership of the NDP could have global effects.

Here is what we know about Mulcair’s foreign policy:

  • Mulcair is not too keen on Canada’s cozy relationship with the United States. His foreign-policy platform asserts, “For too long Canada has been sheltered in the shadow of our closest friend – the United States.” Roland Paris has noted that the chances of meeting the targets of the perimeter security agreement “depend in large part on the willingness of both the Prime Minister and the President to devote sustained attention and political capital to these objectives.” It is unlikely that Mulcair would push for the perimeter agreement like Prime Minister Stephen Harper has. In Mulcair’s words, “We’ve just got to stop being such chumps when it comes to dealing with the Americans.” On the other hand, Mulcair has come out quite publicly against the oil sands. While he is not quite as against them as many members of the NDP are, he does insist that crude should not be exported until it is refined. Ironically, this position may actually bring him nearer to the American point of view, which, at least in terms of the Keystone XL pipeline, aligns much more closely to the environmental perspective than the Canadian case did. That said, if skeptics like Gerald Butts are right, and Keystone XL passes as soon as the American election season is over, then so much for an imagined North American enviro-alliance.  More …

America Takes Note

| March 15, 2012
America Takes Note

The United States hardly noticed when Canada took a decidedly tougher stance on Iran than it did. It didn’t notice when a Canadian foreign minister visited Burma for the first time — or even, really, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper brought home two pandas and a big trade deal from China shortly after U.S. President Barack Obama said no to the Keystone XL pipeline.

But recently Canada has been making news on Foreign Policy‘s website, the one-stop-shop for any American interested in international affairs.

And it’s not just because a man who many political commentators have compared to the villain Penguin from Batman canceled a visit to Canada, citing concerns about his “personal security.” More …

Putting the X in External Affairs. Again.

| March 8, 2012
Cassidy, Google's Vice President smiles during news conference in New Delhi

In honour of International Women’s Day, I re-posted a list I wrote in November of the top Canadian women in international affairs. Shortly thereafter, I was reminded that foreign policy in Canada has more hips than I had admitted. Thanks to all those who tweeted recommendations. The revised list is still an awkward number, though – so please continue to tweet suggestions to @anoukdey.

  • Sally Armstrong, journalist and member of the UN’s International Women’s Commission: If Thatcher made feminist foreign policy unpopular, Armstrong is bringing it back.
  • Louise Arbour, International Crisis Group: The Canadian with the biggest impact on human rights is not a bachelor.  
  • Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Former president of Google’s Asia-Pacific and Latin America operations, Singh Cassidy is Canada’s Sheryl Sandberg. 
  • Lyse Doucet, BBC: The Canadian government may have had little role in the Egyptian Revolution, but, for many people around the world, the voice of the Arab Spring had a Canadian accent.

Watch OpenCanada’s interview with Lyse Doucet about reporting from Tahrir.

  • Chrystia Freeland, Thomson-Reuters: If you buy Freeland’s argument that Bill Gates and Peter Munk have more power than Stephen Harper and John Baird, then don’t underestimate the power of the woman who keeps the pulse of the global elite.

Watch Chrystia Freeland’s interview with CIC Globalist of the Year Naguib Sawiris.

  • Elissa Golberg, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations: A Canadian woman has Ban Ki-moon’s ear.
  • Moya Greene, Royal Mail: Delivering Canada’s message to her international audience.
  • Naomi Klein, author: Occupy Wall Street has a Bay Street (Dundas West?) leader.
  • Margaret MacMillan, University of Oxford: One woman changed the way we think about the three men who shaped the post-WWI peace.
Read Margaret MacMillan’s answer to the question, “Can Diplomacy be Transparent?”

  • Barbara McDougall, International Development Research Centre: The woman with the most influence on Canada’s international development efforts would not let “not” slip by her.
  • Marie-Lucie Morin, World Bank: In the war between the U.S. dollar and the yuan, Morin holds the loonie.
  • Stephanie NolenThe Globe and Mail: Whether in Afghanistan, the Congo, Iraq, Rwanda, or South Africa, Nolen keeps Canada’s internationalist brand alive.
  • Samantha Nutt, War Child Canada: For too long, three baritone voices have dominated the global conversation about development. With Damned Nations, a Canadian soprano joins the ranks of Easterly, Sachs, and Collier.
  • Michelle Shephard, author: Perhaps the only Canadian to fly to Gitmo more than 24 times is a woman. 
  • Janice Stein, Munk School of Global Affairs: When something happens in the world, it’s pretty neat that Steve Paikin and Peter Mansbridge look to the Munk School’s leading lady for answers.  
See Janice Stein’s Rapid Response on John Baird’s priorities.

  • Shirley Tilghman, Princeton University: The first woman to hold the post of President at Princeton – and Canada’s favourite tiger.
  • Jennifer Welsh, The University of Oxford: Showing Canadian women how to be at home in the world.

Read Jennifer Welsh’s latest contribution to the Roundtable blog.

Photo courtesy Reuters.

Putting the X in External Affairs

| March 8, 2012
IMF Managing Director Lagarde attends a Eurogroup meeting ahead of a two-day EU leaders summit in Brussels IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde attends a Eurogroup meeting ahead of a two-day EU leaders summit in Brussels March 1, 2012. Euro zone finance ministers and officials were meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss Greece's private sector bond exchange and implementation of the Greek authorities' commitments to economic and structural reforms. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)