Canada's Hub for International Affairs

In Depth


The state of global drug reform is reaching a tipping point. Nowhere is debate, and change, happening as fast as in the Americas, where the past few years alone have seen a drastic shift in marijuana’s legal status in the United States, Uruguay and likely many more regions to come over the next few years. Debate is taking place at a very local level, from Mexico City to Jamaica, and also at the regional and international level, even this month.

Earlier this month, Sept. 3 and 4, Costa Rica hosted the fifth Latin American Conference on Drug Policy; on Tuesday, Sept. 9, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released its new report, Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work, in New York City, with the help of former presidents of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, among others. Then, the Organization of American States (OAS) will hold a special assembly on drugs in Guatemala City, on Sept. 19.

Change in drug policy throughout the Americas could have enormous impact; in inspiring reform worldwide, but also in its effect on communities that have been hit hard by decades of prohibitive laws, which have in many regions turned into militarized efforts to curb the production and transit of drugs. Thousands have been killed, disappeared and displaced as a result of drug-related violence and insecurity. More …



On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, the continuing debate surrounding the future of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) norm – used to abrogate sovereignty norms in cases of human rights abuses – has once again reared its head. This series, developed in partnership with the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, explores whether R2P remains an organizing principle of international affairs or if it might irrevocably slide toward irrelevance in the coming years.

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The disclosures of Edward Snowden revealed the widespread electronic surveillance of tens of millions of people across the world by government agencies, most prominently the NSA in the United States and the GCHQ in the United Kingdom.

In an effort to promote more informed debate of potential Canadian involvement in electronic surveillance, the Canadian International Council’s Toronto Branch held a conference on February 28th and March 1st on state electronic surveillance in Canada and beyond as well as options for reform. Panelists included John Adams, former Chief of Communications Security Establishment Canada, and Thomas Andrews Drake, former senior National Security Agency official and whistleblower. Adams and Drake were interviewed by OpenCanada about Snowden, surveillance, and oversight. More …


Meet the 2014 #cdnfp Twitterati. This is our latest installment of journalists and writers; politicians and public servants; thinkers and doers and organizations who have a Canadian connection and are actively and consistently engaging on Twitter regarding Canadian foreign policy (#cdnfp) and international affairs. Being on Twitter is one thing – actively engaging the twitterverse in quality dialogue on Canadian foreign policy is another. These picks are our recommended go-to accounts for #cdnfp. Aside from these accounts, we’ve also put together a category on those individuals we would like to see tweeting and lending their voice to the much-needed conversation on Canadian issues. We hope you get acquainted, and join the conversation!

Spread the word! #CICtweet

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The scramble for the Arctic is on. As Canada prepares to take up the chairmanship of the Arctic Council this year, new state and non-state actors are staking their claims to the region, as melting ice creates new risks and opportunities for development. Will these competing claims result in conflict? This In Depth considers the different agendas of the various stakeholders and asks whether clashing interests in the region are inevitable or whether cooler heads will prevail under Canada’s watch. More …


A lot happened in the world in 2013. And a lot happened here on

Below, we look back on the year in different ways: We picked out some highlights from the content we published on We pulled our 10 favourite Readings from the greater World Wide Web. We asked our Rapid Responders what they thought the most significant development in international affairs was. We chose 10 quality Twitter accounts in the #cdnfp conversation. And we put together a graphic that adds up the year in numbers.

So here’s to 2013. More …

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