10 revelations on Canada’s foreign policy from the 2016 Ottawa Forum

When you get a room full of policy experts and enthusiasts,
new insights are bound to come out. Here’s our top 10 list. 

By: /
January 29, 2016
Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion address the audience at the Ottawa Forum on Jan. 28. Canada 2020 / Matthew Usherwood

There was a full house of foreign policy students, researchers and practitioners at this year’s Ottawa Forum, hosted by Canada2020 on Jan. 28 and 29 at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.

Book-ended by Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, the conference hosted panels on Canada’s stake in international institutions, North American and Asian relations, global migration and global power dynamics. 

The two days were chock-full of takeaways for how to build a stronger Canadian foreign policy. Here are some highlights not to miss.

1. The pace set by the new government last year will continue in 2016.

https://twitter.com/CatTsalikis/status/692707439251169280

2. Canada’s principal foreign policy strategy is now diplomatic openness & engagement. That includes with Iran, Russia and Sri Lanka.

https://twitter.com/amandacconn/status/692705046379761664
https://twitter.com/_JeanLebel/status/692705805712412673

3. Until the Canadian embassy in Tehran re-opens, there’s no chance of an Argo 2 (in fact, we hope there never is).

https://twitter.com/OpenCanada/status/692705868882796545
https://twitter.com/IntlSpyMuseum/status/692422676443480064

4. The North American Leaders Summit is indeed going ahead.

https://twitter.com/OpenCanada/status/692706984420872193

5. As is the plan to get rid of the visa requirement on Mexico, though we’re not sure what the hold up is.

https://twitter.com/imgmoore/status/692781108782563328

6. The Trudeau government will keep policies from the last government IF they feel they are working (though Fareed Zakaria may disagree).

https://twitter.com/linaholguin/status/692704876938264579
https://twitter.com/OpenCanada/status/692852169964294144

7. Canada has a wealth of youth, educators, small businesses and scientists it needs to incorporate into its global strategy.

https://twitter.com/KayannaBrown/status/692729088100798464

8. Calling all new approaches/strategies/creative thinking!

https://twitter.com/camvidler/status/693128635109240832

9. Canada’s government itself achieved a gender balance. Its pool of foreign experts might need a similar shake up.

https://twitter.com/brankamarijan/status/692767938055671809
https://twitter.com/kylemmorrow/status/692777733672321025

10. The hunger for foreign policy debate in Canada is huge.

https://twitter.com/MarcNoiseux/status/692832428654731264
https://twitter.com/Shaaztastic/status/693114073278476291
https://twitter.com/_JeanLebel/status/693079126354366465