Maxwell Cameron

Professor, Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, University of British Columbia

Maxwell A. Cameron (Ph.D., California, Berkeley, 1989) specializes in comparative politics (Latin America) and international political economy. He wrote Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru (St. Martin's 1994), co-edited The Peruvian Labyrinth (Penn State University Press, 1997), The Political Economy of North American Free Trade (McGill-Queen's 1993), Democracy and Foreign Policy (Carleton, 1995), To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines (Oxford, 1998), Latin America's Left Turns: Politics, Policies and Trajectories of Change (Lynne Rienner, 2010), Democracia en la Region Andina (IEP, 2010), co-authored The Making of NAFTA: How the Deal Was Done (Cornell, 2000), edited a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (2002) on the topic of threats to democracy in Latin America, a special issue of Canadian Foreign Policy (2003) on the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and a special issue of Revista de Ciencia Politica on Andean democracy. He is currently conducting research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for a book on democracy without the separationof powers in Latin America. Cameron is on the editorial board of Business and Politics, the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Canadian Foreign Policy and Convergencia: Revista de Ciencia Sociales (Mexico). During the fall 2005 he was on leave at Yale University as Canadian Bicentennial Visiting Professor in the Yale Center forInternational and Area Studies, and between January and June 2006 he was a visiting researcher at the Universidad del Pacifico in Lima, Peru. Between March and June 2006, Cameron served as political advisor to Lloyd Axworthy, Chief of the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States in Peru. Through the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, Cameron organized the "Andean Democracy Research Network", a research network to monitor and report on the state of democracy in the Andean region with funding from the Martha Piper Fund, the Glyn Berry Program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada, and the International Development Research Council. He is currently working on a Ford Foundation supported project on participation and representation in Latin America.

Most Recent Posts

Cameron: Should the Canadian government spy on economic targets abroad and share that intelligence with Canadian corporations?

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October 11, 2013

In his 2011 trip to Brazil, Prime Minister Harper said “competition has to be between businesses, not governments.” So much for high-minded rhetoric. It is no coincidence that Brazil has been targeted for espionage just as it auctions off-shore oil rights and rewrites its mining legislation. The influence of oil and gas and mining companies […]

Cameron: Is Bradley Manning a whistle-blower or a traitor?

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August 2, 2013

Treason is clearly defined in the U.S. Constitution: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Manning has not been found guilty of this charge. That he is a whistle-blower is beyond doubt, perhaps the most spectacular since Daniel […]

Cameron: Should the U.S. president have the right to kill American citizens when conducting counterterrorism operations?

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February 11, 2013

Nobody should be deprived of their life or liberty without due process of law. This basic constitutional principle is threatened by the entire program of secret assassinations currently conducted by the U.S. administration in various places around the world (no definitive list of sites has been provided). The idea that we are in a permanent, […]

Cameron: What should Canada’s top foreign policy priority be in 2013?

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January 7, 2013

I’m not sure what Canada’s top foreign policy priority should be, at least on a global level. I work on the Western Hemisphere, and would make the case that a priority should be to deliver on the promise of greater engagement with Latin America especially with respect to democracy assistance. A few years back a […]

Cameron: Should Canada cut ties with the monarchy and become a republic?

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June 11, 2012

Our constitution rests on the principle of parliamentary supremacy. Today, this principle is threatened not by the monarchy but by the office of the prime minister. Before changing our system of government, we should try to make the current one work. I endorse John Turner’s recent call to return to the basics of our parliamentary […]

Cameron: Does Canada need an independent organization to promote rights and democracy abroad?

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April 9, 2012

Democracy defence and promotion have suffered significant setbacks in recent years. Many countries, from Russia to Iran, regard democracy promotion as thinly disguised interference in their internal affairs. The use of democracy to justify the war in Iraq has made many people justly cynical about democracy as a foreign policy objective. And yet democratic countries […]

Cameron: Is the rise of state capitalism a threat to economies like Canada’s?

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February 13, 2012

I would not frame the issue quite that way. Canada is embracing a strategy of growth based increasingly on extractive industries, the pursuit of new export markets, and often unimaginative infrastructure projects. All this is combined with fiscal austerity and very little emphasis on long-term investments in productivity and competitiveness. China, on the other hand, […]

Cameron: Is the rise of state capitalism a threat to economies like Canada’s?

By: /
February 13, 2012

I would not frame the issue quite that way. Canada is embracing a strategy of growth based increasingly on extractive industries, the pursuit of new export markets, and often unimaginative infrastructure projects. All this is combined with fiscal austerity and very little emphasis on long-term investments in productivity and competitiveness. China, on the other hand, […]

Cameron: Canada should “make it a national priority to ensure we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the US, and specifically to Asia.” Agree?

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February 6, 2012

Let me see if I’ve got this right. Our national priority should be to build a pipeline that is sure to leak across fragile ecosystems and ancestral lands of our First Nations to tankers that sooner or later will spill bitumen into a pristine coastline. The reason we are doing this is so that we […]

Cameron: Canada should “make it a national priority to ensure we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the US, and specifically to Asia.” Agree?

By: /
February 6, 2012

Let me see if I’ve got this right. Our national priority should be to build a pipeline that is sure to leak across fragile ecosystems and ancestral lands of our First Nations to tankers that sooner or later will spill bitumen into a pristine coastline. The reason we are doing this is so that we […]

Cameron: Is the Ethical Oil campaign helping or hurting Canada’s international reputation?

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September 26, 2011

The Ethical Oil campaign makes Canadians look ethically challenged.  The Mark got it exactly right when it ran the headline: “The Truthiness of Ethical Oil.” Truthiness, as defined by comedian Stephen Colbert, means “things that a person claims to know intuitively or ‘from the gut’ without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.”  We need […]

Cameron: Is Conservative foreign policy different from Liberal foreign policy?”

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September 5, 2011

Differences between Liberal and Conservative foreign policies are easily summarized but their sources are deep and complex. Liberals believe in rules, multilateralism, soft power, peacekeeping missions, humanitarian intervention, and the United Nations. Conservatives see the world as a dangerous place, where hard power rules. In such a world it is imperative for a country like […]

Cameron: Is Conservative foreign policy different from Liberal foreign policy?”

By: /
September 5, 2011

Differences between Liberal and Conservative foreign policies are easily summarized but their sources are deep and complex. Liberals believe in rules, multilateralism, soft power, peacekeeping missions, humanitarian intervention, and the United Nations. Conservatives see the world as a dangerous place, where hard power rules. In such a world it is imperative for a country like […]

Cameron: What societal problems have the London riots exposed?

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August 14, 2011

For all the sound and fury, the mayhem was remarkably inarticulate.  I’m not sure that it can even be explained by unemployment and deprivation so much as boredom and a desire to get a piece of the action.  To call it a Jacquerie would be to suggest political overtones that seem utterly missing.  As a […]

Cameron: Was Jason Kenney’s public outing of 30 wanted war criminals legitimate and/or effective?

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August 8, 2011

Removing inadmissible immigrants is a legitimate public policy objective, but the press and the public have not been given enough information about the accusations against the individuals concerned. Immigrants can be found inadmissible without the kind of evidence of guilt that would be necessary for them to be sentenced in Canada.  To post their identities […]

Cameron: Was Jason Kenney’s public outing of 30 wanted war criminals legitimate and/or effective?

By: /
August 8, 2011

Removing inadmissible immigrants is a legitimate public policy objective, but the press and the public have not been given enough information about the accusations against the individuals concerned. Immigrants can be found inadmissible without the kind of evidence of guilt that would be necessary for them to be sentenced in Canada.  To post their identities […]