Canada and the World, Ep. 33: How does the world see Canada?

A podcast series from and the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

By: /
22 March, 2019

Is Canada the idealistic, ambitious, liberal country it purports to be when it comes to its role in the world? Does the world see Canada that way? This episode brings four critical thinkers together to break down the questions, myths and popular ideas surrounding Canada’s interactions on the global stage. How does the view of Canada vary depending on who is doing the looking, from friendly state allies to the foreign societies where Canadian actors are involved? Canada is seen as one of the last defenders of liberal democracy; are its actions hypocritical or is it really delivering? And, especially during election time, why does Canada promise to “punch above its weight” when limited resources and security considerations mean prioritizing is necessary? Listen as Christian Leuprecht, Claire Wählen, Aisha Ahmad and Steve Saideman join Bessma Momani in Ottawa to discuss.

Our host

Bessma Momani is professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and University of Waterloo and a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. She’s also a non-resident senior fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. and a Fulbright Scholar. She has been non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and a 2015 Fellow at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. She’s a frequent analyst and expert on international affairs in Canadian and global media.

This week’s guests

Christian Leuprecht is a professor of political science and economics at the Royal Military College of Canada and an Eisenhower fellow at the NATO Defence College in Rome. He is cross-appointed with the department of political studies and the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University, where he is affiliated with the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy and the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations. He is also a Munk senior fellow in security and defence at the Macdonald Laurier Institute.

Claire Wählen is the program director for NATO’s 70th anniversary celebrations in Canada through the NATO Association of Canada, as well as a junior research fellow. She holds a Bachelor in Journalism (Honours) with a double honour in Political Science from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University respectively. She is also a former parliamentary reporter for

Aisha Ahmad is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto, a senior researcher at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the author of Jihad & Co.: Black Markets and Islamist Power.

Stephen Saideman holds the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He has written four books: The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict; For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War (with R. William Ayres); NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone (with David Auerswald); and Adapting in the Dust: Lessons Learned from Canada’s War in Afghanistan, as well as articles and chapters on nationalism, ethnic conflict, civil war, alliance dynamics and civil-military relations.

Canada and The World is produced and edited by Matthew Markudis. Each episode can be found on iTunes and other podcast applications.

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Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

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