In Depth

Border Check

Series Contributors:
This week, the world marks 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the most significant borders of recent history. As OpenCanada contributor Jennifer Jenkins writes, looking back on the occasion, the wall was “three metres of ugly, pre-fabricated concrete that ran as far as the eye could see.” But it was not the same on both sides. “For East Germans, it was “untouchable, unapproachable.” On the western side, it was covered in graffiti, commentary and colour. You could lay your hands on it ...

A Drug Reform Revolution

Series Contributors:
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 ...

Canadian Voices on R2P

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This April marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Over the course of just 100 days in the spring of 1994, over 800,000 Rwandan civilians were slaughtered while the international community watched in silence. Throughout this period, this genocide was conveniently categorized as an “African tribal problem” by the rest of the world. But far from being a tribal war , it was the deliberate killing of an ethnic group, the Tutsis, that took place in Rwanda 20 years ago. Had the inte ...

Canadian Academia in Foreign Policy

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The future role of political science in foreign policy analysis has been a hotly debated issue. In this series, academics investigate the role of the academy in the coming years and the ways in which it can carry out useful, analytical work without abandoning its rigor while making its findings useful for international and government policymakers. Religion, violence, terrorism, and development are analysed both empirically and statistically by political scientists and the body of literature has never ...

Reflections on R2P

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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 ...

The 2014 #cdnfp Twitterati

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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 #cdnf ...

Cold Calculations

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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 OpenCanada.org 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 ...

The 2013 Year in Review

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A lot happened in the world in 2013. And a lot happened here on OpenCanada.org. Below, we look back on the year in different ways: We picked out some highlights from the content we published on OpenCanada.org. 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 yea ...

Global Shift

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At the 7th annual Toronto Global Forum organized by the International Economic Forum of the Americas, leading economic decision makers from around the world met to discuss pressing national and global issues. The theme of this year’s conference, Globalisation at the Crossroads, caught our attention here at OpenCanada. Too often the process of globalisation is taken for granted by policymakers, business people and academics. While it is true that resources, people, and ideas are travel ...

The End of Privacy?

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On June 10, the Guardian reported former United States National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s comments on why he decided to become a whistleblower. “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything,” he said. “With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting…emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort ...

The Canadian Aid Conversation

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In June, UN Foundation Senior Fellow John McArthur started a new conversation about Canada’s foreign aid policy with a three-part series here on OpenCanada.org. McArthur argued that the country needed a new “demand-driven approach” that first considered the challenges of global development and then asked how Canada can best tackle those challenges. Here, we continue the conversation that McArthur started with comments from a number of foreign aid experts. We’ll be adding new content ...

Religion and Foreign Policy

Series Contributors:
Critical debates are underway about the new public policy challenges that are emerging as a result of the resurgence of religion in international relations. These debates and the questions that drive them inspired the organization of an international conference and course at McGill University, on “Religion and Foreign Policy: The Challenge of Religious Pluralism.” This project is an initiative of the Birks Forum on the World’s Religions and Public Life in McGill’s Faculty of Religious Studies, ...

The New Global Economy

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The 19th annual International Economic Forum of the Americas brought together 180 speakers from around the world and over 3,000 participants to discuss how to return the global economy to a strong, sustainable growth path. The theme of the conference, “A New Economic Cycle: New Realities, New Frontiers”, allowed for wide-ranging discussions of global trends in economy, governance, and pensions; energy, natural resources, and sustainable development; and international trade, innovation, an ...

Starting a New Conversation About Aid

Series Contributors:
Canada’s foreign aid conversation is lost.  The recently announced merger of CIDA into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade prompted a spate of agitated commentary across the country.  But the public debates underscored the extent to which an institutional tail is wagging the policy dog.  The issues to be resolved are much more fundamental than problems of bureaucratic org charts.  They require systematic and robust thinking, rather than the loose commentary commonly trotted out ...

Weapons of Mass Oppression

Series Contributors:
The Iranian regime is often in the headlines but for its nuclear program rather than its systematic repression of the Iranian people. The “red line” debate has been about the enrichment of uranium, not the impoverishment of human rights. This online series puts the spotlight on the state of human rights in Iran – on the beatings, rapes, wrongful arrests and imprisonments, and executions. The goal of this discussion is fivefold: to raise awareness of the human rights situation in Ira ...