Video: 150 years of Canadian foreign policy

By: /
15 May, 2017

On July 1, Canada celebrates 150 years of nationhood — marking the uniting of three British colonies (Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick). How has Canada’s foreign policy changed over time?

With the anniversary in mind, this OpenCanada video, written by journalist Michael Petrou and animated by Emmy Award-winning art director Santosh Isaac, explores the challenges and milestones of Canadian foreign policy over the last 150 years.

From Canada’s outsized contributions during World War I, which earned the country a greater say in international affairs, to the peacekeeping legacy of Lester Pearson, to more recent efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, our actions paint a complex picture of Canada as an influential — though not dominant — player internationally.

Former Prime Minister Robert Borden wrote in 1919 that Canada “is a nation that is not a nation… It is about time to alter it.” What would he say now, nearly 100 years later?

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 

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.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter