For our first event of 2014, we have turned our focus back on Canadian politics, in the same vein as our October 2nd, 2013 event, which was on the evolving nature of Canada’s middle power status. Our January 13th event, Making Foreign Policy, features three foreign policy experts and practitioners and our readings serve to help lay out essential parts of the Canadian foreign policy process.
Our first reading is by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC). The CCIC’s article provides an important reading for anyone seeking to better understand policy debates between civil society and the Canadian government. The article lays out the critical venues for lobbying (i.e., Departments, Prime Minister’s Office, Privy Council Office, Caucus, Cabinet, etc.) and provides useful advice for the efforts of civil society organizations (CSOs) to support “productive CSO/government policy dialogue.” Highlighted in the article’s considerations for lobbyists is the “Code of Good Practice on Policy Dialogue” published by the Voluntary Sector Initiative.
The second reading, by Tom Axworthy, John Monahan and Natalie Brender, for The Globe and Mail, has the authors provide their opinions on the potential of using Canada’s vast diaspora as a wealth of information and capacity for improving foreign policy. Their commentary highlights a joint research report by the Mosaic Institute and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation on the same subject.
The third article, by Anita Singh discusses the “puzzling reality” of the reconciliation of the homeland identity alongside a national ethos for second- and third- generation immigrants in Canada. Singh notes a more inclusive, multiculturalist trend in the linguistic landscape of Canada and greater participation in ethno-cultural activities among immigrant communities over the past few decades. Singh succinctly describes, “immigrants have achieved a stronger level of congruence between their Canadian and cultural roots.”
Our final reading, by Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon for the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, examines the increases and changes in the sources of immigrants in Canada and consequently, what effect these changes will have on Canada’s foreign policy. Riddell-Dixon notes that there will most likely be greater pressure for liberal immigration policies, increased number and strength of business links with countries of origin and greater political pressure for a firm Canadian stance on international issues. When examining the venues for influence, immigrants can often display several particular characteristics: 1) high geographic density, which means a potential for influencing electoral outcomes; 2) greater ethnic diversity among members of parliament; 3) a greater political voice for those representing ethnic minorities, and; 4) greater number of ethnic groups with greater interests in affecting public policy.
Isaac Caverhill-Godkewitsch, Guest Blogger
Caitlin Reid, Event Coordinator and Administrator, Canadian International Council – Toronto Branch