World News

Canada’s World Report is Out

12 March 2009 at 20:21 | 931 views

Back on the Map - A New Vision for Canada in the World

For over two years, Canada’s World has consulted with thousands of Canadians from coast-to-coast to develop a new vision for Canada in the world - one which is forward looking and compelling and does not rely on 50 year-old notions of grandeur. On March 11th, Canada’s World will be releasing this new vision.

This new narrative begins with the idea that what Canada does domestically matters on the world stage. Canadians recognize that our international rhetoric does not match our actions at home. They want coherency in our domestic and international policy and they want a stronger, revitalized leadership role for Canada in the World. They have abandoned iconic terms such as “peacekeeper and middle power” in favour of Canada as a role model.

Direction for Change

Citizens have targeted five key areas in which they believe that Canada can be a role model. They recognize that current policies may not adequately address these priorities, but there is a belief and optimism that inherent in current deficiencies lie opportunities for progress.

1. Recognizing that Canada’s economy cannot be separated from its environment, Canadians advocate for Advancing a Green Economy that is based on a triple bottom line approach that ensures social, economic and environmental returns. Citing missed opportunities such as Canada’s lack of adherence to Kyoto commitments, Canadians support long-term planning and policies to improve our domestic environmental practices, particularly in the area of reducing our carbon footprint, developing alternative energy and transportation technologies and supporting sustainable urban planning.

2. Canada has long been celebrated for its diverse population, but citizens call for an even more active, inclusive approach to Embracing Diversity. This new approach would begin by acknowledging that citizenship is as much a commitment as it is a privilege, and that Canada’s global ties can be better used to advance foreign policy and international business. By demonstrating that a pluralistic society can exist within a strong democratic nation, Canadians can play a greater role as cultural translators internationally.

3. Canadians want to continue Promoting Good Governance domestically, bridging the emerging gap between people and their elected representatives, and rekindling the interests of Canadian citizens in politics and governance. Internationally, Canadians support investing in public diplomacy and call for Canadian businesses to build upon Canada’s well-respected commercial practices by becoming leaders in corporate social responsibility and engaging in fair-trade.

4. As an already highly connected society, Canadians want to continue Fostering Innovation, placing particular emphasis on encouraging advancements in green technology, communications, healthcare and the social economy. Canadians believe that Canada needs to invest in innovation in order to position itself as a knowledge-based economy.

5. Once hailed as a global leader in Enhancing Equality and Human Development, Canadians note that standards have slipped both here and abroad. Canadians call for the government to improve the conditions of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, uphold national standards of universal healthcare and education, and meet international commitments to overseas development assistance and human rights.

Canadians recognize that in some instances the gap between the aspiration to lead in each of these areas and the reality of our current situation at home is wide, and they have identified strategies to bridge this gap. But they believe that by building our domestic capacities and by sharing our experiences globally, we will leverage our assets and demonstrate our credibility to the global community.

Mobilizing our Assets

Canada has abundant resources at its disposal that, if used strategically and efficiently, can propel Canada in a new, citizen-driven direction. These assets have been identified as People, Natural Resources, Education, the Military, Diplomacy, Civil Society, the Private Sector and Aboriginal Peoples. By investing and applying policies to enhance each of these assets, the government will have access to a considerable bounty of resources enabling us to advance and sustain Canada as a role model in the world.

Minding your “Cs” and “Ds”

Canadians have discarded the traditional 3 Ds of Diplomacy, Development and Defence, believing they focus too narrowly on the role of government in international affairs. Although foreign policy is the jurisdiction of the federal government, there are many more actors working internationally including provinces, businesses, non-governmental organizations and others.

To contend with all of these new actors, Canadians have suggested replacing the 3 Ds with the 3 Cs - Coherence, Collaboration and Community. At the core of this strategy is a federal government with the skills to convene diverse groups, the capacity to collaborate across sectors and the ability to build policy coherence among different levels of government, private sector and non-governmental actors. It also requires a government that defines its memberships internationally, and lives up to the obligations and responsibilities that such membership confers.

The 3 Cs form the bedrock of this vision for Canada in the world - where consistent, sound policies engage all aspects of Canadian society in a meaningful interactive dialogue between citizens and government. It is a vision that marries the domestic realities and policies with the global aspirations of Canadians and builds a base from which this country can act with integrity and credibility in our international affairs.

Building a new citizen’s vision for Canada has been an iterative process and has involved thousands of Canadians. Details about the process and regional dialogue findings can be found at Canada’s World also hosts a vibrant blog with fresh perspectives on Canada’s role in the world from young writers at

Photo: Shauna Sylvester,Canada’s World director.