Canadian Scholars, Experts, and Former Diplomats Urge Federal Leaders to Prioritize Foreign Policy

TORONTO, Aug. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 38 Canadian scholars, experts, and former diplomats have signed an open letter initiated by the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy (IPD) urging all federal party leaders to recognize the importance of foreign policy issues and international affairs in the current election campaign.

This call to action was placed against the backdrop of a series of rapid global changes, such as the uncertainties in Canada-US relations in recent years, the rise of China, the accelerating great power competition, and the global pandemic which has made it clear that Canadian life is inextricably linked to global affairs.

The letter warns federal leaders that “If Canada continues to marginalize the vital role of foreign policy discussions at home, it risks diminishing its ability to secure its way of life and prepare for an increasingly uncertain world.”

"This open letter has attracted a broad group of experienced researchers and practitioners as signatories," said Dr. Zachary Paikin, a research fellow at IPD. "This demonstrates the growing consensus among Canada's expert community that our leaders must approach foreign policy with long-term, strategically minded and nuanced thinking. In an increasingly uncertain and multipolar world, Canada can no longer afford to treat international affairs as a sideshow."

Notable signatories of IPD’s open letter include Thomas Axworthy (Chair of the Public Policy Program at Massey College), Ben Rowswell (President of the Canadian International Council and Canada’s former Ambassador to Venezuela), Hélène Laverdière (former Member of Parliament and NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs), Colin Robertson (Vice President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and a negotiator behind the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement), Guy Saint-Jacques (former Canadian Ambassador to China), Peggy Mason (former Canadian Ambassador to the UN for Disarmament), and Jeremy Kinsman (former Canadian High Commissioner to the UK and Ambassador to the EU and Russian Federation).

“We initiated this non-partisan letter to urge all federal leaders to emphasize foreign policy issues in their election platforms. In a rapidly changing world, it is crucial that they provide Canadians with a substantive and detailed vision of our country's role and interests on the international stage,” said IPD executive director Bijan Ahmadi.

Click here to review the English and French versions of the letter and the list of signatories.

About the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy
The Institute for Peace & Diplomacy (IPD) is a Canadian non-profit and non-partisan foreign policy think tank dedicated to promoting sustainable peace through diplomacy, dialogue, and constructive engagement. Through its publications, conferences, policy briefings, and recommendations, IPD aims to encourage policymakers, and leaders in government, civil society, and business community to adopt a more open-minded approach in managing the strategic challenges and geopolitical risks of the 21st century.


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