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Home Policy Articles: International Law & Politics

In an increasingly globalized world, maintaining security and administering justice often extends beyond national borders. Much of the controversy in international law and politics policy has to do with the appropriate amount of intervention in the legal system and politics of other countries. This area of public policy addresses such topics as treaties, conflict resolution, international courts, refugees policy, and economic sanctions. As well, debates around global issues such as landmines and the status of children emerge in this policy area.

This section of policy.ca will keep you updated on current international law and politics policy debates.


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A Friendly Agreement in Advance: Canada-US Defense Relations Past, Present, and Future popular

The author of this article, J.L. Granatstein, argues that Canada has no choice but to support the United States in an expanded anti-terrorism war, as well as in a National Missile Defense (NMD) scheme proposed by the Bush Administration. Granatstein explains that the two countries have been linked in defense for over 60 years, and that, as such, Canada’s refusal to participate in joint defence programs would inevitably carry real costs. Considering that the US will defend itself regardless of Canada’s position, Granatstein asserts that Canada must participate in defence programs – if only to protect its sovereignty. Granatstein suggests that by participating, Canada can maintain its seat at the defence table, which should, in turn, strengthen Canada’s bargaining position on trade issues.
http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/commentary_166.pdf

Canada's Dysfunctional Refugee Determination System: Canadian Asylum Policy from a Comparative Perspective popular

In this paper, Stephen Gallagher examines the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, of 2001.
http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/admin/books/files/ImmigrationP...

Renewing the U.S. - Canada Relationship popular

This report considers the breakdown of the Canada - U.S. relationship and how this development has affected both countries. The report concludes that much of the breakdown has been due to the fall of communism and the resulting loss of common goals. The document encourages a renewed relationship and emphasizes new reasons for Canada and the U.S. to work together.
http://www.americanassembly.org/programs.dir/report_file.dir...

Will We Rise to the Challenge? Eight Mega Issues Facing Canada popular

This briefing tracks eight key trends that are having a major impact on Canada’s business and public policy environment. Charles Barrett and Anne Golden point to the global economy and the consequences of competition from developing countries. They examine Canada’s relationship with the United States and the competing priorities of defence and trade. They also look at the need for investment in human capital and innovation for Canada to compete on the global stage, as well as the importance of addressing climate change and environmental issues.
http://sso.conferenceboard.ca/e-Library/Document.asp?DID=637...

From Rhetoric to Reality: Protecting Whistleblowers in Alberta

According to Keith Archer, there is widespread agreement regarding the need to protect whistleblowers, however several issues must be resolved in the design of whistleblowing legislation in Alberta.
http://www.ualberta.ca/PARKLAND/research/studies/Whistleblow...

A Canadian Response to an American War

In this brief paper, Avi Lewis critiques the American war in Iraq and discusses how, in his view, it reflects the growth of an “Ownership Society,” in which greater emphasis is placed on the individual, with many left to suffer.
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_P...

A Civil Argument About Dignity, Beliefs and Marriage

Ian T. Benson wrote this brief regarding the Civil Marriage Act (Bill C-38). Benson argues that the central problem with the marriage debate is that the fundamental starting points of both sides are irreconcilable.
http://culturalrenewal.ca/downloads/sb_culturalrenewal/Brief...

Between Policy and Practice: Navigating CIDA's Democracy Agenda

The promotion of democracy overseas has gradually emerged in Canadian foreign policy over the past twenty years, now occupying an uncertain position within a broader development agenda.
http://www.uregina.ca/sipp/documents/pdf/PPP47_Cameron_onlin...

California Dreaming: The Fantasy of a Canadian-Style Health Insurance Monopoly in the United States

The stated purpose of Brett Skinner and Mark Rovere’s article is to “warn Americans about the dangerous ideas contained in the Universal Health Insurance bill.”
http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/admin/books/files/CaliforniaDr...

Canada and the Global Challenge: Finding a Place to Stand

At the time of this article’s writing, Canada’s last comprehensive foreign policy review was completed in 1995. In this context, its authors argue that a new foreign policy dialogue, launched in January 2003, would serve as a tentative step toward recognizing the need for a fresh look at Canada and the world.
http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/commentary_180.pdf

Canada's Secret Constitution: NAFTA, WTO and the End of Sovereignty?

In Canada’s Secret Constitution: NAFTA, WTO and the End of Sovereignty?, Stephen Clarkson examines the effect of international treaties on Canada’s domestic policy. Treaties, Clarkson asserts, internationalize part of a state’s legal order.
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_P...

Civil Society and North American Integration

Laura Macdonald argues that recent proposals put forward to deepen North American integration have largely ignored the role of civil society.
http://www.irpp.org/miscpubs/archive/NA_integ/wp2004-09e.pdf...

Course Correction: Advice on Canada’s Future Foreign Policy

This report was submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (as it existed at the time of this paper’s writing); it is centred on discussions stemming from the Consultative Forum on Canada’s Role in the World, held in April 2003. The forum was organized by the Conference Board of Canada, and included participants from Canada’s business community. The main argument of this submission is simply that the prosperity pillar remains critical to Canada’s foreign policy.
http://sso.conferenceboard.ca/e-Library/Document.asp?DID=542...

Deeper, Broader: A Roadmap for a Treaty of North America

This paper is part of a book-length publication, edited by Courchene, Savoie and Schwanen, which contains papers that were presented at the “Art of the State” Conference, hosted by the IRPP and held in October 2003. This conference featured experts from Canada, Mexico and the United States who came together to explore new ideas, new instruments and new processes for enriching the North American experience. The main goal of the conference was to remedy gaps in public discourse, while at the same time understanding how three sovereign nations could advance common causes and manage their increasing interdependence.
http://www.irpp.org/books/archive/schwanen_roadmap.pdf

Democracy and Peace-Building

Jane Boulden argues that, implicitly or explicitly, democratization has long been an element in the foreign policies of Western states; further, in the post-Cold War era it has become integral to peace agreements and post-conflict peace building. She argues that this development has implications for national and international policy, as well as for academic thinking. Boulden suggests there are two schools of thinking regarding democracy and peace-building: ideas promoted by the United Nations, and those promoted by academics and policy-makers. She examines both of these schools of thought, using the situation in Iraq as a backdrop.
http://www.irpp.org/pm/archive/pmvol6no2.pdf

Economic Transformation North of 60°

Roxanne Ali’s report follows from a Public Policy Forum conference in December 2006 on the promises and policy challenges of northern development.
http://www.ppforum.ca/common/assets/publications/en/report_n...

In Search of a New Equilibrium in the Canada-U.S. Relationship

This Conference Board Report cites the need for a new balance in Canada’s relationship with the United States. It suggests that some inherent dilemmas must be confronted, the most crucial of which is the unequal power relationship between the two countries. Despite the naturally predominant position of the US, however, the Report suggests that Canada does not always need to follow American policies.
http://sso.conferenceboard.ca/e-Library/Document.asp?DID=115...

Lockstep in the Continental Ranks: Redrawing the American Perimeter After September 11th

Stephen Clarkson’s paper Lockstep in the Continental Ranks: Redrawing the American Perimeter After September 11th, argues it is difficult to know what the result of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington will be on Canada-US relations. Clarkson emphasizes three issues Canadians face when looking at US actions: 1) the nature of the US in the face of non-state violence; 2) Canada’s international position vis-à-vis American responses; and, 3) the nature of the North America that Washington keeps redefining. Clarkson asserts that in the post-September 11th world what Washington wants will continue to triumph in the asymmetrical relationship between Canada and the US. He also contends, however, that Canada will work hard to influence impact what Washington wants. Clarkson concludes that only time will tell if these efforts result in deeper North American integration.
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_P...

Managing Global Crises – and the U.S. Colossus

In this report, David Wright argues that Canada should never blindly follow the United States vis-à-vis decision-making around international crises. On the other hand, he argues that Canadians should never feel inadequate or irrelevant when they do support U.S. positions, especially on security issues. Wright suggests that Canada should take positions on international issues that are based on its interests and consistent with its values.
http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/commentary_207.pdf

Mapping the New North American Reality - Introduction

This brief report serves as the introduction to Mapping the New North American Reality, a series of brief articles written by Canadian, American, and Mexican policy experts exploring the nature of North American economic integration.
http://www.irpp.org/miscpubs/archive/NA_integ/wp2004-09.pdf

Of Independence and Faustian Bargains: Going Down the Deep Integration Road with Uncle Sam

In this article, Bruce Campbell explores how Canada can continue to maintain its independence in the face of ongoing North American integration. He argues that two changes in the political landscape over the last 15 years have intensified this challenge: 1) the Bush Pax Americana, whose mission to maintain global dominance has little patience for working in concert with the international community, and 2) the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the author contends is deeply flawed.
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_P...

Renewing the Relationship: Canada and the United States in the 21st Century

In this brief report, Barrett and Williams argue that it is critical for Canada to be clear on the future direction of our most important internal relationship: that with the United States. They contend that decisions made over the months and years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 will define the relationship for years to come. Further, they argue that with the United States focusing on global security concerns, Canada must take the first steps in defining a future Canada-US relationship.
http://sso.conferenceboard.ca/e-Library/Document.asp?DID=512...

Romanticism and Realism in Canada’s Foreign Policy

This lecture, delivered by former Canadian Ambassador to the United States Allan Gotlieb, presents a review of Canada’s past foreign policy while drawing a picture of how the nation can best pursue its interests abroad. Gotlieb’s key point is that Canada’s postwar foreign policy has shifted uneasily, and often to the country’s detriment, between realism and romanticism. He argues that romanticism does not serve the nation well when it fails to promote Canada’s practical interests.
http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/benefactors_lecture_2004.pdf

The Art of the State II (Folio 7)

This book-length publication, edited by Courchene, Savoie and Schwanen, contains papers that were presented at the “Art of the State” Conference, hosted by the IRPP and held in October 2003. This conference featured experts from Canada, Mexico and the United States who came together to explore new ideas, new instruments and new processes for enriching the North American experience. The main goal of the conference was to remedy gaps in public discourse, while at the same time understanding how three sovereign nations could advance common causes and manage their increasing interdependence.
http://www.irpp.org/books/archive/AOTS2/folio_7.pdf

The Art of the State II: Folio 8

This book-length publication, edited by Courchene, Savoie and Schwanen, contains papers that were presented at the “Art of the State” Conference, hosted by the IRPP and held in October 2003. This conference featured experts from Canada, Mexico and the United States who came together to explore new ideas, new instruments and new processes for enriching the North American experience. The main goal of the conference was to remedy gaps in public discourse, while at the same time understanding how three sovereign nations could advance common causes and manage their increasing interdependence.
http://www.irpp.org/books/archive/AOTS2/folio_8.pdf

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