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Home Policy Articles: International Trade, Development & Finance: Civil Society & Democratization


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Advancing Democracy Abroad: A Proposal to Create the Democracy Canada Institute

This paper was presented by Thomas Axworthy and Leslie Campbell at a conference entitled Canada’s Role in International Assistance to Democratic Development. Axworthy and Campbell argue that state-building, civil society-building, and democracy-building are of critical importance at the dawn of the 21st century; Accordingly, in this paper they explore the question of whether Canada can make a contribution to international democratic capacity-building.

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.

Corporate Citizenship and the Evolving Relationship between Non-Governmental Organizations and Corporations

This paper written by Malcolm McIntosh and Ruth Thomas and sponsored by the British-North American Committee (a group of leaders from business, labor, and academia in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada who describe themselves as committed to harmonious, constructive relations among the three countries and their citizen) asks what type of relationship should exist between business and society in light of the emergence of the concept of “corporate citizenship.” In this context, the paper synthesizes the debates on the subject, underscoring that good corporate citizenship requires that businesses undergo “fundamental conceptual and organisational change.” The paper then examines ways of operationalizing corporate citizenship initiatives, including performance monitoring.

Democracy and Economic Development

David Gillies identifies one of the reasons cited for promoting democracy abroad: the claim that accountable and open political systems, those that respect human rights, practice the rule of law, and formulate policy through informed choice, are more likely to develop into dynamic economies. Gillies posits, however, that the relationships involving political system, policy choice, and economic performance are far more complex than the claims of many who promote democracy.

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.

Human Rights and Democracy: Issues for Canadian Policy in Democracy Promotion

Nancy Thede argues that the weakness in Canada’s approach to human rights, within its democracy promotion policies and programs, limits its potential impact. She points out human rights were adopted as an explicit element of Canadian foreign policy in the late 1980s; Canada, in Thede’s view, however, has failed to make the dynamic link between human rights and democratic development. Thede proposes an understanding of democracy that is based on the reinforcement of human rights and democratic institutions.

International Assistance to Democratic Development: A Review

In this paper George Perlin explores the idea of “democracy promotion,” which, in his view, is just one element of the new direction in global strategies undertaken by established democracies since the end of the Cold War. Perlin argues, however, that democracy promotion has come to play an increasingly important role in international relations as the number of states undertaking the transition from authoritarian to democratic rule has grown significantly.

Lost in Transition: Canada and the Search for a 3-D Solution in Kosovo

Julian Wright studies the current situation in Kosovo (i.e., 2005), with a particular eye towards its compatibility with Canada’s new 3D approach to development in general, “which seeks to integrate defence, development and diplomacy efforts.”

Revisiting NAFTA: Still Not Working for North America’s Workers

NAFTA’s agenda, according to Scott, Salas, Campbell, and Faux, was to promote an integrated continental economy and the rules to govern it. As such, it was focused upon the business elite, “excluding the ordinary people in all three societies.”

The Democracy Canada Institute: A Blueprint

This working paper by Axworthy, Campbell and Donovan examines the recommendation for the proposed creation of the Democracy Canada Institute. The idea for this Institute came out of a concept paper written in September 2004 by Campbell and Axworthy, which examined the notion of advancing Canadian democracy abroad. Following on the heels of further conferences and consultations, this paper presents a blueprint for advancing the Democracy Canada Institute, whose mission would be to promote and enhance democracy abroad.

The Role of International Democracy Promotion in Canada's Foreign Policy

In this report, Gerald Schmitz examines the important, though still modest, role that Canada has played in supporting democratic development abroad, and suggests some directions it might take in the future.