Canada on the Global Stage

Exploring Canada's Image and Role in the World
Published: 1 February 2016

By Cynthia Lee

McGill Newsroom

With a new government in place and an ongoing rush of new developments on the international stage, what is Canada’s place in the world? Will our new leaders restore an earlier vision of Canadian foreign policy or develop a new one corresponding to a changed world? Canada on the Global Stage: Exploring Canada's Image and Role in the World will examine how Canada should position itself internationally, what our responsibilities are with respect to human rights, international development and migration.   The conference will bring together leading politicians, policy-makers, activists, journalists and more on February 11 and 12.

What:            Canada on the Global Stage: Exploring Canada's Image and Role in the World, a public conference

When:           February 11 & 12, 2016

Where:         Hotel Sofitel, 1155 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H3A 2N3

Full program:

Speakers and topics include:

Development and Aid

Julia Sánchez - President-CEO, Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)

“In order for Canada to reclaim its rightful role on the global stage, it needs to provide leadership on addressing global challenges that transcend national borders. This means that in addition to changing its tone on international issues, it needs to put more resources on the table to champion causes such as ending inequality, promoting women's rights and protecting the environment."

may be interviewed in English, French and Spanish

Canada’s Image, Brand and Reputation

Melissa Aronczyk - Rutgers University, author of Branding the Nation

“Ongoing support for journalists and writers, and a strong media system, are indispensable for promoting all the things that make Canada so admired in the world."

may be interviewed in English and French

Colin Robertson - Senior Strategic Advisor, Dentons Canada LLP:

“To claim a role Canada needs a clear international strategy with defined objectives and deliverables. To implement this policy we need a reinvigorated Foreign Service and ambassadors who can speak without having to first seek permission. Our commitment to collective security and deterrence means that we need an Armed Forces that is muscular and ready."

may be interviewed in English and French

Hélène Laverdière – NDP Member of Parliament (Laurier—Sainte-Marie), Foreign Affairs Critic:

“Canada has a strong role to play in international efforts to build long-term peace and security and to end global poverty, inequality, and injustice. When the world goes well, Canada goes well. But we have much to do to regain our place as a key player and an honest broker and rebuild our global relationships.”

may be interviewed in English and French

Human Rights and Global Migrations

Laurin Liu - NDP Member of Parliament (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles) (2011-2015):

“Canada needs a progressive foreign policy that champions human rights, women's equality and environmental stewardship around the world. Furthermore, Canada should immediately sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty and ensure absolute accountability and transparency regarding military exports.”

may be interviewed in English and French

Jillian Stirk – Former Canadian Ambassador to Norway; Mentor, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation:

“Canada has an opportunity to rethink its place in the world.  By investing in pluralism, innovation, and sustainability at home, Canada can provide a new kind of leadership on these issues abroad.”  

may be interviewed in English

Stephen Toope - Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto:

Canada has no “rightful role” on the world stage.  It has to earn any position of influence through the consistent advancement of well thought out policy.  It also has to work closely with partners, not all of whom are the usual suspects.  Canada has to decide, on specific issues, who its ‘friends’ are.  In particular, we should be working far more closely with other ‘middling’ powers, like Korea and Mexico.  That said, we also have to re-calibrate our relationship with the United States.  This may prove very difficult depending upon what happens in the upcoming US election."

may be interviewed in English

Participants include:

Ken Frankel, president of the Canadian Council for the Americas

Main topics: Multilateralism, Organization of American States, public policy in the Americas.

may be interviewed in English

Kyle Matthews, Senior Deputy Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Concordia University; Fellow, Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.

Main topics: human rights, international security, the Responsibility to Protect, global threats, and social media and technology

may be interviewed in English and French

Michelle Shephard, investigative reporter at the Toronto Star

Main topics: national security, Guantanamo Bay, Omar Khadr, terrorism, civil liberties

may be interviewed in English

The Honourable Tony Clement, Conservative Party Member of Parliament (Parry Sound — Muskoka); Foreign Affairs Critic

Main topics: Conservative view on Canadian foreign policy.

may be interviewed in English and French

The Honourable Kathleen Weil, Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, of the Québec National Assembly, will be the Ministerial Keynote Speaker on Friday, February 12, at 4:15pm


McGill Institute for the Study of Canada


Back to top