November 14, 2019

Quoted in:

With four years of experience under their belts – some of it bitter – the Liberals confront a world more hostile to Canadian interests than at any time since most people were born

“We are living through a period of historic transformation in international affairs," said Roland Paris, who teaches international relations at the University of Ottawa and served as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first foreign policy adviser.

“Canada’s interests are exposed to actual and potential harm probably more than at any time since the Second World War," he said.

Foreign policy in the immediate future must focus primarily on containing threats from friends, as well as foes.

First and foremost, that means surviving Donald Trump’s disruptive presidency, which has undermined the foundations of the postwar world order. With the Republican Party now at least as protectionis...

October 6, 2019

Foreign policy has rarely figured prominently in Canadian elections. With few direct threats to our security, privileged access to the world’s largest and richest market confirming and international rules and institutions that sustained a relatively open and stable world order, Canadian voters have understandably tended to treat foreign affairs as an afterthought.

Today these conditions are decaying, leaving Canada more exposed than ever. A crucial question confronts our political leaders: How will Canada respond to these tectonic shifts in international affairs?

Five specific challenges, all touching on Canada’s core interests, warrant particular attention.

First, how will Canada manage its relations with the United States in the coming years? No one should assume that U.S. President Donald Trump is an aberration. He will eventually leave office, but Trumpism may remain a powerful force in U.S. politics for some time, just as Jacksonian populism outlasted the presidential term of i...

July 11, 2019

Twenty-two democratic countries, including Canada, signed a letter earlier this week condemning China's mass detention of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in Xi

March 1, 2019

Justin Trudeau is facing the biggest crisis of his political career as pressure mounts on the Canadian prime minister over allegations that he interfered improperly in a corruption case involving a Montreal engineering company.

News of a slowing Canadian economy compounded Mr Trudeau’s challenges on Friday as he reshuffled his cabinet, less than eight months before federal elections in which polls show the opposition Conservatives as an increasing threat to his re-election.

Statistics Canada reported on Friday that growth in real GDP slowed to just 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018, well below forecasts of a 1 per cent advance and down from annualised 2 per cent growth in the third quarter.

Mr Trudeau’s reshuffle, which installed new ministers of agriculture, veterans affairs and international development, followed the resignation in February of former justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Ms Wilson...

November 30, 2018

Canada will stand for election to the United Nations Security Council in June, 2020. Our competitors are Norway and Ireland. Of the three countries, two will win seats on the council and begin their two-year terms in January, 2021.

There is no guarantee of victory for Canada, but it is still worth the effort. As international tensions mount and the United States retreats from global leadership, Canada and like-minded countries must do what they can to sustain co-operation and the wobbling structures of a rules-based international system. This task extends far beyond the United Nations, but the world body remains the flagship of the multilateral system.

At the core of the UN is the Security Council, still the most important table in international politics. Its 15 members, including five permanent ones – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – and 10 that hold rotating seats, grapple with the world’s most pressing security problems. With geopolitical rivalry on the rise,...

October 17, 2018

Published in Toronto Star

The disappearance and possible murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi is an important test case for despots everywhere. Can they get away with interrogating, kidnapping and even assassinating their critics in other countries?

Khashoggi, a United States resident and contributor to the Washington Post, walked into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, two weeks ago and disappeared. It seems increasingly likely he was killed by a team of Saudi operatives sent to Istanbul for this purpose.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his powerful crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, have denied any knowledge of these events and a Saudi-owned television network has insisted that the accused Saudi agents were, in fact, tourists.

Yet a steady drip of information leaks from Turkish officials and media investigations have punctured these denials. On Tuesday, the New York Times identified four of the Saudi “tourists” as members of Prince Mohammad’s personal securit...

October 6, 2018

To negotiate the new trade deal, Canadians courted US officials at every level of government, forming what some have called a doughnut around the White House. Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, tells host Marco Werman a danish is a better analogy for the Canadian strategy.

Listen to the interview on PRI's The World:

September 13, 2018

I participated in this discussion on TVO's "The Agenda with Steve Paikin."

Description: "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks about human rights in China. Touts the benefits of globalized trade and interconnected economies in Europe and to the U.S. But in an era of rising populism, is he quoting from a playbook that belongs to another era?"

July 21, 2018

Canada's Department of National Defence has released the results of a public opinion survey conducted by the Earnscliffe Strategy Group between February and April 2018.

Here are six takeaways:

1) The second-biggest security threat to Canada is... the United States?

This is a striking result, especially since Canada is arguably under no greater physical threat now than it was in 2016. But I wouldn't assume that respondents were thinking about security in this way. The poll probably reveals, instead, a more general concern about the impact of the Trump administration on Canadian interests, including our economic interests. (After all, if you look further down the list, Donald Trump is cited as the fourth-biggest threat.) Nervousness about the US administration seems to be acute – and this poll was conducted before Trump imposed steel sanctions on Canada and before the G7 summit, when he attacked Justin Trudeau.

2) Canadians love NATO.

Support for the...

July 4, 2018

President Donald Trump insists that other advanced industrialized countries – including Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom – take advantage of America's trade openness by charging substantially higher import duties than the United States does.

As Trump said last month: "all of these countries, including the European Union, they charge five times the tariff. We don't charge tariffs, essentially. They charge five times what we charge for tariffs. And I believe in the word reciprocal. You're going to charge five times? We're going to charge five times."

But here's the truth: the United States and other advanced industrialized economies all have very low average tariff rates, as the chart below shows. Scroll way down the list. They are all among the lowest-tariff countries in the world.

France, Germany and the UK – all members of the European Union, for now at least – charge an average tariff of 1.96% on imports.

The US average tariff is a bit lower: 1.67%.


July 3, 2018

Last month I joined Matt Browne in a discussion of "Populism vs. Globalism" at the Canada 2020 annual conference in Ottawa, moderated by Anna Gainey.

Defenders of Western liberal values need to recognize the scale of the ideological adversary we face:

The answer is not to despair, but to organize. Our networks and activism need to be stronger than those of illiberalism:

Here's the video of the entire discussion:

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Roland Paris
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

University of Ottawa

120 University Private, Room 6053

Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 3M5, Canada

+1 (613) 562-5800 x4047

© Roland Paris 2019