Advancing democracy at home and abroad


Canadians should be “prepared” for Russian attempts to destabilize the country’s political system says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin’s authoritarian kleptocracy.

The proliferation of semi-authoritarian states, the rise of right-wing populism, and drawn-out conflicts around the world threaten global stability and confidence in democratic processes and institutions, notes Gabrielle Bardall, a senior governance and democratic development specialist.

Of the many foreign policy tools at Canada’s disposal, supporting democracy abroad is one of the least costly and most effective contributions the country can make to resisting these forces, upholding global values and protecting national security, she writes for the journal Policy Options Politiques:

Much thinking has already taken place around Canada’s possible role in democracy promotion. In 2005, Thomas Axworthy, [the National Democratic Institute‘s ] Leslie Campbell and David Donovan published a paper with the IRPP on the idea of a “Democracy Canada Institute.” In 2009, a government-appointed panel that included Axworthy and Campbell delivered a report on the idea of creating a democracy promotion agency. The Harper government gave it serious consideration, before eventually setting the idea aside.

“The Canadian government should create a dedicated, autonomous or semiautonomous organization that assembles expertise, experience and lessons learned under one roof and applies them intelligently to strategic objectives,” Bardall argues. “Its mandate would be to coordinate, implement and advocate for the promotion of inclusive governance abroad.” RTWT

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