The Year Ahead: An International Security, Intelligence and Defence Outlook For Canada For 2017

On 8 December 2016, eighteen academics, experts and practitioners from Canada, the United States (U.S.) and Mexico along with an audience of over one hundred and forty civil servants, students and members of the public were invited to Canada’s War Museum to reflect on the challenges for Canada in the immediate future on four, themed panels, namely: 1) Hotspots- representing conflicts and international crises around the world that could have an impact on Canada; 2) the future of the United Nations (UN) and Canada’s role within it; 3) the world after the U.S. elections in 2016; and 4) new horizons: space, the cyber-world and the Arctic. These themes represent some of the most pressing issues that will affect Canada and that require new foreign, defence and intelligence policies implicating several agencies, allies and levels of government. Discrete events, such as the U.S. elections or Brexit, as well as continuous events, such as changes in the cyber-world, tend to create extreme and reactive foreign policies since there is rarely time to unpack and reflect on the impact for Canada. This report provides a summary of the advice, cautions and unanswered questions raised during the workshop. Never has the advice of James Eayrs been more prescient; Canada’s foreign, defence, security and intelligence policies must seek to find the middle way between idealism and hard-headed realism.[1]

You can read the full 2017 report here.

[1]  In 1965, James G. Eayrs (Professor in the department of Political Economy at the University of Toronto) was asked to give the Alan B. Plaunt memorial lectures at Carleton University.  His lectures were entitled “Right and Wrong in Foreign Policy”.