Foreign Policy By Canadians: A Reset of Canada’s Global Engagement Driven by Citizens

November 5, 2020 – An innovative new approach to identifying Canadian foreign policy perspectives for the coming decade is set to launch virtually from Ottawa on Monday, November 9, 2020, with the Foreign Policy By Canadians inaugural conference.

Date: Monday, November 9, 2020
Time: 9:00 to 9:30 am EST
Contact to register: [email protected]

Foreign Policy By Canadians is a joint initiative by the Canadian International Council (CIC), the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH) and Global Canada. It is a national conversation for Canadians from all walks of life to convene and present their perspectives on Canada’s foreign policy priorities for the 2020s.

“With the world facing unprecedented adversity, Canada’s interests face greater challenges than ever before,” said Ben Rowswell, President of CIC. “Canada’s level of engagement in the world is hamstrung by perceptions that citizens don’t care about foreign policy. But what if foreign policy reflected the views and interests of citizens themselves?”

To understand the views of everyday citizens, CanWaCH and the CIC will run a deliberative democracy exercise. Using techniques developed by the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University, this project will identify a representative sample of the entire Canadian population. Some 400 citizens will be briefed on the critical issues facing Canada in the world and will deliberate on policy proposals. The results will provide an indication of the level of support the broader Canadian electorate would have for global engagement if fully exposed to the issues at stake.

“The best ideas don’t come from the inside, they come from the outside,” said Julia Anderson, CEO of CanWaCH. “Foreign Policy By Canadians will bring people with different experiences and perspectives together to learn, question, and debate is how we’ll come up with a better foreign policy that is guided by what is important to Canadians.”

“The security of Canadians, the prosperity we enjoy, and now even the health of our communities, seem as determined by what happens outside our borders as within them,” said Robert Greenhill, Executive Chairman of Global Canada. “This initiative will bridge the gap between policy makers and Canadians from all walks of life to identify how Canada should engage the world.”

The launch event on November 9 will begin with expert assessment on the challenges facing Canada with the publication of 10 Strategic on Canada’s Global Engagement. Further regional events will take place across Canada in late 2020 and early 2021. In preparation for the deliberation with the representative sample of all Canadians, these regional events will frame key questions on three broad objectives of global engagement: ensuring the health, the prosperity and security of Canadians.

Framed by expert discussion and underpinned by innovative online technology to facilitate large-scale interaction, Foreign Policy By Canadians will mark the beginning of a new approach to sustainable, inclusive and meaningful policy-making.

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Media Inquiries | For media inquiries and to register for the Press Conference on November 9, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. please contact Daniel Lis at [email protected].


The CIC | The mandate of the Canadian International Council is to give citizens a voice in global affairs. Founded 92 years ago by Sir Robert Borden, CIC is a non-partisan, grassroots, and citizen-centred organization with 17 branches across Canada, from Halifax to Prince George.

CanWaCH | The Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH) is comprised of approximately 100 Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions, health professional associations and individuals partnering to improve health outcomes for women and children in more than 1,000 communities worldwide.

Global Canada | Global Canada brings together Canadians in leadership positions around the world and is based on two core beliefs. First, that Canada can best serve its interests by enhancing its global impact. Second, that Canada’s impact will be enhanced if key Canadian institutions and individuals work together in a coordinated and complementary manner, informed by a clear set of overarching principles.


November 5, 2020