• The Left Chapter

Open Letter: Time to Fundamentally Reassess Canadian Foreign Policy

An Open Letter signed by 200 politicians, artists, activists and academics.


An Open Letter signed by 200 politicians, artists, activists and academics including David Suzuki, Naomi Klein, Stephen Lewis and Linda McQuaig as well as sitting MPs Leah Gazan and Paul Manly. Former MPs Roméo Saganash, Libby Davies, Jim Manly, and Svend Robinson have also signed the open letter. Other signatories include Ottawa MPP Joel Harden, Vancouver City Councillor Jean Swanson, Victoria City Councillor Jeremy Loveday, former Plateau-Mont-Royal mayor Luc Ferrandez, Black Lives Matter-Toronto founder Sandy Hudson and Richard Parry of Arcade Fire.


Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,


With Canada suffering two consecutive defeats in its effort to gain a UN Security Council seat, the time has come to fundamentally reassess Canadian foreign policy.


Ten years ago, the Conservative government’s loss was largely explained as a rebuke of their support for Washington, mining and oil companies as well as anti-Palestinian policies. The Liberal government promised change, but the world is unconvinced.


Canada lost partly because of its support for controversial mining companies, indifference to International treaties, anti-Palestinian positions, climate policies and militarism. And in recent weeks, thousands of ordinary and prominent people were inspired to sign onto a grassroots effort that drew attention to the many flaws in Canada's foreign policy record.


The world’s rejection of Canada’s bid for a seat on the Security Council is a unique opportunity for a review of Canadian foreign policy.


These 10 questions must be considered as part of a foreign policy reset:


  • Should we have a foreign policy driven by Washington or an independent foreign policy?

  • Should Canada continue to offer financial and diplomatic support to arms exporters or refocus on demilitarization?

  • Should Canadian foreign policy continue to be enmeshed with mining interests abroad?

  • Why has Canada isolated itself from world opinion on Palestinian rights rather than standing for universal human rights?

  • How can we ensure Canada abides by all International treaties protecting Indigenous rights?

  • How can we ensure Canada radically reduces its greenhouse gas emissions?

  • Does Canada’s sanctions policy respect International law?

  • Why is Canada involved in efforts to oust Venezuela’s UN recognized government, a clear violation of the principle of non-intervention in other country’s internal affairs?

  • Should Canada continue to be part of NATO or instead pursue non-military paths to peace in the world?

  • How can we ensure Canada’s foreign policy has a focus on peace, human rights and overcoming global inequities?


There has not been a formal review of Canadian foreign policy in fifteen years. Let’s use this moment to usher in a new era in which our government’s policies abroad reflect the desire of Canadians to be a force for peace and human rights in the world.


SIGNATORIES:


Stephen Lewis, Former UN ambassador


David Suzuki, Environmentalist and broadcaster


Naomi Klein, Author and activist


Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament


Paul Manly, Member of Parliament


Niki Ashton, Member of Parliament


Linda McQuaig, Author


Richard Parry, Musician (Arcade Fire)


Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre


Roméo Saganash, Former Member of Parliament


Svend Robinson, Former Member of Parliament


Libby Davies, Former Member of Parliament


Jim Manly, Former Member of Parliament


Ellen Gabriel, Artist and activist


Sandy Hudson, Founder Black Lives Matter-Toronto


Judy Rebick, Author and activist


Monia Mazigh, Author and academic


Jean Swanson, Vancouver City Councillor


Jeremy Loveday, Victoria City Councillor


Antonia Zerbisias, Journalist


Sid Ryan, Former President Ontario Federation of Labour


Luc Ferrandez, Former Plateau Mont-Royal borough mayor


Ron Rousseau, Aboriginal Vice President Canadian Labour Congress


Dave Bleakney, 2nd national vice-president, Canadian Union of Postal Workers


Will Prosper, Documentary filmmaker and civil rights activist


El Jones, Activist, educator, journalist and poet


Laurel Sprengelmeyer (Little Scream), Musician


Rebecca Foon, Musician


Rinaldo Walcott, Professor University of Toronto


Harsha Walia, author & activist


Tim McCaskell, Founder AIDS Action Now!


Clayton Thomas-Muller, Director, Author, Senior Campaign Specialist - 350.org


Frantz Andre, Comité d'action des personnes sans statut


Charles Demers, Comedian


Alain Deneault, Author


John Clarke, Packer Visitor in Social Justice, York University, Toronto


Tom Woodley, President, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East


Andrew Mitrovica, Journalist


Elaine Brière, Documentary filmmaker


Aziz Fall, Professor, UQAM


Sakura Saunders, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network


Azeezah Kanji, Legal academic & writer


Dimitri Lascaris, Lawyer, journalist and federal leadership candidate for the Green Party of Canada


Cy Gonick, Founder of Canadian Dimension Magazine


Derrick O'Keefe, Activist, writer, founding editor of Ricochet Media


Justin Podur, Author and professor


John Philpot, Lawyer


Zaineb Hussein, LLB


Martin Lukacs, Journalist and author


Abe Rosner, National Staff Representative (ret.), Unifor Union


Greg Albo, Professor of Politics, York University


Dr Joan Russow, Global Compliance Research Project


Nino Pagliccia, Activist and writer


Frederick Jones, Professor emeritus


Donald Cuccioletta, Professor, Université du Québec


Reuben Roth, Professor


Norah Fraser, Activist


Alison Bodine, Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice, author and activist.


Jenny Stimac, Retired high school art teacher


Diane Palm, Activist


Richard Morrow, Health policy analyst


Konstantine Malakos, Activist


Will Dubitsky, Activist and former Government of Canada employee


Frank Holden, Activist


Peter Eglin, Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University


Barry Weisleder, Federal secretary, Socialist Action


Joe Barrett, Labour, Human Rights Advocate


John R Bell, Professor emeritus


Jeremy Wildeman, PhD


Sid Shniad, Founding member, Independent Jewish Voices Canada


Gary Kinsman, Activist and author


Larry Hannant, Historian and author


Wally Brooker, Musician & journalist


Barbara Jackman, Immigration lawyer


Jack Etkin, Activist


Georgina Kirkman, Activist


Kevin Neish, Activist


Elizabeth Block, Potter and craftswoman


Khaled Mouammar, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (former)


Hans Modlich, 60 year member of NDP


Maria Páez Victor, Professor


William Sloan, Former lawyer


George McFetridge, Activist


Cory Greenlees, Activist


Elizabeth Borek, Activist


Adriana Petro, Colombia Humana International


Antonio Artuso, United Front against Fascism and War


Mary Carlisle, Educator (retired)


Yom Shamash, Independent Jewish Voices, Canadian and Israeli citizen


Bo Filter, Activist


Wes Kmet, Activist


John W Warnock, Professor emeritus, University of Regina


Margo L. Matwychuk, PhD, Director, Social Justice Studies, University of Victoria


Helene Demers, Research Associate, Vancouver Island University


Rick Arnold - Trade Justice activist


Michaela Rodman Lavis, Ph D candidate


Robin Matthews, Activist


Ali Mallah, Community activist, advocate against war & occupation


Ronald Shirtliff, Professor emeritus, Ryerson


Margaret Rao, President, Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice


Desmond Sequeira, Activist


Lorraine Guy, BDS Quebec


Susan Clarke, Activist


Gavin Fridell, Associate professor in International development, Saint Mary's University


Gord Doctorow, Ed. D, Activist


Marty Roth, Retired academic and activist


Khaled Mouammar, Former Member, Immigration & Refugee Board of Canada


Carol E. Harris, Prof. Emerita, University of Victoria


Freda Knott, Activist


Tamara Lorincz, PhD candidate Wilfrid Laurier University and activist


Karen Rodman, Executive director, Just Peace Advocates


Bianca Mugyenyi, Former Executive Director, The Leap


August Arnold, Author


Yves Engler, Author


David Kattenburg, University instructor & journalist


David Heap, Teacher-researcher; peace & human rights advocate


Richard Fidler, Ottawa-based activist and writer


Cheryl Gaster, Retired human rights lawyer


Nour El Kadri, Professor of Strategic Management and Innovation, University of Ottawa.


Graeme MacQueen, Professor Emeritus, McMaster University


Hassan Husseini, Labour Negotiator, Activist and ME Politics Instructor.


Ron Benner, Independent Visual Artist


Philip Zylberberg, Retired lawyer


Dr. Edwin Daniel, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta


Joseph Modeste, Retired teacher


Rev. Paul Shepherd, United Church of Canada clergy


Avi Haligua, Human rights activist


Randa Farah, Activist


Rabbi David Mivasair, Rabbi emeritus at Ahavat Olam Synagogue


Kathy Bergen, Palestine solidarity activist


Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, Activist (dual citizen Canada and Israel)


Susan P. Stout, Activist


Stephen Aberle, Activist


Bruce Katz, Activist


Rosette Rohana, Activist


Andrea Levy, Journalist


Miguel Figueroa, President, Canadian Peace Congress


Jean St-Vil, Scientist and activist


Siraj Ali, Advocate for human rights


Jim Mitchell, Retired Medical Officer of Health, City of York


Jake Javanshir, Activist


Russell Lavis, Logistics and event coordinator


James Yap, Lawyer


Karin Brothers, Activist and writer


Ineke Medcalf, Former human rights observer in Palestine


Harold Shuster, Independent Jewish Voices - Winnipeg


Valerie Raoul, Professor Emerita, French and Women’s Studies, UBC


Eric Mills, Editor


Nathania Rodman, Art therapist


Michael Keefer, Activist


Larry Brockelbank, Retired teacher


Dwyer Sullivan, D.Min. - Board member of Conscience Canada


Miriam Meir, Independent Jewish Voices


Jean Gagné, Independent Jewish Voices supporter & audiovisual technician


Betty Jane Antavitius, Human and animal rights activist


Matt Legge, Peace worker


Lorraine Farkas, Activist


Rev. Frances Deverell, Retired Unitarian Minister


Omer Aijazi, Research Fellow, University of Toronto


Atif Kubursi, Professor Emeritus of Economics at McMaster University.


Father Robert Assaly, Past co-Founder of Canadian Friends of Sabeel


Rev. Anne Hoganson, clergy (United Church of Canada)


Candice Bodnaruk, Peace Alliance Winnipeg Executive


Al Engler, Author


Michael Addario, Advocate for human rights


Patricia Mercer, Former eccumenical accompanier in Palestine


Sharon Hazelwood: Raging Grannie, Musician, Justice advocate.


Claude Morin, Professeur emeritus, Université de Montréal


Murray Lumley, Mennonite Church Canada


Norma Rantisi, Professor Concordia University


Owen Hughes, Editor and activist


Ken Stone, Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War


Dr. Ismail Zayid, MD, President of Canada Palestine Association


Ed Lehman, President, Regina Peace Council


Rev. Frances Comb, United Church of Canada clergy


Rifat Audeh, Canadian award-winning film director


Hanna Kawas, Chair, Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver


Marion Kawas, writer and Palestine Solidarity Activist


Corey Balsam - National Coordinator, Independent Jewish Voices


Stefan Christoff, Artist & activist


Gary Engler, Author


Norman Epstein, Activist


William K. Carroll, Professor of Sociology and Co-director, the Corporate Mapping Project, UVic


Stephen Kimber, journalist and Professor at University of King's College


Dr. John Kirk, Professor in the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies, Dalhousie University


John Foster, Retired petroleum economist and author


Tracy Glynn, Activist


Dr. Susan O'Donnell, Researcher, University of New Brunswick


Robert Fantina, Author, journalist


Lyn Adamson - Co-Chair, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace


Hannah Hadikin - Co-Chair, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace


Janis Alton - Past Chair, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace


Simon Black, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Labour Studies Brock University


Kathy Sanford, Professor, Faculty of Education, UVic


Zafar Bangash, Director Institute of Contemporary Thought


Eric Shragge, Professor Emeritus, Concordia, Immigrant Workers Centre


Judy Deutsch, Psychoanalyst


James (Jim) Deutsch, MD, PhD, FRCPC Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto


John Foster, Petroleum economist and author, Oil and World Politics


Rachel Engler-Stringer, Ph.D, Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan


Dr. Pablo Idahosa, Head of Founders College,York University


Rev. Robin Wardlaw, United Church of Canada clergy


Terry Greenberg, Retired Canadian diplomat


Martin Duckworth, Award-winning cinematographer


To view the letter and full list of initiating signatories or to add your name, visit: www.foreignpolicy.ca/campaign