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Inequality Explained: Will the Trans-Pacific Partnership affect Canada’s food sovereignty?

This explainer was written by a group of UBC graduate students as part of our Lind Initiative series on inequality. It was an assignment from a course on public policy.  1. What is the TPP? On October 5, after seven years of closed-door negotiations, the first public draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was released. If ratified, the TPP would be the world’s largest free trade agreement, involving 12 Pacific Rim nations and accounting for 40 percent of the ...

Erdogan’s about-face on freedom of expression, all in the name of democracy

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July 22, 2016
In the days since last week’s attempted coup in Turkey, fears that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would use the event as a chance to lash out against his enemies have proven to be justified. Tens of thousands of Turks, from soldiers to teachers, have been arrested, jailed, sacked or suspended, ostensibly because of their suspected ties to the coup plotters. A three-month state of emergency declared Wednesday will allow Erdogan’s government to rule largely by decree. And on ...

Does Canada Always Pay a Price for Piggyback Defence Operations?

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August 13, 2013
‘Piggyback’ defence operations do carry certain risks. Conventional studies of Canada-U.S. military relations leave the distinct impression that cozying up to the Americans is a one way, downhill street to further compromising Canada’s national sovereignty. Piggy-backing on U.S. or American-led NATO ventures in the ‘War on Terror’ would seem to be the most recent example of the travails of a presumptive Middle Power operating within limits still defined by our North American neighbour, the American superpower.  Two ...

How “New” is the Threat of Cyber Attack?

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November 28, 2011
NATO’s recent military campaign in Libya is the subject of intense scrutiny from all corners. Did the alliance overstep its mandate? Were civilian lives sacrificed, rather than protected, in order to secure regime change? Is it possible to protect civilians from the air at all? One aspect of the campaign, which has received relatively little attention, may in fact turn out to have long-lasting effects. In the very first days of NATO’s air strikes, officials in the Obama administration engaged ...

The Surveillance Arms Race

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February 15, 2013
There is a new arms race emerging between people who want to communicate freely and securely and governments that want to monitor and limit this communication. In democratic countries, this government interference ranges from the mass monitoring of telecoms to flirtations with cutting off social media flows and shutting down cell towers in protest areas. When autocratic countries face crisis and conflict, however, the battle for control over communication is more troublesome and the risks are more acute. Linking the ...

OpenCanada’s Summer Reads of 2015

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July 10, 2015
If you’re like us, then you revel in summer lulls that award you the opportunity to put down the International Relations books you’ve been obligated to read over the past year, and pick up… new, elective IR reading! It’s an exercise of power that makes all the difference. Thankfully there are plenty of good reads for you to relish in this summer from international reportage to pointed critiques on world leaders. In this edition of our annual ...

2011 OpenCanada Content Glossary

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January 4, 2012
We have only been live for 6 months, but we have been busy.  Below is a chronicle of the content we have produced since our launch in August.  Here’s to the next year of debate, innovation and progress in the international affairs conversation. Think Tanks: For each Think Tank, we ask a group of experts and practitioners to reflect on an international policy issue.  Here are the subjects we explored in 2011. Are Social Media Driving the Arab Spring ...

How to build a new foreign policy for Canada

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February 5, 2016
As Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion prepared to meet his U.S. and Mexican counterparts in Quebec, discuss Canada’s role in the anti-ISIS campaign in Rome and announce changes to Canada’s sanctions against Iran, he told a sold-out audience in Ottawa that his government’s approach to foreign policy would be centred on diplomatic engagement. “You don’t pull out, you engage. That’s what Canada should do everywhere,” he said before he dove back into ...

Where Drones Fit in Fields of Violence

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December 14, 2012
Political campaigns against the military use of drones are gathering momentum, even as there are signs of a concerted counter-campaign to rehabilitate them for both military and non-military purposes.  There are many ways in which individuals can take a stand against war and military violence.  There is a long and principled tradition of conscientious objection that includes pacifists in two world wars, young Americans who resisted the draft in the 1960s and ’70s, and high-school students in Israel ...

As Trump enters the Oval Office, the world enters uncharted territory

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January 6, 2017
Donald Trump’s election as American president was a political tsunami of unprecedented force. His unpredictability and volatility could exacerbate the apparent anger of much of the electorate, or appease it. But a vastly changed media and information ecosystem that enabled him to win the world’s most powerful office with disinformation and fake news has exposed vulnerabilities for democracy, in the U.S. and abroad. As historian Neal Gabler warned on Bill Moyers’ website: “A democracy relies on truth ...