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Human security and Canadian foreign policy: the new face of Canadian internationalism

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In the late 1990s, human security was promoted as a new idea to guide the formation of Canadian foreign policy in the post-Cold War era. However, a review of the ideas which have influenced foreign policymaking in Canada since the end of the Second World War demonstrates that human security is rooted in internationalism, the dominant Canadian foreign policy tendency. Internationalism prescribes that cooperation, multilateralism, responsibility, international law and a consideration of the values of humanity are the best means to attain a more peaceful world. An examination of Canada’s human security agenda reveals continuity between the approach advocated by internationalism and that of the human security agenda. The events of 9/11 and the election of the Conservative Party in 2006 brought into question whether human security would retain its influence on Canadian foreign policy. This project demonstrates that while the language of human security has largely disappeared from official usage in recent years, internationalism has again proven its enduring quality with the institutionalization of the values of human security in Canada’s foreign policymaking process.
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