20 June 2016

Canada's engagement in international democracy promotion has undergone profound transformation in the past decade. Canada was a leading actor in promoting democracy as part of human rights for many years. However its engagement has waned in recent years despite increasing global demand for support to democratic transitions.

On 13 June 2016, Gabrielle Bardall, 2012 scholar and democracy assistance specialist, organized a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholar's workshop with over twenty leading experts in policy, practice and academia. In front of an audience of some fifty invited guests, the panelists discussed and debated ways to re-engaging Canada in international democracy support including developing sustainable and independent approaches, and ways for Canada to ensure that support is multi-sectoral and responsive to local conditions. The workshop was co-organized with the University of Ottawa’s Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS).

“Aiding the development of democratic societies abroad is a little known but crucial area of foreign policy” explains Bardall. “Canada has a valuable and unique expertise to bring to this field.”

The event featured leading Canadian experts including Jean-Pierre Kingsley, former chief electoral officer of Canada (1990-2007), Margaret Biggs, former president of Canadian International Development Agency (2008-2013), several MPs and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation members Thomas Axworthy, George Anderson and president and chief executive officer Morris Rosenberg. The workshop also welcomed the international perspectives of Thomas Carothers of the DC-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. A full list of speakers may be viewed here.

Content from the workshop will contribute to a submission to Canada’s international assistance review consultation process, currently underway. Also, stay tuned for a series of posts on the CIPS blog from a number of the workshop panelists over the coming weeks.

Gabrielle Bardall

She is an American student studying electoral violence in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

2012 Scholars