Paper Soroka

Foreign Policy and Other Metafictions

Gary Soroka, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

The new government of Prime Minister Harper have faced a number of difficult foreign policy choices in their first year and, in each case, have made firm judgments about what Canada should do. By this standard, the Government have a foreign policy which differs, in some significant respects, from those of previous governments. There is, however, another sense of foreign policy where a government sets out the grand themes that animate the totality of its international aactivities, usually in the form of a major foreign policy review. The new Government has, so far, chosen not to conduct such a review, which is probably a wise decision given that previous reviews usually promised far more than they could ever deliver, and very rarely had any significant impact on international affairs. In truth, Canadian foreign policy reviews generally say far more about Canada—its constitutional situation, the dilemmas of its public service, and the relations between politicians and bureaucrats—than they do about the world.

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