Rationale and Goals


In 2009, Canada’s World interviewed 200 thought leaders and convened 14 focus groups to identify the new realities facing Canada in the international arena. Based on this research, nine new realities were identified — which surfaced the following concerns about Canadian foreign policy:

  • The gap between perception and reality of Canada’s place in the world is growing
  • There is a need to increase the number of Canadians who think and care about international policy
  • Discussions about international policy are becoming increasingly polarized
  • There are competing visions about Canada’s role in the world that deserve careful consideration
  • Our perceptions of ourselves as a nation are evolving
  • Our notions of federalism are evolving
  • The actors shaping our international policy are shifting
  • The nature of government decision-making is changing


Canada’s World sought to develop a new story for Canada in the world that reflected the historical experiences, values, assets, and interests of Canadians.

In order to accomplish this, Canada’s World wanted to design and deliver a national dialogue process that could act as a model for citizen engagement and deliberation that also:

  • Involved individuals, organizations, businesses, and institutions
  • Engaged Canadians who have not traditionally participated in foreign policy initiatives
  • Increased Canadians’ knowledge of foreign policy
  • Empowered citizens to deliberate, formulate, and advance options for Canadian international policy
  • Built the capacity of participants to communicate the new story for Canada’s role in the world to government, media, and other international policy actors