Who Needs Canada? Canada's Role in the World

2017, Democracy, Summit Who Needs Canada?

From President Trump to Brexit, we are witnessing dramatic global change. What impact will these shifts have on Canada? What role does Canada need to play on the world stage? What value can Canada offer to the world?

Join us for the official launch of SFU Public Square’s 2017 Community Summit, as we invite you to engage in a conversation about Canada's global relevance and how we can have the greatest impact internationally. Following the event, participants will be invited to continue the conversation by taking part in several dialogue circles at the Playhouse. Seating for the dialogue circles will be limited and offered on a first come, first served basis.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017

7:00 - 9:00 p.m. (PT)

Vancouver Playhouse
600 Hamilton Street, Vancouver

About Who Needs Canada?

The 150th anniversary of Confederation is a critical opportunity to think and engage on Canada’s role in the world. At the same time, global trends show a growing divergence between the values Canada upholds and events taking place outside of our borders.

In light of the possible futures before us, what role does Canada need to play on the world stage?

What risks might Canada face as a result of this shifting political landscape?

What value can Canada offer to the world?

Is Canada needed? If so, why?

Learn More


Roland Paris

University Research Chair in International Security and Governance,  University of Ottawa and former Senior Advisor on Global Affairs and Defence to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Roland Paris is University Research Chair in International Security and Governance at the University of Ottawa, where he teaches in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He was recently Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s senior advisor on global affairs and defence, having previously held several advisory positions in the Canadian government, including in the Privy Council Office, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Federal-Provincial Relations Office.

He has also been the director of research for the Conference Board of Canada, assistant professor of international affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and visiting researcher at Sciences-Po in Paris and at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

He has won numerous awards for his academic research on international affairs as well as six prizes for teaching and public service. Paris also provides regular analysis and commentary for national and international media.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Canadian Inuit activist, advisor to Canada's Ecofiscal Commission, former International Chair for the Inuit Circumpolar Council, and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier is in the business of transforming public opinion into public policy. Experienced in working with global decision makers for over a decade, Watt-Cloutier offers a new model for 21st century leadership. She speaks with passion and urgency on the issues of today—the environment, the economy, foreign policy, global health, and sustainability—not as separate concerns, but as a deeply interconnected whole.

At a time when people are seeking solutions, direction, and a sense of hope, this global leader provides a big picture of where we are and where we're headed. In 2007, Watt-Cloutier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy work in showing the impact of global climate change on human rights—especially in the Arctic, where it is felt more immediately, and more dramatically, than anywhere else in the world. Watt-Cloutier an Officer of the Order of Canada; the recipient of the Aboriginal Achievement Award; the UN Champion of the Earth Award; the Norwegian Sophie Prize; and the Right Livelihood Award, which she won in November, 2015 and is widely considered the "Nobel Alternative". From 1995-2002, Watt-Cloutier was elected the Canadian President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). She was later elected in 2002 to become the International Chair of the ICC, representing the 155,000 Inuit from Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Russia--she held this post until 2006. Watt-Cloutier is the author of the memoir, The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet, published in 2015. The book was nominated for the 2016 BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. Watt-Cloutier was also shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.

Senator Yuen Pau Woo

Former President of HQ Vancouver, former President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and Senior Resident Fellow at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.

Senator Yuen Pau Woo has three decades’ experience in strategy and policy for business, government and not-for-profit organizations.   Widely recognized as a leading thinker on international economic issues and Canada-Asia relations, he was appointed to the Senate of Canada in November 2016, and sits as an independent representing British Columbia. 

Prior to joining the Senate, he was President of HQ Vancouver, a public-private partnership that promotes British Columbia as a location for head offices of international companies.  From 2005-2014, he was President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, where he continues to serve as Distinguished East Asia Fellow.  He is also Senior Resident Fellow at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University; Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia; as well as co-founder and President of China Global: The Vancouver Society for Promotion of Chinese Art and Culture.  He is chair of the board of the Vancouver Academy of Music, and a member of the Global Council of the Asia Society, as well as on the Advisory Boards of the Mosaic Institute, the Canadian Ditchley Foundation, and Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University.  

From 2002-2012, he was Canada's representative on the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and served as the founding chair of PECC's flagship State of the Region report. Mr Woo has previously worked for the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation; and he has been an advisor/consultant to the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, APEC, and the OECD. He has published widely on international economic issues and contemporary Asian affairs. His previous board appointments include the Public Policy Forum, the Ontario Brain Institute, the Standards Council of Canada, and the Greater Vancouver Advisory Council for the Salvation Army.  In 2012, he was honoured with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada-Asia relations.

(Excerpted from Senate of Canada)


Laura Lynch

CBC News correspondent

Laura Lynch has covered Canada and the world for more than twenty years, being recognized both at home and abroad for her work. 

She has been the CBC's correspondent based in London and in Washington DC . In both posts, she covered stories that marked crucial moments in world history: the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and their aftermath, the invasion of Afghanistan, the fallout in Pakistan, the bombings of transport systems in London and Madrid. In Africa, Laura went undercover to report on what was happening inside Zimbabwe at a time when journalists were barred from the country. She has also spent time in the Middle East, most recently in Syria and Iran. 

Since her return to Canada in 2012, Laura has been a regular guest host on The Current, As it Happens and The Sunday Edition. 

She has won many awards for her work, receiving the prestigious Nieman fellowship for Harvard University, an award from the British Bar Association for a two part documentary series that aired on the BBC World Service, as well as recognition from Amnesty International, the Overseas Press Club in New York and the Gabriel awards. 

Laura earned a law degree from the University of Victoria and holds a journalism degree from Carleton University. 

(Excerpted from CBC)

Shuvaloy Majumdar

Former policy director to successive Canadian foreign ministers (2011-2015), assisting Prime Minister Harper and his cabinet on international security and the global economy.

Shuvaloy Majumdar is a Munk Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and writer at the Huffington Post. He brings experience in global affairs at its highest levels, and in the foreign policy issues formative to the last decade. In Ottawa, between 2011 and 2015, he served as the policy director to successive Canadian foreign ministers, as well as senior policy advisor to its minister for international development, assisting the prime minister and his cabinet to navigate key issues of international security and the global economy.

Shuvaloy was based in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2006 to 2010, where he led the International Republican Institute (IRI), a Washington-based nonpartisan organization chaired by US Senator John McCain dedicated to advancing democratic development. He was responsible for the Institute's largest programs, including a broad range of strategic initiatives designed to engage local and national leaders, to assess public opinion through extensive research, and to strengthen independent media and communications. This overseas experience complemented his co-founding of an anti-human trafficking organization in Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2003, for which he was recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal.

Bridging practice with theory, Shuvaloy was a visiting foreign policy scholar at the University of British Columbia's Liu Institute for Global Studies from 2010 to 2012. His research areas included counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, empowering Arab democrats against extremism, social media and disruptive technology, and US foreign policy in the Middle East and Asia.

Shuvaloy has also helped to inform national debate in these areas through senior roles in national campaigns, and in helping to establish the Calgary-based Manning Centre for Building Democracy. He currently is based in Ottawa and Washington, D.C.


Event Recording

Who Needs Canada? | Trailer

Who Needs Canada? | Teaser Trailer 1

Who Needs Canada? | Teaser Trailer 2

In the News

SFU Summit Examines Canada’s Role in Chaotic World — John Kurucz, Vancouver Courier (February 22, 2017)

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