Photo source: 0x010C, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
IPD Research Fellow, Zachary Paikin co-authored an article with Jean Charest and Stephanie Chouinard for the Globe and Mail, arguing that embracing bilingualism in Canada will assert a much needed independent foreign policy framework.
Jean Charest is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault and was premier of Quebec from 2003 to 2012; Zachary Paikin is a research fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy; and Stéphanie Chouinard is an associate professor of political science at the Royal Military College and a fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.
Canada’s decades-long national unity struggles unfolded against a mostly consistent international backdrop: the Cold War and its immediate aftermath, during which our country was fortunate to be neighbours with the world’s unquestioned hegemon. By contrast, in today’s world, change is the norm. The rules that will inform the international order of the coming decades are currently being contested and are far from being settled.
In this new and uncertain era, our interests will not always align with those of our southern neighbour. While Washington may wish to compete with Moscow and Beijing in a bid to maintain its position as the world’s pre-eminent power, Ottawa may legitimately fear that unbridled great power competition will destabilize the rules-based international institutions that have buttressed Canada’s economic prosperity and international position for decades.
By embracing its bilingual identity on the world stage more fully, Canada would distinguish itself from its American neighbour and counter its growing reputation as a “vassal state” of the United States.