The Impact of 9-11 on Human Security in Canada’s Foreign
Draft: Please do not quote
Paper to be presented on
C10: Responses to the American
“War on Terrorism”: Political Parties and Democracy
Canadian Political Science Association,
Saskatoon, June 1, 2007
Dr. Stefan Gänzle
Visiting Assistant Professor (DAAD)
University of British Columbia
Institute for European Studies/Political Science
182 C. K. Choi, 1855 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of Canadian foreign policy and its changes in the post-September 11th (9/11) world focusing of the emergence and sidelining of the ‘human security’ (HS) agenda. The paper argues that the securitization of the HS agenda has reduced its normative power substantially, and that domestic politics have reshaped the HS agenda into a US-led security dialogue in which the Canadian state has lost its impetus as a prime mover or the normative weight acquired in the 1990s by the advancement and attainment of key HS agenda items such as the Ottawa Convention and Treaty.
Throughout the second half of the 1990s, the concept of ‘human security’ became closely associated with Canadian foreign policy. The then foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy was clearly seen as a norm entrepreneur within various international organizations popularizing a ‘new’ approach in international politics which emphasizes the importance of protecting individuals and communities from any form of political violence in contrast to national security (albeit mutually reinforcing) which, in turn, focuses on the defense of the state from external attack. 1 Although human security declined conceptually as soon as Lloyd Axworthy had left Ottawa in 2000, its agenda did not entirely lose momentum – as this paper will show. As a normative concept it has contributed to inform a number of Canadian foreign policy domains, soften domestic policies vis-à-vis (international) terrorism and still seems to be rather well-entrenched in the foreign affairs bureaucracy. In the aftermath of 9-11, Ken Roach suggested that Canadian foreign policy should insist that “terrorist threats be integrated into a broader human security agenda and separated from American geo-political interests.” 2 Thus, how much of human security survived in Canadian post 9-11 (foreign) policy, 3 or, alternatively, was human security nothing more than an ‘Axworthy doctrine’ destined to disappear once the prominent close to Nobel prize-winning foreign minister had left office?
Without downplaying the terrorism-related areas on which Canada has stood firm and opposed US action, I argue that, at the level of domestic politics, Canada took many post 9-11 actions in direct response to US concerns or in an effort to align Canadian efforts with those of the United States. In contrast, however, Canada pursued a more liberal, multilateral and comprehensive approach – ultimately spurred by human security – similar to other civilian powers such as Japan or Germany. 4 Thus, while it is right to assume that a “continental divide” emerged between Canada and the United States internationally (albeit somewhat remedied by the new Conservative government coming into power in March 2006), domestically pragmatic cooperation (in the shadow of US domination) between both partners prevailed.
This paper proceeds in a threefold way: first, it situates the concept against the backdrop of Canadian foreign policy demonstrating that human security, in principle, subscribes to the multilateral tradition of an “activist state” 5 or middle power. Second, it analyzes human security as well as its development as a theoretical and practical tool of Canadian foreign policy starting in the late 1990. Third, it provides an analytical assessment of Canada’s major anti-terrorist measures introduced in the aftermath of 9-11. In the context of this analysis, it evaluates the role human security played in...
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