Learning Too Few Lessons

by Stephen Saideman

Several years ago, I had heard in various bars in the Byward Market that the Canadian government under Stephen Harper had engaged in a serious Lessons Learned exercise about Afghanistan.  I heard that the document was buried (I used the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark to illustrate).  I tried an Access to Information Request in January of 2013, but got rejected because the document was viewed as “advice to cabinet” and containing sensitive information about Canada’s allies.  I thought this was hogwash, so I appealed.  I got the document just before my recent trip to Brazil (here it is),* so I didn’t have time to process it.

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What should Canada’s portfolio for private sector engagement in development look like?

By Shannon Kindornay

In my first blog on private sector engagement in Canadian development cooperation, I highlighted some of the overarching lessons for Canada’s engagement with the private sector in development cooperation based  on my years of research in this area. In this blog, I take a closer look at Canada’s current approach to private sector engagement and offer some lessons which could inform a consolidated and expanded approach in the future.

Canada’s current approach to private sector engagement

The Canadian government does not have an overarching policy that sets out the objectives of and mechanisms for private sector engagement in development cooperation. Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has a website which does however articulate some of the key elements of Canada’s approach. It notes that Canada “pursues strong results” in the following areas: coordination, investments, partnerships and innovations.

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All Politics is Local – What we can expect from the Munk debate on foreign policy

By Stephanie Carvin

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A stalling Chinese economy. And of course, refugees.

When the election was called in August, it is likely that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party anticipated that they had the foreign policy issues locked down. From their view they could make an argument to have taken a strong stance against Russia and Iran, fighting terrorism abroad, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq and spending billions of dollars on aid to improve maternal, newborn and child health globally.

But things have not quite worked out the way they planned. The Conservatives hard security stance has – thus far – seemed off-key in light of recent events that have largely called for “soft” (diplomacy and negotiation) rather than “hard” (military) power. In short, there has been foreign policy issues in this election – but not the ones Stephen Harper counted on.

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