Parliament's Role In Canadian Foreign Policy

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In more ways than one, a plethora of scholarly literature elucidates and places in more substantial context the phenomenon that is Canadian Foreign Policy. The intellectual legacy of key personalities like John Kirton and James Eayrs, throw more light on central aspects of Canadian foreign policy beyond unravelling intricate details. Canadian foreign policy is highly exaggerated and aims at maintaining some principal power status in the name of self-interest. The main actors are the incumbent prime minister, minister of foreign affairs, parliament, and the citizens though with varying roles and importance. The above mentioned actors, especially the latter, connotes some form of people representation and involvement. Is this to say that…show more content…
They are simple elected public figures with rarely substantial background in foreign policy. Again, Prime ministers often interfere. As mentioned earlier, some prime ministers view foreign policies as solely their prerogative and reserve almost complete power when it comes to decisions. McKenzie King was an example. Honestly, when it comes down to it, general issues on foreign policy formulation do not require the role of parliament in the forefront. Parliament’s role is essentially to make sure that foreign policies are realized, and it does that pretty…show more content…
Likewise, it covers the actual influence parliament has in issues of foreign policy formulation. Presently, the system is more democratic that it has ever been. Changes in the system from the twentieth century is evident, though the system is still elite driven. McKenzie King, as mentioned earlier took charge of foreign policy regardless of the existing parliamentary portfolios and the views of the public. Louis St Laurent and John Diefenbaker also adopted this modus operandi while camouflaging this with the “parliament will decide” tactic; a stalling attempt that some argue accounts for the low public interest in foreign policy issues. Prior to the 1968 elections, the New Democratic Party conducted a poll revealing a two percent interest of the population in issues of external affairs. Changes however began during the Trudeau administration. Trudeau in 1970 introduced the development of foreign policy review “Foreign Policy for Canadians” which successfully attempted to improve public involvement in foreign policy. His introduction of regional desks in the PMO and the extension of the number of public respondents in the PMO exhibits developed democratization of Canadian foreign policy. Mulroney’s government with his same objective organized a number of debates on foreign policy in parliament

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