Canada considers itself as a ‘middle power’, which is not a great power, but still a state that is able to exercise some power (usually “soft power”) in the international sphere. This conception view Canada, and in particular its foreign policy behavior, as mostly ethical, peace-loving, and international law abiding. Participation in international organizations, promotion and advancement of international law has been a key priority in its external affairs (?) for both moral and pragmatic reasons, since the establishment of the United Nations in 1948. Undoubtedly, the role of Canada in international institutions was not the same through these 60 years.
This paper concentrates on the subject of Canadian foreign policy within international organizations on its key directions (human rights, peacekeeping and international aid), and, more specifically, on the topic of the changing role of Canada in these institutions. The thesis of this paper can be stated as follows !!!. Accordingly, the purpose of this work is to prove the thesis, and it will be achieved through completing following objectives:
1. to discover Canadian contribution to the international law concerning human rights;
2. to single out current challenges for Canada in the field of human rights protection;
3. to analyze transforming peculiarities of Canadian participation in peacekeeping operations during the 1956-2010 period;
4. to examine the trend of switch to peacebuilding;
5. to define Canada’s niche in international aid as well as predict the consequences of reductions in the number of its receivers.
The significance of this paper can be explained by the fact that participation in international organizations is beneficial for Canada in finding partners and forming coalitions in order to divorce its foreign policy from that of the United States’ and to withstand Washington’s attempts to make unilateral decisions on global issues among which are the questions of Third World development, protection of human rights and peacekeeping in conflict regions. Thus, the study of evolution of the Canadian role in the world community seems relevant. Besides, the novelty of the selected research topic is clarified by the lack of studies on Canada, directions and instruments of its foreign policy (such as soft power that includes promotion of peacekeeping and development as well as protection of human rights) and its role in international organizations.
Although there is a shortage of scientific literature on this issue, there are some researches on which I base my research paper. The sources include articles by Canadian and American specialists in international affairs and international law both from the second half of the 20th century and from the first decade of the 21st century such as by S.G. Triantis (1971), T.A. Keenleyside & N. Serkasevich (1990), K.E. Mahoney (1992), D. Webster (2010), S. Carvin (2007), etc.
1. Canadian approach to Human Rights protection (UN)