Canada and the United Nations: Legacies, Limits, Prospects. Colin McCullough and Robert Teigrob. Eds. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s Universty Press, 2017.
A nation of peacekeepers or soldiers? Honest broker, loyal ally, or chore boy for empire? Attempts to define Canada’s past, present, and proper international role have often led to contradiction and incendiary debate. Canada and the United Nations seeks to move beyond simplistic characterizations by allowing evidence, rather than ideology, to drive the inquiry. The result is a pragmatic and forthright assessment of the best practices in Canada’s UN participation.
Sparked by the Harper government’s realignment of Canadian internationalism, Canada and the United Nations reappraises the mythic and often self-congratulatory assumptions that there is a distinctively Canadian way of interacting with the world, and that this approach has profited both the nation and the globe. While politicians and diplomats are given their due, this collection goes beyond many traditional analyses by including the UN-related attitudes and activities of ordinary Canadians. Contributors find that while Canadians have exhibited a broad range of responses to the UN, fundamental beliefs about the nation’s relationship with the world are shared widely among citizens of various identities and eras. While Canadians may hold inflated views of their country’s international contributions, their notions of Canada’s appropriate role in global governance correlate strongly with what experts in the field consider the most productive approaches to the Canada-UN relationship.
In an era when some of the globe’s most profound challenges – climate change, refugees, terrorism, economic uncertainty – are not constrained by borders, Canada and the United Nations provides a timely primer on Canada’s diplomatic strengths.