How Canada can help promote democracy abroad
David Gillies considers in Open Canada the prospects for Canada's commitment to establishing a Canadian centre to promote democracy and good governance around the world. The centre is set to expand the availability of Canadian expertise and assistance to human rights and democracy supporters and will prioritise fast and flexible support for fragile and emerging democracies, increasing Canada's diplomatic importance where needed, and cooperating with like-minded partners. The author sees the initiative as an opportunity for Canada to play a larger role in supporting democracy globally. He makes four propositions for the centre:
- Long-term democratic success must come from within and cannot be externally imposed.
- While there is no universal definition of democracy, there is a growing consensus that it should include respect for human rights.
- A binary division between democracy and autocracy is not recommended, as it will poorly capture the complexity of regimes.
- All human rights are equally important and reinforce each other.
He goes on to apply these principles to the Canadian approach to democracy and foreign policy, and considers how such a centre may be practically implemented.