Summer 2004 (Volume II, Issue II)

Promoting new understanding and improvement of Canadian foreign and defence policy.

In this issue:

Message from the President - Robert S. Millar

Welcome to another issue of CDFAI Dispatch. The Institute has been quite busy over the period of time since our last issue with some interesting developments. We are adding a new dimension to the newsletter with the inclusion of short essays from our Fellows on topical issues. The Fellows program is an idea that has been germinating for some time. It is our intent to make it one of the core programs in CDFAI, one where we can provide a service to others through professional writing and comment on issues of current relevance in defence and foreign affairs.

There have been some changes in personnel at CDFAI with the creation of a full-time External Relations Manager. Alexis Apps has moved into this role which permitted Michelle Gertzen to join our small team as Administrative Assistant. Chris Tucker was with us over the summer as a research analyst and he has now gone back to school.

I would welcome any comments that you may have about CDFAI and the things we are doing. In particular, if you have a comment about anything that we write, feel free to send it to us.

Enjoy this issue of Dispatch.  


CDFAI Fellows

This past July, CDFAI launched it’s new Fellows Program. We approached fourteen well known and accomplished experts with an offer to affiliate themselves to CDFAI as Fellows. The initial list of fellows is printed below with short bios and areas of expertise. In return for a small honorarium, these fellows have agreed to help CDFAI respond to media requests for information about Canadian foreign and defence policy and to prepare a short essay of about 1000 words for our quarterly newsletter. We intend to include at least two articles in each edition of the newsletter.

The Fellows program is beginning somewhat modestly, but a research and publication program for the Fellows has already been launched. CDFAI will publish at least four short research papers each year (of about 5000 words each) on our website (and will also distribute a limited number of hard copies) on subjects of the Fellows’ choosing. Arrangements have already been made for the following: 

  1. Jean Sebastien Rioux, “French Canada and Canadian Foreign and Defence Policy” to be published in March 2005.

  2. J.L. Granatstein and Charles Belzile, “The Special Commission on the Restructure of the Reserves after Ten Years”, to be published in September 2005. Plans are underway for a new conference to be held in the fall of 2005 in conjunction with the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies of the University of Calgary upon publication of this report.

  3. Elinor Sloan, “The Origin and Evolution of the Canadian Forces’ Strategic Capability Investment Plan” to be published in December 2005.

Further research papers are under active consideration. CDFAI also intends to launch a speakers’ bureau featuring our Fellows.

The Fellows Program is intended to achieve two primary goals: to give our Fellows a greater opportunity to reach a wider public audience and to add the talent of our Fellows to CDFAI’s other expert resources. Persons interested in being considered for CDFAI Fellowship should contact Dr. David J. Bercuson at [email protected].

Derek Burney is President of the Board of New Brunswick Power and Adjunct Professor and Senior Distinguished Fellow at Carleton University.  From 1989-1993, he served as Canada's Ambassador to the United States.  This assignment culminated a distinguished thirty-year career in the Canadian Foreign Service.

David Carment is an Associate Professor of International Affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Security and Defence Studies at Carleton University. His recent books include Using Force to Prevent Ethnic Violence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence and Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion?

Mark Entwistle is a consultant in international affairs and global business, negotiation and diplomacy, strategic communications, media relations, public affairs and advocacy, government relations and operations, and public policy issue management. He is currently Vice-President, International and Government Affairs with ExecAdvice Corporation ( and Senior Associate with Prospectus Associates (, Canadian affiliate of Golin/Harris International.

James Fergusson is Deputy Director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba.

John Ferris, formerly the Head of the History Department at The University of Calgary is a specialist in military and diplomatic history, as well as in intelligence.

Jack Granatstein is a Distinguished Research Professor of History Emeritus at York University, Toronto. The Conference of Defence Associations Institute named him winner of the Vimy Award “for achievement and effort in the field of Canadian defence and security”. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Frank Harvey is Director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies and Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Dalhousie University.

Rob Huebert is the Associate Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies and editor of the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies.

Tami Jacoby is assistant professor in the Department of Political Studies and a research fellow at the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, at the University of Manitoba. She has published on the Arab-Israeli conflict, critical security issues, Canadian foreign and defence policy, and gender and International Relations.

Alexander Moens is a professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University. He published his first book on Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy in 1990 titled Foreign Policy Under Carter.

Andrew Richter is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor.

Jean-Sébastien Rioux holds the Canada Research Chair in International Security at the Institut québécois des hautes etudes internationales (HEI) at Laval University in Quebec City where he is also an Assistant Professor of Political Science, appointed on June 1st, 2001.  

Scot Robertson is an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He teaches courses in international relations, strategic studies and military history.

Cameron Ross is the Vice President for International Relations of Emergo Canada Ltd ( While mainly focused on business interests in Europe and the US, he is also a co-chair of a team that is providing strategic security and law enforcement advice to seven Caribbean countries. He retired from active military service in June 2003. His last military appointment was Director General International Security Policy (J5 Policy) in National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, responsible for managing international security relations.

Elinor Sloan is assistant professor of international security studies in the Department of Political Science, and is a former defence analyst with Canada's Department of National Defence.

Gordon Smith is the Director of the Centre for Global Studies, and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria. Dr. Smith arrived at the University of Victoria in 1997 following a distinguished career with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, which included posts as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1994-1997, Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels from 1991-1994, and Ambassador to the Canadian Delegation to NATO, from 1985-1990.

Denis Stairs is the McCulloch Professor in Political Science for the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University.



Dr. David Bercuson - 2004 Vimy Award Winner  

newslettersummer20041.jpgfellowbercuson.jpg The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDAI) is pleased to announce that Dr. David J. Bercuson, OC, PhD, LLD, FRSC, has been selected as the recipient of the Vimy Award for 2004.

Dr. Bercuson is a distinguished Canadian who has exhibited the highest standards of leadership throughout his career of service to Canada. The award will be presented on Friday, November 19, 2004, at a mixed gala dinner in the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau.

Dr. Bercuson attended Sir George Williams University, graduating in June in 1966 with Honours in History, and winning the Lieutenant-Governor’s Silver Medal for the highest standing in history. After graduation he pursued graduate studies at the University of Toronto, earning an MA in history in 1967 and a PhD in 1971.

In 1988, Dr. Bercuson was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and, in 1989, he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Calgary. In 1997, he was appointed Special Advisor to the Minister of National Defence. He was a member of the Minister of National Defence’s Monitoring Committee from 1997 to 2003. Since 1997, he has been the Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. Currently he is the Vice President of the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute, Calgary.



Changes at CDFAI

The CDFAI Website will be changing its look in the near future. Our hopes are that the website will be more user-friendly and visually appealing.  


Congratulations to Ms. Alexis Apps (pictured left), who has moved into her new role as External Relations Manager for CDFAI. Alexis joined CDFAI in 2003 as Executive Assistant and was promoted to Coordinator Programs & Administration in 2004. Alexis has a BA in History from the University of Calgary. As a valuable member of the CDFAI team, we welcome the abilities and skills Alexis brings to this new position. Michelle Gertzen joined the CDFAI staff as Administrative Assistant in August. Michelle comes to us from Mancal Corporation and has a BA in Sociology from the University of Lethbridge.


Annual Conference

Defining the National Interest: New Directions for Canadian Foreign Policy
November 4-5, 2004

In this year of change and review, the 2004 conference will define and refine Canada's international interests. The conference format includes panel discussions on Canada's economic, security and political interests led by academics, representatives from Non Government Organizations, policy makers and business elites as well as working group sessions. The focus of the conference will be the results of a national public opinion poll conducted by the Dominion Institute in conjunction with the Conference.

"Defining the National Interest: New Directions for Canadian Foreign Policy” is sponsored by: The Centre for Security and Defence Studies at Carleton University, the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute in Calgary, the Department of Political Studies and the Centre for International Relations at Queen's University, the l'Institut québécois des hautes études internationales at Université Laval and the Dominion Institute.



CDFAI is actively planning to fully participate in the public consultation on the foreign and defence policy reviews later this fall. 



CDFAI has been awarded a $10,000 Public Diplomacy Grant from Foreign Affairs Canada. These funds will go directly to support the Student Run Conferences.



60th Anniversary D-Day Celebrations

by Jack Granatstein

I had the great good fortune to go with CBC TV News to Normandy for the 60th anniversary commemorations of D-Day.

My overwhelming feeling there was not of the triumph of Canadian and Allied arms, but of sadness. It was dreadful to see the 5000 Canadian graves in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries at Beny-sur-mer and Bretteville-sur Laize, however beautifully they are maintained. It was horrifying to see the killing ground where Kurt Meyer’s teenaged soldiers of the 12th SS Panzer Division murdered Canadian prisoners of War at the Abbaye d’Ardenne. And it was terribly moving to watch the D-Day veterans, once young men in the vigorous prime of life and now old men, hobble along the beach, their eyes streaming, unutterably sad.

For a historian, however, it was a rich experience, a chance to see Juno Beach again, to go to Omaha Beach and  to the American military cemetery there with more than 9000 dead, and to see Verrieres Ridge and the Falaise Gap towns where so many Canadians died. Sixty years is not so long, but in the lush, verdant France of today, it is almost impossible to contemplate what was and what might have been if the Allies had not prevailed in the summer of 1944.

To me, it was also very important to see how the French people reacted to the anniversary. At the 50th   which I also attended with the CBC, they had been distant, I thought, almost ungrateful and resentful of those who had come to France to spend their dollars. Not this time, however. There was a genuine bonhomie and gratitude to “our liberators,” mixed in with more than a little shame that France had been forced to rely on the Anglo-Saxons to free the country from the Nazis and the Vichyites. If they did not before, the French now seem to understand the price paid for their liberation by the American, British and Canadian forces.

To me, as well, it was important to note how Canada was regarded in France and by our wartime allies. The Canadian Forces were third in the marchpast of allies at the great and hugely impressive spectacle staged by President Jacques Chirac at Arromanches on June 6, 2004, immediately following the American and British military contingents; HMCS Charlottetown, in fact, led the naval review. The Canadian guard that participated at Arromanches and other ceremonies was a composite, made up of a naval colour party, a Canadian Air Force platoon from Gelsenkirchen, Germany where its members serve as part of a support unit, and militia soldiers from the units (or the successor units) that served in the Third Canadian Infantry Division that landed on Juno Beach on June 6. Typically, the guard had no time to train together before the ceremonies, and its drill was ragged, compared to the American, British, Norwegian, and other contingents. Worse, some of the soldiers and airmen and women were fat. If the Canadian Forces are to take part in international ceremonies and not look utterly foolish, we need to take them seriously and prepare for them. Anything else is embarrassing.

Nonetheless, what mattered most was that Canada was there and prominently so. This was only fitting, I thought, as we had been hugely prominent in the Normandy battle, in the liberation of France and of Northwest Europe, in the struggle for democracy and freedom and against Hitler. Canada, with a population of just eleven million in 1939, once mattered.

The country mattered in the Great War of 1914-18 too. The Canadian Corps established itself as the master of the battlefield of the First World War. Indeed,  the cemeteries in Normandy pale beside those that stretch along the Somme, for example, the French, British, Australian, and Canadian burial grounds all coming one after another, mile after mile after mile.

I have written about Canadian military history for more than 35 years now, and I never fail to be struck by how war shaped Canada—in our own collective mind and in the mind of the world. We think of ourselves as peacekeepers today, or so our government tells us; the rest of the world, if it thinks of us at all, sees us as a warrior nation. Certainly that was true in France in the first week of June 2004.

Our governments have deliberately and calculatingly trashed the traditions and history of the Canadian Forces. The British ceremony at their Bayeux war cemetery was explicitly Christian; the Canadian service at Beny-sur-mer was wholly non-denominational, even though virtually every grave marker there is marked with a cross or Star of David. It is as if the war was fought by today’s multicultural Canadians, not the men of 1944. This matters, because our governments have tried to make our history bland, airbrushing the military exploits from our past and stressing the “atrocities” earlier governments committed against Ukrainian Canadians in World War I or Japanese-Canadians in World War II, for example. But the military history of Canada will not disappear from the soil of France or from the minds of Canadians. CBC Television had as many as 750,000 viewers per minute for its D-Day coverage on a warm summer Sunday this past June. That says something.

The veterans, with 260,000 of the original 1.1 million men and women who served in the war continuing to survive, can still talk and tell the stories of their Second World War. And at last they are talking to their great grandchildren and to schools and to the media.

We Canadians are not a military or warlike people, not really, but we are a nation with a military past. We need to see our wartime history as a source of pride. Almost alone among nation states, we have not sought conquest or territory or plunder. We have slaughtered none except our lawful enemies, those who sought to destroy us. We fought for—and still fight for—freedom and democracy, sacrificing our young men very reluctantly and only for the right causes. This is a proud history, one we need to mark, to teach our young, and to celebrate.

We did that this June in Normandy. Happily Canadians read about and watched the commemorations. Happily there are still a quarter million vets who will know that Canadians care. And so we should, so we must.



The Domestic Politics of Foreign Policy: Communicating Foreign Policy American Myths

by Mark Entwistle

Canadians are not necessarily ill informed about foreign affairs but most certainly about the foreign policy of their government.

Governments are probably less transparent about their foreign policy activities than even the main issues of domestic policy. In all public policy, there is a Grand-Canyon-gap between policy development within the professional public service and the politics of “packaging” and communicating policy in the public domain. The isolation of foreign policy-making from political communications is even more acute.

The government regularly confuses communication with consultation. There is a process in government to hold dialogue with Canadians that is structured enough to warrant its own Treasury Board and Privy Council Office directives. There are various examples of past public consultations on foreign policy, which come in different forms, some direct to the public and some by means of Parliament. There is little evidence, however, that any of these “dialogue efforts” have a substantive impact on the conduct of real-time Canadian diplomacy. They at least meet the need to be perceived to be consulting. On the other hand, the government rarely communicates to Canadians the rationale for foreign policy decisions and the policy basis for those actions.

Why is this? There are a number of factors in play.

The general background landscape is one of secrecy in government, which has grown worse over the years. The Information Commissioner, an officer of Parliament, has decried consistently the “culture of secrecy” in the federal public service. This environment is partly the product of hubris in the governing elite, including the senior public service, many of whom continue to behave as if they believe public policy issues are just too complex for the general public to understand. It is also largely the result of the way the symbiotic interface between politics and the press has evolved.

The “packaging” of media politics into sound bites and careful message management has been a feature of politics in all democracies for the past two decades, and, when this is combined with the “vulgarization” of mainstream journalism, it creates a fear in political circles of dealing in complex policy issues. Political communicators have concluded that there is no room for nuance and transparency because they can see no reward. So policy is caricatured and “sacred cows” created to provide a political safe zone on controversial issues. This vicious circle is intensified by the combative adversarial nature of our party politics and a news industry that trades in the business of controversy. And foreign policy is as “complex” as it gets.

Political communications is a unique beast, marked by a distinct and purposeful lack of clarity and which aims for the intangible versus the tangible. The communications of foreign policy fits in the same mold.

In the daily calculations of politics, foreign policy is relegated as something to be avoided. Political advisors to Prime Ministers despair when their bosses inevitably start to travel increasingly to escape the relentless pressure of hostile domestic politics and to commiserate with other beleaguered leaders. The refrain: “there are no votes in foreign policy.” Inversely, as the Canadian demographic profile changes due to immigration and ancestral disputes from other places are imported into Canada, judgments of whether Canadian policy is “correct” or not become more emotional in larger configurations of Canadians. In political circles, this worsens distrust of foreign policy because it can now trigger hotspot reactions in certain communities. And the sometimes tawdry competition between interests is not a pretty sight for a Canadian public schooled in the imagery of Pearsonian internationalism.

The arms-length approach of politics to foreign policy acts to encourage the traditional instinct to isolation in the professional Foreign Service. The corporate culture of the Department of Foreign Affairs tends to treat foreign policy as a child to be sheltered from outside scrutiny because it is too sensitive and complicated to explain adequately. There would be a reluctance to engage in transparent communications on policy, not because the information is classified, but because Foreign Affairs might lose even more control over foreign policy formulation than already lost to the other more-than-a-dozen government departments that deal internationally within their technical mandates. The career diplomat is a threatened species.

The worrisome result of all the above is immature public discourse on foreign policy, unfortunate and unacceptable in a country of Canada’s potential and historic track record. By choice, the government peddles in simplifications, mythologies, and vague generalizations that double as conventional wisdom. This prevents a broad public understanding of the real dynamics and pressures in making foreign policy, the trade-offs and the larger national interests at play -- why we do what we do. The old debate over values versus interests as the guiding principle of foreign policy would be largely set aside if citizens had greater insight into why the government makes certain decisions, most often being forced to choose the lesser of evils. Appreciation of the full battery of conflicting considerations could serve to consolidate public support around the need to rebuild our foreign policy assets, including military and diplomatic resources. The hard decisions can be put off because the public has not been let in on the “secret.”

But, it would require considerable leadership to break the patterns and absorb the risk of transparency. One small practical place to start could be to begin communicating the rationale for foreign policy decisions. In the diplomatic service, Canadian embassies and consulates are provided with an “Explanation of Vote” for votes taken by Canada in the United Nations. This permits diplomats to explain the background thinking behind those votes to other national governments. In a similar way, the Minister of Foreign Affairs could begin to issue an “explanation” of foreign policy decisions to better inform the public. This approach would revolutionize the communication of foreign policy, improve the quality of public discourse, lead eventually to better policy-making, but make the life of the government of the day much more difficult by laying bare the complex inter-play of interests that make up our foreign policy.

Mark Entwistle is a Fellow of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, a consultant and former Canadian Ambassador, career diplomat, and Press Secretary and communications director to three former Prime Ministers of Canada.


American Myths

newslettersummer20044.jpg CDFAI has partnered with The Dominion Institute on a book, newspaper and documentary film project titled "American Myths".

“American Myths” is a documentary film, polling, newspaper and book initiative that will raise awareness of the degree to which many Canadians’ attitudes toward the United States are confused by a haze of erroneous information, half-truths and lingering suspicions. The goal of this project is not simply to challenge Canadians’ assumptions about the US but encourage a much needed debate on what Canada could be if we articulated who we are as a nation on own terms as opposed to defining ourselves in opposition to America.

"American Myths" will be launched in January 2005 with a nationwide campaign.

If you are interested in more information on the upcoming American Myths project please contact The Dominion Institute at 1-866-701-1867 or [email protected].


Graduate Symposium

The Conference of Defence Associations Institute and the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute in collaboration with the Centre for International Relations at Queen’s University, and the War Studies Programme at the Royal Military College of Canada will host the 7th Aannual Graduate Student Symposium:

Security and Defence: National and International Issues

Dr. David J. Bercuson will be the keynote speaker at this conference.
The symposium will take place on October 29 – 30, 2004 at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.

For more information on the symposium please contact [email protected].


CDFAI Donors






About Our Organization

CDFAI provides Canadians with factual and comprehensive policy analysis to promote their understanding of Canada’s foreign policy and the state of our military preparedness and national security by developing and sponsoring authoritative research and education programs.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Calgary, CDFAI is a non-profit, charitable research and education institute.



If you would like to be included on our regular mailing regarding conferences, lectures and newsletters, please send your particulars to [email protected] or sign up for our mailing list at All email addresses gathered by CDFAI are kept confidential as we do not release or sell any information collected from the public to any third party without explicit permission to do so.

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