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The “Stanfield doctrine,” if it can be so called, stems from the foundations of a particular approach to democratic values, cooperative governance and inclusive and ethical international relations. Forty years after he left politics, these concepts continue to influence national and international conceptualizations of government. Stanfield believed that Canada should be an outward-looking society, and one that accepted diversity. As he illustrated, “I liked the idea of it being difficult to define a Canadian. I liked the idea of a country that had the affection of its citizens but didn’t ask them to accept an orthodox view of what a Canadian is,”.[1] There is no definition of what it means to be a Canadian; however, the eloquence, respect, humbleness and forward-thinking orientation of Robert L. Stanfield in many ways encapsulate the essence and attitudes of the ideal Canadian citizen.


  1. Frank, J. (1988). Robert Stanfield: On Politics, Polls and Leadership. Canadian Business Review, 15(2), 8-15.

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Conclusion by Julia Rodgers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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