="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512">

Inclusive and Ethical International Relations

“Western democracy in many cases is expending energy and treasure shoring up bad governments because we do not know what else to do and because we fear alternatives. While western governments could claim they are trying to help to overcome economic underdevelopment, however imperfectly, it could be said that our governments are not only doing nothing to promote political development, but that by supporting some bad governments they are giving democratic government a bad name and therefore weakening the impact of political democracy as an ideal.”[1]

The Right Honourable Robert L. Stanfield, 1978

In the globalized world, international relations are of the utmost importance. In Stanfield’s view, international relations hinged on a balanced combination of politics, trade, and development initiatives. Though outside of the norm at the time, Stanfield looked beyond unilateral and bilateral trade relationships to support Canada’s future. Stanfield urged the importance of diversifying and broadening Canada’s international affairs: “the very fact is that so much of our trade is foreign trade – which limits our independence and increases our dependence upon developments outside of Canada and especially in the United States,”.[2] As a reflection of this desire to develop all three dimensions of international relations, he travelled to China in his official capacity as Leader of the Opposition even before the federal government recognized the People’s Republic.[3]

Though Stanfield supported efforts to diversify international trade partnerships, he recognized concerns about the effects of unfettered economic growth, both nationally and internationally.[4] Stanfield addressed the environment, uneven development and poor living conditions when noting the need to take account of broader impacts associated with particular economic policies.[5] Concerns regarding the ripple effects of economic growth towards the international community continue today. Further, Stanfield took a firm and principled stance regarding humanitarian interventions: regardless of political implications, actions must be taken to end human suffering.[6] Stanfield’s considerations surrounding international relations hold more true today than forty years ago. As Canada continues to diversify its efforts on the international stage, decisions should account for the full range of impacts on politics, trade, and humanitarian development.


  1. Stanfield, R. (1978, October 8). Notes for the Remarks: International Symposium on Human Development. St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS.
  2. Stanfield, R. (1974, November 14). Leader of the Opposition: Special Meeting – November 20th. Library of  Parliament Canada.
  3. Clippingdale, R. (2008). Robert Stanfield's Canada: Perspectives of the Best Prime Minister We Never Had. Montréal: School of Policy Studies, Queen's University by McGill-Queen's University Press.
  4. Murray, L. (2004). Robert Stanfield: A Nova Scotian and a Canadian remembered. Canadian Parliamentary Review, 27(1), 15-17.
  5. Stanfield, R. (1974, November 14). Leader of the Opposition: Special Meeting – November 20th. Library of Parliament Canada.
  6. Murray, L. (2004). Robert Stanfield: A Nova Scotian and a Canadian remembered. Canadian Parliamentary Review, 27(1), 15-17.

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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

Share This Book