Queen’s democracy centre calls for new role for Canada in promoting global democracy
Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy strongly endorses a proposal in a new federal report calling for the creation of a new, national institute to promote and enhance democracy in countries abroad.
The just-released federal government report on international democratic development calls for a Democracy Canada Institute that would provide guidance and support to countries making the transition to self-government, such as Afghanistan and Haiti.
“At a time when Canadians are dying in Afghanistan to help promote democracy, the committee is to be congratulated for taking seriously the need for Canada to organize our effort in a way that involves the whole Parliament, not just the executive, ” says Tom Axworthy, chair of the Queen’s centre.
As an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan organization focused on supporting and strengthening international democratization efforts, the new institute will add an important piece to Canada’s foreign policy, Dr. Axworthy adds.
In the first-ever report on the subject of democratic development, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development also addresses the need for developing civil society education, and free and independent media.
The committee’s recommendation of the creation of a political party assistance organization is a fundamental departure from party politics and is a central recommendation of the Centre for the Study of Democracy’s (CSD) 2005 report: “The Democracy Canada Institute: A Blueprint”.
The CSD was an active participant in the committee’s research into Canada’s role in democratic development abroad. Along with Dr. Axworthy, former chair and current fellow George Perlin and David Donovan, the centre’s research director, provided testimony to the committee.
“Canada must stand with the world’s democrats,” said Dr. Axworthy in his presentation. “We enjoy the blessings of democracy at home. We owe it to ourselves and to those who share our values to make a serious effort to promote democracy abroad. The House Committee should be applauded for taking an important step in this direction.”
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