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AEFA - Standing Committee

Foreign Affairs and International Trade



OTTAWA, Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade met with videoconference this day at 11:30 a.m. [ET], to examine, and report on, the Canadian foreign service and elements of the foreign policy machinery within Global Affairs Canada, and study foreign relations and international trade generally.

Senator Peter M. Boehm (Chair) in the chair.


The Chair: My name is Peter Boehm. I am a senator from Ontario and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.


Before we begin, I would like to invite committee members participating in today’s meeting to introduce themselves. We’ll start on my left.

Senator MacDonald: Senator MacDonald from Nova Scotia.

Senator Greene: Senator Stephen Greene from Nova Scotia.

Senator Coyle: Senator Mary Coyle from Nova Scotia.

The Chair: Thank you. We’re going counterclockwise now.

Senator M. Deacon: Marty Deacon from Ontario.

Senator Boniface: Senator Gwen Boniface from Ontario.

Senator Marwah: Sabi Marwah from Ontario.

Senator Harder: Senator Peter Harder from Ontario.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We may have some more colleagues joining us as we move along.

I wish to welcome you all and certainly to those Canadians who are watching from across the country.

Today, in the first hour, we continue our study Canada’s foreign service. The objective of this study, as we know, is to evaluate if Canada’s foreign service and foreign policy machinery is fit for purpose and ready to respond to global challenges today and in the future.

For the first part of our meeting, we are very pleased to welcome Professor Roland Paris, Full Professor and Director, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa; and Professor Adam Chapnick, Professor of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College who is joining us virtually.

Welcome and thank you for being with us. We are ready to hear your opening remarks. This will be, as usual, followed by questions from our colleagues here in the committee. Professor Paris, you have the floor.

Roland Paris, Full Professor and Director, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, as an individual: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the committee for inviting me to contribute to your fit-for-purpose review of Global Affairs Canada. It’s also a pleasure to appear alongside Professor Chapnick, whose work I have admired for many years.

I’m not an expert on the inner workings of the department or an expert on organizational management. I did work there briefly, taking a leave from my academic career in 2002 and 2004 to serve as a policy adviser in the North American relations bureau on Canada-U.S. relations. I spent a year also working in the Privy Council Office, in the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat, giving me a different perspective on Global Affairs. In 2015 through to the summer of 2016, I took yet another leave from my university to work in the Prime Minister’s office. I have had glimpses of Global Affairs Canada from all of these vantage points and these experiences inform what I’ll offer you today.

I should also briefly mention a matter that might be of interest to the committee. A colleague and I have recently established a small task force, made up of other experts and former senior officials to look into some of the most pressing foreign policy issues facing Canada today. My co-chair in that undertaking is international trade professor Meredith Lilly, at Carleton University, who served as policy adviser in Stephen Harper’s Prime Minister’s Office. We both believe that most of the challenges that we face as a country today in a rapidly changing world transcend party differences and that managing in this much tougher world is a matter of importance to our entire country. I can’t preview our conclusions, unfortunately, because we have only just started meeting, but we expect to have a short report in the spring. I hope to be able to share our findings with the committee, if you are interested.

I’ll use the remainder of my time to highlight four issues relating to Global Affairs Canada that you may wish to explore in your study, and I would be happy to elaborate on any of them during the question period.

First is the capacity of the department to manage an environment of recurring international crises. Just think, since 2020 alone, two and a half years, the department has had to deal with a global pandemic and a massive repatriation of Canadians from around the world, the Trump administration, the two Michaels incident with China, the Afghanistan evacuation, global economic turmoil and now Russia’s brutal invasion and war against Ukraine.

You may wish to ask whether the department has a truly sustainable surge capacity to deal with emergencies — because, unfortunately, emergencies are now the new normal — and to do so while maintaining all the other aspects of our foreign policy and the functions of the foreign ministry.

Second, Global Affairs, in my view, can further strengthen its capacity for strategic planning. Although the department’s ability to implement foreign policy is obviously central, it must also have the capacity to serve as the government of Canada’s principal in-house think tank, if you will, on how the world is changing and what Canada should do about it.

The department has had some difficulty with this in recent years, in part because it’s being called upon to do so many different things. But we need this, especially in a period of tumult and disruption and change. We need Global Affairs to perform this strategic role and to do so by drawing upon the expertise of experts from sectors across Canada and elsewhere.

This leads to my third point. I think the department could benefit from an HR policy that specifically sought to recruit more mid-career professionals from outside of government, and, conversely, a policy that encouraged and rewarded Global Affairs officials to pursue temporary professional postings outside of government, like in a major exporting company, provincial or even municipal government or non-governmental organization. Why? Because foreign policy isn’t just foreign policy. As you know, it touches on virtually every issue in every sector of our society. Dealing with these major challenges going forward will require not only interdepartmental coordination but also deep engagement with the private sector, non-governmental actors and the perspectives that those actors bring to bear.

Fourth, the department will need to ensure its expertise in key areas that we know will be important in the coming years. Some are unpredictable; others we know, for example, critical technologies and Asian languages and cultures.

These are four areas that, in my view, warrant some further attention, but let me conclude by observing that we are lucky to have so many talented and dedicated people working in foreign affairs and in our diplomatic service. We’re starting from a very sound foundation. Canadian diplomats have a reputation for being skilled around the world, and it’s not something to take for granted.

When I used to travel and now resuming to travel, I have always been very impressed and proud to see our diplomats at work. We’re going to have to rely on their skills very much in the coming years to navigate a much more competitive and conflictual world that’s emerging. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Professor Paris. We will now go to Professor Chapnick.

Adam Chapnick, Professor of Defence Studies, Canadian Forces College, as an individual: Thank you very much, committee, for the opportunity to testify and to testify alongside someone as thoughtful as Roland Paris.

I have never worked at Global Affairs Canada, so I’m going to focus my comments on where I do have some experience, which is writing and thinking about the history of Canadian foreign policy and how it applies to what you are looking at today.

The main message that I hope you take away from what I’m saying is as follows: In as much as this committee can and should identify changes that might be made to improve the culture at Global Affairs Canada, to improve the experience of Canadian representatives abroad, to improve the ability of the Canadian foreign service to advance the national interest, I suspect that there will be some serious limitations to the impact of your practical recommendations because the challenge as I see it is more fundamental. Too many of Canada’s political leaders no longer revere diplomacy in its traditional form as critical to the promotion and defence of Canada’s interests on the world stage. It follows that, to me, the most important thing this committee can do is articulate, profoundly, a unifying vision of the role of diplomacy in Canadian foreign policy writ large.

To explain to you how I have arrived at this conclusion, my comments will proceed as follows. First, I’ll explain how the diplomatic process is supposed to work by providing an anecdote from trade history. Then I’ll outline the lack of national consensus on the role of diplomacy in Canada’s foreign policy tool kit and show how it undermines Ottawa’s approach to managing its diplomatic operation, which, in turn, undermines Global Affairs Canada as a national institution.

First, how it’s supposed to work. I’m going to take you to 1932, when the Canadian government is hosting an imperial economic conference in Ottawa. Initially, beginning in 1930, the Conservative government of R.B. Bennett saw Canadian diplomats and trade negotiators as an impediment to his and Canada’s success. In 1930, Bennett even said to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, “I’m not going to have you monkeying with this business. It is for the Prime Minister’s office, not for External Affairs” to run these conferences. But the Prime Minister’s Office and friendly industrial lobbyists proved to be in well over their heads, and Bennett ultimately had no choice but to empower his expert officials to rescue him from utter humiliation.

The experience caused the Prime Minister to conclude that trade policy was too complicated to be left to politicians and too important to be left to industry. The public service, with its technical expertise and its commitment to loyally implementing the government’s agenda, was critical to long-term policy success.

Ever since then, I would suggest that Canadian trade policy officials have functioned as among the world’s best, and their reputation precedes them wherever they go.

Canada’s diplomats were similarly respected during the Cold War, but not quite the same way today. To me, contemporary diplomacy has become intertwined with the promotion of the government of the day’s party brand. Diplomats have less freedom to use their expertise, and instead, they are instructed to conform to pan-governmental partisan norms.

In this context, one can understand why so many career diplomats have been replaced by partisan appointees, and similarly, as diplomacy has become yet another tool of political marketing controlled by the proverbial centre, there has been less need for stability in the position of foreign minister. Significant foreign policy decisions are made by the Prime Minister’s Office anyway.

This political environment explains how some of the very real problems identified by previous witnesses, whose testimony I’ve read, have come to be. None of Canada’s 11 foreign ministers who have served in the position over the last 15 years have had either the power or the time in the portfolio necessary to provide Canada and its diplomats with real leadership. As a result, successive governments have neglected to recognize and respond to two critical administrative failures that have decimated the departmental morale at Global Affairs Canada.

The first is excessive partisan diplomatic appointments. The second is the appointment of a series of deputy ministers who have lacked the overseas experience necessary to lead a unique cohort of officials whose intrinsic motivation to serve bears little resemblance to that of the typical Canadian public servant.

As others have already testified, these failures have informed a departmental culture that is increasingly risk-averse and an internal promotion structure that fails to reward diplomatic expertise, whether that be linguistic ability, cultural sensitivity or merely the wisdom that comes from the combination of international experience, longevity and specialization.

Where do we go from here? I applaud this committee’s commitment to documenting the current state of affairs, but I also encourage you to seek consensus around the role of diplomacy in advancing Canada’s national interests. Without it, without that consensus, I fear that real sustainable change at Global Affairs Canada will remain out of reach.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Professor Chapnick.

I would like to inform members that you will each have a maximum of only four minutes for the first round, and this includes questions and answers.

Therefore, both to the members of the committee and the witnesses, please be as concise as you can, particularly with your preamble. We can always go to a second round if we have time. Please indicate which of our witnesses you would like to address your question to.


Senator Gerba: Thank you to our witnesses. My question is for Professor Paris. A number of experts are recommending Global Affairs Canada cooperate with provincial representations in the countries. In particular, they have mentioned the province of Quebec, which is considered a model for cooperation.

Do you feel we are cooperating appropriately? Are there any cooperation models from other countries that Canada could apply so as to not duplicate services and make maximum use of representations that are already very active in the countries?

Mr. Paris: Thank you for your question.


I haven’t done a deep study of how sub-national units interact with national representation in other countries or for other countries.

In the Canadian case, my sense is that it’s worked fairly well and that provinces that have had particular interests have had the opportunity to make use of some of the resources — I’m thinking here about the shared resources at our embassy in Washington, D.C. — in order to make representations themselves and ideally to be coordinating with the representatives of Canada too.

The one thing I would say is that, of course, it works most effectively when they are all pushing the same direction. The kinds of challenges that we are facing and will be facing will increasingly require at least some coordination across a whole range of Canadian actors.

Now, we saw a version of this during the renegotiation of the NAFTA agreement during the Trump administration. That was, in some ways, an exceptional moment because of how urgent the situation was. But what we saw during that moment was regular communication and a degree of coordination among a range of Canadian actors at all levels of government — federal, provincial and local — with elements of the private sector, with elements of organized labour and with Canadians who had relationships with key interlocutors in the United States.

Of course, this kind of coordination can’t take place on that scale on every issue or even every day, but it illustrates the importance of, the value of, trying to pull together, because so many of the issues that we’re dealing with transcend foreign and domestic politics. I’m thinking about our domestic economic policy in relation to a transforming global economy, where increasingly, countries are trying to define and gain leadership over specific emerging technologies, for example, or over critical minerals or key elements of supply chains.

How does all of that interact with how we’re trying to boost our economy at home? The government alone can’t address those issues. It has to be in cooperation with other actors, and of course, the provinces are critical actors there too.

So I’m all in favour of provinces, if they wish to expend the resources, to add to the Canadian voice in areas where they think that can work. Of course, there will be moments where there is a certain amount of bumpiness, but my sense is that it’s worked fairly well.

The Chair: Thank you. We’re out of time on that segment.

Mr. Paris: I’ll try and answer shorter.

Senator Boniface: Thank you very much for being here. I’ll first put my question to Mr. Chapnick, if I could.

You spoke about partisanship coming in the way of good foreign public policy. Can you tell me how Canada may compare to, say, NATO’s or the Five Eyes’ allies from a strategic foreign policy perspective?

Mr. Chapnick: From a strategic perspective, I think the example I would give you is the rotation of foreign ministers that we have had. The Secretary General of NATO does not turn over as often as our foreign ministers do. If public policy, especially diplomacy, is based on relationships, you need enough time in the chair to build those relationships. As a result, it makes sense that it’s our Prime Minister who will build the relationship at NATO, because the foreign minister is not there long enough to do so.

Senator Boniface: I don’t know if you have done comparisons — maybe you can tell me — between, say, Australia or New Zealand. Are all countries facing this issue, given that we’re in a more politically polarized environment than we would have been 20 years ago across the board?

Mr. Chapnick: I’m certainly not an expert on Australia or New Zealand. They do have shorter election cycles, but to the best of my understanding, they aren’t shuffling their foreign ministers as regularly within an election cycle as we are. I would suspect that 11 foreign ministers in 15 years is fairly unprecedented.

Senator Boniface: Thank you. Mr. Paris, I’m quite interested in your sense of the surge capacity because I think it’s becoming evident across many departments in government trying to address this.

Do you have any thoughts on solutions to that? For instance, on the recurring crisis, should there be an entity created that separates out from Global Affairs to allow it to do its core business?

Mr. Paris: I don’t think it needs a separate organization. I just think that we have been treating these crises as one-offs, in a sense, and as a result, they have taken up so much of the oxygen. And that is understandable. They are crises; they have to be dealt with.

There is a question about the organizational planning for this. Part of that involves designating groups that can be reallocated quickly and exercising for emergencies. Part of it is a question of resources. It’s not just resources — you can throw money at a problem and not fix it — but without the resources, I think it would be difficult to achieve that kind of sustainable situation where you have a surge capacity that allows the other trains to keep running even during crises.

Senator MacDonald: Thank you, both witnesses. I have so many questions to ask.

I think I’ll start with you, Mr. Paris. Looking at our foreign policy over the last seven years, our relationship with China is pretty well in a mess, understandably so with the outrages committed by that regime, including kidnapping two Canadians. Our relationship with India has not recovered from the 2018 visit from the Prime Minister. Our relationship there is poor. We seem to be shut out of key initiatives with our key allies. We aren’t part of the “Quad” group of countries, nor are we part of the Australia-U.K.-U.S. alliance. We don’t seem to be doing anything to be contributing to Europe’s energy needs, and we don’t seem to be strengthening our national defence.

I would say that, over the past seven years, our foreign policy has been a failure. I would like to know your opinion. If you think it has been a failure, why has it been a failure, and what can we do about it?

Mr. Paris: Thank you for your question. I think Canada is not alone in facing the challenges of responding to an incredible series of transformations that have taken place in the world. You think about what’s happened in China just in the last five years. I would take it back to 2017 with Xi Jinping’s speech at the party congress five years ago, in essence giving up Deng Xiaoping’s former position of lying low and asserting China as an aggressive global power. Then there is the atrocities against Uyghurs in the country and the treatment of other minorities. There is Hong Kong, the two Michaels and the list goes on.

Then there is Russia, climate change, the pandemic, global economic upheaval and the Trump administration.

There is a quote that’s misattributed to Lenin that goes something like this: Some decades go by that feel like decades, and other times a week feels like a decade. We have been living through a series of weeks.

Having said that, it’s a wake-up call for this country. I don’t think that we have devoted the kind of attention to our foreign policy as a country — actually, I would take it back over the last 20 years — that we need to. We have tended to treat foreign policy as a secondary issue, government after government. What we’re all waking up to is that foreign policy is inseparable from domestic policy, that the international environment is directly affecting Canadians and that we need to take very strategic approaches to deal with all of these problems.

I’m pleased that the government says that it’s going to be releasing an Indo-Pacific strategy. I look forward to seeing what’s in that strategy. I would like to see continued movement toward the articulation of strategies, not just with regard to the Indo-Pacific but in other areas.

The Chair: Senator, could I mark you down for the second round? There are only 10 seconds left. Thank you.

Senator Coyle: Thank you very much to both witnesses today. There has been so much very helpful food for thought.

My question is for you, Mr. Paris. You spoke about the need for an HR policy within Global Affairs. You have spoken about the concept of having a greater capacity for strategic planning and being a think tank that’s linked to other think tanks, as I take it. Also, looking to the future, you spoke about ensuring that HR policy would also take into account the necessary expertise — that we have that crystal ball now that we’re looking at what we are going to do, not just today but into the future.

I’m curious about the relationship with Canada’s universities. You are at an important Canadian university. What role do you see universities playing now in supplying human resources? What are they doing now? What could they be encouraged to be doing differently or better as we go forward?

I would like to also look at that one suggestion you made, which was not just about new recruits out of university but mid-career professionals. Could you talk to various levels? I would like to hear what you have to say.

Mr. Paris: Thank you very much for the questions. I should clarify that the foreign ministry is already doing this planning. I’m suggesting that this could be improved and that greater emphasis and priority should be placed on it.

One of the reasons I suggest that is that there is really nowhere else in government for it to happen. Having been in government, being in a university, having worked in a think tank, following foreign policy and having a little sense of where the pockets of expertise are across the country, I can say we don’t have the big, deep, well-funded think tanks that the United States has. We have a smattering of think tanks, some of them quite good. We have a number of very excellent researchers scattered across the country. We have some private organizations, including some major Canadian companies, that have something to contribute. However, we’re actually pretty thin, and resources that we have are rarely brought together.

So that’s why it’s actually even more essential that Global Affairs Canada be able to perform this function, not because it’s going to have all the answers but because we need as many good centres of this kind of thinking as possible.

With regard to bringing people in from the outside, that is a bit of a vexed issue for the department, as you know, because there is a dilemma: On one hand, the department rightly wants to make sure that it’s sustaining a foreign service cadre that can be trained up over time, and it takes years to learn the skills of being a diplomat; on the other hand, our foreign policy is blurred with our domestic policy. It touches on so many different issues — technology, climate change and the like — that we need to have lots of different perspectives in that department.

One way of doing that is to bring people in and socialize them — that’s very important, because the transition can be difficult. We need to bring in that experience and expertise, but we also need to have foreign affairs officials go and have that experience elsewhere. I know a few have — there aren’t a lot of rewards for it — and they have really benefited from it.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Second round as well, senator? Thank you.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you both for being here. I have changed my questions constantly over the last 20 minutes. I would beg for a really informal environment to carry on this dialogue.

I also am a big fan of think tanks. CIGI is the area we’re trying to really think about and work about how we spread those islands of excellence across the country.

I’ll go with Professor Chapnick for my first question. It’s come up a little bit through another senator, but you mentioned that the foreign ministers haven’t been around long enough to present real and sustained leadership for the department. I would like to dig a little deeper into that. I’m always thinking about how we get into these situations.

Is it because this is one of the more high-profile portfolios and is perhaps presented as a bit of a reward during cabinet shuffles, or has this historically been an issue? Is it something that’s cropped up in the past few decades? I’m wondering if you could comment on that first. It’s for both of you, but I’ll start with Professor Chapnick.

Mr. Chapnick: Thank you for your question. This is fairly recent that the shuffling has taken place so quickly. Brian Mulroney, whom many of us who study this think had very effective policy, had a foreign minister for seven years. Even Lloyd Axworthy was foreign minister for nearly five years. Based on my numbers right now, in five years, you’re having three or four foreign ministers in that same amount of time. There was a time when it was felt that the foreign ministry was a place you had to learn the job, and as a result you had to stay in the job. Other ministers would be shuffled, but you stayed there.

Right now, it seems to me that the foreign ministry is treated like just another ministry, and if it is treated as just another ministry, then you don’t need the same level of expertise as you would in what I think is quite a special ministry; you can move around just like all the other ministers move around when shuffling needs to take place. It used to be protected, and it’s no longer protected. This is not a partisan thing. It was true under the previous government and true under the current government.

Mr. Paris: My count is 15 foreign ministers in 22 years. I think the average comes out to 1.5 years on average, that includes acting foreign ministers. It’s very hard to sustain a continuous foreign policy with that degree of change. That’s revolving chairs.

As Professor Chapnick pointed out, every time a new minister arrives, that minister needs to build relationships. The relationships are key with our foreign counterparts. It’s really essential to be able to pick up the phone. That takes time. Ministers have to be briefed up. The department reorients its work towards the briefing of the ministers, and then the minister needs time to decide within the broad approach that government is taking, what it is that the minister will focus his or her attention on. That takes time.

Not all of the challenges that we’re talking about here are challenges within the department. That’s something that the department has to live with.

The Chair: Just as an observation, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is well into his second decade in the job if you want to make a comparison.

Mr. Paris: Not something to aspire to.

The Chair: We can see how that is going, of course.

Senator Harder: Thank you very much to the witnesses. Professor Chapnick, I want to pick up on your observation about needing to focus on the role of diplomacy in some fashion, even in this work.

It struck me that it was implied, I guess, by fit-for-purpose that there is a purpose. I would like you to expand on that because we have within the structure of Global Affairs Canada a mandate and expertise in diplomacy, trade negotiation and trade promotion and development assistance; yet, we also have in other government departments an international or global capacity in subject matters that are very important to Canada’s foreign policy: environment, agriculture, you name it. What is the essence of diplomacy in an era of globalization, in your view?

Mr. Chapnick: Wonderful question. What I’m trying to suggest is that the political decision makers can be most effective if they are there to break a stalemate in a negotiation and if that’s only what they are there for. In that context, diplomacy is the tactical and operational negotiations between the professional public servants and their counterparts on the other side. It’s helpful to be able to give them the leeway to do the negotiating, knowing that there is someone there if things need to be escalated.

What seems to be happening too often is that issues are being declared critical, and our higher-level decision makers are involved too soon. When that happens, you don’t have a way to escalate, and you lose some of the skill you get from the experience that is brought to the table by the career diplomat. We are losing their relationships, and we are losing their negotiating ability. Diplomacy, to me, I’m speaking about the grunt work in many ways that is best done in a depoliticized environment.

Senator Harder: Diplomacy is by its very nature an expertise that is necessary to add as an ingredient to sectoral or specific expertise. I mean, it’s the glue that joins the capacity across a range of international instruments.

Mr. Chapnick: Yes, I agree with you completely.

Senator Harder: I want to ask Professor Paris about surge capacity. I totally agree with that, but there is one condition that the foreign service has never enjoyed that the military has and that is the recognition that you need redundancy. We plan for redundancy in the military so that they have the capacity to act in precise theatres of potential operation. We don’t in the foreign ministry, and I wonder if you would agree with me that it is something that we absolutely have to begin to plan for more strategically.

Mr. Paris: I completely agree. I would respectfully suggest that one of this committee’s great contributions in this area could be to explore what would be required or could be required for a surge capacity. Remember, we are not just talking about the ability to respond to serial emergencies. We are talking about the ability to do that while keeping the rest of the department doing its work. That could be a great contribution.

Senator Harder: Redundancy, by the way, including foreign language skills, which are not acquired overnight.

The Chair: Thank you very much.

Senator Marwah: Thank you to both the witnesses. I’m not sure who to direct the question to, but I’ll say it and leave it up to you to respond. It relates to foreign service, our trade officers in particular, and the private sector.

From my perspective, Canada is a trading country, and to a very large extent, its economic future depends on how well it executes on the trade front. How well do you think the foreign service and the trade officers are structured to support the private sector? Do they have the right tools and the mandate to do so? What are your thoughts on recommendations and improvements that could be made to really enhance our trade?

Mr. Paris: My impressions of that aspect of our foreign policy are really just impressions. I don’t want to ad lib my informal reactions. It’s something I would want more time to think about.

Obviously, in the previous set of questions, we are talking about what functions the foreign ministry has unto itself. Trade promotion is something where other departments participate, for sure, but it is core to our foreign ministry, and it will continue to be core, especially in the kind of world we’re heading into.

We’re going to have to work harder to maintain the access and the trade opportunities that we have had and taken for granted in the past. Unfortunately, that might mean working harder even with countries we have taken for granted as close allies and close trading partners. So, yes, I agree with the spirit of your question, but I don’t have enough expertise to be able to weigh in on it.

Mr. Chapnick: In my limited experience, trade policy diplomacy is something we are still doing extremely well. I’ll point you to two examples of why I think so.

First, Great Britain attempted to poach our lead trade negotiator in the NAFTA renegotiations and bring him to the U.K. to train British trade negotiators. That was the degree of respect for him as a trade negotiator in the English-speaking world. Second, his number two is now our ambassador to the United States, which suggests that, even within the Government of Canada, there is a recognition that some of our most talented diplomats come from the trade side.

The trade culture in the department, to the best that I understand it, is much healthier than the culture elsewhere; there seems to me to be more deference to our trade negotiators than there is to our more standard foreign policy diplomats. I think we can look there to see some lessons.

Senator Marwah: I agree with you. I have enormous regard for trade negotiators. I have been the sponsor of three trade bills while I’ve been in the Senate. All have been superbly supported by the civil service, but that’s where it ends. Once we execute a free trade agreement, our track record is abysmal. Other countries benefit far more from the trade negotiations than Canada does for our exports. Something is missing there in moving from a trade bill to an execution. That’s why I’m asking, should the trade officers play a much bigger role, to have a “pull environment” rather than a “push environment” whereby they go out actively and help leverage those trade agreements rather than wait for exporters to come to them?

Mr. Paris: I agree with that assessment, that we have been good at negotiating trade agreements, but often the take-up hasn’t been as effective.

It’s a complicated problem. Part of the problem is that Canadian companies themselves haven’t fully taken advantage of some of these agreements. Breaking through that complicated problem is, I think, a very important thing, especially in the world that we’re heading into.

Mr. Chapnick: I think that geography is important here. It’s simply much easier for Canadian companies to turn to the United States for trade. The amount of risk they have to assume to trade elsewhere is significantly greater. The strategic culture in this country is relatively risk-averse and conservative, which means it’s that much harder to convince the private sector to explore trading with faraway countries when you have this massive American market beneath you and NAFTA to help you through it.

The Chair: Thank you.

Professor Chapnick, you just mentioned risk aversion. It came up earlier in Professor Paris’s commentary at the beginning. Is it your sense that risk aversion within the department is increasing? Are there reasons for that? Is it something that is experiential? Is it just basic bureaucratic fear? Could it be that there’s so much to do in a reactive way, as Professor Paris outlined, that it pushes all creative planning over to the side?

Mr. Chapnick: Again, if we have a typical reasonably conservative political diplomatic culture — where we take things slowly, which I think is in our interest to do — when you constantly have new ministers and new deputies, it takes time for you to be creative and to be bold. I don’t think our foreign policy bureaucracy has had the time to settle in, to have the confidence to take the kinds of risks that they might take if they had stability on the way up. I think we have the creativity in the department, but the circumstances around it militate against people wanting to take risk.

Mr. Paris: The department went through a period of time when it was not encouraged to do policy development and when there was a great deal of fear of stepping the wrong way. During that period, some of the muscles of the policy development function within the department became underused.

We all know members of this department or have interacted with them. It’s an extraordinarily committed, smart, dedicated, hard-working group of people who are dedicated to public service. They have the experience and certainly no shortage of intellectual capacity to carry out these functions. They need to be allowed to do it.


Senator Gerba: I’d like to circle back to the discussion on trade and risk aversion, which Professor Chapnick talked about.

Because I come from the private sector and have done business internationally, I totally understand why Canadian businesses want to go to the U.S. because there’s a structure, as well as resources and several organizations there to nurture them.

Do you feel that Global Affairs Canada or the entire Canadian diplomatic machine should turn to economic diplomacy with a focus on creating or strengthening support structures internationally? These existing structures in the United States mean that if I sell products in the U.S., Export Development Canada will easily insure me, and I’ll get all kinds of support. So there’s no risk. We miss out on many opportunities in other countries because we don’t have that nurturing.

Should GAC move toward economic diplomacy like other countries have? When China organizes a diplomatic mission or an official trip abroad, to Africa, for example, it brings along its entrepreneurs and businesses. China has opened development banks specifically for certain countries that it considers to be priorities.

Shouldn’t our diplomacy instead be inspired by models that work, where businesses are nurtured so they can take advantage of opportunities that arise, in the United States or elsewhere?

Mr. Chapnick: I’m sorry, but I have to respond in English.


I understand the desire to focus on economic diplomacy; we have done it before. However, where we add the most value at the diplomatic level is establishing rules of the game that allow businesses to succeed. That is where we have more heft in that if the world were to compete in terms of economic diplomacy, if every country picked economic diplomacy as a focus, we would be crushed because we’re so small. On the other hand, if we can establish rules that are in our interest — and rules are much easier to do than subsidies, when you are small, with the size of our economy — I think we’re placed in a better place.

Do we have to continue to open doors for our businesses? Absolutely. Do we have to support them when they try to take advantage of those open doors? Absolutely. But, to me, our primary focus must be systemic. We have to create a system where the rules are largely followed so when businesses choose to walk through those doors, they are not placed at an unfair disadvantage because of the small size of this country.

Mr. Paris: I would agree with what Professor Chapnick just said.

The Chair: Thank you.

Senator MacDonald: I’ll direct this question first to Professor Chapnick. I would like both of you to respond if you could.

Professor, a couple of years ago, you wrote a book called Canada on the United Nations Security Council: A Small Power on a Large Stage, talking about Canada’s relative weight in international affairs and how it has declined since the 1950s. Of course, the UN is much bigger than it was in the 1950s. Since then, a lot of colonies became countries.

I wanted to compare the way Australia runs their foreign policy. Australia is highly focused on the regions that are most important — Southeast Asia, East Asia in particular. Do you think there is a corresponding lack of focus in Canadian foreign policy? Is it a major factor that affects the quality of our foreign policy? Are we spread too thinly when it comes to foreign policy?

Mr. Chapnick: The challenges for Canada, which are not there in Australia, are twofold. Number one, the Australians have one challenge in that they are all alone. They don’t have a United States. As a result, the urgency plays a forcing function that we don’t have. It’s actually easier for them to take foreign policy seriously because, if they don’t, the consequences are obvious immediately, whereas we have a buffer.

The second challenge for Canada is that many have called us a regional power without a region. We actually don’t have the right sort of strength for our geographic location. We’re more powerful than we have to be with the United States, which leaves everyone disappointed in how little we are doing. But we’re not powerful enough to compete with the United States, which makes us look like we’re not doing very much, no matter what.

It’s a luxury in the grand scheme that we can make errors that Australia can’t make, but I understand it will always lead to some frustration about misplaced potential and lost potential. I prefer to have that problem than to have Australia’s problem of having no one around if you make a mistake.

Mr. Paris: We are, like Australia, very much focused on an urgent challenge. It’s the United States. That’s part of our foreign policy too. But I agree that, from a distance, it’s also possible to observe Australia’s foreign policy and pick out the elements that we might admire without seeing the full spectrum. It’s worth always comparing and benchmarking Canada to other countries, if not just to be able to learn from good practices of others.

When we think about priority, Australia is alone. It’s in this much more dangerous region. It has its clear interests. It needs to assure that its allies will stand with it.

Canada devotes a huge amount of attention to the United States, but we also have clear interests in a stable Indo-Pacific region, and we have clear interests in a stable Europe — respectively to the west and east of our country — and in our relations with the United States and our Arctic. So although we have interests around the world, part of a strategically focused foreign policy is one that identifies that some things are more important than others and allocates resources accordingly.

Senator M. Deacon: I’m coming back to the leadership piece again because we all know the time it does take to develop and build trust, autonomy and relationships, both within and external to an organization.

Professor Chapnick, we were talking earlier about the high turnover of foreign ministers. You also talked about deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers in your opening remarks. Is the turnover an issue at that level as well, or do senior civil servants tend to switch up when a new minister comes in, or does the leadership change only tend to happen when there is a new government?

Mr. Chapnick: My concern at the deputy minister level — and I will admit it’s controversial, not everyone agrees — is that, to me, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, if they do not have experience deploying overseas, they do not understand the motivations of foreign service officers. What foreign service officers consider to be career success is profoundly different than someone who stays in Ottawa. In other words, most foreign service officers don’t want to become deputy ministers. That’s not the goal. That’s not a sign of achievement. Being the ambassador in a particular place is a sign of achievement.

Most foreign service officers are concerned about moving their families. Those who work in Ottawa are never thinking about moving their families, because they stay in Ottawa for their entire careers.

If your deputy doesn’t understand these things because they haven’t lived them, your HR policies are not going to reflect the needs of your people, which will hurt morale. Historically, until relatively recently, the senior deputy always had diplomatic experience. It’s true as of a few days ago, but for the last number of years, it hasn’t been true, and I see a relationship between the decline in morale and the lack of deployed experience among the senior officials in the department.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you.

Mr. Paris: I generally agree with what Professor Chapnick just said, but I’m less definitive about there absolutely needing to be a foreign service officer who is the deputy minister of the department. A lot depends on the character and experience of the deputy minister we’re talking about. In the Government of Canada, deputy ministers reaching that level tend to be pretty darn good at learning new files, and smart deputy ministers know how to follow the advice of people who are deeply immersed in the expertise of their department.

In general, I agree with the notion that we need to put diplomacy front and centre in the workings of the department. I agree there should be a pathway to the deputy minister level for foreign service officers. I don’t think that it needs to be a foreign service officer every single time.

Senator M. Deacon: I do have a final question, but there’s probably not an answer required. As we go through all of this and even before we started the review, my question was and is: What is it ultimately going to take for the priority of foreign services and the work on foreign policy to become a sustainable, continuous body of work that is not responsive to international crisis? I think we’re out of time, but I still ponder that question.

The Chair: We’re not quite out of time, Senator Deacon. Thank you for what will now be the last question.

I would like both of our panellists to attempt to answer that one.

Mr. Paris: I would be happy to take a crack at that. That’s like the history of the world in 10 seconds, because it involves unpacking a lot of things. If we were to take it all the way from the different aspects of the way government works, the way the department works, HR, the way that the minister position has been treated, the way that ministers and the prime minister and other ministers interact, there are so many different dimensions of why a department or a domain is the way that it is, but ultimately, I think it comes down to whether Canadians expect it or not. I think that Canadians have tended to, over many years, treat foreign policy as a distinct area. But I think that what is becoming clear, or should be clear, is that the international domain is there directly touching them when it comes to the pandemic; directly touching them when it comes to fires, heat, drought, floods and climate change; and directly touching them when it comes to threats to our citizens. The implications for millions of jobs, thinking about our relationship with the United States, and the future of our economy. There is very little boundary between these things that Canadians care about a lot and the international dimensions of dealing with these problems.

I think that among many other things, Canadians recognizing that foreign policy needs to have that kind of continuity would be something that would create some pressure to deliver continuity.

The Chair: Professor Chapnick, you will have the last word.

Mr. Chapnick: I’m not uncomfortable with a foreign policy that is reactive, so long as we own it. Having a deliberately reactive foreign policy means you need agile diplomats; you need nimbleness; you need intellectual creativity, because you don’t have a lot of warning; and you need a realistic understanding that Canada does not shape the international environment for the most part. Larger powers and forces tend to shape, and we react. If we accept that and build accordingly, I think we can be much more effective in the grand scheme.

We were unashamedly reactive in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. We said so regularly. Most accounts suggest that, diplomatically, we were quite good during that period.

The Chair: Thank you. I would like to thank our two panellists, Professor Paris and Professor Chapnick, for their interesting commentary today. It has enriched our discussion and our knowledge.

We’re going to move on to our second panel. Professor Paris wanted to stay as an observer, and I have agreed to that.

Professor Chapnick, you may as well, if you wish. You have to go. Okay. Thank you.

We move to the topic of the situation in Ukraine, and I am particularly pleased to welcome a renowned expert by video conference, and that is Professor Timothy Snyder, of Yale University, who is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at the university and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. Professor Snyder is internationally recognized as an expert historian on Eastern Europe. He and I met first about 10 years ago at a lunch at our embassy in Berlin, and it was just after he had published his amazing work entitled Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin.

I know that all of you have seen him in social media. He is commenting a lot on the current situation, providing expertise. His lectures on YouTube have been watched by millions, and of course, he can give us a perspective going back to the 13th century. We won’t have that much time for that today, professor.

It’s good to see you again. We had indicated normally for most of our witnesses a five-minute opening period. You can go over that if you wish because you are the sole witness, and we will have the pleasure of having you with us for an hour. Professor Snyder, you have the floor.

Timothy Snyder, Professor, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University, as an individual: Thank you very much, senator. Thanks to all of you for the invitation. I would very much like to make sure that this is an exchange and a conversation, so I will be limiting myself to just a few remarks, none of which go back to the 13th century or even the 19th.

What I would like to do is to spend my five minutes essentially making three points about what kind of a war I think this is, what it is about; what stage I believe we are at in this war; and why I think this war can and must be won.

To begin with the concepts, with the definitions, I think that this is a war of aggression. Obviously, it’s an unprovoked war of aggression. Russia had no basis for its invasion of Ukraine. It’s also a war of genocidal intent in the sense that it was based, as the Russian president says over and over again, on the premise that there is no such thing as Ukrainian society, a Ukrainian nation or, indeed, the country or the state of Ukraine. This logic is genocidal because, in general, perpetrators deny the existence of the society which they wish to destroy. That’s the theory. The practice is that as Russian forces encounter resistance, their interpretation of this resistance is not that Ukraine exists; their interpretation of this resistance is that there are simply more of these misguided, possessed or somehow misled people in Ukraine than they thought there were. Therefore, the atrocities must be accelerated.

In the premise that there is no Ukraine, we see the logic of the invasion. We also see a kind of logic of the failure of the invasion, and we also see the logic of the escalating atrocity.

I would like to make clear that atrocity and failure may very often be the same thing. The fact that Russia has attempted to escalate its atrocities against civilians does not mean that Russia is winning the war. I would suggest, on the contrary, that it’s better read as a sign that Russia is losing the war. It is, unfortunately, very possible to lose a war and carry out mass atrocities. History does instruct us very clearly about that. The atrocities that Russia has carried out on the territories that it controls are indeed of a very large scale. By its own account, it has deported more than 4 million Ukrainian citizens, which is a tenth of the population, a truly stunning number. It’s completely destroyed a number of cities including Mariupol, where, by most recent journalistic accounts, something like 100,000 civilians were killed. Add to that the campaigns of executions of local civic leaders and the systematic and, I believe, politically motivated, rape of Ukrainian women, and we have atrocity on a very large scale.

To repeat, atrocity and victory are not the same thing. The attempt to intimidate Ukrainians by way of atrocity and by way of this recent campaign to destroy energy supplies, power stations, is better understood I understand as a last-ditch attempt at intimidation rather than as a sign of any kind of forthcoming military victory on the Russian side. I imagine this will be a question for discussion, but I would like to signal now that my view of the prospect of some kind of nuclear exchange runs along the same lines.

No one in Russia is actually afraid of nuclear war. It’s not a topic in Russia. In Ukraine, it’s a very secondary topic. It’s a much more vivid topic in the West, and I think that’s because that’s the way it’s supposed to work. We’re supposed to be afraid of nuclear war, talking about nuclear war and distracted by this prospect rather than concentrating on what’s happening in the battlefield, which is that Russia is losing.

In Russia itself, the topic is not nuclear war. The topics one finds among military bloggers and on social media are mobilization and how people seek to escape mobilization, which is not a sign of a society which is prepared for war or wishing to fight a longer war.

Pivoting now, this raises an interesting question about the fundamental disadvantages Russia has and the fundamental advantages that Ukraine has. I think the fundamental advantages that Ukraine has have been revealed to those of us who weren’t following the history of Ukraine in the last six or seven months. Ukraine has the fundamental advantage that it’s fighting to defend its own country. It has the fundamental advantage that its people know who they are, which is very interesting, because of course that’s exactly the kind of thing which Russia has called into question so successfully with its propaganda. It turns out that the definition of a society or democracy doesn’t really come from the imperialists on the outside. The definition of society and democracy comes from the people who are willing to take risks. This has been most evident in the case of the president, but I would say, from my own experience and from my own time in Ukraine and from my own contacts, it’s essential to understand that the existence of Ukraine is most evident not in these “objective” factors that we might see from a great distance, like language or ethnicity or whatever that might mean, but instead in the choices that people actually take to cooperate with one another. The existence of Ukraine is manifestly evident in the horizontal cooperation among Ukrainians that one would call civil society. The war is being won by Ukraine, not just because the state is far more functional than people credit it to be, but also because Ukrainians acting together on the basis of previously existing relationships rush in to fill the various kinds of gaps.

This leads me to the significance of this war. It’s not just that Ukraine is winning this war. It is rather that Ukraine has to win this war. My point would be not just that here we have a case, historically unusual, of a tyranny militarily attacking a democracy and trying to destroy it and remove it from the face of the earth. We also have a case where what Ukraine has done has been to reveal the significance of ethics and commitment and risk taking in democracy. I will speak for my own country, a lot of us in the United States have tended to think of democracy as something which is brought about by larger forces or something which exists because of the lack of alternatives. The history of the last 10 or 15 years has shown us that that’s very much not the case. Democracies can only be defended when people make commitments to them and are willing to make risks for them. So should Ukraine lose this war, we’ll be losing that example. It seems to me that this is an example that we very much need.

There are, of course, other reasons why Ukraine has to win this war, having to do with the stability of Europe and the world food supply. I believe I have used up more than my five minutes, so I would like to yield back the rest of the time for our conversation. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your opening remarks, Professor Snyder.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you, Professor Snyder, for being here today and to our chair for providing such great supplementary materials. It’s really very important.

The first question I have is around communications. Recently in the news, we have seen the matter of Starlink services come to the fore because of tweets made by its owner, Mr. Elon Musk. This service has provided internet for Ukrainians during the conflict and also crucially aided communications for the military during its operations.

While you are here, I would like to ask you if you think the Starlink infrastructure is as critical to the military operations as I have read, but also if the vacillations of Mr. Musk on social media causes real harm to the operations.

Lastly, is there any way allied countries can provide technology to fill the gap if the outages to this service in Ukraine continue or even escalate?

Mr. Snyder: Thank you. I’m going to answer that question at the levels where I can answer it. There are people who know more about technology and technology and policy than I do and who can speak concretely to the question of what states can do. The point that I want to make in principle — which I don’t think others have made enough — is this is actually an issue of freedom of speech. Mr. Musk and his fellow digital libertarians in that part of the mental world stress all the time that they are big supporters of freedom of speech. In fact, when Mr. Musk granted or said he would give access to Starlink to Ukraine, he made a remark at the time by how people will be using Starlink to say whatever they would like, and this is a very important element. Freedom of speech is important for all of us.

But de facto what Mr. Musk has done is that he has said that he is not sure that he can grant Starlink to all of Ukraine. He said that he is not sure he can grant it to the parts of Ukraine that are currently occupied by Russia, which strikes me as being perverse, because Ukraine in fact is a country where there is freedom of speech, and Russia is par excellence a country where there is not freedom of speech. So if one were really concerned about the freedom of speech or the spread of freedom speech or one believed in freedom of speech, one would precisely want to make sure that Ukrainians could communicate with one another in the territories that they are now liberating from Russian occupation. That would be my major point of principle.

I can answer part of your question empirically: Yes, this form of communication is actually very important for Ukrainian soldiers in the field, and it’s not something they think they can very easily or quickly replace.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you very much. For the follow-up, I’m thinking about the communication. I’m thinking about the season. I’m thinking about the fact that winter is starting to set in. For Russia, typically winters have helped them fend off invaders, and I’m wondering if Ukraine can do the same. Do you see Ukrainian forces using their familiarity of the terrain to their advantage or might a stalemate set in for the cooler months, and of course, how can Canada support this?

Mr. Snyder: The Ukrainians are on the offensive, and the question is whether the Ukrainians can continue to be on the offensive. That’s where the season is relevant.

The hardest time to press an offensive is during the late fall mud, which we’re not into yet, but which we probably will be into fairly soon. So there is a period sort of late fall to early winter where it’s more difficult to carry out an offensive. I would imagine that Ukrainians are going to do what they are doing now and then something new probably in the early part of the year.

I think the Russians are disadvantaged by the winter more than Ukrainians because it’s not their country, but also because the level of their equipment is inferior. This is something that of course Canadians, Americans, governments and civil society can do something about.

It is possible to make sure that Ukrainians have the tents, boots, clothing and gear that they need for the winter. There are organizations in Canada and America that are working on this. This is something where a relatively small amount of money on things that seem banal like sleeping bags and gloves can make a tremendous amount of difference.

Whether or not Ukraine is able to press a big offensive in the winter, it could well be a time when Russian morale collapses. I think in supplying Ukrainians and making sure that they are comfortable over the winter, we’re making that kind of outcome more likely. One of the things the Russians do notice is that they are very poorly equipped compared to the Ukrainians. That’s the kind of thing which tends to break morale.

Senator MacDonald: Professor, so great to have you here this morning. Three years ago I was an election observer with the international team in Kyiv. I look at this war with a great deal of sadness.

You said one thing that I want you to clarify. I hope you are correct. You said you think Ukraine is winning the war. I hope they are winning the war. What criteria can you give us to back that up?

Mr. Snyder: That’s a wonderful question, because the definition of what it means to win a war underlies my claim. I think Russia will continue to fight this war until there is sufficient pressure felt inside the Kremlin itself.

I want to emphasize that that’s completely normal. That’s what winning a war really means. I’m quite conservative about this. Clausewitz says, “War is politics by other means.”

The war will end when a sufficient amount of pressure is felt inside the Kremlin such that the various parts of the Russian state that have forces in Ukraine will feel that it makes more sense to have those forces back in Russia. I think that’s the way that the war is going to end. And that is the trajectory that we’re on.

So on the battlefield, we see the Ukrainians taking back most of Kharkiv region, and the Ukrainians have taken back a significant part of Kherson region. The Russians are ordering an evacuation of half of Kherson region right now. We see the underlying advantages that I believe Ukraine has.

But those things are relevant in Ukraine, of course, because people are liberated and people can return to everyday life. But they are relevant in Russia because all those things exert pressure on what I think is fundamentally a brittle political system.

The war is going to end with one or two more decisive Ukrainian victories, I think, because at that point, the various kinds of pressures inside the Kremlin are going to become too complex for the regime to bear in its present form. I’m not going so far as to predict exactly what’s going to happen next. But what I do think is logical is that when the internal fissures inside the Kremlin get to a certain point, the war in Ukraine will start to become an afterthought. When there is actually a struggle for power in Russia, the things that seem so very important right now — you know, whether or not they control Donetsk oblast — will cease to matter because other things will become much more important.

Senator MacDonald: What would be your timetable for that? Do you see any end date for the end of this war? When do you see this occurring in Russia, when the internal pressure gets so bad that it triggers the end of the war?

Mr. Snyder: Here comes the inevitable caveat. Any decent historian will say both wars and political collapses are very hard to predict. There are often butterfly events, contingencies and individual actions that make it difficult to know just how things are going to work out.

The second thing that I would emphasize — and this goes back to the previous question as well — is that this in large measure depends on us. The Russians are still expecting us to fold. They are still expecting Canada, the United States and European allies to fold. They are expecting us to be intimidated. They are expecting us to pull back rather than to push forward. If we continue to push forward with military aid and other kinds of aid, then I think Ukraine is going to win.

It does depend on us. Our supply lines and therefore attitude about all this are really important. The Ukrainians are doing the fighting but we are doing the supplying. If supplies break, then they will have a much harder time ending this war. If everything goes well, I would anticipate that by February something fundamental is going to change.

The Chair: Thank you very much.

Senator Marwah: Thank you. I came especially to the committee to hear you today, so thank you for being here.

Professor Snyder, you mentioned one possible outcome of this, where Russia eventually starts going inward and starts imploding. But let’s say that doesn’t happen. Should we be thinking of other off-ramps for this war to end? And if we are, what might those off-ramps be, both for Russia and for Ukraine? Who leads that discussion? How do we start getting to other off-ramps just in case a bloody one doesn’t occur? Somehow we have got to bring this to an end. I would love your thoughts on off-ramps.

Mr. Snyder: I don’t like driving on highways in general. Even in Toronto, it’s not as much fun as it used to be.

We share a common concern, which is that the war should end as soon as possible, and there should be as little bloodshed as possible. I do not believe that in the present constellation in the next few weeks and months there can be a negotiated solution, and this has to do with attitudes inside both of the powers who are at war, both in Russia and in Ukraine.

It is very important that we as citizens of democratic countries remember that Ukraine is a democracy where public opinion on this war is far clearer than on any issue of the day in Canada and the United States, I would venture to say. There are very few things where you will find 90-plus-per-cent public opinion agreement, and in Ukraine you currently find that on issues like the following: Is Zelenskyy doing a good job carrying out the war? Should the war be fought to win every last square centimetre of Ukrainian territory? Are we going to win this war? Questions like that routinely get 90 plus per cent.

It is difficult to expect that a democratically elected leader, regardless of what his personal convictions might be, is going to do something other than try to — to use the words President Zelenskyy used a lot when he was speaking to me about this — represent his people.

Before we Canadians, Americans and other non-Ukrainians get into the question of ending the war, we have to be very attentive to where the Ukrainians are now and also the reasons for where they are now. Their country has been invaded. These atrocities have been perpetrated, and the way the Russians are currently carrying out the war, with the attacks on civilians and the attacks on power stations, none of these things persuade the Ukrainians that now is the time to make a deal.

We need to consider the annexation. If America invaded Canada and proclaimed along the way, without even controlling the territories, that we have just annexed Quebec or we have just annexed British Columbia, whatever it might be, those are not the kinds of things that would persuade sensible people to think that now is the time to negotiate. That’s how the Ukrainians react to the annexation. To them it’s not just a lie; it’s also a kind of outrage.

My view is that the quickest way for this war to come to an end is for the Ukrainians to win it, and that should be scenario number one. There won’t be an off-ramp, because an off-ramp involves one driver and one car, and people, when they use the off-ramp metaphor, they are generally thinking of Mr. Putin as being in the driver’s seat, and he is not. He is not fully in the driver’s seat in Russia, and he is not the most important of the two heads of state, because he is not currently winning; he is currently losing.

I would set the off-ramp metaphor aside and say that the best thing to do is for the Ukrainians to win. The Ukrainians themselves may reach a point where they think it’s time to make some kind of a deal, but they are not there yet, so I think we have to be listening to them to think, “Okay, what kind of a deal might there be?” I think it’s best to treat them as a sovereign country and allow them to reach a point where their public opinion and their leadership might be in a different place than it is now.

The Chair: Thank you.

Senator Greene: Thank you very much. I wish to, first of all, congratulate you on your book Bloodlands, which I read over the summer. It was an excellent book, and I highly recommend it to everybody around that table, and it’s a book that I intend to give away for Christmas presents. Congratulations.

Mr. Snyder: Thank you.

Senator Greene: I would like to ask two questions, which are linked. One question is: As an avid Ukraine watcher for the better part of your professional life, were you surprised in any way when we tumbled into warfare about six months ago?

Secondly, given the boundaries that we have now in Eastern Europe were largely a result of deals between Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill in 1945, is there any way that you see the boundaries themselves would be negotiable?

Mr. Snyder: Senator, I didn’t catch the end of your question.

Senator Greene: Do you see in any way that the national boundaries that we have today in Eastern Europe are negotiable —

Mr. Snyder: I see.

Senator Greene: — given that they were largely set as a result of deals that didn’t involve them?

Mr. Snyder: On the first question about surprise, I was the only person, I think, in public — at least in American public life — who went on the record saying that Russia was going to invade Ukraine back in 2014, and I wish I hadn’t been right about that. So I wasn’t surprised when this war started. We’re now in a very distinct phase of this war, of course, beginning in February 2022.

That Russia would invade Ukraine was not unthinkable to me because of the factor I mentioned at the beginning: Putin speaking about Ukraine not existing. For me, that was the red flag. I think he, actually, for what it’s worth, believes something like that.

With respect to your second question, I imagine there are probably some international lawyers in the chamber who would wish to speak to this, but my own view is that with these borders, on one side you can make a new case even stronger for them. The Polish-Ukrainian border is fundamentally a result of negotiations between Hitler and Stalin in 1939, which was essentially reproduced with some small modifications in 1945 after the Germans lost the war. That, to me, though, doesn’t constitute a reason why the Poles and Ukrainians should renegotiate the border.

Indeed, I think it was one of the wiser moves of diplomacy of the late 20th century that the Poles in 1990 — before Ukraine even became independent — began negotiations with what was still the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and signed a kind of quasi-treaty in which they said, “We accept these boundaries.”

That was the beginning of a really important moment in the diplomatic history of Ukraine, because from that point forward, Ukraine really only had one major external power to contend with, and that turned out to be the Russian Federation.

As you know, having read Bloodlands, in the history of Ukraine, it’s an unusual situation to only have one hostile power, and now Ukraine only has one hostile power, and that partly has to do with people bracketing the historical origins of boundaries and accepting the principle of international law that we’re simply going to recognize them the way that they are.

I don’t exclude border adjustments here and there, where people would take a village or leave a village or redraw a line. Those kinds of things happen at a micro-scale all the time, but I do think opening up the larger question of the historical legitimacy of borders creates a justification for the kind of chaos I would really just want to avoid.

Thank you.

Senator Greene: I agree.

The Chair: Thank you.

Senator Ravalia: Thank you, Professor Snyder. That was extremely moving, and I really appreciate your insights.

I have just returned from Kigali in Rwanda as part of the Canadian delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. We spent a considerable amount of time with the Ukrainian delegation, obviously, as one of their key allies, and there were a couple of points that the Ukrainians mentioned to us in private consultations. One was the potential impact of critical energy and water supply destruction that’s happening right now and the impact that might have, generally, on the Ukrainian population, particularly in the larger areas, and whether or not there is the ability to rehabilitate these structures to get Ukrainians through what is potentially a difficult winter.

The second point that came up repeatedly was Turkey’s ongoing role as a broker to ensure that Ukrainian grain can continue to be exported, because it is an important financial element to the war effort.

I was wondering if you could comment on those two points.

Thank you very much.

Mr. Snyder: Thank you very much. I’m happy to comment on those two very apposite points.

Ukrainians put a brave face on it, and they have done a good job at repairing things quickly, but, of course, this continual bombardment of civilian infrastructure, including energy and, as you quite rightly add, water, does create difficulties for a civilian population, especially at this time of year. I think that the premise of your question is very well taken.

I hasten to add that I don’t think it’s going to persuade anyone on the Ukrainian side to shorten the war. I think as a military tactic, it’s, if anything, counterproductive, but it is going to lead to a great deal of civilian suffering, some of which, I think, we can take action — going back to earlier questions — to help prevent. I think we are in a position to aid financially but, perhaps, also logistically. I imagine there are Canadian and American companies in addition to state agencies who would be in position to help with some of this, and I assume that that is something that’s already been thought about. As citizens, we are also in a position to help. It may seem cliché and small scale, but we are in a position, as citizens in a civil society, to send blankets, portable generators and wood stoves.

When I was in Ukraine a month ago, I was out in the countryside. I noticed that the farmers were already collecting the wood because they were anticipating winter would be like it is. With little things like that, civil society and government can make a big difference to morale over the winter. I think there are some bigger areas where maybe business and government can act, too.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert on Turkey, but I’m going to emphasize your point that before this war, Ukraine — depending on which year and how you count — was the third, fourth or fifth most important exporter of foodstuffs in the world. It was stopped and then drastically slowed down by this war. That’s a reason why I think people in North Africa, the Sahel, southeast Asia and other places traditionally supplied by Ukraine might want to take more of an interest in this war than they have thus far.

You would be better informed than me, but my general impression is that there wasn’t a lot of consciousness before this war started that Ukraine played such a role in supplying the world with food. That seems to be a point that we need to make when we have a chance to make it.

Senator Harder: Thanks very much for joining us, professor. I certainly welcome and share many of the perspectives that you brought to us.

I would like you to comment on — at least for me — the surprise of western unity in the face of this aggression. NATO has excelled, in my view, and the strength with which that unity has been displayed is quite formidable. Could you comment on the risks of western solidarity? I’m thinking, for example, of the comments made by Kevin McCarthy that should the Republicans win, there would be no more funding bills for Ukraine assistance — whether that’s a bargaining chip on his part, who knows — or what the winter might do to European solidarity. Are you at all concerned about the resolve of the West?

Mr. Snyder: I appreciate that question. I’m more concerned about the specific party you mentioned than I am about any other element of the West, broadly understood. I am concerned about some things that I’m afraid no one in Canada can do anything about, like the information ecosystem, where parts of Fox News are essentially echo chambers for Russian state propaganda; where, to a degree that one can find only eerie, the propaganda guidelines for the Russian state media channels are then followed by certain parts of Fox News. I have Tucker Carlson in mind, in particular. Tucker Carlson is repeated on Russian-state propaganda. I do worry about that.

I’m struck, nonetheless, by the fact that Ukraine does remain the one issue, aside from China perhaps, where there is broad agreement between Democrats and Republicans at the level of voters. The opinion polls showed not that great of a difference between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. on this issue. This may sound a bit naive, but I think part of it has to do with the fact that, for so many people of different political convictions, this war seems like an example of such indecency. It’s the sort of thing which ought not to be happening.

Ukraine appeals in different ways to American liberals and American conservatives, but it does appeal. I think the unity has something to do also with something which is beyond the West, which is the example of Zelenskyy and the example of the Ukrainians in general. One can say — and I would say — that the Biden administration has done an excellent job in leading by admitting that it can’t lead by itself. I think they have done a good job, in contrast to previous administrations, in saying this is something where we can contribute, but we can’t do it all, which is true.

The person who made this happen is Zelenskyy. That’s enabling. If he doesn’t stay, and the Ukrainians don’t fight, then we have nothing to coalesce around. That level of courage then inspires the smaller levels of courage that are required. I’m therefore moderately confident about the winter for that reason.

For me, the most important country is, actually, Germany. The Germans — although through fits and starts, with frustrating official statements and a lack of alacrity — are moving in the right direction on Ukraine. They have done a good job of preparing themselves for the winter. I think the gas weapon just turned out to be much less important than Russia hoped it was going to be. I’m moderately optimistic about this in general.

My greatest worry is the one you mentioned, not specifically about appropriations — although I do worry about that — but generally that the United States could be entering into a couple of years of domestic self-absorption where, despite our best efforts, we’ll be so absorbed with ourselves that we won’t be able to lead very well. It doesn’t fill me with doom, because while the United States has been the most important supplier of weapons, we’re not the only people involved here. The Canadians, the Germans and the Poles will have to do more. Even if the United States falls off the table, that doesn’t mean that the Ukrainians are doomed. I think it’s not as simple as that.

Senator Harder: Thank you.


Senator Gerba: Thanks for the clarification. I think the professor answered a lot of my questions in responding to Senator Harder’s question, but I still wanted to come back to one key factor that we’re seeing right now, and that’s Belarus. It’s been a bit of an outsider in this war, but at the same time it was being used by Russia as a platform to attack Ukraine. Belarus recently announced a joint grouping with Russia.

I’d like to hear your assessment of this agreement, this grouping. In your opinion, are we witnessing a new phase of this war and this conflict, the internationalization of this conflict with regard to Ukraine? On the other hand, Iran has also supplied several hundred booby-trapped drones to Russia. The combination of things between Belarus and Iran could complicate what happens next; what are your thoughts on this?


Mr. Snyder: On number one, Belorussia, now known as Belarus, Ukraine and Russia were in a kind of triangular relationship even before this war began. As I’m sure you know, there were peaceful protests against the fraudulent elections in Belarus a year before. In those protests, we learned some important things about Belarusian society. We learned it has protest potential and we learned that the vast majority of Belarusians want to have free elections in their country.

Those protests failed because of the application of violence by the Belarusian state supported by the Russian state. Even before we get to the war in Ukraine, we have a prologue where we learn that Belarusians don’t like their ruler. We also learn that Russia is able to consolidate Lukashenko’s power, at least for now.

This is important because it brings us to the situation that you describe. As you say, people don’t like to talk about it. It’s a bit awkward. However, Belarus was a party to this war from the beginning as a state. It allowed Russia to invade Ukraine’s territory from Belarusian territory. It continues to allow Russia to launch missiles from its territory into Ukraine routinely. It allows Russian soldiers to retreat into Belarusian territory. In all those ways, Belarus has been a party to this war.

I think the interesting question, which I believe you’re asking, is how much further can this go? I think the answer is not very much further because President Lukashenko of Belarus understands that if he were to try to mobilize his country for war, he would face risks even greater than Putin faces in Russia. We know from opinion polls in Belarus that the vast majority of Belarusians are against the war, and we know from just recent experience that Belarusians are capable of protest.

I think a situation in which Lukashenko tries to mobilize or even sends part of his army into Ukraine would very likely lead to consequences that are unpredictable for him very quickly. I think the fact that Putin is pressing him to do these things is a sign that the Russians themselves are not doing very well.

I share your concern about the internationalization of all of this, but I think the potential of Belarus actually intervening in the Ukrainian war is quite limited, and indeed, could backfire into a situation where Russia loses not only in Ukraine, but also loses in Belarus. That’s the optimistic possibility. For me, it’s an optimistic possibility; for President Lukashenko of Belarus, it’s something that he fears.

I very much take your point about Iran. Again, I would say that it shows how limited Putin’s support is internationally. He is falling back on the support of a very small group of countries, as we just saw, for example, in the UN vote about annexation. What Iran can do for Russia is certainly meaningful. The rockets and the drones are certainly meaningful, and I think it does mean that one has to treat Iran as a party to this war.

It also raises an interesting question that you didn’t raise. Right now, there are Iranians on the sovereign territory of Ukraine. That strikes me as a very significant development. We would, of course, think twice before we sent Canadians, Americans or any other NATO member soldiers to take part in the war. But the Iranians right now actually have their own people on the sovereign territory of Ukraine. That strikes me as significant and as deserving of some kind of specific response.

The Chair: Thank you. We went a little over on that one but it was an interesting question and answer.

Mr. Snyder: Sorry.

Senator Coyle: Thank you to Dr. Snyder. I would like to probe a little bit further, if there is anywhere to go, on Senator Harder’s question. You have said that so much of this depends on us — “us” meaning the group of countries who are supporting Zelenskyy — and the Zelenskyy factor you mentioned is obviously the major factor at the centre of whether this war will be won by Ukraine, as you’ve said.

I just want to understand a little more about the fault lines. You have said that Germany is more important than the U.S., but the U.S. is so important in equipping. You’ve said that the American population is behind this, no matter where they sit on the political spectrum. But something is happening next month in the U.S., their elections. Could you speak a little more on any finer points we need to understand about the potential implications of that?

Mr. Snyder: I wish I could contest the premise of the question, but I really can’t. From an American point of view, what happens in Ukraine if the Republicans win a majority in both houses will be derivative of, I think, the larger chaos that will be set loose in our domestic politics. I’m just judging the Republicans from their own declarations here. They think the major issues in our politics have something to do with this notion that Donald Trump actually won the election in 2020, which, aside from being simply not true and the kind of big lie which really warps and destroys democracies from the inside, it also channels politics into a route that is not just fictional but also entirely procedural.

What I anticipate happening is that they will start investigating the investigations. They will start their own investigations, but they will also investigate the investigations. They will try to turn the things that the state has been doing against itself again, and we’ll get ourselves all tied up in that. It will be very hard for there to be domestic policy. It will be slightly less hard for there to be foreign policy, because a lot of that is in the hands of the executive. But you have already reached the proper conclusions. There will be difficulty with appropriating more money.

I think if there were one issue where one might imagine there could be some kind of agreement, it would be precisely Ukraine. That is why I share the concern of the senators about Mr. McCarthy’s recent remarks. I find them very troubling. I wish I had some way of issuing greater comfort than I can.

When I say Germany is the most important country, what I mean is not that Germany has been more important than the U.S. up until now. What I mean is that Germany has the greatest potential to do more.

I think that’s the right way to think about November, whether you’re Canadian or European, is that should the United States fall into some kind of chaos, this is an opportunity to do more. I think that’s the only way to think about this situation. I wish I had some kind of brighter perspective to offer. I guess one brighter perspective would be that I don’t think the Republicans are necessarily going to win. I think it’s quite possible they won’t. I think it’s going to be a very close-run thing.

Senator Coyle: Do I have time for a —

The Chair: No. We’re out of time. There might be some time in the second round. We’ll have a second round with shorter interventions. We’ll go to Senator Boniface.

Senator Boniface: My question has been answered, so I will turn the time back for you.

The Chair: Thank you very much. That’s very generous. Professor Snyder, a witness appeared from Kyiv recently at this committee, the head of a civil society organization. I asked the witness, “Which countries are you most disappointed in, in terms of potential support?” Two countries were mentioned: Hungary and Israel. I’m wondering whether you have any comments on the position of Hungary at the moment, or, indeed, Israel with its wish to be at least potentially as neutral as it can be.

Mr. Snyder: With respect to Hungary, I think it’s not such an interesting case because Hungary was already so far gone as far as being a regime which was oligarchical and opportunistic in its relations with all of its primary patrons, which include Moscow and Beijing. The way the Hungarian government works essentially is it uses EU membership as a kind of shield to do all kinds of things with Moscow and Beijing.

Hungary has become very adept at distributing the EU funds that it gets among the close associates of the Prime Minister. I think it’s also the case that the Hungarian leadership, as it stands, was anticipating that Russia would win quickly and there might even be some kind of territorial redistribution, going back to an earlier question.

So I’m not surprised by Hungary. It has been my view for a very long time that Hungary should not be a member of the European Union.

Israel is more interesting. As a historian of the Holocaust, I understand there are two ways to look at Israel. One can say that Israel is about protecting the Jews and about remembering the history of the Holocaust as a specifically Jewish event, which, of course, it was. It was specific in many ways. It was directed against the Jews, obviously, and there has been nothing like it.

At the same time, one could also imagine that the State of Israel would be interested in genocide as a category and interested in making sure that the world remembers that this is a kind of event that could happen. In that respect, I think Israel has failed totally with respect to Ukraine. I think it has been a kind of ethical tragedy that Israel has missed this opportunity.

Beyond that, the ethical tragedy I think has also revealed itself to be a strategic disaster. I think this is a moment where having done the right thing ethically would also have been to do the right thing strategically, because in choosing neutrality, what Israel has contributed to is a longer war. Israel could have helped make this war shorter, and it can still. But it has also contributed to the emergence of this axis between Tehran and Moscow, where whatever it is that Russia is giving Tehran in exchange for those drones and missiles, it is definitely not something that Israel wants Tehran to be getting. Wars go on, and they last longer than we think, and they take unexpected turns. I’m hoping now Israel will also make a turn.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We’ll have a very quick second round since we only have less than 10 minutes to go.

Senator MacDonald: I want to go back to borders, boundaries and historical legitimacy that you mentioned. Senator Greene brought it up. Hopefully, they can win this war and negotiate a successful end to the war.

What do you see happening with the Crimean peninsula? We know the history of Crimea. It was traditional Russian territory. It was attached to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev, who led in the late 1950s. Should Crimea be on the table, or is it best left alone?

Mr. Snyder: Crimea should be best left alone, in the sense that it should be treated as a sovereign part of Ukraine, which it is legally. In some sense, the history — I’m going to talk about it and probably use all of your time, but the history is in some sense irrelevant. The Russian Federation and Ukraine were constituted in December 1991 as mutually recognizing sovereign states with the borders that they had. The moment that you start talking about how this or that happened earlier, you open this can of worms. The Ukrainian-Russian border was changed a number of times during the Soviet Union, not just in 1954. I don’t think that’s a reason why one should go back.

If one is to go back — and now you have to indulge me — the idea that Crimea was always part of Russia is a kind of an imperial view, which doesn’t really hold water. It became part of the Russian Empire in the late 18th century, after six centuries of the existence of a Mongol state: first, the Golden Horde and then four centuries of the Crimean Khanate.

Four centuries is a pretty long time, longer than Canada and longer than America. When that state was defeated, its Indigenous population, the Crimean Tatars, were deported. In the 18th century about a third of them left. In 1944, every last Crimean Tatar man, woman and child was forcibly deported by the Soviet secret state police, emptying the peninsula of its Indigenous population, at which point Khrushchev could move it from Russia to Ukraine, which he did for the very sensible reason that you can supply Crimea with water from Ukraine and not from Russia and you can supply Crimea with electricity from Ukraine, but not from Russia. From the point of view of Russia, Crimea is an island. From the point of view of Ukraine, it’s a peninsula. That decision was made on purely administrative grounds. Khrushchev dressed it up as a gift to Ukraine. Because of other problems with Ukraine, he dressed it up that way. Now people remember it as this gift and so on, and that’s like a Russian cliché.

The international law here is totally unambiguous. Crimea is part of Ukraine just as much as Lviv was part of Ukraine, in my view, legally. Also, if we’re going to get into the history, we have to be really careful with the notions that something has always been something, because generally it’s the big empires that get to define the “always.” When you dig down a little bit, it turns out there are peoples there who have a different story. With Crimea, there certainly is a people who have a different story.

Senator Greene: Thank you very much. I’ll be as quick as I can. During the Second World War, we began to talk about how it would end and the future post-war, and so I don’t think it’s too early to talk about how this one will end, assuming it ends in a victory.

Does it include a Marshall type of plan for the region, or what optimistic thing can we think of that would help us out here?

Mr. Snyder: Thank you. A friend of mine —

The Chair: I would ask you — I’ll get the other two senators who wanted to get quick questions in. We can collect the three questions and hear your response, just so everyone gets a chance.

Senator Marwah: Professor Snyder, there have been words emerging in recent weeks about tactical nuclear deployment, though, frankly speaking, “tactical nuclear” is an oxymoron in my view, but nevertheless those are the words emerging.

What happens if, as you say, Russia feels they are losing or gets desperate and does in fact use tactical nuclear deployment? What does the West do? If they respond, is that an attack on Russia, which unleashes a full-scale nuclear war? France has already said they will not get drawn into a nuclear quagmire. Is that an action that might break the resolve of the West?

Senator MacDonald: Yes, professor, personally, I agree with your assessment of Crimea, that it does belong to Ukraine. My question is: If it was on the table, do you think it would complicate or compromise Ukraine’s support from the West or from its allies; in other words, would allies support Ukraine putting that on the table?

The Chair: So three easy ones there.

Mr. Snyder: I’m going to go Crimea, nuclear war and the future, in that order.

One thing I think that gets overlooked a little bit is that this is a war. So we tend to impose our various political and psychological paradigms on this thing. This isn’t entirely political. The Russians are fighting the war in Ukraine largely from Crimea. The Iranian drones are launched from Crimea. Ukrainians can’t fight this war without also fighting in Crimea. We might look away and not notice it, but they have been fighting in Crimea the entire time. They have been doing things in Crimea the entire time. From their point of view, of course, the war is not just happening in Crimea, it’s about Crimea, and the Russians are perfectly aware they might lose Crimea. I do not see any reason for treating this differently than any other part of the country. I don’t think that initiative should come from us.

On nuclear war, I wrote a long piece on my Substack about this, which I’m going to recommend to you. It’s extremely unlikely that there will be nuclear use. The fact that the Russians don’t actually seem to be concerned about it is a bit of a giveaway here. The Russian population is not concerned about it at all, and we are, which suggests to me that something is going on besides actual planning for it. In my view, if the Russians were going to use nuclear weapons because of a shock, that would have been back in Kyiv in March. That was the greatest shock they got. They are not going to get any bigger ones than that.

There are a lot of reasons why I think it’s not going to happen. If there is tactical nuclear use, the Ukrainians have said, and I believe, they will keep fighting. There is no reason to think that a tactical nuclear use would change the contours of the war. I agree with you that it’s a misnomer, that any use would be strategic. It wouldn’t help Russia. The United States has communicated clearly to Russia that there are things that we can do that would make it more likely that Russia would lose this war quickly if they were to try to use tactical nuclear weapons.

Additionally, the Russians can’t be sure the tactical nuclear weapons would work or that they wouldn’t lose track of them along the way, which is something they tend to do regularly. I think the scenario is unlikely, but if it does happen, it will accelerate the end of the war, but it will accelerate a Russian defeat. That’s the main outcome that it will have, because the commercial and military responses that the West can bring to bear — without using nuclear weapons — would then be overwhelming.

On to the future. I love this question, and I am glad I can close on it. I completely agree that just like the definition of defeat is political, the definition of victory is political. For Ukraine to have a victory, that means Ukraine has to be joining the European Union. There has to be something like a Marshall plan. There has to be something that Canadian and American and other businesses can be excited about joining. There has to be a big investment in Ukraine.

I have a colleague who is in Poznań, Poland, who is a competent person, and he says when this turns out, Ukraine has a chance to eclipse Poland and be the most important country in Eastern Europe. I believe that’s true and that the Ukrainians have demonstrated that’s true in these very trying circumstances. After victory, with the right kind of help, one can imagine a Europe with not just a secure but a very prosperous Ukraine in a way that benefits everyone. That’s part of the victory: European Union enlargement, considerable Western state investment, with the prospect that we then end up with a much bigger zone of peace and prosperity than we started out with.

The Chair: Professor Snyder, we have come to the end of our time for you as our witness today. On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank you very warmly for spending an hour with us. We will continue to watch what you have to say online, on YouTube, wherever. Again, it’s deeply appreciated on our part. Thank you very much.

Mr. Snyder: I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you.

Colleagues, there are two more items that I would like to raise with you. One is that you will have seen a message sent by our clerk this morning, and that is that we expect to start our study next week of Magnitsky and the Special Economic Measures Act, or SEMA, as mandated by the Senate, so if you have any ideas in terms of witnesses and others, that would be very helpful. Send any feedback that you have.

The other item is that steering has examined the question about a change of name for this committee. It would be a slight change of name but reflect the actual mandate that we have, and that is to add the word “development,” meaning international development. So Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Development.

We’ll send a message out on that, but I just wanted to alert you to it. It puts us more in alignment with what Global Affairs Canada is since its amalgamation in 2013 with the Canadian International Development Agency, or CIDA.

Are there any other items that anyone would like to raise?

Senator MacDonald: I want to let my colleagues know that I won’t be here next week. I’m going to the U.K., Westminster and Belfast. The trip has gotten very much more interesting.

The Chair: Anyone else? Thank you.

(The committee adjourned.)

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