FINDING OUR WAY BACK: Defining a Coherent International Strategy for Canada

Strategic Coherence

Free Registration – Registration Now Open (note: this is a hybrid event with registration options to attend in-person or online. In-person space is limited, so register early to reserve your spot)

Programme (PDF 1.2mb)

Where is Canada going? What should be its place on the international scene? At the crossroads of global change, Canada faces new threats, but also many opportunities. As we question how Canada should defend itself and how best to ensure its security, join experts and practitioners to understand the current environment through in-depth discussions on Canada’s international policy.

With two consecutive failures to win a United Nations Security Council seat and declining military capabilities, Canada’s place on the international stage is in question. While the changing role of the great powers and the weakening of international norms are debated, a significant decline in Canadian diplomatic activism is observable. At the same time, Canadian defense policy also sometimes suffers from a lack of clarity. Developing a proactive strategy to reposition Canada on the international scene could, however, change the situation. To become aware of the rapid evolution of the global security environment, this colloquium reviews the state of the international environment and its new threats. Its roundtables focus on Canada’s strategic assets as well as its interests and priorities. The colloquium goal is to better identify how Canada’s international strategy could become more coherent and proactive, and to predict what path it should choose.

As part of the development of this colloquium, the NSA held a series of consultations earlier this summer in Montreal, Ottawa, and Calgary with its researchers to propose some straightforward recommendations to the Department of National Defence. This report is the result of those consultations. Click the button to download the full report.

NSA Report (PDF 160kb)

Day 1 – Sept 22, 2022. Open to the public, National Art Centre

9:00 – 9:15 – Welcoming remarks

Stéfanie von Hlatky (Associate Professor, Queen’s University) and Justin Massie (Full Professor, UQAM)

9:15 – 10:15 – Roundtable on Canadian Defence

Moderators: Stéfanie von Hlatky (Associate Professor, Queen’s University) and Justin Massie (Full Professor, UQAM)
    • Roland Paris (Full Professor, University of Ottawa)
    • Kerry Buck (Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa)
    • Jean-Christophe Boucher (Assistant Professor, University of Calgary)

10:15 – 10:30 – Break

10:30 – 12:00 – Panel 1: Developing a Multi-Domain Approach to New Areas of Confrontation

Technological proliferation, emergence of new spaces, and multidimensional threats—what do these concepts mean and what do they imply? This panel will elucidate both questions by exploring the implications of these new threats for Canada, its people, and its position in the world. With the expansion of geostrategic space toward Asia and the emergence of cyberspace as a battlefield between nations, interstate confrontations now go beyond mere economic and military fields. The experts on this panel will provide insights and analysis to help everyone better understand this reality and what a multi-domain approach for Canada would really mean.

Moderator: Émile Lambert-Deslandes (Doctoral student, Queen’s University)


    • Gaëlle Rivard Piché (Strategic Analyst, Defence Research and Development Canada)
    • Gregory Smith (Major-General, CAF)
    • Stéphanie Martel (Assistant Professor, Queen’s University)
    • Justin Massie (Full Professor, UQAM)

12:00 – 13:00 – Lunch

13:00 – 14:30 – Panel 2: Leveraging International Cooperation & Canada’s Strategic Assets

Canada’s international policy is part of a consciously multilateral approach. This panel will investigate the role Canada plays as a “middle power” within regional and international institutions and how it can succeed in asserting its strategic interests. To understand how Canada could maintain and increase its international status, the experts on this panel will conduct a critical examination of its capacities and commitments. In short, they will aim to identify the place that cooperation can play in Canada’s foreign and defense policy.

Moderator: Renée Filiatrault (Former foreign service officer) 


    • Theodore McLauchlin (Associate Professor, Université de Montréal)
    • Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé (Full Professor, Bishop’s University)
    • Kerry Buck (Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs)

14:30 – 14:50 – Break

14:50 – 15:10 – Student Panel: BEST PAPER COMPETITION

Moderator: Johanna Masse (Postdoctoral Researcher, Queen’s University) 

15:10 – 16:40 – Panel 3: Canada’s Strategic Coherence

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gray zone conflicts, the weakening of US hegemony, and the rise of China—the world in 2022 is in turmoil. Caught between its allies, their diverging interests, and its rivals, Canada finds itself faced with the return of great powers competition. Faced with this situation, it must adapt. But how to succeed coherently? This panel will assess how Canada could design a coherent foreign policy in line with its values, but also its national interests. Defining these, its overall strategic priorities, and the budget necessary for their implementation is the challenge that this panel’s experts will tackle.

Moderator: Laurent Borzillo (Postdoctoral Fellow, UQAM)


    • Philippe Beaulieu Brossard (Assistant Professor, Canadian Forces College)
    • Chantal Lavallée (Assistant Professor, Collège militaire royal de St-Jean)
    • Jonathan Paquin (Full Professor, Université Laval)
    • Gordon Venner (Former Associate Deputy Minister, Department of National Defence)

16:40 – 16:55: Introduction of the Military Deployment Index

Justin Massie (Full Professor, UQAM) and Barbora Tallova (Master’s student, University of Oxford)

16:55 – 17:00 – Closing Remarks

Stéfanie von Hlatky (Associate Professor, Queen’s University) and Justin Massie (Full Professor, UQAM)

17:00 – 18:30 – Networking Activity at the National Art Centre



Thursday, September 22 - Friday, September 23, 2022

Location Mixed Attendance Mode

National Arts Centre
1 Elgin St
Ottawa ON, K1P 5W1 CA
Free Registration

Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces / Le Ministère de la Défense nationale et les Forces armées canadiennes