Shedding Light on Canada's Foreign Policy Alignment

J. Paquin, P. Beauregard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this article is to explore the issue of alignment in Canadian foreign policy. The main research question is whether Canada's responses to foreign crises aligned with those of its allies, and if so, which allies and why. The study proceeds in two steps. First, it tests four major theoretical perspectives that could explain Canada's behaviour: continentalism, transatlantism, the Anglosphere argument and unilateralism. By performing a computer-generated content analysis, the article assesses these propositions by focusing on and comparing Canada's official declarations to those of the United States, France and Britain to six foreign crises that occurred between 2004 and 2011. Second, the analysis identifies whether there is a difference between the Harper and Martin governments' responses to foreign crises. The research provides quantitative and qualitative evidence suggesting that Canada's foreign policy alignment primarily tends toward a transatlantic orientation. It also shows that the Harper government was less in line with Washington than was the previous Liberal government of Paul Martin, which challenges the conventional wisdom of Canadian foreign policy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-643
JournalCanadian Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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