In recent years, Canada has been an outspoken critic of the Iranian regime, cutting off diplomatic relations and denouncing its leaders’ actions and intentions. Meanwhile, it has also initiated a program of direct diplomacy that reached out online to the Iranian people prior to the recent Iranian presidential elections with the intention of bolstering their democratic voice. Some say the Canadian government has gone too far in antagonizing Iran, to the detriment of potentially constructive diplomacy. Others counter that Canada is taking exactly the right measures toward a regime with which conventional diplomacy is impossible. Debating these issues are John Mundy, a Visiting Associate at CIPS, and Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
John Mundy is a former Canadian diplomat with 31 years of experience in the Federal Public Service. Before retiring in 2008, he held senior diplomatic appointments in Trinidad and Tobago, Iran and Australia. In 2007 John was appointed Canadian Ambassador to Iran during a very difficult time in bilateral relations. At the end of that year, when attempts to agree upon a reciprocal exchange of Ambassadors between Iran and Canada failed, he was expelled by President Ahmadinejad and diplomatic relations were down-graded. He is now writing a book about his experience. He writes and speaks about Iran in the Ottawa Citizen. He has an undergraduate degree in economics and political science from Queens University, an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and a French certificate from the Universite de Dijon in France.
Shimon Fogel serves as the CEO for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. He is a graduate of Clark University’s School of Government and International Relations in Massachusetts and pursued graduate and doctoral studies at McGill University. He also holds rabbinic ordination. Shimon joined the Canada-Israel Committee as Director of Government Relations in 1988 and was appointed as CEO in 2001. He has served as a consultant to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and as a member of the prestigious Round Table on Global Security under the Department of National Defense. He has written and lectured extensively in Canada and internationally on matters of public policy and has been engaged by numerous groups, including the Assembly of First Nations, the World Sikh Organization and the Canadian Tibet Committee, to advise on strategic planning and advocacy. The Hill Times recognized Fogel as one of the 100 most influential actors within the political sector, and Embassy Magazine ranked him among the 50 most important people influencing Canadian foreign policy.