The Ottawa Forum, which took place on May 23-24, 2014 at the University of Ottawa, had an ambitious goal: to generate an ambitious, positive, forward-looking agenda for Canada’s international strategy based on a careful analysis of global trends. Some of Canada’s leading “next generation” thinkers and most experienced practitioners examined options for Canada’s future international strategies in eleven important policy areas.

Commentaries by Forum participants and recordings of each session are posted below. For further information about the Forum, including speaker bios, please use the navigation buttons at left.

A book featuring the policy proposals of Forum participants will also be published by University of Toronto Press in 2015.


Roland Paris and Taylor Owen, Imagining a more ambitious Canada

Andrew Leach, Canada’s new energy era

Jennifer Keesmaat, City-building as a Canadian export

Danielle Goldfarb, Canada’s world is still too round

Natalie Brender, Nine new takes on Canada’s international future

Audio podcasts

Podcasts of each session are available here and on our iTunes channel.

Social media

For a “storified” collection of tweets about #OttFor, click here.

Session 1: Setting the scene – a world in flux

Introduction to the Forum: Roland Paris and Taylor Owen

Speaker: Robert Greenhill, Managing Director, World Economic Forum

Moderator: Vincent Rigby, Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs, Development and Trade

Session 2: International commerce and investment

Speaker: Danielle Goldfarb, Associate Director, Global Commerce Centre, Conference Board of Canada

Commentator: Ailish Campbell, Vice President, Canadian Council of Chief Executives

Moderator: Jennifer Jeffs, President, Canadian International Council

Session 3: Innovation, competitiveness and cities

Speakers: Andrea Mandel-Campbell, Director Corporate Communications, Kinross Gold Corporation and author of Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson

Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner, City of Toronto

Commentator: Anne Golden, Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Ryerson University and Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center

Moderator: Tim Barber, Founding Partner, Canada 2020

Session 4: Environment, energy and resources

Speakers: Stewart Elgie, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Director, Institute of the Environment, University of Ottawa

Andrew Leach, Enbridge Professor of Energy Policy, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta

Commentators: Madelaine Drohan, Correspondent, The Economist

Nic Rivers, Canada Research Chair in Climate and Energy Policy and Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa

Moderator: Mark Cameron, Senior Vice President and Deputy Energy Practice Leader, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Session 5: International development

Speaker: John McArthur, Senior Fellow, UN Foundation, and Visiting Fellow, Brookings Institution

Commentator: George Roter, Co-Founder, Engineers Without Borders

Moderator: Margaret Biggs, Skelton-Clark Fellow in the School of Policy Studies of Queen’s University

Session 6: The Arctic

Speaker: Whitney Lackenbauer, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo

Commentator: James Manicom, Research Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation

Moderator: Stephen Saideman, Paterson Chair in International Affairs, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University

Session 7: Canadian interests and values

Speaker: Hugh Segal, Former Senator and next Master of Massey College, University of Toronto

Session 8: Canada’s strategic options – Diplomatic perspectives

Panelists: Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada and author of How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change

Rob Wright, former Deputy Minister of International Trade and former Canadian Ambassador to Japan and China

Louise Fréchette, Chair of the Board of Directors, CARE Canada, and former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations

Paul Heinbecker, Director of the Laurier Centre for Global Relations and Distinguished Fellow in International Relations at the Centre for International Governance Innovation

Moderator: Kim Mackrael, Reporter, The Globe and Mail

Session 9: International security, human rights, and civilian protection

Speakers: Jonathan Paquin, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the International Peace and Security Program, Université Laval

Emily Paddon, Rose Junior Research Fellow in International Relations, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University

Commentators: Rob McRae, former Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Intelligence Assessment Secretariat, Privy Council Office

David Petrasek, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Moderator: Jill Sinclair, Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy), Department of National Defence

Session 10: Networks and institutions

Speakers: Yves Tiberghien, Director of Institute of Asian Research and Associate Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia

Mark Raymond, Research Fellow, Internet Governance Project, Center for International Governance Innovation

Commentators: Farah Faisal-Thaler, Associate Director, International Institutions and Global Governance, Council on Foreign Relations

Morris Rosenberg, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and next President of the Trudeau Foundation

Moderator: Kyle Matthews, Senior Deputy Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies

Session 11: Promoting innovation

Speaker: Peter Singer, Chief Executive Officer, Grand Challenges Canada

Moderator: Bill Graham, Chancellor, Trinity College, University of Toronto

Conference conclusion: Roland Paris and Taylor Owen