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Canadian Govt. & Politics: International Relations

International Relations in Contemporary Canadian Government and Politics: Introduction

Canada played a key role in creating the United Nations at the end of World War II and in the postwar era began to develop a new internationalist approach in its external relations, playing an important role in peacekeeping and development assistance around the world. Through the Cold War and subsequent world events, Canada's foreign policy has become less distinct and more intertwined with the policies of global alliances and organizations of which Canada is a part.

International relations in general is a very broad, multidisciplinary field and requires understanding of world events and world politics. The focus in this guide however, is only on Canada's relations with the world and on Canada's foreign policy in particular. Even within foreign policy, there are many overlapping policy areas. Immigration, refugee, and international environmental policy are covered more thoroughly in separate special topics guides.

Included here are selected sources for the study of Canadian foreign policy in general, and Canada's international trade, foreign aid, international development, national defence, military and security policy.

NOTE: The general sources for contemporary Canadian Government and Politics covered in the main portion of this guide should also be used for this topic. The more specialized sources listed here provide additional information.


Clarification and Direction: Finding the Facts

  • Definitions 
  • Facts & Figures (General, Dates, People, Statistics)
  • Overview and Background Information (Encyclopedias, Annual Reviews, Textbooks, Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers)


Finding and Evaluating Sources

  • Finding Sources (Core Journals, Indexes, Books and other Academic Work, Current Events/News, Government Information, Political Party Information, Research Organizations, Videos)
  • Evaluating Sources

Primary Source Material

  • Selected Key Resources (What Was Said, What Was Written, Personal Papers, Recorded Images, What is Happening Now)