Release Date: February 9, 2010
Media Contact: Dale Johnson, External Relations
Phone: 306-585-5439
Mobile: 306-536-4312
Fax: 306-585-4997
Was Canada's postwar foreign policy guided by an overarching set of altruistic principles?
The history of Canada's postwar foreign policy is dominated by Cold War narratives and a diplomatic self-image that casts as a global peacemaker and mediating middle power, says David Webster, assistant professor of International Studies at the University of Regina. By contrast, the story of Canada's response to decolonization in the Global South is less well known.

"Historical evidence indicates Canada didn't work for peace or human rights in two Southeast Asian cases," says Webster. "Canada responded to the Indonesian struggle for independence by operating as a loyal member of the Western alliance, hoping that Indonesia would follow Canada's own non-revolutionary model of decolonization and development." Webster adds that the Canadian economic development policies caused Canada to overlook Indonesian human rights violations in East Timor, choosing to put trading interests ahead of any attempt at peacemaking for 20 years.

Join Webster for the latest Coffee House Controversies lecture on February 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Chapters bookstore behind the Southland Mall (2625 Gordon Road). His talk will discuss if Canada's postwar foreign policy was guided by an overarching set of altruistic principles.

Webster has a PhD from the University of British Columbia. In addition to teaching at the University of Regina, Webster has worked at the University of San Francisco and at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Fire and the Full Moon: Canada and Indonesia in a Decolonizing World and is the collection editor of East Timor Testimony.

Coffee House Controversies speakers give an informal 20-minute talk focusing on a topic of interest to the general public. The talks are intended to encourage the open exchange of ideas. Twenty minutes of discussion follows each talk, during which members of the general public can ask questions or raise issues with the speaker or other audience members.

The events are free and open to the public. Contact the Faculty of Arts at 585-4226 for more information.