Guest editor: Richard Nimijean (School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, Carleton University)

The nature of Canadian sovereignty has varied over the years, often connected to how the country has approached and managed its international relations. In turn, Canadian actions in response to pressing global issues and events have defined Canada’s ever-changing international identity: for example, as a trusted member of the empire, as a constructive middle power and multilateral actor, as a strong US ally, and even as a “warrior nation.” Projections of Canada’s international identity have morphed into core elements of Canada’s global brand.

In a tumultuous world with numerous pressing issues (war in Ukraine; tensions between China and Taiwan and its allies; climate change; COVID-19; populism, ethnonationalism and the growing power of a networked and often violent far-right; global economic crisis), Canada is increasingly a policy taker rather than a policy maker. Canada’s politically driven responses to these crises have been haphazard at best, marked by rhetoric-reality gaps between the promotion of values and interests, on the one hand, and Canadian actions, on the other. The Trudeau government’s desire to forge a path more independent of the United States, seen most visibly in the pursuit of free trade with China, is unachieved as the country retreats increasingly into the economic and security shell of the United States. Is this in Canada’s interest, especially given growing instability in the USA? Does it promote Canadian values? The current connection between Canadian sovereignty and its identity seems less clear than it has been for years.

Shifting geopolitical and strategic arrangements due to tensions between the USA, China, and Russia have produced ongoing political and economic instability. Canadian sovereignty appears to be diminishing even as the federal government goes to great lengths to show otherwise. For example, it follows the American lead on security and defence with respect to China and Russia while it struggles to defend sovereign actions with respect to matters like repairing and returning turbines to Gazprom to help Germany. Canada is torn between a hardline on Russia (including sanctions) and capitalizing economically – for example, Canada is negotiating with allies like Germany to develop new energy projects, and Deputy Minister Freeland labelled the potash industry as “geopolitically essential.”

Scholars are invited to examine the connection between diminishing Canadian sovereignty, how the federal government frames and presents its foreign policy actions, and the Canadian identity in this special issue of Canadian Foreign Policy. Articles could address issues such as (but are not limited to):

  • “America First,” political turmoil, and Canada-US relations
  • Divisive American politics and Canadian defence and security
  • Networked extremism, authoritarian populism, and Canadian democracy
  • Digital nationalism and sovereignty
  • Canada’s ability to achieve its climate change policies
  • Canadian foreign policy and Canada-US relations in the age of China-US tensions
  • The future of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy
  • Canadian innovation, economic and/or energy policies in the post-COVID global economy
  • Canadian commitment to multilateralism and the future of Canadian diplomacy
  • Canada, NATO, and the Russian-Ukraine war (including the Arctic)
  • Canadian cultural policy and sovereignty in the age of Big Tech and the digital economy
  • Migration and an independent refugee policy
  • Canada’s commitment to develop an independent foreign policy
  • Canada-US border policy and practices

We invite thematic essays, policy commentaries, and comparative studies. Full articles should be between 6,000-7,000 words while policy commentaries should be between 1,500-2000 words. CFPJ foregrounds quantitative and qualitative methodologies, especially empirically based original studies that facilitate balanced and fresh analysis to serve theory, policy, and strategy development. Articles submitted to the Journal should be original contributions and are subject to rigorous peer review.

Submission deadline: February 1, 2023.

To begin the submission process (including abstract):

Author guidelines:

Please email inquiries to Richard Nimijean ( with the subject heading: “Canadian Sovereignty and Global Fault Lines”

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