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Cablegate: Canadian Efforts to Promote Democratization Abroad

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PP RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHOT #0593/01 1161830
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251830Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7757
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0398

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 OTTAWA 000593

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/P, G, DRL, WHA/CAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KDEM PREL CA
SUBJECT: CANADIAN EFFORTS TO PROMOTE DEMOCRATIZATION ABROAD

REF: 07 OTTAWA 01878

OTTAWA 00000593 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Summary: The government of Conservative Prime
Minister Stephen Harper has taken a middle course between the
large expansion of democratization capacity that a
Parliamentary committee recommended in July 2007 and the ad
hoc approach it had been following before then. Canada is
justifiably cautious about taking on any major new
commitments while it is so heavily engaged in Afghanistan and
while the Conservatives remain in minority status in the
House of Commons, but the government has made supporting
freedom and democracy a key priority. It is now implementing
several new approaches, including better coordination of
Canadian organizations involved in democratization, more
systematic research and analysis, and a forthcoming policy
statement. It continues to support the alphabet soup of
democratization programs -- the CD, PDG, and APDP. A recent
trip to Pakistan by representatives of the
government-supported but independent Democracy Council
highlighted a new approach to democratization that combines
for the first time direct work with parties in the midst of a
political process. Canada continues to welcome its exchanges
with State on promoting democratization overseas. End
Summary.

PARLIAMENT URGES NEW APPROACHES TO DEMOCRATIZATION
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (SBU) On July 11, 2007 the House of Commons' Standing
Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade after
extensive hearings tabled a report entitled "Advancing
Canada's role in International Support for Democratic
Development" (reftel). The Committee recommended a number of
new approaches to supporting democracy abroad, including a
new research center and a political party institute (along
the lines of the Dutch Institute for Multiparty Democracy) to
help channel the personnel and experience of Canadian
political parties into overseas democracy promotion. The
most ambitious recommendation was for the creation of a new
independent institute -- the "Canada Foundation for
International Democratic Development" -- that would have the
mandate to develop and deliver programs in the field. Its
model would be the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy --
and the Committee called for generous multi-year funding.

THE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
-----------------------

3. (SBU) The Government responded to the report on November
2, 2007 with a white paper entitled "A New Focus on Democracy
Support." The government declined to support a NED-style
organization, but explicitly confirmed that "supporting
freedom and democracy is a key priority of the Government of
Canada," while proposing new measures, including:

-- preparation of a "Whole-of-Government" policy statement
on "Democracy Support" by May 2, 2008;

-- establishment of a Canadian research program on democracy
support and a "Democracy Partners Research and Study
Program," as well as comprehensive country-level governance
assessments to inform major development programs;

-- improved coordination of Canadian organizations,
including support for the expansion and formalization of
Canada's government-funded but independent "Democracy
Council" (which includes representatives from the
International Development Research Council, Elections Canada,
the Montreal-based NGO "Rights and Democracy," the
Parliamentary Centre, the Forum of Federations, and the
National Judicial Institute), as well as other non-government
QNational Judicial Institute), as well as other non-government
organizations active in democracy support;

-- continuation of an annual "Democracy Dialogue;" and,

-- a new "Democratic Transitions Fund" for diplomatic
efforts in support of democracy.

CHARTING NEW COURSES...
-----------------------

4. (U) The Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade's (DFAIT) Global Peace and Security Fund subsequently
financed a conference in late February organized by the
Queen's University Centre for the Study of Democracy on
"Creating Democratic Value: Evaluating Efforts to Promote
Democracy Abroad." It brought together a group of global
experts to begin to set the parameters for evaluating

OTTAWA 00000593 002.2 OF 003


democratization programs, and included a presentation by
poloff.

5. (U) The Democracy Council in March sent three of its
members plus one consultant on a mission to Pakistan to
determine what programs the Council might develop to help
with Pakistan's democratic transition. This was the first
time it had sent a mission of this kind to the field in its
two year existence, and the first time to offer support to
foreign political parties.

6. (U) The DFAIT-sponsored "Democracy Dialogue" brings
together an international audience each year to focus on key
themes in democratization. The February 2008 Dialogue (which
poloff attended as the sole foreign diplomat) focused on
"Canadian Approaches to Democracy Support in Latin America,"
with participation by former Vice President of Guatemala
Eduardo Stein and OAS Undersecretary for Political Affairs
Dante Caputo.

7. (U) Canada's Treasury Board has now vetted the new
"Democratic Transitions Fund," which will have multi-year
money that DFAIT -- rather than the more development-oriented
Canadian International Development Agency -- will manage. It
will begin to support diplomatic efforts at democratization.
CIDA will separately by the end of 2008 begin to publish a
new "Annual Report on Development Results" as well as a new
"Annual Report on Democracy Spending" to provide greater
clarity to the government's international democratization
efforts.

...WHILE STAYING IN THE GAME
----------------------------

8. (SBU) According to DFAIT Democracy Unit officials, Canada
continues to try to focus its limited resources where it can
do the most good in the democratization arena, and wants to
remain engaged in a number of areas without diverting
attention from its highest priorities. Other ongoing
democratization efforts include:

-- Community of Democracies (CD): Canada remains fully
supportive of the CD, but is not particularly active in the
organization between ministerials. Its key contribution to
date has been primary funding for "A Diplomat's Handbook for
Democracy Development Support," a project headed by retired
Canadian Ambassador Jeremy Kinsman. The publication is a
unique contribution to the literature of democratization,
putting together a "diplomat's toolbox," including case
studies;

-- Partnership for Democratic Governance (PDG): Canada is
currently the Vice Chair of the Executive Committee and has
committed even more funding and personnel for the PDG than
the CD. Its current commitment is C$3 million (approximately
US$3 million) over a three year period. DFAIT has not had
any response to date from its missions in Latin America to a
request for proposals for PDG projects, but plans to support
this initial effort to create projects in the field;

-- Asia Pacific Democratic Partnership (APDP): as a founding
member, Canada takes the APDP seriously and will continue to
support it with funding and diplomatic effort. Canada plans
soon to respond to our most recent proposals, but believes
that it would be best to conduct a "soft launch" in June 2008
by sending out an observer mission to Mongolia, with a "hard
launch" by November 2008, when APDP would send an observer
mission for the U.S. elections;

-- UN Democracy Fund: Canada does not so far support the
UNDF because it has does not want to spread its efforts and
funding too thin. Canadian officials have nonetheless met
with the head of the UNDF and are assessing whether it would
Qwith the head of the UNDF and are assessing whether it would
provide a niche to meet certain objectives;

-- Bali Democracy Forum: Canada has not yet taken an
official position on the Bali Forum, but considers some of
its work complementary to Canadian objectives. Canada
remains concerned that the Bali Forum may be too
geographically and functionally inclusive to be effective,
but Canadian interests in Asia are likely too great not
eventually to support such a noteworthy Asian organization;

-- DFAIT is now contemplating the posting of regional
democratization officers in some of its Embassies abroad as a
way better to manage DFAIT-funded programs and conduct
outreach.


OTTAWA 00000593 003.2 OF 003


9. (SBU) Comment: Canada continues to struggle with how best
to institutionalize its own approach to democratization
abroad. DFAIT officials have expressed admiration for the
U.S. "Advance Democracy Act" and the large role it gives to
the State Department to deliver democratization programs.
Canada will continue to welcome exchanges with us on
democratization, including contacts in Washington, Ottawa,
and key posts in the field.

Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada

WILKINS

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