About David Petrasek

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

David Petrasek

The Conservatives’ Controversial Case for War

The motion tabled in Parliament this week to extend Canada’s military engagement against the Islamic State (IS) sets a worrying precedent. The decision to expand the air war to Syria is grounded in a confused legality that blurs legitimate concerns with Iraq’s right to self-defence with the dubious legality of a global ‘war on terror’. The motion… Read More

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On Human Rights, Baird Leaves a Troubled Legacy

This is one of a series of CIPS Blog posts examining the legacy of John Baird as Canada’s foreign minister. See also the posts by Peter Jones, Ferry de Kerckhove and Colin Robertson. John Baird’s decision to resign naturally invites comments on his 20 years in politics. His record will be contested, of course. Yet no doubt all will applaud his energy a… Read More

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The ICC: Breach in the Dyke, or High Water Mark?

Published on openGlobalRights, November 3, 2014 The International Criminal Court (ICC) is back in the news. Pressure is growing on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accede to the Rome Statute; if he does so, the ICC might gain the authority to investigate alleged war crimes in Gaza and the Occupied Territories.  Just a few weeks ago, “ci… Read More

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Twitter and the #Ottawa Attacks

As we move past the immediate shock, anger and grief precipitated by the attack in Ottawa last week, debate is beginning in earnest on several fronts: the motivation of the attacker, the adequacy of existing laws to meet ‘lone wolf’ threats, and the risks of another attack. But there are other, more prosaic questions. For example, one that remains unans… Read More

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Ottawa Attacks: What We Must Do—and Not Do—in Response

Locked in today at the University of Ottawa, looking down on the largely deserted canal bike path, several hundred metres from the cenotaph where this morning’s horrifying events began, I was stunned. I was also shaking, and afraid—but not out of any sense of personal peril. I felt perfectly safe, even knowing innocent people were shot and killed or wou… Read More

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Harper at the UN: The Speech He Could (But Won’t) Give

In a few days, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will address the UN General Assembly. In an alternate universe, imagine a scenario where he is planning to use the event to announce a fundamental new direction for his foreign policy. Perhaps he realizes, in the wake of several turbulent months in global politics, that ‘no going along to get along’ is proving… Read More

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A Do and Don’t List for the UN’s New Human Rights High Commissioner

Published on openDemocracy.net on June 7, 2014 The Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein (“Prince Zeid”), has just been nominated as the next United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The outgoing High Commissioner – Navi Pillay of South Africa – served for six years. Th… Read More

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Canada Makes Palestinian Human Rights a Pawn in Mideast Peace Talks

As John Kerry’s deadline fast approaches for concluding a ‘Framework Agreement’ in the resuscitated Israel-Palestine negotiations, few are optimistic. Those disparaging the deal, or even the need for a deal, appear to have the upper hand in both camps.  The Obama administration, newly preoccupied with Russia and with mounting security challe… Read More

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Coming Soon: A Truly Global Human Rights Revolution?

Published on the openGlobalRights Blog, March 31, 2014  There is an unmistakable fin de régime sentiment to much current thinking regarding international human rights. Conferences and discussion forums convene to debate ‘the future of human rights’, with implicit in the title the idea that there might not be one.  An upsurge in interest in the h… Read More

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