About David Petrasek

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

David Petrasek

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 a bit… 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. The High C… 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 challenges in A… 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 history of… Read More

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Russia’s Crimea Caper: One More Nail in the Non-Intervention Coffin

Both Russia and those opposing its intervention in Crimea are making claims regarding the legality of its acts. Russia is asserting the right to use force in Crimea and, if necessary, in eastern Ukraine. The U.S., Canada, and European states counter that doing so is an act of aggression. Indeed, in Foreign Minister John Baird’s opinion, this aggression was… Read More

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Belief, Not Principle, Guiding Canada’s Mideast Policy

There has been a good deal of debate regarding Prime Minister Harper’s visit to Israel, and in particular his speech to the Israeli Knesset. Supporters of the government trumpet what they see as a triumphant Prime Ministerial tour, one that has further cemented bilateral ties and reinforced the government’s strong and “principled” support for Israel. Cr… Read More

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Checking Whose Reality? Contra Burney/Hampson on Canada’s Mideast Policy

Writing last week in the Globe and Mail (“Canada and the Middle East – A reality check”), Derek Burney and Fen Hampson aim to “set the record straight” regarding the Harper government’s diplomacy in the Middle East. Their effort to defend that policy, however, bends facts and distorts the “reality” they claim needs checking. For a start, aid disbursements t… Read More

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To Shun or Shake Hands? Assessing Harper’s CHOGM Boycott

Prime Minister Harper’s decision to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which concluded on the weekend in Sri Lanka, was hotly debated over the past few weeks. Now that the meeting has ended, what impact has the boycott had? Did Harper’s boycott, alongside similar decisions by the Indian and Mauritian Prime Ministers, embarras… Read More

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As Nuclear Talks Progress, Baird’s Concern for Human Rights in Iran Rings Hollow

Negotiations over the past three days in Geneva almost achieved a historic nuclear deal with Iran, and the parties’ concluding statements suggest there is a good chance a deal will be reached when talks resume on November 20. Canada, however, appears focused on other concerns. As the Geneva talks began, Foreign Minister Baird, writing in the National Post… Read More

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