FAAE Committee News Release
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Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Comité permanent des affaires étrangères et du développement international
For immediate release
Foreign Affairs Committee Presents Report on the Threats to Liberal Democracy in Europe
Ottawa, June 19, 2019 -
The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development presented a report to the House of Commons entitled Democratic Strain and Popular Discontent in Europe: Responding to the Challenges Facing Liberal Democracies.
The Committee’s report examines the possible causes and consequences of rising popular discontent and emerging democratic strain in Europe and the implications of these challenges for Canada.
The report explains that the challenges facing liberal democracies in Europe have been driven by both internal and external factors. Those factors include people’s legitimate concerns about the economy, but also the malign interference of authoritarian foreign powers who seek to spread disinformation, sow distrust and foment polarization.
As the Committee heard throughout its study, rising popular discontent in Europe has manifested itself in the increasing popularity of anti-establishment political parties and leaders, and the advancement of a model of governance that threatens liberal democratic norms and institutions. It was impressed upon the Committee by witnesses that political leaders must firmly oppose any attempt to undermine democracy or to advance hateful and extreme ideologies.
The Committee’s report makes 10 recommendations on how Canada can help to address the challenges facing liberal democracies. Among other areas, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada should work with its European partners and allies at the multilateral level to reinforce a rules-based international order and to strengthen liberal democratic norms and institutions.
The Committee also recommends that the Government of Canada deepen its engagement, including with its G7 allies, to counter disinformation campaigns and digital distortion. The Committee further recommends that the Government of Canada review, and potentially increase, its diplomatic resources in Europe, and that it examine opportunities to develop new youth-oriented partnerships and exchanges with European countries.
The full text of the Committee’s report is available on its website.
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