At Home in the World: Canada's Global Vision for the 21st Century


266 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-00-200665-0
DDC 327.71'009'05




Jason Gregory Zorbas, Ph.D., is a sessional lecturer in the Department
of History at the University of Saskatchewan.


The last few years have seen a proliferation of books dealing with the
direction of Canada’s external affairs; At Home in the World is one of
the most interesting. Jennifer Welsh is an Oxford-educated professor of
political science whose vision for Canada’s foreign policy is
predicated on the concept of Canada as a model citizen. Canada, she
maintains, should project Canadian values through the support of four
priorities: reforming governance, protecting and promoting human rights,
ensuring fairness, and preserving its distinctiveness. These priorities
are detailed at the end of the book.

Most of the rest of the book challenges prevailing views of Canada’s
role in the world. Alternative visions for Canadian foreign
policy—such as the importance of Canada–U.S. relations, the need to
draw closer to the emerging European Union, the traditional view of the
middle power, and the prioritization of trade considerations—are
explored, and for a variety of reasons rejected. Instead Welsh offers
the unique concept—at least in the landscape of Canadian
foreign-policy dialogue—of the model citizen. Her exaltation is for
Canada to be itself. This vision has the benefit of being an attainable
goal; however, it is one that needs, for lack of a better word, spice.
It lacks the inspiration that is necessary to spur Canadians to greater
involvement internationally. Despite Welsh’s observation that regular
Canadians are going abroad and spreading Canadian culture and values,
Canadian society as a whole has been showing a disturbing trend toward
isolationism. A bold plan and decisive leadership are called for to
combat this, and unfortunately the concept of the model citizen fails to
address it.

Nonetheless, this does not change the fact that At Home in the World
offers a refreshing new proposal for Canadian foreign policy. Welsh
writes in an engaging, personal way, making this book a significant and
accessible contribution to an important debate. Anyone with an interest
in Canadian foreign affairs should read this book.


Welsh, Jennifer., “At Home in the World: Canada's Global Vision for the 21st Century,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,