Canada in the World: Choosing a Role


122 pages
Contains Illustrations




Reviewed by Alexander Craig

Alexander Craig is a freelance journalist in Lennoxville, Quebec.


The promotion for this book claims that it provides “an exciting, down-to-earth study of the basic elements of foreign policy. Students examine Canada’s role within the global community…” Combining “exciting” and “down-to-earth” seems almost as much of a threat as a promise, but we have to assume that textbooks for high school students in today’s televisual times have to be packaged in as “sexy” a way as possible.

While the book is clearly for the high school market, there’s no information given on who the publishers Weigl are, what they do, or what the Kanata Series is, except for a very brief acknowledgment “to the efforts of a great many educators who were involved in the original research and development of the Kanata Series under the auspices of the Alberta Heritage Learning Resources Project in 1980.” There are lots of photos, cartoons, useful charts, and tables in this book. The publishers clearly want to make their books as “user-friendly” as possible, and insofar as we can judge this without actually being an average contemporary Canadian teenager, it looks as if they’ve been successful. Just as importantly, the text is clearly written and presented, and it poses a lot of questions about making choices, decision-making, and so on, in terms not just of the world but also of everyday school activities.

While there are chapters on aid and investment (the latter ominously entitled “Foreign Investment: The Hand in Our Pocket?”), trade and economic relations more generally are hardly touched at all — perhaps another book is being prepared on these basic matters? Nor is it altogether surprising for a Western-produced book to ignore completely the bilingual nature of Canada. Yet the significance of this for Canada’s role in the world is of rather more than simply academic interest.

These major reservations apart, this is a brightly presented book, with plenty of illustrations. There’s also a useful glossary of international affairs terms, and both text credits and picture credits.


Campbell, Allan, and Derald Fretts, “Canada in the World: Choosing a Role,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,