Canada and the Arab World: Tareq Y. Ismael


206 pages
ISBN 0-88864-085-4




Pradip Sarbadhikari is a political science professor at Lakehead
University in Thunder Bay.


Canada and the Arab World isa welcome addition to the growing social science literature about the Middle East published in Canada. It is based on a conference in Calgary of Middle East experts ranging from political scientists and theologians to bankers and political leaders.

The book is edited by Dr. Tareq Ismael, who is Professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary and a distinguished scholar of Arab Studies. It also contains an introduction by Senator Heath Macquarrie, who concludes: “Since the Calgary conference a number of traumatic and portentous events have occurred in the Middle East: Israel’s massive invasion of Lebanon, the horrors of Sabra and Chatila, the Reagan Plan, the Fez Summit, the decline of oil prices, the sustained Iran-Iraqi war... But the basic elements of the continuing Middle East crisis are with us still and the analysis of the situation presented at the Conference remains essentially valid and valuable.”

The book has nine chapters dealing with Canadian-Arab relations: Chapter 1, “Canadian Foreign Policy in the Arab World — An Overview,” by the editor; Chapter 2, “Canada’s National Interest in the Middle East,” by Dr. Peyton Lyon, Professor of Political Science at Carleton University; Chapter 3, “Canada’s Peace Keeping in the Middle East,” by Lt.-General E.L.M. Burns, a former Commander of the U.N. Emergency Force in the Middle East and a former Professor of Strategic Studies at Carleton University; Chapter 4, “Canada’s Economic Relations with the Arab World: Patterns and Prospects,” by Dr. Atif Kubursi, Professor of Economics at McMaster University; Chapter 5, “Religious Elements in the Canadian Perception of Arabs,” by Antonio R. Gualtieri, Professor of Religion at Carleton University; Chapter 6, “From Refugees to a People? Canada and the Palestinians 1967-1973,” by Paul C. Noble, Professor of Political Science and Chairman of the Middle East Program at McGill University; Chapter 8, “Zionist Interest Groups and Canadian Foreign Policy,” by Alan Bones of Carleton University; and Chapter 9, “Reflections on the Stanfield Report,” by the Honourable Robert Stanfield, former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Underlying the introduction and most of the chapters is the idea that Canada has been prejudiced (Heath Macquarrie) against the Arab states under a succession of Prime Ministers (Tareq Ismael), that economic relations can be vastly improved (Kubursi) provided Canadians can overcome many of the myths about Arabs — e.g., their treatment of women (Gualtieri) — and adopt a more realistic and balanced view of the Arab world (Noble) without allowing Zionist interest groups to influence Canadian policy (Bones).

This idea has been rigorously analyzed and supported with empirical evidence, which makes the book a serious social science study rather than a polemical tract.

The book is recommended not only for academic libraries but also for public libraries where the general public’s knowledge of the arguments and research in this book would remove many popular misconceptions and enlighten them about a region that is causing so much agony and fear.


“Canada and the Arab World: Tareq Y. Ismael,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,