Identity Politics and Security - Future Scenarios

Posted on : Thursday 09 April 2009

Final report of Capstone seminar project team
University of Ottawa
9 April, 2009

This report highlights the results of a Capstone seminar on Identity Politics, Intelligence and Security in Canada given (in French) by the University of Ottawa in 2008-09. The Capstone seminars expose graduate students to strategic issues and are jointly designed and taught by a member of faculty and a practitioner. The seminar covered by this report results from close collaboration between the university and Canada’s security and intelligence community. Edited by the seminar supervisors, its contents was developed by the participating students and does not represent formal positions on the part of the organisations involved. The report is not an analytical document; its aim is to support future discussion.

Published August 2009

Final report of the Canada 2020 project team. This report was prepared as part of the Capstone seminar (API 6799: Politique identitaire, renseignement et sécurité au Canada) [Identity politics, intelligence, and security in Canada], the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa.

Canada in 2020 / Project team

Fadwa Benmbarek, Kristin Blais, Isabella Kavafian, Jonathan Leblanc, Sophia Muller, Graham Myres and Christina Nguyen.

Under the supervision of:

Paul Robinson
Professor University of Ottawa

Jean-Louis Tiernan
Sr. Coordinator, Academic Outreach
Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Table of Contents


Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, governments and individuals are more aware of the need to understand the context and the issues surrounding terrorist threats and risks to national and international security. Under these circumstances, it is increasingly important to understand the motivations of people and of groups who participate in activities that may have repercussions on national security. Today governments and academics are examining a wide range of social, economic, political and military factors in order to better understand their real or possible role in the emergence of new threats.

Furthermore, academics and members of the intelligence community want to improve their understanding of the source of new threats to national security and are increasingly interested in analyzing the kinds of socio-economic environments which are likely to foster the emergence of these threats. With this goal in mind, the Canada 2020 project was born. The project has two parallel objectives. The scenarios proposed first aim to respond to a need to understand the consequences of identity politics which stem from and shape Canada’s multicultural society and, second, to avoid “strategic surprises” like September 11, 2001. Intelligence services and analysts in particular are fully aware of the consequences of intelligence failures in this regard. It is thus critical to examine more deeply the effects of identity politics in order to predict the development of the terrorist threat and other risks to national security. It is moreover essential to understand how socio-economic changes and the assessment of the political environment may influence these threats and how these changes may lead to new, possibly violent, expressions of political identity in Canada and abroad.


The Canada 2020 project paints a picture of what Canada in 2020 might look like using four novel, plausible scenarios.

The scenarios were developed first and foremost to act as a starting point for an analysis of possible threats to national security and to initiate a discussion on the effects of identity politics in each situation.

By adopting this approach, the team wanted to test its hypotheses concerning identity politics and to provide an analytical framework for identity politics, while taking into consideration a range of new threats to national security in Canada.

Definitions and Methodology

Identity politics

The notion of “identity” is both clear and complicated. Few concepts play such a fundamental role in a person’s life as the understanding of individual identity. However, when we examine social “identity” in a broad sense, it becomes a social, national or ethnic phenomenon, and the debate naturally becomes more complex, as observed moreover by James Fearon: “Our present idea of ‘identity’ is a fairly recent social construct, and a rather complicated one at that. Even though everyone knows how to use the word properly in everyday discourse, it proves quite difficult to give a short and adequate summary statement that captures the range of its present meanings.” (Fearon, James D., What is Identity (As We Now Use the Word)?, Stanford University, 1999, page 2).

The Canada 2020 project emphasizes the relevance of identity politics to security. Under these circumstances, the team decided to make full use of scenarios by including them, as much as possible, in a debate on the importance of identity politics for national security. The team decided to formulate a “general” definition of identity politics in order to link the various aspects of the concept of identity used in the scenarios. It agreed on the following definition, which brings together various perspectives on what is semantically understood by identity politics:

“Identity politics: Examination of identity politics locally, nationally and internationally with particular attention to the importance of the politization of citizens and of collectivities based on either racial, ethnic, religious, or ideological criteria, or national characteristics and an apparent community of interests within the group.”

Concept of security

The concept of security may be defined in several ways. Security may be considered in the traditional sense of the term, that is, protecting populations, States, or other interests against threats. The threats can be based on things other than a military view of things. The general view emphasizes aspects such as “the safety of people”, “food safety”, and “economic security”, that is, threats linked to social and economic regulations affecting the quality of life, which the society must manage.

For the purposes of the report, the team decided not to use a general view of security. The team chose to use a more traditional, black and white definition. In the team’s opinion, a more traditional definition can provide clearer indicators. This definition may therefore be more useful when evaluating scenarios described in this report.

While many acknowledge that certain ideas and aspects of “security” and of “threats” have evolved over time – and will undoubtedly continue to do so – the team felt that it would be useful to adopt a contemporary vocabulary of threats to Canada’s national security, so that the scenarios are more understandable and useful. It also thought that the analysis of future scenarios, based on contemporary ideas of security, could provide a basis for discussion in order to respond to the following question: “Will today’s threats to Canada be the same as those in the future?”

The project uses a current security analysis method, which defines security as a phenomenon linked to a variety of traditional threats. To better adapt the process of developing the scenarios to the Canadian context, the team used the reference tools of this method, specifically section 2 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, as a starting point to define “threats to the security of Canada”.

Certain other aspects were included for the sake of completeness. The security risk evaluation criteria of this analysis method will be applied to each scenario used in the Canada 2020 project. A comparison of the risk evaluation of the four scenarios is included at the end in the conclusion.

Security risk evaluation criteria

  1. Canada’s national defence and territorial integrity. Other threats to peace, order, and good governance in Canada, including managing violence and civil
  2. disturbance (which the government can reasonably expect to be able to control).
  3. Foreign-influenced activities which are detrimental to Canadian interests and which undermine the legitimacy of democratic Canadian institutions.
  4. Terrorist activities against Canada, Canadians, and Canadian interests.
  5. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their use against Canada, its citizens, its interests, or its allies.
  6. Espionage and subversion in Canada and Canada’s ability to protect its interests.
  7. Economic competitiveness and the threats to the well-being of Canadians.
  8. Other threats to peace, order, and good governance in Canada, including managing violence and civil disturbance (which the government can reasonably expect to be able to control).

It should be pointed out that the scenarios used in this project were selected in order to maximize the relevance of security in this exercise. A series of possible scenarios were examined, but only those from which we could draw useful conclusions in terms of national security were retained. Consequently, the scenarios described in this report intentionally emphasize particularly negative hypotheses.


The Canada 2020 project team mainly used the “development of scenarios by quadrant” method, which enables us to obtain diverse results. The four most conclusive scenarios, which revealed the most interesting relationships between the axes, the driving forces, and the themes were chosen for the purposes of the Canada 2020 project.

Throughout the discussions on the driving forces, the themes, and the axes in the scenario development process, the team used numerous methods currently used in intelligence analysis. The initial questioning and the development of scenarios relied on analysis techniques, such as competing alternative hypotheses, background analysis, and milestone analysis to check whether the flow of ideas, the hypotheses, and the conclusions were correct and reasonable, particularly from the reader’s point of view.

To obtain a more solid basis of analysis, the team also used counter-analysis techniques (Devil’s advocate, Red Team, and Team A/Team B). The basic elements of each scenario were defined by the entire team and then refined by working groups. Once all the scenarios were completed, they were subjected to counter analysis by various team members. The objective of this counter analysis was to challenge the hypotheses and conclusions of each scenario and check whether the conclusions of each were realistic, plausible, and reasonable.

Themes and Driving Forces of Identity Politics and Security

As mentioned in the preceding part, the Canada 2020 project team developed the four scenarios based first on a list of themes and driving forces. Preparing such a list of issues and such a series of questions on Canada’s future based on our understanding of identity politics was the first step in developing the scenarios. This list, which had to be the most general possible, was divided into three major categories (international, national, and regional) that might have important consequences on Canada’s security policy and identity politics. This list of issues and problems concerning, among other things, the economy, social factors, education, and demography helped to establish a certain number of driving forces specific to each of the scenarios. In order to be concise and to focus on major elements in the discussions on the scenarios, the team decided to group the numerous driving forces into six themes which will be at the heart of identity politics and national security in Canada by 2020.

The six themes are as follows:

  • Demography
  • Technology
  • Resources
  • Ideological systems
  • New economies
  • Globalization

Some of these themes may seem simple, while others more complex. The team however decided not to define them individually, but to use the general understanding of each of them to develop the axes and constants of each of the four scenarios. The theme of “demography” may be understood as, but not limited to, demographic, ethnic, national distribution etc. It may also include immigration and its importance, immigration policies, etc.

Development of Scenarios:
Themes, Axes, and Quadrants

The choice of driving forces and themes had to respect the parameters established in the definition of identity politics and those of the security analysis method, but it also had to play a key role when defining the axes and quadrants. Furthermore, as previously explained, the team selected scenarios which allowed us to describe and study security issues in which identity politics also played a leading, albeit a more “explicit”, role. In short, the team used the six themes to select the axes likely to be interesting in the context of its scenarios.

These axes are as follows:

  • Participation and confidence in Canadian institutions (“PC”)
  • Innovative (particularly technological and economic) capacity (“IC”)
  • Participation and confidence in international institutions (“PI”)
  • Disparities between various affinity groups and various communities (“DP”)

Using the following four quadrants, the team selected the four most promising scenarios for the purposes of studying the issues surrounding national security and identity politics. Each of the scenarios was named after a work of literature with which it shared elements in common.


Scenario 1

A four quadrant graph showing a decrease in participation and confidence in Canadian institutions

Scenario 2
Lord of the Flies

A four quadrant graph showing a slight disparity between various affinity groups and various communities

Scenario 3
Canada Shrugged

A four quadrant graph showing an increase in innovative (particularly technological and economic) capacity

Scenario 4
Brave New World

A four quadrant graph showing an Slight disparity between various affinity groups and various communities

Scenario 1: L’étranger


Scenario 1

A four quadrant graph showing a decrease in innovative (particularly technological and economic) capacity

A decrease in participation and confidence in Canadian institutions (“PC”).

A decrease in innovative (particularly technological and economic) capacity (“CI”).


L’Étranger [The stranger] symbolizes decreased participation and confidence in Canadian institutions because of Canadians’ lack of innovative spirit to counter the current political and economic crisis. This situation will divide the society and open the door to the emergence of organized crime. We have chosen L’Étranger as the title, as this scenario reminds us of Albert Camus’ novel in which people become strangers to one another.


In response to the economic crisis raging since fall 2008, Washington has strengthened the stimulus plan for the US economy. Protectionist policies such as those adopted in early 2009 to help the steel industry have been expanded to most products and services. As these US policies have helped to revive the economy of the United States, a number of countries have adopted similar policies. Thanks to the numerous protectionist economic recovery measures implemented around the world, the global economic situation has gradually improved. The European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have isolated themselves. Shortly thereafter, new regional economic unions, notably Eastern Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, and South America, emerge. Most of these unions have been formed with one of the emerging nations of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) which, since the crisis, have played a growing role internationally because of their ability to innovate.

On the other hand, the situation has been altogether different in Canada. As the United States is economically independent, it did not deem it necessary to conclude regional alliances. However, as the Canadian economy largely relies on exports to and trade with the United States, it is suffering from protectionist policies that have helped to stabilize the crisis globally and to restore the confidence of a number of investors, while plunging Canada into a downward spiral. Canada’s lack of innovative capacity has limited the number of economic recovery projects, which has thus further plunged Canada into turmoil and further isolated it. Despite some very minor stimulus measures adopted too late, the Canadian government has not succeeded in dealing with the situation and continues to amass huge debts. The crisis and the government’s debt are affecting an ever-increasing portion of the population: Canadians can no longer maintain their spendthrift lifestyle. The government has had no other alternative but to reduce expenses and services which Canadians have so far taken for granted. In 2013, the government is forced to provide fewer very poor quality services. As participation and confidence in government institutions were already low, these events have deepened the pessimism regarding the government, pessimism which has now reached an unprecedented level.

The persistent economic crisis in Canada, the closing of the trade border with the United States, the loss of any competitive advantage, and the lack of innovation on the international market have forced a number of companies to close their doors and to throw thousands of Canadians out of work. Numerous Canadians who have specialized skills and are highly educated have thus emigrated to regions of the world with more prosperous economies. Not only is Canada unable to stop the brain drain, but also it can no longer attract immigrants as it did in the past. Those immigrants who are educated and who could enrich Canadian society no longer want to come here to work. Those who have remained are generally immigrants who still have not obtained Canadian citizenship which would enable them to migrate, as well as native, less educated Canadians.

As of 2012, Canadians are turning towards traditional networks, towards a model of society in which personal contacts within affinity groups take precedence over everything else. As people turn increasingly towards their family, their friends, and members of their religious and cultural communities, the Canadian society is more and more divided. Employment opportunities are rare. An individual now finds employment and obtains most services which were previously provided by various levels of government through “contacts”. Given that native, highly qualified Canadians have mostly emigrated to the more prosperous countries of the Persian Gulf and Asia, only less qualified Canadians and highly qualified immigrants with much sought-after skills remain for the most part. As a result, professional associations no longer impose obstacles to the recognition of the experience and education of immigrants. Some of these associations have even been dissolved. The rare positions remaining are now held by these immigrants. This situation deeply shocks native Canadians, particularly those of British and French origin. The hostility between ethnic groups is increasingly palpable and the fight to obtain these specialized jobs is intensifying.

In 2014, a computer technician in London attacks an Asian engineer who obtained a contract at his expense. The words “Jobs to Canadians” were scrawled on the victim’s body. Proudly claiming responsibility, the criminal posts video images of his crime on a Web site. This hate crime leads to increased tensions and violence between groups of Identity Politics and Security ( Future Scenarios Canada in 2020 ) Canada in 2020 recent immigrants and European-descended Canadians. Segregation between these groups is now almost complete, which helps to strengthen links within groups for the purposes of obtaining services.

In 2015, these segregationist movements lead to the emergence of criminal groups, which are organized according to ethnic or national group, and which offer services previously provided by the State. Modus operandi of these groups resembles that of Hamas or of the Hizballah. They provide social services only to members of their social, cultural, ethnic or religious group. They are involved in apparently charitable causes, but they remain illegitimate State sub-players.

In 2017, these groups control key elements of Canadian society. Hospitals are in the hands of the Southeast Asian mafia and provide care only to individuals of Asian origin. The Middle Eastern and Latin American mafia have become the masters of Alberta’s natural resources by acquiring significant financial shares on the market. In exchange for millions of dollars, they offer the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to reduce the production and distribution of Canadian petroleum, so that the price of petroleum will increase. There is no longer any loyalty to Canada, only to the common interests of affinity groups. Some of these groups are trying to get elected to parliament, but in vain. The population is disillusioned, and nobody believes that the government will intervene to remedy the situation.

Meanwhile, the population is still seeking scapegoats to hold responsible for economical problems and growing unemployment. Canada’s young people harbour increasing resentment towards baby boomers and seniors who “wasted” natural resources and drove the country into debt. Given that pension funds are no longer what they were, baby boomers who should normally retire refuse to abandon their stable jobs, resulting in young, unemployed Canadians. Tensions between the two groups are on the rise. Two criminal groups, the Young WASPs and the FrancoJeunes, join forces to deceive seniors, the sick, and baby boomers, and convince them to go and live in distant retirement communities. These communities are isolated and have no access to any services. The two criminal groups are trying to rid themselves of people whom they consider to be a burden on the society and whom they accuse of hindering Canada’s development. Corruption among criminal groups and the ghettoization of communities based on ethnic origin and age have not improved the situation. Canada is caught up in a vicious circle which is plunging it even more deeply into the crisis. The situation is increasingly affecting Canada’s relations with the international community. In 2018, emerging countries of the BRIC have started to question Canada’s role in several international cooperation organizations. In 2019, China and Brazil have become allies to expel the country from the G8 and have succeeded in doing so. Canada is currently Identity Politics and Security ( Future Scenarios Canada in 2020 10 ) Canada in 2020 a member of the G20+ only. It no longer has any influence within major international organizations, and government representatives generally no longer have any legitimacy in the eyes of foreign leaders, which only exacerbates Canada’s economic and social problems.

A decrease in innovative capacity and in confidence in Canadian institutions have stripped Canada of any legitimacy, in the eyes of its population and the rest of the world.

Security risk evaluation - Scenario 1

The events described in this scenario have important consequences for Canada’s national security. Foreign-influenced activities at the expense of Canada’s interests have weakened the legitimacy of institutions and of Canada’s government apparatus. Specifically, the fact that criminal groups’ control of Canadian petroleum resources is for sale to member countries of OPEC represents a good example of the threat to Canada’s national security. Several examples of the threat to the economic well-being and competitiveness of Canada are also illustrated in this scenario, including control over natural resources, US protectionism, and the growing influence of the BRIC countries, among others. Finally, the threat to law and order, social peace, and good governance is clearly revealed in this scenario. The fragmentation of the society, the eruption of violence between affinity groups (age, religion, ethnic group, nationality etc.) and criminal groups’ control over key sectors of the Canadian economy and society pose a serious threat to Canada’s national security.

Scenario 2: The Lord of the Flies


Scenario 2
Lord of the Flies

A four quadrant graph showing a decrease in participation and confidence in international institutions (“PI”) and a slight disparity between various affinity groups and various communities (“DP”).

A decrease in participation and confidence in international institutions (“PI”).

Slight disparity between various affinity groups and various communities (“DP”).


This scenario, like the novel Lord of the Flies by W. Golding (1956), illustrates how reduced participation in international institutions and a decline in economic disparity and power incite States to assert themselves and to defend their own interests more aggressively in the political, economic, and social arenas.


The number, usefulness, raison d’être, and effectiveness of international institutions have gradually declined. We are experiencing a return to political realism. The States are promoting the national interest in a world where international order and regulations are lacking. The failure of the United Nations (UN), which has been unable to rise to enormous challenges, such as peacekeeping missions and the protection of the environment, has helped to erode the credibility of the international system as a whole. International treaties, including the old Kyoto Protocol, have been replaced by regional, bilateral agreements and other agreements of convenience.

Recent surveys show that even Canadians, who have always generally supported multilateralism, now believe that their interests and values are better served and protected by national or regional measures. Countries have decreased their involvement within the UN, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. They are working more at concluding alliances and at negotiating bilateral and regional agreements.

Since their first summit in 2009, the Heads of State of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, commonly known as the BRIC countries, have strengthened their economic, political, and military ties and have created a political circle that rivals the G8. Thanks to their impressive economic growth, which is mostly sustained by the continued higher prices of raw materials, the BRIC countries, where 40% of the world’s population now lives, have radically reduced the gap between the rich and the poor, between the doers and the followers. They are no longer developing countries, but real economic powers with average incomes. They are asserting themselves not only in the economic arena, but also in the geopolitical arena.

Populations on the move

The 2019 world census has shown negative emigration rates in BRIC countries. The economic rise of these four countries has reversed the traditional trends of migration flow: people no longer migrate from the south to the north or from the east to the west. The trends have been reversed. For emigrants and citizens, the prospects are now brighter in emerging rather than Western countries. Canada has thus recorded a dramatic decline in immigration and even negative immigration rates in the case of China and India. The Canadian government is actively looking for new ways to attract immigrants and to ease admissibility criteria regarding language, skills, level of education, and criminal history. However, the addition of this new category of immigrants is expensive from a social and financial point of view.

To offset the shortage of qualified labour because the most promising citizens have left for greener pastures, industries in major urban centres have lured workers from rural regions, which are today seriously threatened. The result has been significant imbalances in the distribution of resources, and the public authorities have closed hospitals and schools in these regions. The population, which has suffered the effects of these policies, has mobilized by periodically staging strikes and by setting up roadblocks which have tied up traffic and created serious tensions with the urban population.

The regions rich in resources, in particular Alberta and the Arctic, have been powerful magnets for workers. Canada has become a political economy and a society based for the most on the development of natural resources. All the public policies proposed by Ottawa have focused on natural resources, the main source of wealth, of growth, and of the country’s international prestige.

Nationalism and identity in a strong State

The growth of BRIC countries outside the multilateral system has incited citizens to turn away from internationalism and move towards nationalism. The States have exploited this trend and become very active proponents of national identity based on religious, cultural, or linguistic group. This rise in nationalism in a context where foreign interference is no longer tolerated has led to the bloody repression of anyone who opposes the strengthening of national identity. For example, the Roma and the Kurds, who refuse to assimilate into the host communities, have been exterminated. The Government of Canada has also been involved in serious nationalist initiatives. In 2009, it has launched the campaign “Canadians first” to foster a feeling of national pride and solidarity. The campaign has been successful, except in Quebec, which considers its situation precarious. Consequently, there is a rise in nationalist ambitions and feelings. An increasing number of Quebeckers now think that only sovereignty will enable them to adequately defend their interests. A referendum will be held shortly, and Ottawa is distributing funds and launching programs in Quebec in a frantic effort to appease the population.

The effect of the diaspora has diminished, and people are seeking a sense of identity based on historical, religious, ethnic, and linguistic links. The rebirth of the sense of identity has opened the door to the overt display of ethnic and religious differences in the form of Islamic banks, separate religious laws in secular States, and renewed political extremism. The State is nevertheless very active in all social areas, particularly in those areas where foreign interference is minimal. Protectionism and intrusive measures are rising, even in most countries which have the economy, immigration, and technology under control.

Canada’s Arctic: Speed is of essence

The vulnerability of Canada’s Arctic, which has been clearly shown since the collapse of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), has forced Canada to strengthen its defence relations with the United States. Following Russia’s refusal to recognize Canada’s territorial claims under the Convention, which has led to latter’s demise, the Canadian Shield program of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) has taken effect in 2013. This program ensures the territorial integrity of Canada’s Arctic by establishing an integrated land, sea, air, and space defence system. The program obviously relies heavily on the United States in terms of finance and equipment. The costs of this security system are high. Not only must Canada share the Arctic’s resources with its US neighbour, but also it must bring into line most of its defence policies with those of the United States.

Russian ships make regular forays into Canadian territory, and Moscow is now offering Russian citizenship to inhabitants of the contested territories, notably to members of the Aboriginal communities who live in the Arctic Islands. The problem is delicate, as the presence in this region of Aboriginal peoples, whom Canada considers its citizens, is one of the cornerstones of the argument concerning the recognition of Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic Islands. Each side is fighting for their loyalty, and Canada is waging a fierce struggle using recognition agreements, social programs, and, above all, settlements.

A New Cold War

The weakening of international institutions has led to the expansion of regional networks. The Arab League, the BRIC, the EU, the ASEAN, the African Union, and the bloc consisting of the three countries of North America have now become the designated spokespersons on the international scene. Naturally, it has been difficult to reach a consensus on how to solve “global problems” in a system where each State defends only its own interests.

At the end of the “BRIC 2020” summit, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and China issued a statement in which they called for a renewed commitment to the unconditional respect for territorial and national sovereignty. This stance is evidently aimed at the controversial reinforcement of the US military presence in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The United States has negotiated military agreements with several governments and has established military bases in Azerbaijan and Georgia to protect the Baku-Tbilisi-Chechnya oil pipeline. The presence of US troops in their “backyard” irritates in particular Russia and China and compromises their influence in these regions. Finally, the launch of drones over Chinese and Russian territories from these bases has increased tensions.

In 2020, China is the largest donor country to Africa, overtaking even the World Bank. This fact has considerably undermined the West’s influence over the continent. China buys resources and raw materials and finances infrastructure, without regard for how the various regimes in power use the money received. This is how al-Bashir’s government succeeded in Darfur. Authoritarian regimes have been benefiting from Russia’s and China’s struggle to acquire a market share of the lucrative weapons industry. As the prices are low and natural resources are exchanged for weapons, the proliferation of weapons has increased on an unprecedented scale in unstable regions and among terrorist and organized crime groups.

Not only are the weapons less and less expensive, but they are also increasingly sophisticated. The US Department of Defence has invested heavily in the manufacture of military robots, and its drones regularly patrol the air space around its military bases abroad and in Canada’s Arctic. These unmanned vehicles are used in the air, on land, and even under water. These technological advances are now an essential component of an effective system to monitor Canada’s territory in the Arctic.

The media is warning of a new Cold War between the West and the BRIC countries following Iran’s recent nuclear tests in the Kavir Desert and in light of the massive proliferation of weapons around the world. Thus, in 2020, clearly, the world, which was once comprehensible and lawful, has been turned upside down.

Security risk evaluation - Scenario 2

The scenario of the Lord of the Flies predicts a heightened threat to national defence and territorial integrity because of terrorism and the use of weapons of mass destruction against Canada, its interests, and its allies, as well as espionage and subversion against Canada, its capacity to protect and defend its interests, its economic competitiveness, and the well-being of Canadians.

The threat to territorial integrity and national defence has primarily increased because of the vulnerability of the Canadian Arctic and the hostile gestures of neighbouring countries. During World War II, the Arctic was a strategic crossing point for submarines. The opening of the Northwest Passage and, particularly, the development of natural resources herald a new strategic interest in the region.

None of the scenario’s driving forces suggests any change concerning the risks of terrorist attacks against Canada, its citizens, and its interests. With the tightening of borders and the strengthened role of the State, the government should be able to implement counterterrorist measures and to counter the plans of terrorist cells that are planning attacks in Canada. We have not included here the terrorist acts committed in the course of armed conflicts, which would instead be the subject of a military analysis.

The heightened terrorist threat and the increased use of weapons of mass destruction against Canada and its interests or its allies have important consequences and stem from several factors: i) the proliferation of weapons has increased on an unprecedented scale, and a number of authoritarian regimes and criminal groups are profiting from this situation; ii) the harmonization of Canadian and US foreign policies makes Canada vulnerable to the threat posed by enemies of the United States; and iii) a World War III scenario is taking shape following Iran’s nuclear tests and the grouping of countries into geopolitical blocs.

Also, secrets, and hence sensitive and classified information, are even more important in periods of heightened geopolitical tensions. Thus, in a scenario which foresees World War III, the threat of espionage and subversion undoubtedly increase. According to certain scenarios, the acceptance of immigrants whom the country cannot “integrate” or who do not want to integrate increases the vulnerability of Canada and its institutions. The BRIC countries are the dominant economies and are depriving Western economies of labour, clients, market shares, and financing possibilities. These countries are now dictating economic and financial relations. Furthermore, Canada, which has vast natural resources, sees its economy focusing on these sectors and abandoning innovation and future growth sectors. Education, industry, immigration, and integration policies will have a strong impact on labour and its quality. The competitiveness of the country will largely depend on these policies.

In certain areas, given the development of driving forces in the Lord of the Flies scenario, the risk diminishes. As countries isolate themselves and promote strong nationalist feelings, the State is playing a larger role and is firmly running the country. In this context, the vulnerability of Canada and its democratic institutions in the face of foreign-influenced activities is declining, as is the threat to peace, public order, and good governance.

Scenario 3: Canada Shrugged


Scenario 3
Canada Shrugged

A four quadrant graph showing a decrease in participation and confidence in Canadian institutions (“PC”) and an increase in innovative (particularly technological and economic) capacity (“IC”).

A decrease in participation and confidence in Canadian institutions (“PC”).

An increase in innovative (particularly technological and economic) capacity (“IC”).


In the “Canada Shrugged” scenario , the society’s participation in Canadian institutions is low and innovative capacity is strong, which leads to the emergence of radical individualism and the abandonment by the State of its social and economic responsibilities. Canada in 2020 resembles the society described by Ayn Rand in her novel Atlas Shrugged. The society is increasingly individualistic and based on libertarian values. Each person is responsible for himself or herself only and does not care about his or her fellow citizens.


In 2020, Canada is considered a prosperous country. Thanks to its structural adjustment policies adopted following the 2009 recession, which was triggered by the contraction of bank credit, the country has succeeded in maintaining a growth rate of 4% gross domestic product (GDP).

Economic recovery programs sponsored by the federal government have been very successful, but relatively costly. Concerned about stimulating economic growth, the State has relinquished some of its exclusive control over a certain number of key sectors of the country’s social and economic life. The globalization of the economy is more or less complete and widespread.

Technological innovation is no longer a new economic sector; technology now defines the economy. Canada in 2020 is dominated by technology; it is a revolution of the “nerds”. Technology-based products and services drive the economy. They are omnipresent and unavoidable. In fact, the only sectors of the Canadian economy which directly affect the lives of Canadians are those entirely based on information technology: the banking system, communications, leisure activities, applications and systems of information retrieval and management, multimedia publishing, and applications of information security systems. The Canadian economy is now no longer heavily dependent on the mining sector and on the prices of raw materials like petroleum and timber on the international markets. The emergence of the “society’s technologies as a whole” has resulted in a significant and irreversible decline in the economic predominance and importance of natural resources as a key economic sector. This situation has a certain number of advantages. It is easier to implement new long-term measures, such as those concerning climate change. Canada has become a leader in the field of green technology, and the “green market” is controlled by a cartel inspired by OPEC. The redirection of the Canadian economy has led to the sale of raw materials (petroleum, mining products, and timber) to local individuals, who continue to develop them even if these sectors no longer dominate the entire economy.

In the context of this economic and technological revolution, education has become indispensable for all those people who want to survive and progress. The federal government now acknowledges that young foreigners are much more educated than young Canadians and are starting to increase immigration levels to deal with the problem. Moreover, education, which was previously under the exclusive jurisdiction of provincial governments, depends increasingly on the private sector which has been accorded the same legal and socio-economic status. The phenomenon is easily explained by the fact that the offer of educational institutions correlates closely with the large numbers of skilled workers in the information technology field, which now dominates the Canadian economy. The University of Toronto exemplifies this phenomenon. It has abandoned its social sciences programs and offers only business and computer programs. The institution cannot meet the demand, and the waiting lists are long, even though tuition fees are increasing by 15% each year.

The decentralization of numerous services previously provided by the government, like health care and social services, is under way across the country. Many of these services are being provided by the technology industry, which is primarily part of the private sector. Surgery is performed long distance thanks to high-resolution cameras and remote sensing equipment, pharmacology, radiology, biology, and gene therapies. These technological advances, particularly in the health field, are so important that they have replaced outdated methods, including hospitalization, and are rapidly rendering medical textbooks obsolete. Canadians have adapted to these new technologies and now have numerous expectations with respect to these advanced technologies. On the other hand, they are very cynical about the government and see the State as a group of institutions which does not play an important role in the economy, even less in their daily, private life, and which does not care about local issues. In short, they no longer expect the federal government to help them create a national identity, and, further, they no longer want this assistance.

The recruitment and retention of federal public servants is a daunting challenge for the government, even if even fewer employees are needed to manage the public service (given the reduced role of the State in society). A “race to the bottom” is occurring. This phenomenon is aimed at the public service and is accelerating the decreasing importance of the federal government in the population’s eyes. For example, a group of loosely knit young academics in Canada has created a virtual organization called the “Ayn Rand Resistance Front”. This group has launched a cyber attack which has completely paralyzed the federal government’s communications system. The group, which is protesting the federal government’s desire to strengthen economic regulations, paralyzed the government network until the authorities agree to withdraw their regulatory proposals.

For a few years, immigration has been encouraged for strategic and competitive reasons. The federal government, which is increasingly willing to actively encourage permanent residents to pursue post-secondary studies, has mobilized its political clout to impose a universal recognition of foreign degrees and eliminate the old exclusive rights of most professional associations and accreditation agencies. This government strategy aims in part to counter the immediate and growing competition from other countries that are trying to attract the same group of highly skilled immigrants.

The unemployment rate has never been so low in Canada’s entire history and has continued to decline, after having reached its peak in 2011 following the worldwide recession. This decrease in the unemployment rate has however not happened by chance. It has resulted instead from an easing of barriers to labour liberalization to meet labour market needs. The Government of Canada, soon followed by all provincial and territorial governments, decide that it is more important to introduce social support and salary protection programs and various other market intervention programs than to cope with increasingly larger budget deficits in an environment where the economy does not seem to react to the State’s lack of involvement.

Although the number of new immigrants has grown every year (more than 400 000 a year), major socio-economic disparities between immigrant communities exist. The economy is doing well, and the growth rate is by far greater than that of Western Europe; however, the strategy to find highly skilled immigrants has had unexpected consequences on social cohesion. Gaps between the urban and rural regions are more and more glaring, and the past rivalry between provinces has now been transformed into a competition between the large urban centres. New immigrants continue to settle mostly in major urban centres. More than 70% of Torontonians and more than 65% of Vancouverites were born abroad. “Native Canadians”, most of whom are now less educated than the immigrants, are increasingly marginalized. Furthermore, as highly skilled immigrants are preferred, a growing number of immigrants “without status” are being refused permanent residence because they are less educated.They are nevertheless allowed in general to remain in Canada for 10 years and obtain a work visa which enables them to find employment in basic sectors, which are always needed, even in an advanced technology-based society. This situation is helping to divide immigrant communities. While an increasing number of highly skilled immigrants come from such countries as India and China, less skilled workers (who can live in Canada for years without ever obtaining Canadian citizenship) come mainly from Latin America, the Philippines, and Africa. This situation is a new phenomenon for Canada, where such cultural divisions have never existed previously.

The Aboriginal peoples and the few immigrants “without status” are settling less and less in the cities, where the level of education has attained unprecedented levels and hence allows permanent residents, particularly those in the three major urban cities, namely, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, to obtain high salaries.

The fact that the Canadian State has decided not to intervene in the economy has fostered the emergence of strong individualistic values that now characterize the Canadian political scene and social relations. Thanks to this socio-political context, technology dominates the economy, and Canada has because the de facto leader of States which are “medium-sized economic powers”. This lack of involvement on the part of the State has been accompanied by a weakening of its legitimate role as an arbitrator of most problems faced by Canadians. The federal government, previously the defender of human rights, multiculturalism, minority rights, and the rule of law, is henceforth considered a caricature of itself. It sometimes makes statements which lead one to believe that it has retained all its influence. A new cultural standard in Canada, radical individualism, exacerbated by a very strong sense of belonging to a cultural community and to a country of origin, has meant that the federal government is less and less able to intervene in intercommunity conflicts and in social and economical areas as a whole. Furthermore, it does not wish to do so any way. This situation has moreover sparked extremist incidents: incidents of political violence between Canadians of Indian origin and of Pakistani origin have resulted in tens of deaths each year. There are riots and targeted assassinations, albeit infrequently. Similar incidents have also been noted between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities in Toronto neighbourhoods.

In 2020, in an environment where Canada is very active in the technologies sector and has shown a significant capacity for economic innovation, but where the State is increasingly passive and marginalized, the national political rhetoric has evolved. Politics is increasingly local rather than national. Canadians are more interested in their immediate environment, which negatively affects family life, relations with friends and professionals, business relations, as well as nationalist projects or ideologies. The national participation rate in elections is decreasing before one’s very eyes. This rate has been less than 50% since 2015. Social networking sites are the preferred method to engage in politics. In some federal ridings, the candidate is elected by acclamation, while hundreds of candidates run for mayor in Toronto and Vancouver. Local politics has therefore become the main platform for political debate.

“National interests” are poorly defined, and the federal government believes that it no longer has the power and support necessary to oppose the proposals of international organizations which are beginning to fill the leadership gap left by Canadian political leaders. Canada is also deemed less reliable by its traditional allies (the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and NATO countries) and is increasingly the scene of numerous foreign activities. The federal government initially hesitated before linking security requirements to the increase in immigration levels fearing that such a measure might have a negative impact on its economic growth objectives. Also, in terms of foreign policy (and national security policy), it has started to distance itself from its traditional position regarding the interests of countries which have become the most important sources of new immigrants. When the public service is unsuccessful in hiring and retaining the best applicants, and the Canadian Forces can no longer recruit soldiers for the regular army and the reserve, Canada’s ability to exercise its power and to contribute to NATO and UN missions is seriously weakened. Some also question the Canadian army’s ability to dissuade foreign powers from violating Canada’s territorial waters on the West and East coasts and in the Arctic, given its limited resources and the relative weakness of the government.

The declining importance of national identity combined with the growing weakness of the Canadian government has resulted in a certain number of doubts about national security. New permanent residents, who are less strongly attached to Canadian government institutions, continue to be actively interested in political issues which affect more directly their country of origin. Political tensions and endemic crises which have been the source of numerous conflicts are worming their way increasingly into the local politics of major urban centres. All the information indicates that the transfers of funds to the countries of origin of immigrants is on the rise and that a growing percentage of these funds are used to support political movements, including some terrorist organizations. In 2017, the Government of Canada has struck off from its list of banned groups most of the terrorist groups originating in source countries.

The security of information and of Canadian communications networks is also an enormous challenge. Private-sector companies have of course developed impressive security measures, but Canada’s status as a technological leader has made it a prime target for Chinese, Indian, and Russian economic espionage. The federal government is increasingly dealing with private-sector companies which have developed security measures for information systems in order to protect themselves from cyber attacks carried out by highly skilled young Canadians who see the government as a target and by foreign intelligence services who believe that it is in their interests to weaken the Canadian government.

In 2020, Canada is no longer playing its traditional role. Canadians are contributing to this indifference to the nation, the system of government, and traditional cultures, which are more and more marginalized and foreign to a very individualistic and independent society in which the population and the economy are “strong and free”, unlike the federal government.

Security risk evaluation - Scenario 3

In the “Canada Shrugged” scenario, three types of threats could worsen: foreign-influenced activities, espionage (particularly economic and industrial espionage), subversion, and other threats to public order in general. These threats may spring notably from the higher immigration levels, combined with the government’s limited ability to integrate foreigners and to promote civic responsibility and loyalty to the country.

The scenario also enables us to conclude that Canada’s economic competitiveness could improve, given its population’s high level of innovation and education and the overall economic growth. The risk associated with threats to Canada’s national defence and territorial integrity remains about the same, and the threat of proliferation stable. The terrorist threat is less clear. The scenario clearly demonstrates that the definition of terrorism might change and that national security policy changes might affect how the government in power might perceive or explain the terrorist threat or the financing of terrorism.

Scenario 4: Brave New World


Scenario 4
Brave New World

A four quadrant graph showing an increase in participation and confidence in international institutions (“PI”) and a slight disparity between various affinity groups and various communities (-DP-).

An increase in participation and confidence in international institutions (“PI”).

Slight disparity between various affinity groups and various communities (“DP”).


In 2020, Canada is on the brink of a “Brave New World”, somewhat mirroring Aldous Huxley’s vision. The pressures exerted by international actors continue to transform the country’s sovereignty, economy, and society. In this “Brave New World”, the power gaps have diminished, while the influence of Brazil, Russia, India, and China within international bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the United Nations has increased.


Following a change in regimes, non-State transnational networks and actors wield more and more influence in the world, so much so that non-governmental actors are waging a fierce battle to be admitted to the United Nations General Assembly. The year 2016 is a turning point: the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has obtained a seat on the United Nations General Assembly. Convinced that the General Assembly will soon award more seats to non-governmental actors, organizations of the diaspora, like the Chinese National Group and the Dar al-Islam Organization, are exerting intense pressure so that they are recognized by the UN.

The admission of non-governmental actors constitutes a growing problem for multicultural States, like Canada, as it is impossible to predict what influence the organizations of the diaspora will have on electors or the extent to which their governance could encroach on traditional areas of the State’s sovereignty.

The changes in Canada from 2009 to 2020 have focussed on four key themes: food safety and immigration, racial tensions, the creation of a State police, and the loss of sovereignty over natural resources.

Food safety and immigration

The food shortage which hit the world from 2010 to 2012 was the first in a series of factors to transform Canada, including the unusual dryness of the summers, pollution, and urban sprawl. Major grain producers such as China, India, and Egypt have recorded a catastrophic decline in their production. To meet first domestic demand and second international demand, several countries have adopted protectionist agricultural policies. In 2012, the world food crisis has led to the creation of the “Coalition for the Hungry”, a powerful network of developing countries, notably Iraq, Pakistan, and Somalia. The group has appealed to rich grain producer countries asking them to provide assistance and to accept a greater number of immigrants. The “Coalition for the Hungry” is also supported by India and China, which enables it to pressure Canada to accept more than 400 000 immigrants from Southeast Asia and Central Asia. Despite its own economic problems because of the ongoing economic recession, Canada has been forced to give in to international pressures.

Racial riots

The massive influx of immigrants from Pakistan, India, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia has been very badly received by Canadians. Already hit hard by the ongoing economic recession, they have begun to express their hostility towards immigrants and to voice their discontent. Their feelings towards new arrivals have found an echo within ethnic communities. Visible minorities do not conceal their discontent and feel that they have been deceived by the false promises of multiculturalism and the alleged tolerance of Canadians. They reject their Canadian identity in favour of their heritage and encourage new immigrants to melt into the various ethnic groups in Greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Since the advent of global communications networks, Canada has been informed of ethno-cultural tensions that exist elsewhere in the world. When Pakistan collapses in 2016 and the United States, plunged into an economic crisis, cannot intervene, India drafts an economic rescue plan for Pakistan aimed at imposing its authority over the country and the entire region. The plan advocates a greater integration of the Indian and Pakistani economies and the appointment of pro-Indian politicians to senior positions within the Pakistani government administration. In Canada, a number of Pakistani citizens opposed to the rescue plan have been aggressive towards Indians. Fundamentalist feelings have flared up, opening the door to terrorist organizations and the recruitment of new members.

The events in Pakistan have had immediate consequences in Canada. Major riots have erupted in “Little Toronto”, these ethno-cultural neighbours in Toronto where the Indian and Pakistani communities live near one another. In 2020, 20 000 unemployed Pakistani young people in the area are at serious risk of becoming members of street gangs and even of becoming involved with terrorist organizations.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police

In 2017, ethnic tensions and the high unemployment rate have forced the Government of Canada to launch a major recruitment campaign to increase the number of police. The “Force Expansion Initiative” of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has not only helped to increase the numbers of this police force, but has also become an important source of federal jobs in the eastern region of the country and in the Atlantic provinces. In 2020, the Department of Public Safety employs 25 000 Canadians and is the second most important federal department. The objective of the increased number of RCMP members has been to reassure foreign investors about the reliability and security of investments in Canada. Increased expenditures associated with recruitment, training, and financing of the police force has forced the federal government to trim several public programs, particularly the delivery of social services.

Sovereignty over natural resources

To combat the ongoing economic recession, the Government of Canada has adopted a series of measures to promote foreign investment. It has tried to maintain control over the management of its natural resources in the interests of national security, but the effects of the recession and the drop in petroleum prices have forced it to relinquish a good portion of the development rights for Alberta’s tar sands and natural gas reserves to the Chinese National Petroleum Company. In 2020, Canada still controls its reserves of drinking water; however, a Brazilian company has recently acquired the bottling rights for water from the MacKenzie River Delta.

In 2020, China’s presence within the G9 has eroded the power and influence of Canada which is still a member of this elite group because it supports China’s natural resource development interests in Alberta and in northern Canada. It should also be pointed out that the interests of Russia, of China, and of the United States tally very little with those of Canada, of France, and of Japan who are campaigning for a sustainable environment industry.

Unofficial international networks

Unofficial transnational and international networks dominate the life of Canadians. The diversity of its population gives Canada an advantage, as it has the possibility of participating in very innovative activities thanks to promising research and transnational networking. This advantage in the area of innovation and research is however not perceived as a national or Canadian contribution to the sciences, arts and technology, but instead as a collective contribution to members of a global society. International cooperation furthermore enables researchers to circumvent archaic measures and the laws which prohibit any advancement in specific research fields. A case in point is Montreal which has welcomed in 2015 the International Centre for Embryonic Cell Research thanks to more liberal and less restrictive measures adopted by Canada and to the cosmopolitan nature of the city, which has become the epicentre of a number of unofficial networks.

During the transition, illegal networks have increased and become very powerful. To reinvigorate the fight against illegal activities, INTERPOL has appealed to members of the international elite, which include a number of private security companies. Obviously, in 2020, greater globalization necessitates an adequate response and solution to criminal activities. This is why the security forces have gradually become part of INTERPOL. Canada has already benefited from the merger of its security forces with INTERPOL. It has in fact dismantled money-laundering cells controlled by the “Militants for the Freedom of Pakistan” in “Little Toronto”.

In 2020, Canada both benefits and suffers from globalization, as few power disparities exist. On the one side, very well organized networks have allowed Canada to take advantage of its multicultural population. Canadians have also been able to join key trade, research and development networks. On the other hand, the role of the Canadian State is at this point so diminished that the government is perceived, at the very most, as a “purveyor” of security. It no longer controls its most strategic natural resources. Thanks to globalization, Canadians have access to a multitude of networks and can define themselves according to their ethnicity, their religion, and their interests. It is however difficult to determine how these global identities will continue to transform the “Canadian identity”. Canada is on the brink of a “Brave New World”. If it wants to survive as a State, it will have to learn to govern itself as a nation.

Security risk evaluation - Scenario 4

In our opinion, politics and identity issues will play a major role in the political development of Canada and in the definition of its interests with respect to its foreign policy. Given the development of security threats, identity politics will play an active and extremely changeable role. In 2020, the State’s role will change to such a degree that it will have to re-assess its influence over areas traditionally considered as falling within the public domain, like immigration, social cohesion, regional and national economic development, and education, as well as its role in the direction and organization of the national economy. This challenge to the State’s power will affect the social and economic context and identity issues. In the event that the State is not a key player and cannot influence international policy, it must re-establish its importance by promoting civic education or overseeing the Canadian identity. Should the State play a very active role, it will have to consider the importance of promoting an individual identity directly linked to the State’s cohesion. Generally, the State must be more aware of the role that it must or may play in a world which can change for better or worse.

Overall Security Risk Evaluation

In the case of espionage and foreign interference, the covert activities of foreign governments, notably military and economic espionage, could pose a greater risk to Canada’s national security. According to the scenarios, the risk varies depending on the geopolitical interests of the country, the role of the State, and the State’s participation or lack of participation in multilateral organizations. These multilateral organizations represent excellent platforms to negotiate and to resolve conflicts, and the retreat of these organizations, according to these scenarios, might mean that the State is focusing on more individualistic and self-seeking objectives, leading to a big comeback of realpolitik. This threat will severely test Canadian institutions, as well as national and international social cohesion.

Regarding the terrorist threat, defined as “the use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, religious, or ideological objective ....” , the analysis reveals that its nature and seriousness vary according to the development of driving forces used for the purposes of the analysis. Certain scenarios predict a heightened terrorist threat should a government adopt a foreign policy in line with that of the United States and should it be unable to interest the population in the political process or to incorporate it into the economy. The population’s indifference diminishes the credibility and effectiveness of the government and fosters the creation of links with other groups described as anti-conformist, hostile, or even anti-government. Terrorist organizations associated with international networks may therefore take root in Canada, and the country may become the centre of homegrown terrorism as in the case of Western Europe. It would therefore be in the State’s interest to further assimilate the populations and immigrants likely to suffer during periods of economic difficulties.

The two scenarios on Canada’s foreign policy show an increased risk to the national defence and territorial integrity of the country. Canada’s inability to defend the Arctic and the alignment of its foreign policy with that of the United States in order to overcome this weakness have an important impact on Canada’s geopolitical positioning. The participation of Canada and of other States in international institutions and the respect of international conventions also influence significantly the seriousness of the threat to territorial integrity. The Westphalian principle of the inviolability of the sovereignty of States is called into question on a global scale. The government’s policy on the Arctic also raises the thorny issue of relations between the State and Aboriginal communities. These communities, which have Canadian citizenship, represent one of the cornerstones of Canada’s sovereignty over the Arctic Islands.

Furthermore, the scenarios show an increased threat associated with criminality, particularly transnational criminal activities. This rise stems in part from the State’s policies on the economy, intelligence, and security, and in turn affects these policies. The governments’ inability to lessen the effects of the 2008 economic crisis has had several consequences. The people have chosen a parallel economy and have helped it to thrive; public networks have replaced the State in the delivery of services; and organized crime has branched out into new sectors of activity. Not only have the State’s fiscal revenues and consequently its ability to ensure the public’s welfare diminished significantly, but also its credibility and legitimacy have been undermined. Only the “Canada Shrugged” scenario paints a positive picture of Canada’s economic situation. It describes a government that has managed to ensure the country’s economic development by embarking on the path of innovation and by relying on its capacity to innovate.

Analytical framework of security threats - Summary of the four scenarios

This table provides a summary of the four scenarios of the Analytical framework of security threats

Scenario 1

Scenario 2
Lord of the Flies
Scenario 3
Canada Shrugged
Scenario 4
Brave New World
1. Canada's national defence and territorial integrity No change Increase No change No change / possible increase
2. Foreign-influenced activities which are detrimental to Canadian interests and which undermine the legitimacy of democratic Canadian institutions Increase Decrease Increase Increase
3. Terrorist activities against Canada, Canadians, and Canadian interests No change Increase No change / possible increase No change
4. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their use against Canada, its citizens, its interests, or its allies No change Increase No change Decrease
5. Espionage and subversion in Canada and Canada’s ability to protect its interests No change Increase Increase No change
6. Economic competitiveness and the threats to the well-being of Canadians Increase Increase Slight decrease Increase
7. Other threats to peace, order, and good governance in Canada, including managing violence and civil disturbance (which the government can reasonably expect to be able to control) Increase Decrease Increase Increase


In 2020, Canada both benefits and suffers from globalization, as few power disparities exist. On the one side, very well organized networks have allowed Canada to take advantage of its multicultural population. Canadians have also been able to join key trade, research and development networks. On the other hand, the role of the Canadian State is at this point so diminished that the government is perceived, at the very most, as a “purveyor” of security. It no longer controls its most strategic natural resources. Thanks to globalization, Canadians have access to a multitude of networks and can define themselves according to their ethnicity, their religion, and their interests. It is however difficult to determine how these global identities will continue to transform the “Canadian identity”. Canada is on the brink of a “Brave New World”. If it wants to survive as a State, it will have to learn to govern itself as a nation.

In our opinion, politics and identity issues will play a major role in the political development of Canada and in the definition of its interests with respect to its foreign policy. Given the development of security threats, identity politics will play an active and extremely changeable role. In 2020, the State’s role will change to such a degree that it will have to re-assess its influence over areas traditionally considered as falling within the public domain, like immigration, social cohesion, regional and national economic development, and education, as well as its role in the direction and organization of the national economy. This challenge to the State’s power will affect the social and economic context and identity issues. In the event that the State is not a key player and cannot influence international policy, it must re-establish its importance by promoting civic education or overseeing the Canadian identity. Should the State play a very active role, it will have to consider the importance of promoting an individual identity directly linked to the State’s cohesion.

Generally, the State must be more aware of the role that it must or may play in a world which can change for better or worse.

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