Climate Refugees and Canada’s Role as a Middle Power

Climate change is affecting more and more regions across the globe, threatening to create as many as 200 million environmental migrants by 2050. While Canada is seen as a top destination for refugee resettlement and is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, the international agreement doesn’t recognize climate threats as a reason for fleeing. As such, what should Canada’s policy response be to
address the issue of climate refugees? To discuss this question, we were joined by two special guests: Allan Rock and Bob Rae.

Allan Rock is President Emeritus of the University of Ottawa, and a Professor in its Faculty of Law. Amongst other positions, Professor Rock practised in civil, administrative and commercial litigation and was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 1993 and re-elected in 1997 and 2000. He was Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Minister of Health, and Minister of Industry and Infrastructure. Before becoming the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, he was appointed in 2003 as Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York.

Bob Rae was elected eleven times to the House of Commons and the Ontario legislature between 1978 and 2013, was Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995, and served as interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011 to 2013. He currently works as a lawyer, negotiator, mediator, and arbitrator, and is a Fellow of the Forum of Federations. Professor Rae teaches at the University of Toronto in the Faculty of Law, Massey College, Victoria College, and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Special thanks to junior producers Fatemah Ebrahim and Brody Longmuir, senior producer Robert Giannetta, and executive producer Vienna Vendittelli for their work with this episode.

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