Canada’s World Can Get A Lot Bigger: The Group of 20, Global Governance and Security


  • Paul Heinbecker Wilfrid Laurier University



This paper examines the Group of 20 (the G-20)* in the context of international relations, especially the G-20’s impact on global governance and international security, and the G-20’s significance for Canada and the conduct of Canadian foreign policy. It will show that the G-20 embodies the changing way the world interacts and it will argue that the group works and is needed, but that it can work better and become a more important and more effective element of global management. At the same time, the G-20 will not itself be sufficient to govern the world and should not be judged harshly as a consequence. The group can complement but not replace existing international organizations, especially the United Nations, although it can provide impetus to their work and utilize their capacity, becoming, if G-20 members are sufficiently sagacious, a key steering group of the network of organizations, institutions, associations and treaties by which states govern relations amongst themselves. The paper will also argue that if, as is likely, the G-20 endures, it will change the context in which Canada pursues its foreign policy and change, as well, how that policy is conducted, making the institution of prime minister even more paramount in the pursuit of Canadian interests abroad and the protection of Canadian values than it has yet become. More than ever, the prime minister will be the face and voice, indeed the personification, of the government of Canada on the international stage.






Research Papers