UBC Theses and Dissertations
An analysis of the Canadian functional principle Okagaki, Tomoko
The thesis examines the origin and the nature of Canada's functional principle by tracing its development in the critical years of the gradual achievement of Canada's diplomatic independence and by analysing its special features in comparison with the general theory of functionalism. The functional principle suggests that a country should be given responsibilities in accordance with its capabilities and will to make contributions to a certain sphere of international politics. The functional principle has been perceived as a reflection of an idealist-internationalist aspect of Canada's external behaviour which was borrowed from David Mitrany's theory of functionalism, with which it is often confused. This thesis argues that the Canadian functional principle emerged as a result of the special position in which Canada was placed in the evolving international system and that it must be distinguished from Mitrany's functionalism. The first part of the thesis deals with the history of the development of Canada's functional idea. Reflecting the increasing complexity of Canada's external relations since Confederation in 1867, and an increasing sense of identity, Canada began to demand a greater role in the decision-making of the British Empire through numerous Imperial conferences. While Canada's functional idea which was being formed in the1920s and the 1930s asserted a country's right to be given a responsible role in the sphere where it is "concerned," the gradual increase in Canada's national power in the 1940s developed the original idea into one based on "capability" as the major qualification for a country to be entitled a special role. Here, Canada's functional idea was developed into a principle, justifying Canada's right to contribute to international politics as a raiddlepower. The second part compares Canada's functional idea with Mitrany's theory of functionalism. In the course of analysis it will become clear that the Canadian functional principle is based on quite a different outlook on international relations from Mitrany's. Canada was not interested exclusively in the technical sphere as Mitrany was. Moreover, Canada regarded the state-system as a fact of international life, whereas Mitrany aimed at world government as a final goal. The thesis presents a different interpretation of one of the cornerstones of Canadian foreign policy. It yields insight into a continuing theme of Canadian foreign policy, in which a balance is sought between the pursuit of national interest and the furthering of international cooperation. It also has implications for a pattern of behaviour of other states in today's world. Canada has presented one model of diplomacy which achieved relative compatibility of often conflicting domestic and external elements of international relations.
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