Working under the supervision of Matthew Hayday, I am a PhD student at the University of Guelph whose research focuses on nationalism, national identity politics and popular perceptions of foreign policy in post-Confederation Canada. My dissertation will explore how evolving expressions of nationalism impacted both the symbol and substance of Canada’s foreign aid policy in the decades following the Second World War.
Through the study of a broad range of programs, such as the Centennial International Development Commission, I hope to illustrate how the federal government employed foreign aid as a tool in the construction of a national identity that favoured its pre-existing goals. Subsequently I hope to analyze what impact this modus operandi had on Canada’s foreign aid policy. This phase of research will involve looking at foreign aid both as a political entity and as a humanitarian program. I will explore whether or not intertwining foreign aid with national identity made it a more viable public policy initiative or simply increased public scrutiny without producing any tangible benefits for the government. I will also attempt to discern what effect the government’s use of foreign aid as a nationalistic tool had on the type and quality of humanitarian assistance it offered.