Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Political Science Canadian

Canada Must Think for Itself

10 theses for our country's survival & success in the 21st century

by (author) Irvin Studin

The Institute for 21st Century Questions
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Canadian, General, General, Economic Conditions
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Analyzing the momentous shifts in international relations and domestic politics during the Covid-19 pandemic, leading policy expert and strategist Irvin Studin offers a road map for Canada’s survival and success in a post-pandemic world.

Studin underscores the impact of Canada’s failure to think for itself as a nation prior to and throughout the pandemic. He also argues that Canadians have been all too willing to operate in the world as prescribed by first British, and now American, thinkers. To emerge as a fully independent and sovereign nation, Studin says Canada must set its own terms of engagement in a precarious post-pandemic world. It must act on the global stage as a nation of independent thought and purpose.

Studin also addresses contemporary Canada’s policy challenges, including public health, education, demographics, economics, social stability, foreign policy and national unity. He highlights the country’s urgent need to define its own interests in the face of conflict and escalating rivalry among the world’s three great economic and military powers. At a time when new thinking is obviously needed, he offers a clear, innovative vision for the Canadian future.

Studin sees Canada emerging from the multiple pandemic period challenges with the potential to be an equal to the great powers at its borders, with the North at the centre of the action.

About the author

Irvin Studin is MPP program director and assistant professor in the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto. In 2012, he was visiting senior fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. He is co-founder of Ukraine’s Higher School of Public Administration (in Kiev). He worked for a number of years in the Privy Council Office in Ottawa, as well as in the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra. Studin lectures around the world in a number of languages and has written for publications ranging from the Financial Times to the Globe and Mail, Le Devoir and the Straits Times. He is also editor-in-chief and publisher of Global Brief magazine.

Irvin Studin's profile page

Editorial Reviews

No one in Canada has given such sustained and focused reflection to the state and future of the country in the past two decades as Irvin Studin — and certainly not with the same level of ingenuity, sophistication and patriotic ambition. In this impressive work, Studin makes multiple key observations, and provides strategic and policy recommendations to elevate Canada to what it can and must be — a more self-aware nation that thinks for itself, with deep seriousness and strategic acumen. Devoid of platitudes or sermons, this historic book makes a powerful case for where Canada is, where it ought to be to reach its full potential, and what it must do to get there. Brilliant in thought and masterfully penned, it is a manifesto and a clarion call to the nation to think and take decisive action — to exit the current national stupor in order to ensure the success and longevity of this vast country. It is a must-read for anyone who cares about Canada, the Canadian condition, and our collective future, at home and abroad.

Former Chef de Cabinet to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (2013–2021)

A strategic tour de force! In this remarkable book, Irvin Studin analyzes Canada’s darkest modern hour and paints a picture of national optimism and ambition — to survive and succeed in a wicked post-pandemic world, with Canada, through its North, at its very centre.

Former Premier, Northwest Territories

Irvin Studin is the brightest and most intuitive policy thinker of his generation in Canada, and possibly of several generations in this country. From foreign and security policy to the Arctic and the North, demographics, federalism, languages, law, identity, sport and, most recently, the national and global education catastrophe caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Studin has been at the forefront of many major national and international policy areas and debates over the last decade and a half. And he has been, critically, a key initiator of practical solutions, on the ground, to a number of the wicked policy challenges of our time. He covers all of this and more in his ever-timely book on the state and future of Canada, post-pandemic, in what is the most important book thus far on our country in the 21st century.

Associate Professor of Economics, Schulich School of Business, York University

Irvin Studin skillfully takes us out of our comfort zone, which is necessary for the pursuit of any national ambition. His comprehensive book is not for those who want to be confirmed in their convictions and beliefs. Instead, it is an essential read at a time when Canada must think out of the box, and according to our very specific national realities and challenges in geography, society, culture, institutions, economy and geopolitics. Whereas Canada started off as a unique political project, Studin now gives us top-shelf thinking and material so that we can reinvent and re-energize our political project for the tough century ahead.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada

Thinking for ourselves will require the recognition that we have let the U.S. and other major countries dictate how we see ourselves. In too many cases, foreign stories become our stories. Meanwhile, actual Canadian experiences are marginalized or told through a non-Canadian lens and on the terms of other countries, eroding trust in the merit of our own ideas. Irvin Studin’s book provides a blueprint not only for why we should perform a course correction, but for how we can get our national confidence back in the process.

Journalist, former CBC anchor

Other titles by