Activist Tamara Lorincz demonstrating her views about Canadian foreign policy on stage with Ambassador Bob Rae. Image: Dimitri Lascaris/via blog post.
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Activists protest during Bob Rae’s speech at U of O

On Jan. 23, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSIPA) at the University of Ottawa celebrated its 15th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the University hosted a talk by Bob Rae, the Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations. The Honourable Bob Rae’s speech was entitled “Walking the Talk: The Pragmatic Pursuit of Principle.”  

The talk was interrupted by several peace activists who, while bringing attention to different international policy issues, condemned the ambassador for calling Canada’s foreign policy “principled.” 

The activists who disrupted the speech included Tamara Lorincz, Yves Engler, and Dimitri Lascaris. 

Lorincz is a PhD candidate in Global Governance at the Balsillie School for International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University, who was awarded the Rotary International World Peace Fellowship and is currently on the international board of Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space. She condemned Canada for its lacking diplomatic engagement with regard to ending Russia’s war in Ukraine.  During her interruption she called for Bob Rae to use his mediation skills and diplomatic position to augment Canada’s role in ending the war. 

Yves Engler is a Canadian author and activist whose most recent book, entitled Stand on Guard for Whom, was the first to explore Canadian military history from the perspectives of its victims. Engler exposed Canada’s voting patterns at the UN during Ambassador Rae’s tenure. Engler accused Rae of voting against the resolution condemning neo-Nazism, the resolution of the prohibition of nuclear weapons, and the resolution more just economic global order. 

The third interruption of Bob Rae’s speech was declared by Dimitri Lascaris, a Canadian lawyer, journalist and activist who reprimanded Canada’s support of Israel, a state whose human rights violations of Palestinian people are well documented.  

In a blog post, Lascaris explained that these interruptions do not “… constitute an exhaustive list of Canada’s radical departures from “principled” foreign policy. It takes a special kind of mendacity to pursue the policies of the Canadian government and then claim with a straight face to be “principled” in international affairs.”

Rae’s talk provided many insights into foreign policy issues, Canada’s role at the UN, and the agendas of peace activists in Canada. The full talk can be found on the GSIPA website. 


  • Sydney Grenier is a second-year student studying Conflict Studies and Human Rights at the University of Ottawa. She is a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights and environmental protection. Sydney's experience includes volunteering for various organizations relating to human rights protection such as Results Canada and Amnesty International. When she is not brainstorming new stories and solutions you can catch her consuming ridiculous amounts of coffee, hiking or singing to herself.