Truth to the Powerless: Newly Released Critical Docuseries on Canada’s Foreign Policy

truth to powerless

Truth to the Powerless: An Investigation into Canada’s Foreign Policy is a six-part docuseries which takes a critical look at the role Canada’s foreign policy plays in the international arena.  The docuseries features extensive interviews with academics such as Noam Chomsky, Tyler Shipley, and Justin Podur as well as extensive interviews with politicians such as Canadian defense ministers  Bill Graham, David Pratt, ambassadors like Paul Heinbecker, Jon Allen, Dennis Horak, James Bisset and former military officials like former Canadian General Lewis Mackenzie, former soldiers Scott Taylor, and Ryan Pagnacco, and retired American Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson .

This is the first known documentary series in Canadian history which interviews the Canadian politicians responsible for formulating, advocating, and championing Canada’s foreign policy as well as the academics and activists criticizing and challenging Canada’s foreign policy.  Through interviewing both sides what inevitably occurs throughout the docuseries is a dialogue whereby the status quo of Canada’s foreign policy are discussed and challenged.

The status quo of Canada’s foreign policy has always been, for instance, that Canadian Prime Minister Lester B Pearson was a benevolent figure who opposed the US war in Vietnam,  Canada was a leading champion in opposing apartheid South Africa,  Canada does not support Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories,  NATO, and Canada’s role within it, is purely of a defensive nature,  Canada’s foreign policy interventions in Haiti and Afghanistan were necessary,  Canada didn’t support the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq,  the Canadian arms industry isn’t  supporting the Saudi conflict in Yemen—the speakers within this docuseries discuss and challenge such  status quo issues extensively.

The underlying message of the documentary series is said by Noam Chomsky in the first scene of the docuseries—he looks at the camera and says the people in power already know the truth, we don’t have to explain it to them, it is the powerless that need to know the truth. That statement laid the foundation from the outset for the six part series.  The goal of the documentary series is to speak truth to the powerless. The goal in producing this docuseries really was to educate Canadians who are curious about the nature of Canada’s foreign policy and what their government is doing and has done in the international arena—and whether Canada actually lives up to its purported image as a benevolent actor on the world stage.

The docuseries can be watched for free by visiting

Below are some reviews the docuseries has received:

“A really good new series of documentaries on Canada’s actual foreign policy and not the rubbish of ‘honest broker’, ‘peacekeeper’, ‘middle power’ and other such rubbish”

“It will be controversial but I would like [the docuseries] on the university agenda of our history and political science classes in Canada” 

“Very good docuseries, fantastic voices from Yves Engler, Scott Taylor, Richard Sanders, and even Chomsky’s contributions when myth busting are brilliant.” 

“Excellent eye opener about our reactionary foreign policy in Canada” 

“The wide-ranging critique of Canadian foreign policy in Truth to the Powerless rests on the development of a genuinely internationalist foreign policy commentariat.” 

“Very much eye-opening episodes prepared by a crew of investigate journalists and activists. Worth donating.” 

If you liked the documentary series, please consider donating—you can do so by clicking the donate button on the website. All donations received will go towards costs and expenses associated with hosting this documentary on the site—the more donations received; the longer it is possible to host the docuseries on the website.

Pitasanna Shanmugathas is a graduate of the Master of Global Affairs program at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. While completing his post-graduate education,  Pitasanna decided to embark on a three-year documentary journey starting in 2019 to explore the role of Canada’s foreign policy in the international arena.  Pitasanna has also worked in multiple organizations advocating for peace and disarmament. 

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