On 26 August 2016, Mr. Leland MacLachlan, a graduate student in the University of Saskatchewan’s Dept of Political Studies, successfully defended his MA thesis titled “Democracy Promotion or Self Promotion? Canadian Bilateral Electoral Observation Missions to Ukraine, 2004-14.” An integral part of Canada’s development assistance to Ukraine and part of Canada’s engagement with democratization efforts abroad, Canada has recently undertaken a series of bilateral electoral observation missions to Ukraine. The scale, scope and bilateral character of these missions — unusual by any measure — underscore Canada’s unique and ‘special’ relationship with Ukraine. But given that international standards and norms are to be respected, this also suggests possible difficulties associated with the rationale, objectives, and nature of these missions. Utilizing mission reports, government documents and also relying on expert interviews with observer participants, Mr. MacLachlan examines the rationale, objectives, and nature of Canada’s recent bilateral electoral observation missions to Ukraine, exploring many of these concerns and criticisms.
This thesis was conducted under the supervision of Prof. Bohdan Kordan as part of the PCUH’s Canada-Ukraine Initiative. The purpose of the Initiative is to nurture and encourage a wider understanding of current Canada-Ukraine relations at the governmental and non-governmental level.