Canada retreats from nationhood: Joint embassies with Britain?




 

Having become a nation from sea to sea to sea in 1867, it appears that Stephen Harper and his clique wants to move Canada to become not only a colonial satellite of the United States, but also a colony of Britain.  Canadians took years to be seen to be an independent middle power in the world, and now Harper is proceeding to unravel all that work without any public hearings.  Maybe our Prime Minister wants us to do away with the Maple Leaf and return the Union Jack as Canada's flag too?

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has revealed plans to open a series of joint “Commonwealth embassies” in co-operation with ex-colonial “first cousins” Canada, Australia and New Zealand to enhance the countries’ presence on the world stage and reduce some of the costs associated with running separate diplomatic missions abroad.


But the move may spark questions from critics in this country about whether the ability of Canadian diplomats to act fully independently in certain foreign countries might be curtailed under such an arrangement.


Hague will be in Ottawa on Monday, when he is expected to announce the initiative, along with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.


“As (British Prime Minister David Cameron) said when addressing the Canadian parliament last year: ‘We are two nations, but under one Queen and united by one set of values,’” Hague said in a statement released Sunday.


“We have stood shoulder to shoulder from the great wars of the last century to fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and supporting Arab Spring Nations like Libya and Syria. We are first cousins.


“So it is natural that we look to link up our embassies with Canada’s in places where that suits both countries. It will give us a bigger reach abroad for our businesses and people for less cost.”


A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird confirmed Sunday that Baird and Hague will meet Monday and make a joint announcement in the afternoon on Parliament Hill. But the spokesman said no further details would be disclosed until “after a formal announcement.”


Hague, who led the Conservative opposition in Britain from 1997 to 2001 during the Labour government era of former prime minister Tony Blair, was named U.K. foreign secretary in 2010 after current Prime Minister David Cameron led the Conservatives to a minority victory and formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.


No specific countries have been mentioned for potential joint Commonwealth embassies. But a report in the British newspaper the Daily Mail indicated that, “in remote nations where Canada but not Britain has an embassy, or vice versa, they will share the embassy. Similar arrangements are expected to include Australia and New Zealand.”


Canada does, in some instances, share consular facilities in foreign countries with, for example, Australia. Such arrangements are typically sought out when Canada doesn’t have extensive enough trade or political relations with a distant nation to justify opening its own embassy, but requires a place from which to provide basic consular services for Canadians travelling to that country.


But Hague appears to be spearheading a more formal initiative to help expand Britain’s diplomatic presence around the world and — according to the Daily Mail — counter a perceived expansion of the European Union’s international clout.


For some Canadians, the prospect of closer links with Britain in diplomatic missions around the world might recall a time when — for several decades after Confederation — Canada’s foreign policy remained under British control. Historical accounts of Canada’s emergence as a fully independent nation in the 1920s and 1930s typically highlight the rise of an autonomous Canadian foreign policy and the opening of Canadian diplomatic missions separate from Britain’s.


rboswell@postmedia.com


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