Canada and U.K. to to share embassies

by | Sep 24, 2012 | News

Canadian and British flags on Remembrance day 2010 in Vancouver. COURTESY: FLICKR COMMONS

By Mamta Lulla

Canadian foreign affairs minister John Baird and British foreign secretary William Hague will sign an agreement today in Ottawa to open joint embassies in the countries where either of the countries don’t have diplomatic presence.

The objective behind this move is to cut cost and improve each country’s diplomatic reach in other nations, according to Hague in a CBC article.

“The decision has a potential to compromise our foreign affairs policy but on the other hand it is an indication of globalization,” Aileen Herman, a globalization professor at Humber College, told Humber News. “Canada has already increased our military budget but we have totally reduced our diplomatic affairs budget.”

Aileen Herman at Humber explains her point of view

The British Foreign Secretary William Hague repeated British Prime Minister David Cameron’s words, “We are two nations, but under one Queen and united by one set of values.”

“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 spokesperson at the British embassy told Humber News on behalf of Hague.

Herman said linking the two countries based on a common Queen is an outdated way to think of the relationship, considering Canada and the U.K. are globally interdependent.

“I think it has a lot to do with the fact that this government is cutting severely on diplomacy,” said NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar according to a CBC article. “And its priorities on diplomacy and multilateral institutions has waned.”

According to the same article, Canada and Australia share services at 26 locations around the world. That has saved ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’, Gar Pardy, a former head of Canadian consular services told CBC.

The agreement will be signed at 4 p.m. today, when the exact locations of the embassies will be disclosed.