|Erin O'Toole has issued a statement supporting CANZUK free movement (photo: Liam Richards/CP)|
Written by James SkinnerIn a statement issued by Erin O'Toole's leadership campaign website entitled "Restoring Canada's Place In The World", the Conservative leadership hopeful stated as one of his key campaign objectives to:
STRENGTHEN OUR RELATIONSHIPS with the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, key traditional allies, Commonwealth members and partners, by:
- Providing citizens of these countries with the same exemption from the Electronic Travel Authorization that we do for U.S. citizens;
- Seizing uncertainty arising from Brexit to launch free trade talks with the United Kingdom. With their exit from the European Union, they are free to sign new free trade deals. Canada should be aggressively pursuing free trade with our closest partner after the US, the United Kingdom. We risk being left behind as other countries move ahead with free trade deals; and
- Taking a lead role in promoting a Canada-UK-Australia-New Zealand trade and security pact, which could include reciprocal freedom to live, work, and invest in these four like-minded countries with historic ties and common interests. It would also include an enhanced defence partnership and intelligence cooperation. This is the natural evolution of our relationship with our Commonwealth and Five Eyes partners.
Erin O'Toole also made a personal statement about the CANZUK initiative, stating the shared language, historical ties and deep relationships between the four Commonwealth countries as reasons for his commitment to CANZUK:
As Prime Minister, I will actively pursue a Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand trade and security pact, including freedom to live, work, and invest in these countries. With a common language and deep historical ties, a stronger relationship with these Commonwealth partners is a no brainer. Help make this policy a reality by joining my campaign to lead the Conservative Party. As leader of the Conservative Party, I will not close Canada to the world. I will promote free trade with countries that share our values and vision of the world.
CANZUK International has reached out to Erin O'Toole, and will be looking to discuss policy cooperation with his campaign team in the coming days to ensure that CANZUK free movement becomes a high priority issue within the Conservative Leadership Race.
Erin O'Toole joins a long list of MPs and diplomats who have pledged their support for greater visa liberalisation and free movement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, including former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, New Zealand party leader, David Seymour, and Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer.
This is also the first time a Canadian Conservative politician has actively endorsed freedom of movement between the CANZUK countries, making free movement a vote-gaining issue in the leadership race.