The images of royal statues being torn down across Canada have been seen across the world, with many wondering what such actions mean for the future of CANZUK. But although a grand display, it does nothing to hinder a movement that has such a bright future ahead.
CANZUK International has long advocated for closer diplomatic ties between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, achieving this feat through enhanced mobility, trade and foreign policy agreements between the four nations.
As an organization, we have long remained independent of commenting on each country’s domestic affairs. The CANZUK countries are thriving democracies with the right to independently deal with ongoing political and social challenges as they see fit. That is their constitutional privilege as strong and free nations, and something we value adamantly as an organization that believes in sovereignty and independence.
However, on the morning of July 2nd, we were met with countless emails and social media tags from the public prophesizing “the end of CANZUK”. The reason for such conjecture? Protests on Canada Day (July 1st) – a day to celebrate Canada’s founding – led to the destruction of royal statues across multiple Canadian cities. Monuments falling victim to the vandalism were Queen Victoria and Canada’s current Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.
Although we remain an organization that is committed to a laissez-faire approach on domestic political issues, we could not let such conjecture go unchallenged.
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Many across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom viewed images and videos of Canada Day in disbelief, watching the scenes across cities unfold. The tearing down of monuments to past and present Heads of State was, to them, a great disrespect to our countries’ leaders and histories. Consequentially, the calls for CANZUK to become “ANZUK” were many. If Canada had become so ashamed of its culture and heritage, why would it ever seek a geo-political alliance with three other nations who share similar characteristics?
Our response is simple: the actions of a very small minority do not replace the overwhelming support of CANZUK by the majority of Canadians.
Canada has always been a strong, proud nation, and its place in CANZUK is just as secure today as it ever was. Polling across the Great White North has consistently demonstrated favorability of the other CANZUK countries, with many Canadians feeling a strong familial sentiment towards Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and research demonstrating significant support for CANZUK free movement.
Time and time again, Canadian MPs have also endorsed Canada’s place within a CANZUK alliance, emphasizing the benefits that free movement and trade between these four countries will bring for Canadian citizens.
Furthermore, the UK and Canada will soon commence negotiations for a comprehensive trade agreement which will see provisions implemented for the freer movement of people and trade, and the Canadian government has long led the charge to condemn anti-human rights actions by foreign adversaries along with Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
It is therefore not hard to see how Canada has consistently proven its place within a CANZUK alliance. Indeed, the actions of July 1st by a small contingent of radical protesters were unimaginable, but where material monuments are destroyed, the immaterial bonds that unite Canada with Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are unbreakable.
The vandalism that shocked the world on July 1st – and left Canada’s place in CANZUK as questionable to some – was inspired by dark moments in history regarding the nation’s indigenous peoples. Of course, we cannot change the darkness of history, but we can pursue a brighter future for all in CANZUK. Whether providing greater work and travel opportunities for citizens, or uniting four independent nations to promote freedom, human rights and the rule of law across the world, CANZUK will be a global inspiration to the international community and a national source of pride for the Canadian public.
Whatever your opinions of the events that occurred on Canada Day, CANZUK will continue to grow in scope and prevalence, and Canada will continue to contribute to, and benefit from, its opportunities in the years ahead.
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