CANZUK International (CI) is the leading group advocating closer ties between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, known amongst diplomats at the United Nations as the ‘CANZUK Group’.
These four countries have shared commercial ties, geopolitical aspirations and a venerable constitutional tradition over centuries.
Amongst CI’s aims is freedom of movement within the CANZUK Group for the citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In addition, it regards loyalty to the same monarch as an essential symbol of a common heritage and the cornerstone of constitutional democracy.
More specifically, it is envisaged that the CANZUK Group would collaborate in the following areas:
– Free Trade
– Foreign Policy
– Constitutional Affairs
The four leading Commonwealth realms could build upon existing economic, diplomatic and institutional ties to forge a cohesive alliance of nation-states with a truly global outlook.
CANZUK International seeks to establish a comprehensive multi-lateral free trade agreement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Customs duties and other barriers to commerce would be removed. Such a union would give its constituent members more collective bargaining power in dealing with large trading partners such as the USA, China, India and the European Union.
Freedom of movement within the CANZUK Group for citizens of the four realms would be an essential ingredient for a successfully open market. As these nations have compatible economic profiles, this form of immigration would be unlikely to lead to distortions in labour markets. Not only would an arrangement of this kind make good economic sense, it would reinforce a feeling of solidarity amongst the four kindred peoples. The Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement between Australia and New Zealand is a working model upon which to build. Although freedom of movement exists for citizens of both countries, there is an exclusion provision for those deemed to be a threat to the national interest. In this way mobility can foster trade and economic growth without jeopardising security.
CANZUK International endeavours to promote greater cooperation amongst the CANZUK Group with respect to foreign policy, defence and intelligence gathering. The ‘Five Eyes’ (FVEY) agreement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America has been highly effective in gathering signals, military and human intelligence. It provides a useful starting point for a more comprehensive diplomatic alliance for the nations of the CANZUK Group, which would compliment the work of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). An association comprising Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom would enjoy a more balanced relationship with the United States. Collectively, these countries could be global rather than merely regional players in the geopolitical arena.
In addition, a coordinated foreign policy for the CANZUK Group would facilitate humanitarian support for the developing Commonwealth realms in the Caribbean and Pacific. Such projects could extend to educational schemes, modelled on Rhodes Scholarships and the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The already significant collaboration in the staffing of police, peacekeeping and election monitoring between the developed and developing realms provides a good starting point for further cooperation. Such assistance would not only befit countries with a common history, it would also enhance geopolitical security for all concerned.
The shared Sovereign would be an essential aspect of any CANZUK Group association. The monarch, who represents a global institution, has played an important role as a symbol of a common heritage and parliamentary tradition. Furthermore, the Crown has been the cornerstone of democratic government and the rule of law over a long history of peaceful constitutional development. It is instructive to note that the English speaking countries which have retained the monarchy have been far more successful in avoiding civil unrest than their republican counterparts.
In concrete terms, the existing dialogue between viceregal representatives and the judiciary of the CANZUK Group should be encouraged. This initiative could build upon meetings that already occur between the Governors-General of the various Commonwealth realms every two years. The joint decision to revise the royal succession laws through the Perth Agreement of 2011 is a good example of effective collaboration in regard to matters of constitutional law.