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Garbage Dispute with the Philippines Ends

The Philippines lifted its bans on travel to Canada and interacting with Canadian officials. It had imposed the bans after Canada missed a 15 May deadline to remove 69 shipping containers filled with garbage. The containers were mislabelled as recycling and had been sitting in Philippine ports for up to six years. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had threatened to declare war on Canada if the garbage was not taken back.

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Canada and the World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization that regulates global trade. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Canada is one of its 164 members. The country plays a central role in the WTO and was also a key member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that preceded it. In addition to helping craft the WTO’s dispute resolution systems, Canada is among those countries most directly involved in its trade dispute cases.

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Canadian-American Relations

Canada and the United States have one of the world's unique relationships: two sovereign states, occupying the bulk of North America and sharing the world's longest undefended border, each reliant on the other for trade, continental security and prosperity.

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Huawei CFO Arrested in Vancouver

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies and the daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport at the request of American law enforcement authorities. Suspected of violating US trade sanctions against Iran, Meng faced extradition to the United States. The Chinese embassy in Ottawa, however, denied Meng had broken any laws and demanded her immediate release. She was released on C$10 million bail on 11 December and confined to one of her two Vancouver homes. Her arrest sparked a diplomatic crisis between China and Canada that saw China detain at least 13 Canadians in retaliation.

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Canada Temporarily Closes Embassy in Venezuela

Canada announced the closure of its embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. Canada had been supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido’s claim to the presidency after Nicolas Maduro’s re-election in May 2018 was condemned as illegitimate. Canadian diplomats were told their visas would not be renewed after expiring at the end of the month. “Therefore,” Foerign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “we are left with no choice but to temporarily suspend our operations at the Embassy of Canada to Venezuela, effective immediately.” On 9 June, Venezuela temporarily closed its consulates in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. It’s embassy in Ottawa remained open.

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Canada Agrees to Join Trade Accord with US and Mexico

After more than a year of negotiations with the United States and Mexico, Canada reached a last-minute agreement to sign a new NAFTA deal. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will retain the Chapter 19 dispute resolution clause but will also allow greater access to Canada’s dairy market. The USMCA was set to be signed at the end of November 2018 and then sent to the three national legislative bodies for ratification.

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Canadian Foreign Relations

Through its history, Canada has taken a series of increasingly bold steps to develop from a British colony into an independent nation. Both the world wars were turning points, with Canada's military sacrifices giving it the strength and confidence to demand its own voice on the world stage. In the postwar era, Canada has maintained its role in both Western and global alliances. However, relations with the United States – because of its singular importance to Canadian security and trade – have dominated Canada's foreign policy since Confederation.

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Sovereignty

Sovereignty is an abstract legal concept. It also has political, social and economic implications. In strictly legal terms, sovereignty describes the power of a state to govern itself and its subjects. In this sense, sovereignty is the highest source of the law. With Confederation and the passage of the British North America Act, 1867, Canada’s Parliament was still legally under the authority of the British Parliament. By 1949, Canada had become fully sovereign in relation to Great Britain. This was due to landmark legislation such as the Statute of Westminster (1931). The Constitution Act, 1982 swept away Britain’s leftover authority. Questions of sovereignty have also been raised by Indigenous peoples in Canada and by separatists in Quebec. The latter, for a time, championed the concept of sovereignty-association.

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Former Finance Minister and Diplomat Michael Wilson Dies at Age 81

A former Progressive Conservative MP for Etobicoke Centre, Wilson served in Parliament for more than ten years. He was finance minister and minister of international trade under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Wilson was Canada’s ambassador to the United States from 2006 to 2009 and served as chancellor of the University of Toronto from 2012 to 2018.

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Pacific Rim Trade Deal Takes Effect

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) came into effect after being renegotiated due to the United States’ withdrawal from the deal in 2016. The free trade deal is expected to add $4.2 billion per year to Canada’s GDP and increase Canada’s annual exports to Japan by $1.8 billion. It is expected to be especially beneficial to Canada’s pork, beef and sugar industries, while Canada’s dairy and steel industries have been critical of the pact.

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Commodities in Canada

In commerce, commodities are interchangeable goods or services. Many natural resources in Canada are viewed as commodities. They are a major source of the country’s wealth. Examples of commodities include a barrel of crude oil, an ounce of gold, or a contract to clear snow during the winter. Commodity products often supply the production of other goods or services. Many are widely traded in futures exchanges (see Commodity Trading).

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The Great Depression in Canada

The Great Depression of the early 1930s was a worldwide social and economic shock. Few countries were affected as severely as Canada. Millions of Canadians were left unemployed, hungry and often homeless. The decade became known as the Dirty Thirties due to a crippling drought in the Prairies, as well as Canada’s dependence on raw material and farm exports. Widespread losses of jobs and savings transformed the country. The Depression triggered the birth of social welfare and the rise of populist political movements. It also led the government to take a more activist role in the economy.