Canada: Diplomatic Relations

The Secretary of State Was Asked – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th July 2017.

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Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole 12:00 am, 11th July 2017

What recent assessment he has made of the strength of the UK's diplomatic relations with Canada.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

Our bilateral relationship is strong because it is a deep bond of friendship that is rooted in our shared histories and common values. We look forward to strengthening those ties over the coming years and have agreed to hold regular strategic talks to maximise the full potential of this important bilateral relationship.

Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole

I thank the Minister for that response. Canadian investment is hugely important in my constituency and across the UK. As we move forward with leaving the European Union and seeking a free trade deal with Canada, our relationship will be more important—specifically our relationships with the provincial governments. Do we have a network in place across Canada to ensure that we are making the best of those relationships?

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

On the House’s behalf, may I express our sympathy to all those in British Columbia who have been affected by the damaging wildfires? Our consulates-general in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver work with provincial governments to increase bilateral trade and investment, particularly in the infrastructure sector. We are working across all levels of the Canadian Government to ensure that British companies can take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Canada-EU comprehensive economic and trade agreement.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

I have strong family relationships in Canada. Is the Minister not aware that senior diplomats in Canada are absolutely aghast at how this Government are handling our withdrawal from Europe and its impact on world trade? They believe that this swashbuckling sector of Ministers are not the right people—[Interruption.] Well, I have to say that positive energy and gumption will not give us a good deal in Europe. We need people who have an eye for detail; this Foreign Secretary has no idea about detail.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

I simply do not recognise the analysis that the hon. Gentleman offers the House on any matter that he just mentioned. Our opportunities for future trade with Canada will be enormous once we have left the European Union.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

Yes, I agree emphatically with my hon. Friend. We offer our congratulations to Canada on the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation, and we are pleased that Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were able to join the celebrations in Ottawa to mark the occasion. On a practical basis, the Foreign Secretary met Foreign Minister Freeland last week and agreed to hold regular strategic talks to ensure that we can maximise the full potential of this important and close bilateral relationship way beyond the expectations of Mr Sheerman.