Foreign relations of Canada
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The foreign relations of Canada are Canada's relations with other governments and peoples. Britain was the chief foreign contact before World War II. Since then Canada's most important relationship, being the largest trading relationship in the world, is with the United States. However, Canadian governments have traditionally maintained active relations with other nations, mostly through multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie, the Organization of American States, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The British North American colonies which today constitute modern Canada had no control over their foreign affairs until the achievement of responsible government in the late 1840s. Up to that time, wars, negotiations and treaties were carried out by the British government to settle disputes concerning the colonies over fishing and boundaries and to promote trade. Notable examples from the colonial period include the Nootka Convention, the War of 1812, the Rush–Bagot Treaty, the Treaty of 1818, the Webster–Ashburton Treaty, and the Oregon Treaty. Before the granting of responsible government, British diplomats handled foreign affairs and had the goal of achieving British goals, especially peace with the United States; domestic Canadian interests were secondary. The Canadian–American Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 signalled an important change in relations between Britain and its North American colonies. In this treaty, the Canadas were allowed to impose tariff duties more favourable to a foreign country (the U.S.) than to Britain, a precedent that was extended by new tariffs in 1859, 1879 and 1887, despite angry demands on the part of British industrialists that these tariffs be disallowed by London.
Dominion of Canada: 1867
Soon after Confederation, the first prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald appointed Sir John Rose as his lobbyist in London. When Alexander Mackenzie became prime minister, he sent George Brown to represent Canada in Washington during British-American trade talks. After the Conservative Party came back to power in 1878, the government sent Alexander Galt to London, as well as to France and Spain. Although the British government was concerned about this nascent Canadian diplomacy, it finally consented to giving Galt the formal title of High Commissioner in 1880. A trade commissioner was appointed to Australia in 1894. As High Commissioner, Charles Tupper helped negotiate an agreement with France in 1893 but it was countersigned by the British ambassador as the Queen's official representative to France. Meanwhile, in 1882 the province of Quebec made its first of many forays into the international community by sending a representative, Hector Fabre to Paris in 1882.
Canada's responses to international events elsewhere were limited at this time. During 1878 tensions between Britain and Russia, for example, Canada constructed a few limited defences but did little else. By the time of the British campaign in Sudan of 1884–85, however, Canada was expected to contribute troops. Since Ottawa was reluctant to become involved, the Governor General of Canada privately raised 386 voyageurs at Britain's expense to help British forces on the Nile river. By 1885, many Canadians offered to volunteer as part of a potential Canadian force, however the government declined to act. This stood in sharp contrast to Australia (New South Wales), which raised and paid for its own troops.
The first Canadian commercial representative abroad was John Short Larke. Larke became Canada's first trade commissioner following a successful trade delegation to Australia led by Canada's first Minister of Trade and Commerce, Mackenzie Bowell.
The Alaska boundary dispute, simmering since the US purchased Alaska from Russia of 1867, became critical when gold was discovered in the Canadian Yukon during the late 1890s. Alaska controlled all the possible ports of entry. Canada argued its boundary included the port of Skagway, held by the U.S.. The dispute went to arbitration in 1903, but the British delegate sided with the Americans, angering Canadians who felt the British had betrayed Canadian interests to curry favour with the U.S.
In 1909, Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier reluctantly established a Department of External Affairs and the positions of Secretary and Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, largely at the urging of the Governor-General Earl Grey and James Bryce, the British ambassador in Washington, who estimated that three-quarters of his embassy's time was devoted to Canadian-American matters.
Laurier signed a reciprocity treaty with the U.S. that would lower tariffs in both directions. Conservatives under Robert Borden denounced it, saying it would integrate Canada's economy into that of the U.S. and loosen ties with Britain. The Conservative party won the 1911 Canadian federal election.
Due to Canada's important contributions to the British war effort in 1914–18, Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden insisted that Canada be treated as a separate signatory to the Treaty of Versailles. In 1920 Canada became a full member of the League of Nations, and acted independently of London. It was elected to the League Council (governing board) in 1927. It did not play a leading role, and generally opposed sanctions or military action by the League. The League was virtually defunct by 1939.
The government operated a Canadian War Mission in Washington, 1918 to 1921, but it was not until William Lyon Mackenzie King became Prime Minister in 1921 that Canada seriously pursued an independent foreign policy. In 1923, Canada independently signed the Halibut Treaty with the United States at Mackenzie King's insistence – the first time Canada signed a treaty without the British also signing it. In 1925, the government appointed a permanent diplomat to Geneva to deal with the League of Nations and International Labour Organization. Following the Balfour Declaration of 1926, King appointed Vincent Massey as the first Canadian minister plenipotentiary in Washington (1926), raised the office in Paris to legation status under Philippe Roy (1928), and opened a legation in Tokyo with Herbert Marler as envoy (1929).
Canada achieved legislative independence with the enactment of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, although British diplomatic missions continued to represent Canada in most countries throughout the 1930s.
After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Canada rapidly expanded its diplomatic missions abroad. While Canada hosted two major Allied conferences in Quebec in 1943 and 1944, neither Prime Minister Mackenzie King nor senior generals and admirals were invited to take part in any of the discussions.
1945 to 1957
The Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA) has long been the intellectual center of foreign policy thinking. Its current name is "Canadian International Council". Under businessman Edgar Tarr, 1931 to 1950, the CIIA went beyond the original neutral and apolitical research role. Instead it championed Canadian national autonomy and sought to enlarge the nation's international role, while challenging British imperialism. Numerous diplomats attended its conferences and supported its new mission. Canada's foreign policy moved away from classical imperialism and toward the modern approach by the United States. CIIA leaders and Canadian officials worked to encouraged nationalist forces in India, China, and Southeast Asia that sought to reject colonial rule and Western dominance.
According to Hector Mackenzie, the myth of a glorious postwar era in Canada's international relations is common in memoirs and biographies of Canadian diplomats, journalism and popular commentary. It sometimes appears in scholarly studies. This story is used as evidence of Canada's exceptionalism, its special world mission and its supposed deeply felt internationalism. It is easy to take this myth as a standard against which recent history is judged. Mackenzie argues the myth is deeply mistaken especially regarding Canadian motives and achievements in world affairs during 1939 to 1957. Diplomats reminiscing about the postwar era stress the outsized role of Lester B. Pearson; they fondly call the 1940s and 1950s a "golden era" of Canadian foreign policy. It is matched against the isolationism of the 1930s, which James Eayrs called a low, dishonest decade." However, the Golden Era tag has been challenged as a romantic exaggeration. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, working closely with his Foreign Minister Louis St. Laurent, handled foreign relations 1945–48 in cautious fashion. Canada lent and donated over $2 billion to Britain to help it rebuild (by purchasing Canadian exports). It was elected to the UN Security Council. It helped design NATO. However, Mackenzie King rejected free trade with the United States, and decided not to play a role in the Berlin airlift. Canada had been actively involved in the League of Nations, primarily because it could act separately from Britain. It played a modest role in the postwar formation of the United Nations, as well as the International Monetary Fund. It played a somewhat larger role in 1947 in designing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Ties with Great Britain gradually weakened, especially in 1956 when Canada refused to support the British and French invasion of Egypt in order to seize the Suez Canal. Liberal Lester B. Pearson as External Affairs Minister (foreign minister) won the Nobel Peace Prize for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force in 1956 to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis.
From 1939 to 1968, foreign policy was based on close relationships with the United States, especially in trade and defence policy, with Canada an active member of NATO as well as a bilateral partner with the United States in forming a northern defence against Soviet bombers. In 1950–53, Canada sent troops to the Korean War in defence of South Korea.
For Lester Pearson, cultural differences, Francophone versus Anglophone, could perhaps be narrowed by involvement in world affairs. Canadians could gain a broader, more cosmopolitan, more liberal outlook. A sense of national identity, built on the middle size nation thesis, was possible. Perhaps international commitment would produce a sense of purpose and thereby unite Canadians.
There were voices on both left and right that Warned against being too close to the United States. Few Canadians listened before 1957. Instead, there was wide consensus on Canadian foreign and defence policies 1948 to 1957. Bothwell, Drummond and English state:
- That support was remarkably uniform geographically and racially, both coast to coast and among French and English. From the CCF on the left to the Social Credit on the right, the political parties agreed that NATO was a good thing, and communism a bad thing, that a close association with Europe was desirable, and that the Commonwealth embodied a glorious past.
However the consensus did not the last. By 1957 the Suez crisis alienated Canada from both Britain and France; politicians distrusted American leadership, businessmen questioned American financial investments; and intellectuals ridiculed the values of American television and Hollywood offerings that all Canadians watched. "Public support for Canada's foreign policy big came unstuck. Foreign-policy, from being a winning issue for the Liberals, was fast becoming a losing one."
The success of the Suez peacekeeping mission led Canadians to embrace peacekeeping as a suitable role for a middle-sized country, looking for a role, and having high regards for the United Nations. This led to sending a peacekeeping force to Cyprus in 1964, when two NATO members, Greece and Turkey were at swords' point over ethnic violence in the historic British colony. The Canadians left in 1993 after 28 were killed and many wounded in the operation. Peacekeeping help was needed in the Belgian Congo in 1960–64, after Belgium pulled out. There were numerous other small interventions. Canada took a central role in the International Control Commission (ICC), which tried to broker peace in Vietnam in the 1960s. In 1993 violent misbehavior by Canadian peacekeeping forces in Somalia shocked the nation.
Relations with US and others
Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker (1957–1963) tried to improve relations with Britain even as it was trying to enter the European Common Market, which would greatly weaken its historic ties with Canada. US President Dwight Eisenhower took pains to foster good relations with Diefenbaker. That led to approval of plans to join the United States in what became known as NORAD, an integrated air defence system, in mid-1957. Relations with President John Kennedy were much less cordial. Diefenbaker opposed apartheid in the South Africa and helped force it out of the Commonwealth of Nations. His indecision on whether to accept Bomarc nuclear missiles from the United States led to his government's downfall.
The Vietnam War (1964–1975) was very unpopular in Canada, which provided only minimal diplomatic support and no military participation. Liberal Lester B. Pearson as Prime Minister (1963–1968) avoided any involvement in Vietnam. Foreign affairs was not high on his agenda, as he concentrated on complex internal political problems.
Under Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (1968–1979 and 1980–1984) foreign policy was much less important than internal unity. There were multiple new approaches, some of which involved standing apart from the United States. Trudeau recognized communist China shortly before the United States did, improved relationships with the Soviet Union, and cut back on contributions to NATO. While not cutting back on trade with the United States, he did emphasize improved trade with Europe and Asia. By his third year in office, however, Trudeau launched a new initiatives, emphasizing Canada's role as a middle power with the ability to engage in active peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the United Nations. Foreign aid was expanded, especially to the non-white Commonwealth. Canada joined most of NATO in imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979–80. President Ronald Reagan took office in Washington in 1981, and relationships cooled. However, when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Canada joined most of NATO and sending troops to the Persian Gulf war.
Although Canada remained part of NATO, a strong military presence was considered unnecessary by 1964, and funding was diverted into peacekeeping missions. Only 20,000 soldiers were left. In 2006, Andrew Richter called this, "Forty years of neglect, indifference, and apathy."
Québec started operating its own foreign policy in the 1960s, so that in key countries Canada had two separate missions with diverging priorities.
Justin Trudeau's government decided not to sign the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a binding agreement for negotiations for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, supported by more than 120 nations. In August 2018, Canada called for the immediate release of Saudi dissident Raif Badawi. In response to Canada's criticism, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador, and froze trade with Canada.
India's intelligence agencies, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Indian Intelligence Bureau, have been accused of trying to "covertly influence" Canadian politicians into supporting the Indian interests. According to the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs expert, "To my mind, this is one of the first public examples of evidence of clandestine foreign influence targeted at Canadian politicians."
In 1982, responsibility for trade was added with the creation of the Department of External Affairs and International Trade. In 1995, the name was changed to Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Canada has often carried out its foreign policy through coalitions and international organizations, and through the work of numerous federal institutions. Under the aegis of Canadian foreign policy, various departments and agencies conduct their own international relations and outreach activities. For example, the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence conduct defence diplomacy in support of national interests, including through the deployment of Canadian Defence Attachés, participation in bilateral and multilateral military forums (e.g., the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces), ship and aircraft visits, military training and cooperation, and other such outreach and relationship-building efforts.
There are two major elements of Canadian foreign relations, Canada-US relations and multilateralism.
Greg Donaghy, of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, argues:
- Since taking power in 2006, Prime Minister Harper's government has clearly abandoned the liberal internationalism that had so often characterized Ottawa's approach to world affairs, replacing it with a new emphasis on realist notions of national interest, enhanced capabilities, and Western democratic values.[relevant? ]
Canada's international relations are the responsibility of the Department of Global Affairs, which is run by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position currently held by François-Philippe Champagne. Traditionally the Prime Minister has played a prominent role in foreign affairs decisions. Foreign aid, formerly delivered through the Canadian International Development Agency, has been administered by DFATD since March 2013.
Canada's foreign aid was administered by the Canadian International Development Agency, which provided aid and assistance to other countries around the world through various methods. In March 2013 CIDA ceased to exist when it was folded into DFAIT, creating DFATD. The strategy of the Canadian government's foreign aid policy reflects an emphasis to meet the Millennium Development Goals, while also providing assistance in response to foreign humanitarian crises. However a growing focus on development, defence, and diplomacy in recent decades has produced a concentration of foreign aid funding to countries determined to be security risks to Canadian policy. For example, in 2004–2005 the largest recipients of Canada's official developmental assistance were Afghanistan and Iraq, two nations in conflict with the United States of America and its allies at the time. The structural emphasis on security and industry development has contributed to a fixed foreign policy that generally fails to consider global health and international social and economic inequalities. According to the OECD, 2019 official development assistance from Canada increased 0.5% to USD 4.7 billion.
In addition, although Canada's foreign aid policies has been moulded with the intentions to be in accordance to the Millennium Development Goals, its focus on human security has slowly shifted away as new policy developments arose. The foreign aid provided by the country became less "people-centered" and less health-related. Canada's contributions have been quite inconsistent with regards to human security, which indicates that the reputation that the country has built throughout the years, in fact, exceeds the country's actual record. Canada's contributions internationally have been detrimental and crucial but it needs redirecting back to its original goals.
Federalism and foreign relations
The provinces have a high level of freedom to operate internationally, dating from Quebec's first representative to France in 1886, Hector Fabre. Alberta has had representatives abroad, starting with Alberta House in London (37 Hill Street), since 1948, and British Columbia around 25 years before that. By 1984, Quebec had offices in ten countries including eight in the United States and three in other Canadian provinces while Ontario had thirteen delegations in seven countries. Most provincial governments have a ministry of international relations, both Quebec and New Brunswick are members of La Francophonie (separately from the federal delegation), Alberta has quasi-diplomatic offices in Washington (currently staffed by former cabinet minister Gary Mar). Provincial premiers were always part of the famous Team Canada trade missions of the 1990s. In 2007, Quebec premier Jean Charest proposed a free trade agreement with the European Union.
Provinces have always participated in some foreign relations, and appointed agents general in the United Kingdom and France for many years, but they cannot legislate treaties. The French-speaking provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick are members of la Francophonie, and Ontario has announced it wishes to join. Quebec has pursued its own foreign relations, especially with France. Alberta opened an office in Washington, D.C., in March 2005 to lobby the American government, mostly to reopen the borders to import of Canadian beef. With the exception of Quebec, none of these efforts undermine the ability of the federal government to conduct foreign affairs.
|Country||Formal relations began||Notes|
|Algeria||1962||See Algeria-Canada relations
Algeria is Canada's top trading partner in Africa.
|Angola||1978||See Embassy of Angola in Ottawa
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1976.
|Côte d'Ivoire||1962||See Canada–Ivory Coast relations
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||See Canada–Democratic Republic of the Congo relations
|Egypt||1954||See Canada–Egypt relations
Both countries established embassies in their respective capitals in 1954.
|Ethiopia||1956||See Canada–Ethiopia relations
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1975.
|Kenya||1965||See Canada–Kenya relations
|Lesotho||1966||See Canada–Lesotho relations|
|Madagascar||1965||See Canada–Madagascar relations|
|Mali||1978||See Canada–Mali relations
|Mozambique||See Canada–Mozambique relations
|Namibia||See Canada–Namibia relations
|Senegal||1962||See Canada–Senegal relations|
|South Africa||1939||See Canada–South Africa relations
Canada established diplomatic relations with numerous countries, including South Africa, as World War II broke out.
Canada currently has a development assistance program in Zambia, which is focused on the health sector to provide Zambians with equal access to quality health care. Canada and Zambia are currently in the process of negotiating a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.
|Country||Formal relations began||Notes|
|Argentina||1940-04||See Argentina–Canada relations
Canada's first ambassador to Buenos Aires, began his assignment in 1945. In 2011 Canada's largest imports were decorative items gold, wines and Iron and steal pipes. Canada's largest exports to Argentina were Energy-related products; telephones sets, and fertilizers. Bilateral trade in 2014 was $2.19 billion. Both countries are members of the Organization of American States and the Cairns Group.
|Antigua and Barbuda||1981||
|Barbados||1966-11-30||See Barbados–Canada relations
In 1907, the Government of Canada opened a Trade Commissioner Service to the Caribbean region located in Bridgetown, Barbados. Following Barbadian independence from the United Kingdom in November 1966, the Canadian High Commission was established in Bridgetown, Barbados in September 1973. There is a Barbadian High Commission in Ottawa and a Barbadian Consulate in Toronto. The relationship between both nations today partly falls within the larger context of Canada–Caribbean relations.
|Brazil||1941-05||See Brazil–Canada relations|
|Chile||1941||See Canada–Chile relations
|Colombia||1953-01||See Canada–Colombia relations|
|Cuba||1945||See Canada–Cuba relations
Canada has maintained consistently cordial relations with Cuba, in spite of considerable pressure from the United States, and the island is also one of the most popular travel destinations for Canadian citizens. Canada-Cuba relations can be traced back to the 18th century, when vessels from the Atlantic provinces of Canada traded codfish and beer for rum and sugar. Cuba was the first country in the Caribbean selected by Canada for a diplomatic mission. Official diplomatic relations were established in 1945, when Emile Vaillancourt, a noted writer and historian, was designated Canada's representative in Cuba. Canada and Mexico were the only two countries in the hemisphere to maintain uninterrupted diplomatic relations with Cuba following the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
|El Salvador||29 December 1961||See Canada–El Salvador relations
|Grenada||1974-02-07||See Grenada–Canada relations
|Guyana||1964||See Canada–Guyana relations
|Haiti||1954||See Canada–Haiti relations
|Jamaica||1962||See Canada–Jamaica relations
|Mexico||1944-01||See Canada–Mexico relations
Despite the fact that historic ties between the two nations have been coldly dormant, relations between Canada and Mexico have positively changed in recent years; seeing as both countries brokered the North American Free Trade Agreement. Although on different sides of the Cold War spectrum (Canada was a member of NATO while Mexico was in the Non-Aligned Movement, the two countries were still allies in World War II.)
|Panama||1961||See Canada–Panama relations
|Peru||1940||See Canada–Peru relations
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||1983-09-19||
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||1979-10-27||
|Trinidad and Tobago||1962-08-31||See Canada–Trinidad and Tobago relations
|United States||1927-02-18||See Canada–United States relations
Relations between Canada and the United States span more than two centuries, marked by a shared British colonial heritage, conflict during the early years of the U.S., and the eventual development of one of the most successful international relationships in the modern world. The most serious breach in the relationship was the War of 1812, which saw an American invasion of then British North America and counter invasions from British-Canadian forces. The border was demilitarized after the war and, apart from minor raids, has remained peaceful. Military collaboration began during the World Wars and continued throughout the Cold War, despite Canadian doubts about certain American policies. A high volume of trade and migration between the U.S. and Canada has generated closer ties, despite continued Canadian fears of being overwhelmed by its neighbour, which is ten times larger in population, wealth and debt.
|Uruguay||1953-01||See Canada–Uruguay relations
|Venezuela||1953-01||See Canada–Venezuela relations
In February 1948 there was a Canadian consulate-general in Caracas and a Venezuelan consulate-general in Montreal. In that year the Venezuelan Consul General, on behalf of the government of Venezuela, made a rapprochement with Canada in order to open direct diplomatic representations between the two countries; but the Canadian government delayed the opening of a diplomatic mission in Venezuela because of the lack of enough suitable personnel to staff a Canadian mission in Venezuela and the impossibility of Canada beginning a representation in Venezuela in that year without considering a policy of expansion of Canadian representation abroad.
In the interest of protecting Canadian trade with Venezuela and considering the difficulties for business in being without a Canadian representation in Caracas, Canada was pushed to accept the Venezuelan offer of exchanging diplomatic missions. Finally Canada elevated the former office of the Canadian Consulate General in Caracas to the category of embassy in 1953.
Venezuela established an embassy in Canada in 1952. Since then there have been good commercial relations between the two countries, especially in technology, oil and gas industry, telecommunications and others. In June 2019, Canada closed its embassy in Caracas due to diplomatic visas unable to be renewed under President Maduro's government.
|Country||Formal relations began||Notes|
|See Afghanistan–Canada relations
|Armenia||1992||See Armenia–Canada relations
|Azerbaijan||1992||See Azerbaijan–Canada relations
|Bangladesh||See Bangladesh–Canada relations
|Brunei||1984-05-07||See Brunei–Canada relations|
|China||1970-10-13||See Canada–China relations
Since 2003, China has emerged as Canada's second largest trading partner, passing Britain and Japan. China now accounts for approximately six percent of Canada's total world trade. According to a recent study by the Fraser Institute, China replaced Japan as Canada's third-largest export market in 2007, with CA$9.3 billion flowing into China in 2007. Between 1998 and 2007, exports to China grew by 272 percent, but only represented about 1.1 per cent of China's total imports. In 2007, Canadian imports of Chinese products totalled C$38.3 billion. Between 1998 and 2007, imports from China grew by almost 400 percent. Leading commodities in the trade between Canada and China include chemicals, metals, industrial and agricultural machinery and equipment, wood products, and fish products.
In July 2019, the UN ambassadors from 22 nations, including Canada, signed a joint letter to the UNHRC condemning China's mistreatment of the Uyghurs as well as its mistreatment of other minority groups, urging the Chinese government to close the Xinjiang re-education camps.
|India||1947-08-15||See Canada–India relations
In 2004, bilateral trade between India and Canada was at about C$2.45 billion. However, India's Smiling Buddha nuclear test led to connections between the two countries being frozen, with allegations that India broke the terms of the Colombo Plan. Although Jean Chrétien and Roméo LeBlanc both visited India in the late 1990s, relations were again halted after the Pokhran-II tests.
|Indonesia||1952||See Canada–Indonesia relations
|Iran||1955 ended 2012||See Canada–Iran relations
Canadian-Iranian relations date back to 1955, up to which point the Canadian Consular and Commercial Affairs in Iran was handled by the British Embassy. A Canadian diplomatic mission was constructed in Tehran in 1959 and raised to embassy status in 1961. Due to rocky relations after the Iranian Revolution, Iran did not establish an embassy in Canada until 1991 when its staff, which had been living in a building on Roosevelt Avenue in Ottawa's west end, moved into 245 Metcalfe Street in the Centretown neighbourhood of Ottawa which was upgraded to embassy status, however in 2012. Canada severed all diplomatic ties with Iran in regard to Iran's treatment of human rights.
|Iraq||1961-02 to 1991–12
|See Canada and the Iraq War, Embassy of Iraq in Ottawa
|Israel||1950||See Canada–Israel relations
At the United Nations in 1947, Canada was one of the thirty-three countries that voted in favour of the creation of a Jewish homeland. Canada delayed granting de facto recognition to Israel until December 1948, and finally gave full de jure recognition to the new nation on 11 May 1949, only after it was admitted into the United Nations (UN). A week later, Avraham Harman became Israel's first consul general in Canada. In September 1953, the Canadian Embassy opened in Tel Aviv and Israeli Ambassador to Canada, Michael Comay, was appointed, although a non-resident Canadian Ambassador to Israel was not appointed until 1958.
|Japan||1928-12||See Canada–Japan relations
The two countries enjoy an amicable companionship in many areas; diplomatic relations between both countries officially began in 1950 with the opening of the Japanese consulate in Ottawa. In 1929, Canada opened its Tokyo legation, the first in Asia; and in that same year, Japan its Ottawa consulate to legation form.
|Kazakhstan||1992||See Canada–Kazakhstan relations|
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1992.
|Lebanon||1954||See Canada–Lebanon relations
Canada established diplomatic relations with Lebanon in 1954, when Canada deployed "Envoy Extraordinaire" to Beirut. In 1958, Canada sent its first ambassador. The embassy was closed in 1985 and reopened in January 1995. Lebanon opened a consulate in Ottawa in 1946. A consulate-general replaced the consulate in 1949, and it was upgraded to full embassy status in 1958.
|Malaysia||1957-08-31||See Canada–Malaysia relations|
|Mongolia||1973-11-30||See Canada–Mongolia relations
Though Canada and Mongolia established diplomatic ties in 1973, ad hoc linkages and minor activities occurred between the two countries mainly through the Canada-Mongolia Society, which disbanded in 1980. When Mongolia formed a democratic government in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Canada began to support Mongolia with donor activities through the International Development Research Centre, Canadian International Development Agency and several non-governmental organizations.
|North Korea||2001-02-06 to 2010-03-26||See Canada–North Korea relations
Canada and North Korea share very little trade due to the destabilizing element North Korea has caused in the Asia Pacific region. Canada is represented by the Canadian Ambassador resident in Seoul, and North Korea is represented through its office at the UN in New York City.
|Pakistan||1947-08-15||See Canada–Pakistan relations
|Qatar||See Canada–Qatar relations
|Saudi Arabia||1973-05||See Canada–Saudi Arabia relations
Saudi Arabia is Canada's second largest trade partner among the seven countries of the Arabian Peninsula, totalling more than $2 billion in trade in 2005, nearly double its value in 2002, trade totalled $3.8 in 2014. Canada chiefly imports petroleum, and oil from Saudi Arabia, while The largest exporting good are such as cereals, railway/tramway equipment; machinery equipment and paper in 2010.
|Singapore||1965-12-15||See Canada–Singapore relations
|South Korea||1963-01-14||See Canada–South Korea relations|
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1992.
|Thailand||1947||See Canada-Thailand relations
|Turkey||1944||See Canada–Turkey relations
Canada-Turkey bilateral merchandise stood at $2.3 billion in 2012. Turkey is Canada's 34th largest trade partner. Canadian merchandise exports to Turkey were $850 million in 2012, and consisted mainly of oils (not crude), minerals, iron/steel and vegetables.
|United Arab Emirates||See Canada–United Arab Emirates relations|
|Vietnam||1973-08-21||See Canada-Vietnam relations
|Yemen||1975-12 (North Yemen)
1976-05 (South Yemen)
1989-09 (united Yemen)
|Country||Formal relations began||Notes|
|Albania||1987-09-10||See Albania–Canada relations
|Belgium||1939-01||See Belgium–Canada relations
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||
|Cyprus||1960-08-16||See Canada–Cyprus relations
Canadian bilateral political relations with Cyprus stemmed initially from Cypriot Commonwealth membership at independence in 1960 (that had followed a guerrilla struggle with Britain). These relations quickly expanded in 1964 when Canada became a major troop contributor to UNFICYP. The participation lasted for the next 29 years, during which 50,000 Canadian soldiers served and 28 were killed. In large measure Canadian relations with Cyprus continue to revolve around support for the ongoing efforts of the UN, G8 and others to resolve the island's divided status.
|Czech Republic||1993||See Canada–Czech Republic relations
|Denmark||1949-10-14||See Canada–Denmark relations
|France||1882||See Canada–France relations
In the 2007 and 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Quebec Premier Jean Charest all spoke in favour of a Canada – EU free trade agreement. In October 2008, Sarkozy became the first French President to address the National Assembly of Quebec. In his speech he spoke out against Quebec separatism, but recognized Quebec as a nation within Canada. He said that, to France, Canada was a friend, and Quebec was family.
|Germany||See Canada–Germany relations
|Greece||1937||See also Canada–Greece relations
|Holy See||1969||See Canada–Holy See relations
Although the Roman Catholic Church has been territoriality established in Canada since the founding of New France in the early 17th century, Holy See–Canada relations were only officially established under the papacy of Paul VI in the 1960s.
|Hungary||1964||See Canada–Hungary relations
|Iceland||1942||See Canada–Iceland relations
|Ireland||1929-12-28||See Canada–Ireland relations
Canada and Ireland enjoy friendly relations, the importance of these relations centres on the history of Irish migration to Canada. Roughly 4 million Canadians have Irish ancestors, or approximately 14% of Canada's population.
|Italy||1947||See Canada–Italy relations
|Kosovo||2009-04-07||See also International reaction to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence
Canada recognized Kosovo on 18 March 2008.
|Latvia||1921||See Canada–Latvia relations
|Netherlands||1939-01||See Canada–Netherlands relations
|Norway||1942||See Canada–Norway relations
|Poland||1935||See Canada–Poland relations
|Portugal||1946||See Canada–Portugal relations
|Romania||1967-04-03||See Canada–Romania relations
|Russia||1942-06-12||See Canada–Russia relations
Canada and Russia benefit from extensive cooperation on trade and investment, energy, democratic development and governance, security and counter-terrorism, northern issues, and cultural and academic exchanges.
|Spain||1935||See Canada–Spain relations
|Sweden||See Canada–Sweden relations
Both countries have strong commitments to peacekeeping, UN reform, development assistance, environmental protection, sustainable development, and the promotion and protection of human rights.[dubious ] In additional, there are more than 300,000 Canadians of Swedish descent.
|Switzerland||1945||See Canada–Switzerland relations
|Ukraine||1992||See Canada–Ukraine relations, Embassy of Ukraine in Ottawa
Diplomatic relations were established between Canada and Ukraine on 27 January 1992. Canada opened its embassy in Kiev In April 1992, and the Embassy of Ukraine in Ottawa opened in October of that same year, paid for mostly by donations from the Ukrainian-Canadian community. Ukraine opened a consulate general in Toronto in 1993 and announced plans to open another in Edmonton in 2008.
|United Kingdom||1880||See Canada–United Kingdom relations
London and Ottawa enjoy cooperative and intimate contact, which has grown deeper over the years; the two countries are related through history, the Commonwealth of Nations, and their sharing of the same Head of State and monarch.
|Country||Formal relations began||Notes|
|Australia||1939-09-12||See Australia–Canada relations
|Fiji||10 October 1970||
|Micronesia||3 March 1998||
|New Zealand||1942||See Canada–New Zealand relations
New Zealand and Canada have a longstanding relationship that has been fostered by both countries' shared history and culture, by their membership the Commonwealth of Nations and links between residents of both countries. The two countries have a common Head of State, currently Queen Elizabeth II. New Zealand and Canada also have links through business or trade relations, the United Nations, the Commonwealth and mutual treaty agreements. New Zealand-Canada relations are important to both countries.
|Papua New Guinea||
|Solomon Islands||7 July 1978||
Other bilateral and plurilateral relations
One important difference between Canadian and American foreign policy has been in relations with communist governments. Canada established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China (13 October 1970) long before the Americans did (1 January 1979). It also has maintained trade and diplomatic relations with communist Cuba, despite pressures from the United States.
Canadian Government guidance for export controls on weapons systems is published by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Automatic Firearms Country Control List, comprises a list of approved export nations which include as of 2014; (Albania, Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States).
Selected dates of diplomatic representation abroad
- Australia – 1939 – first high commissioner Charles Burchell
- Belgium – January 1939 – first ambassador Jean Désy
- China – 1943 – first ambassador General Victor Odlum
- France – 1882 – agent without diplomatic status Hector Fabre
- France – 1928 – first minister Philippe Roy
- France – 1944 – first ambassador George Philias Vanier
- International Criminal Court – 2003 – first Judge-President Philippe Kirsch
- Japan – May 1929 – first minister Sir Herbert Marler
- Mexico – January 1944 – first ambassador William Ferdinand Alphonse Turgeon
- Netherlands – January 1939 – first ambassador Jean Désy
- Newfoundland – 1941 – first high commissioner Charles Burchell
- United Kingdom – 1880 – first high commissioner Sir Alexander Galt
- United Nations – first ambassador General Andrew McNaughton
- United States of America – 1926 – first minister Vincent Massey
Canada is and has been a strong supporter of multilateralism. The country is one of the world's leading peacekeepers, sending soldiers under the U.N. authority around the world. Canadian former Minister of Foreign Affairs and subsequent Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, is credited for his contributions to modern international peacekeeping, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. Canada is committed to disarmament, and is especially noted for its leadership in the 1997 Convention in Ottawa on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.
In the last century Canada has made efforts to reach out to the rest of the world and promoting itself as a "middle power" able to work with large and small nations alike. This was demonstrated during the Suez Crisis when Lester B. Pearson mollified the tension by proposing peacekeeping efforts and the inception of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force. In that spirit, Canada developed and has tried to maintain a leading role in UN peacekeeping efforts.
Canada has long been reluctant to participate in military operations that are not sanctioned by the United Nations, such as the Vietnam War or the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, but does join in sanctioned operations such as the first Gulf War, Afghanistan and Libya. It participated with its NATO and OAS allies in the Kosovo Conflict and in Haiti respectively.
Despite Canada's track record as a liberal democracy that has embraced the values of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Canada has not been involved in any major plan for Reform of the United Nations Security Council; although the Canadian government does support UN reform, in order to strengthen UN efficiency and effectiveness.
Canada is working on setting up military bases around the world, while reducing aid and diplomatic efforts. In the late 90s, Canada actively promoted the notion of human security as an alternative to business-as-usual approaches to foreign aid. However, by invoking the "three Ds" (defense, diplomacy, and development) as the fundamental basis for Canadian foreign policy, and then implementing this in a manner that conforms more to military security and trade interests, Canada has successfully distanced itself from the humanitarian objectives of foreign aid, with the human security goal far from being achieved.  Under the Harper government, emphasis on promoting Canada's military presence internationally has included an effort to rebrand Canada historically as a "warrior nation", in large measure to counter the image of only supporting peacekeeping and multilateralism.
In 1985 the Parliament of Canada passed an Act to create the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, a think-tank focusing on Canada-Asia relations, in order to enhance Canada-Asia relations. Canada also seeks to expand its ties to Pacific Rim economies through membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). In addition, Canada is an active participant in discussions stemming from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Canada joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1990 and has been an active member, hosting the OAS General Assembly in Windsor, Ontario, in June 2000.
Many Caribbean Community countries turn to Canada as a valued partner. Canadians, particularly Canadian banks and utility companies play an important economic role in the development of former British West Indies colonies. Efforts to improve trade have included the idea of concluding a free trade agreement to replace the 1986 bilateral CARIBCAN agreement. At various times, several Caribbean countries have also considered joining Canadian Confederation as new provinces or territories, although no Caribbean nation has implemented such a proposal.
Canada–Commonwealth of Nations
Canada–European Union relations
Canada–Latin American relations
In recent years Canadian leaders have taken increasing interest in Latin America. Canada has had diplomatic relations with Venezuela since January 1953 and the relations are based on mutual commercial interests, especially in technology, oil and gas industry, telecommunications and others. Canada has an ongoing trade dispute with Brazil.
Canada is a member of the following organizations:
- Asian Development Bank (ADB) (nonregional member)
- African Development Bank (AfDB) (nonregional member)
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Arctic Council
- ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
- Association of Caribbean States (ACS) (observer and partner)
- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (dialogue partner)
- Australia Group
- Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
- Commonwealth of Nations
- Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) (nonregional member)
- Caribbean Postal Union (CPU)
- Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
- Group of Seven (G7) –
- Group of Eight (G8)
- Group of Ten (G-10)
- Group of Twenty (G-20)
- Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) (also known as the World Bank)
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
- International Criminal Court (ICCt)
- International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRM)
- International Development Association (IDA)
- International Energy Agency (IEA)
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
- International Finance Corporation (IFC)
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS)
- International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO)
- Interpol (organization) (Interpol)
- International Olympic Committee (IOC)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO)
- International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
- International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
- Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
- MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti)
- MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
- Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
- Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF)
- Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
- Paris Club
- Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)
- Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) (partner)
- Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal
- Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) (observer)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
- United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS)
- United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
- United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO)
- World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
- Universal Postal Union (UPU)
- World Customs Organization (WCO)
- World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- Zangger Committee
Relations with international groups
|Organization||Main article||Mission of Canada||Heads of mission from Canada|
|North Atlantic Treaty Organization||Canada–NATO relations||Mission of Canada to the North Atlantic Council (Brussels)||List of Canadian ambassadors to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization|
|Organization of American States||Canada–Latin America relations||Mission of Canada to the Organization of American States (Washington, D.C.)||List of Canadian ambassadors to the Organization of American States|
|United Nations||Canada and the United Nations||Mission of Canada to: the UN in New York, the UN in Geneva, the UN in Nairobi,
UNESCO in Paris, the FAO in Rome, the ICAO in Montreal
|List of Canadian ambassadors to the United Nations|
Organizations with headquarters in Canada
- International Air Transport Association
- International Civil Aviation Organization
- Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
- North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission
- United Nations Association in Canada
Major treaties signed in Canada
- Ottawa Treaty or Mine Ban Treaty (1997)
- Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987)
- Great Peace of Montreal (1701)
Territorial and boundary disputes
Canada and the United States have negotiated the boundary between the countries over many years, with the last significant agreement having taken place in 1984 when the International Court of Justice ruled on the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Maine. Likewise, Canada and France had previously contested the maritime boundary surrounding the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, but accepted a 1992 International Court of Arbitration ruling.
A long-simmering dispute between Canada and the U.S. involves the issue of Canadian sovereignty over the Northwest Passage (the sea passages in the Arctic). Canada's assertion that the Northwest Passage represents internal (territorial) waters has been challenged by other countries, especially the U.S., which argue that these waters constitute an international strait (international waters). Canadians were incensed when Americans drove the reinforced oil tanker Manhattan through the Northwest Passage in 1969, followed by the icebreaker Polar Sea in 1985, both without asking for Canadian permission. In 1970, the Canadian government enacted the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, which asserts Canadian regulatory control over pollution within a 100-nautical-mile (190 km) zone. In response, the Americans in 1970 stated, "We cannot accept the assertion of a Canadian claim that the Arctic waters are internal waters of Canada.... Such acceptance would jeopardize the freedom of navigation essential for United States naval activities worldwide." A compromise was reached in 1988, by an agreement on "Arctic Cooperation," which pledges that voyages of American icebreakers "will be undertaken with the consent of the Government of Canada." However the agreement did not alter either country's basic legal position. Essentially, the Americans agreed to ask for the consent of the Government of Canada without conceding that they were obliged to. In January 2006, David Wilkins, the American ambassador to Canada, said his government opposes Stephen Harper's proposed plan to deploy military icebreakers in the Arctic to detect interlopers and assert Canadian sovereignty over those waters. 
Along with other nations in the Arctic Council, Canada, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Russia, the maritime boundaries in the far north will be decided after countries have completed their submissions, due in 2012. Russia has made an extensive claim based on the Russian position that everything that is an extension of the Lomonosov Ridge should be assigned to Russia. Their submission had been rejected when first submitted by the United Nations in 2001. The regions represent some of the most extreme environments on Earth yet there is a hope for hypothetically commercially viable oil and gas deposits.
In June 2019, the U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the US "view Canada’s claim that the waters of the Northwest Passage are internal waters of Canada as inconsistent with international law."
- Alberta International and Intergovernmental Relations
- Canada and the Iraq War
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- List of Canadian Ministers for International Cooperation
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- List of Canadian Secretaries of State for External Affairs
- List of diplomatic missions in Canada
- List of diplomatic missions of Canada
- List of state and official visits by Canada
- Ministry of International Relations (Quebec)
- Visa requirements for Canadian citizens
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In brief remarks at the signing, Secretary-General Carrington expressed appreciation to the Government of Canada for its support, and pointed out that over the years "Canada had proven to be a "special friend" of the Caribbean at the regional and bilateral levels." "Our relations with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) have grown to the extent that "it is now considered to be a highly valued international development partner for the region." Among the many important areas in which CIDA has provided grant assistance to the region has been that of trade and competitiveness, a most vital area as the region seeks to secure its place in the international economic and trading arena," the release quoted the Secretary-General as saying.
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