A Message from the High Commissioner
|Hello everyone and very best wishes for 2024!
As our New Year begins at a time of severe global distress, it is more important
than ever to know, with full confidence, that we can count on our friends. Canada’s friendship with the United Kingdom is the product of hundreds of years of shared history and heritage. The high levels of respect and trust that exist between us are rooted in our common values and our extensive lived-experience with one another. Did you know that Canada and the UK are members together in more international organizations than any other two countries on earth? These include the Commonwealth, the UN, the G7, the 5-Eyes and NATO to name just a few.
And with more than $410 billion in two-way investment and trade, the UK is one of Canada’s most important economic partners too. In 2023, we explored more bilateral collaboration in a wide range of sectors – from critical minerals to plant proteins, and on it goes – to help build more resilient supply chains, boost our economies, and drive toward a cleaner future together. This will continue in 2024 and beyond.
But we should never take our friendship for granted because it is more important now than ever. From the Middle East to our very own doorsteps, we live in dangerous and uncertain times. Our national security and our internal social cohesion are being challenged. Like-minded allies, partners and friends need to work tightly together.
With the arrival of 2024, there also comes the second anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine on February 24th. The UK and Canada have been standing staunchly with Ukraine from the very beginning. In fact, for several years BEFORE Putin’s war, we together were training Ukrainian defence forces at bases in Ukraine. And thereafter, we have continued this work at bases in the UK (among many other military, economic and humanitarian support measures). Now in a world of multiple crises, we face the further challenge of maintaining focus and a proper sense of priority on Ukraine.
Canada House is proud to join with a Ukrainian charity, Ukraine For Heroes, NP Aerospace (a Canadian manufacturer of body armour) and the Embassy of Ukraine in the UK to host “ArtArmor”, a unique public art exhibition coming to Canada House between January 19th and the 31st. The exhibition showcases body armor plates that actually saved the lives of Ukrainian soldiers which were then recovered from the battlefields and turned into iconic pieces of war art by Ukrainian artists. It makes for a powerful display, and I strongly encourage you to take it in.
On a lighter note, this year has also kicked off with the diversity and talent of Canadians in British theatres. January brought the openings of 1979 at Finborough Theatre, Kim’s Convenience at Park Theatre, and Cirque du Soleil at Royal Albert Hall. Look for more information below and on our social media under #CanadaOnStage.
From February 8, we are pleased to welcome Inuit artist Ningiukulu Teevee’s exhibition Stories from Kinngait to our Canada Gallery. Teevee’s drawings have been translated into prints, and many of them depict arctic animals, abstract natural forms, and the stories associated with Inuit cultural traditions. Another must-visit exhibition!
Throughout February and March, our Canada House team is proud to showcase the diversity of Canadian talent and of the Canadian experience. From Black History Month in Canada this February to International Women’s Day on March 8th, to Commonwealth Day on March 11th, to the International Day of La Francophonie on March 20th, there is so much to celebrate as the days grow longer and the sun gets a little warmer.
Watch for our next Canada Plus, due to be published in April!