I admit, I don’t yet have a good sense of the potential significance of this. The Canadian government seems to be reorganizing its distribution of embassies throughout the world, possibly signaling a new foreign policy emphasis that has been underway since 2007.

On April 16, it was reported that Canada will close its embassy in Bosnia. Canada’s ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, David Hutchings, when interviewed by RFE/RL, said that “we can continue to be effective and provide programs, but reduce costs and consolidate our activities.” RFE/RL states that Hutchings “cited the closure of other Canadian missions around the world while noting the opening of new ones in China, India, Brazil, and Mexico.”

Also on April 16, the embassy in Cambodia is slated for closure in May. It’s been operating there for 17 years. From the official statement, the Canadian government “has decided to change the nature of its diplomatic representation in Cambodia… Our intention is that a Canadian Ambassador in a nearby country will be accredited to Cambodia.” Xinhua news reports that “new Canadian government offices will be opened, ‘mainly to take advantage of emerging markets…’ Three of these have already been opened, with two in India and one in Mongolia.”

The Foreign Affairs and International Trade website lays out its policy under the title “A Global Commerce Strategy for Securing Canada’s Growth and Prosperity.”

Below is an excerpt from the document:

“The Government of Canada has pledged to improve Canada’s competitiveness and to support Canadian firms as they pursue opportunities in the global marketplace. Through its Global Commerce Strategy, the Government is taking action to:

– Boost Canadian commercial engagement in global value chains;

– Secure competitive terms of access to global markets and networks for Canadian businesses;

– Increase foreign direct investment in Canada and Canadian direct investment around the world; and

– Forge stronger linkages between Canada’s science and technology community and global innovation networks.”

A related document by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada states that since 2007 transformation has been taking place because, “we are aligning the department’s organizations and focusing on delivery of the government’s foreign and trade policy priorities: greater economic opportunity for Canada, with a focus on growing or emerging markets; the United States and the hemisphere; and Afghanistan, including in the context of neighbouring countries. We are also changing the way we operate in order to respond quickly and flexibly to new and emerging priorities as they arise.”

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Nima Maleki

Nima Maleki is a policy analyst and consultant, currently the Director of Research and Community Engagement for the not-for-profit Maple Key. His writings focus on international relations and the impact...