The view from Canada: “The old, grey Commonwealth ain’t what it used to be”Posted by AlexT - 20/10/09 at 12:10 pm
A Canadian journalist, Doug Saunders, has written for the Globe and Mail about the Commonwealth’s relevance to Canada. He certainly doesn’t pull his punches.
“It no longer means anything to us, for a very good reason: It no longer does anything for us.
As the Commonwealth celebrates its 60th birthday in London, the Canadian government is doing everything it can to distance itself from this awkward, enormous, ill-defined organization.”
He goes on…
“Today, the 450 million citizens of European Union nations have the right to live in Britain, work there and settle there as full citizens, without so much as filling out a form. Canada, as a Commonwealth member, has tight visa restrictions. And if you’re from Nigeria or Sri Lanka, you’ll have a hard time even visiting Britain or Canada.”
And to conclude…
“…today, when more important organizations have eclipsed it, there is a problem: If it changes itself to become “relevant,” ending its cozy but meaningless clubby status, it will become a challenge to the more valuable relationships its members already hold.
Any effort to give it a purpose will rip it apart. Sixty years after its creation put an end to the colonial era, it might just be time to say farewell.”
A damning indictment from Canada. But is it accurate? The 100-plus comments underneath the article seem to suggest it is. Surely some of our readers will be able to answer Saunders’ question: what does the Commonwealth do for you?