Transcript: Commonwealth Redux? | Feb 06, 2017

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, yellow shirt, and striped blue and yellow tie.

A caption on screen reads "Commonwealth redux? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says BEFORE THERE WAS THE
UNITED NATIONS, THE WORLD BANK
OR LA FRANCOPHONIE, THERE WAS
THE BRITISH COMMONWEALTH, NOW
JUST CALLED THE COMMONWEALTH.
IT AROSE OUT OF THE ONCE MIGHTY
BRITISH EMPIRE AND CARRIES WITH
IT SOME OF THE LEGACY... GOOD
AND BAD... OF THAT HISTORY.
TODAY, IT'S PERHAPS BEST KNOWN
FOR ITS CULTURAL WORK, SUCH AS
THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES.
BUT, IN AN INCREASINGLY
UNCERTAIN WORLD, THERE ARE THOSE
HOPING IT MIGHT HAVE A MORE
VITAL ROLE TO PLAY.
JOINING US NOW WITH MORE:
IN LONDON, ENGLAND, VIA SKYPE:
DEODAT MAHARAJ, DEPUTY
SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE
COMMONWEALTH...

Deodat is in his late forties, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, blue shirt, and red tie.

Steve continues IN VANCOUVER, B.C.:
JAMES SKINNER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE,
CANZUK INTERNATIONAL, A
COMMONWEALTH ADVOCACY
ORGANIZATION...

James is in his thirties, with short blond hair and a stubble. He's wearing a white shirt.

Steve continues IN LONDON, ONTARIO:
FRANCINE McKENZIE, PROFESSOR OF
HISTORY AT WESTERN UNIVERSITY...

Francine is in her forties, with short blond hair. She's wearing glasses, a gray and black jacket, and a black shirt.

Steve continues AND HERE IN STUDIO:
STEPHEN ROCKEL, ASSOCIATE
PROFESSOR OF AFRICAN HISTORY AND
COLONIALISM, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.

Stephen Rockel is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing glasses and a brown coat over a dark gray shirt.

Steve continues I'M DELIGHTED TO WELCOME
EVERYBODY HERE IN OUR STUDIO AND
IN POINTS BEYOND FOR OUR
DISCUSSION ABOUT THE
COMMONWEALTH TONIGHT.
LET'S START WITH THIS LITTLE
FACT FILE AS WE PUT SOME OF THE
BACKGROUND OF THE COMMONWEALTH
OF NATIONS ON THE TABLE HERE FOR
OUR VIEWERS.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "The Commonwealth of Nations."

Steve reads bullet points from the slate and says
COMMONWEALTH TODAY IS MADE UP OF 52 COUNTRIES.
THAT'S HOME TO MORE THAN
2 BILLION DOLLARS CITIZENS.
THAT'S ABOUT 30 percent OF THE WORLD'S
POPULATION.
IT IS THE OLDEST POLITICAL
ASSOCIATION OF SOVEREIGN STATES
IN THE WORLD.
IT AIMS TO PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT,
DEMOCRACY, AND PEACE.
ALL MEMBERS, WHETHER INDIA WITH
MORE THAN A BILLION PEOPLE OR
NAURU HAVE AN EQUAL SAY.
CANADA IS THE SECOND LARGEST
DONOR.
TRADE AMONG COMMONWEALTH
COUNTRIES IS ESTIMATED AT MORE
THAN 680 BILLION DOLLARS TODAY AND
PROJECTED TO EXCEED A TRILLION
DOLLARS BY THE YEAR 2020.
SHELDON, IF WE CAN JUST PUT THIS
MAP UP, PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO
SEE WHERE THE COMMONWEALTH
COUNTRIES ARE WORLD WIDE...

A world map titled "Commonwealth Member countries" pops up highlighting the members around the globe.

Steve continues THERE'S US, OF COURSE, CANADA,
AND ACROSS THE POND THE UNITED
KINGDOM, NOT MUCH TO SPEAK OF IN
SOUTH AMERICA, A PRESENCE TO BE
SURE IN AFRICA, SOUTH ASIA, AND
OF COURSE OCEANIA, AND YOUR HOME
COUNTRY, STEPHEN ROCKEL.
EVERYTHING IN PINK THAT WE GREW
UP WITH IS NOW BLUE.
FRANCINE McKENZIE, LET'S START
WITH YOU.
HOW DID THE COMMONWEALTH COME
INTO BEING IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The caption changes to "Francine McKenzie. Western University."
Then, it changes again to "The Sun never sets..."

Francine says WELL, THE COMMONWEALTH EMERGED OUT OF
THE FORMER BRITISH EMPIRE AND IT
EMERGED AS A PROCESS OF
EVOLUTION AS WELL AS NEGOTIATION
AMONGST ITS MEMBERS.
SO IT RESPONDED TO REALLY
ONGOING PROCESSES OF
DECOLONIZATION IN PLACES LIKE
CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND,
IN ITS FIRST PHASE.
IN THE 20s AND '30s, PEOPLE
BEGAN TALKING MORE ABOUT A
COMMONWEALTH, AND THOSE
DOMINIONS WERE DISTINGUISHED
FROM OTHER CROWN COLONIES.
THERE WAS ANOTHER PERIOD OF
EVOLUTION FOLLOWING THE SECOND
WORLD WAR WHERE CRITICALLY INDIA
ACQUIRED ITS INDEPENDENCE AND
JOINED BUT WAS CALLED MOST
COMMONLY THE NEW COMMONWEALTH.
LATER WE FAST FORWARD TO 1965 TO
GET THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE
SECRETARIAT AND ANOTHER NEW
INCARNATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH.

Steve says THAT'S A GOOD
HISTORY LESSON.
DEODAT MAHARAJ, WE HAVE LOTS OF
INTERNATIONAL BODIES, EVERYTHING
FROM THE UNITED NATIONS TO THE
G-20 AND SO ON AND SO ON.
IN YOUR VIEW, WHAT MAKES THE
COMMONWEALTH SPECIAL?

The caption changes to "Deodat Maharaj. The Commonwealth."

Deodat says WHAT MAKES
THE COMMONWEALTH SPECIAL IS THAT
WE ARE A FAMILY OF NATIONS AND
WHERE A COUNTRY THE SIZE OF
NAURU WITH 10,000 PEOPLE OR A
COUNTRY THE SIZE OF ST. KITTS
WITH A POPULATION OF 55,000
PEOPLE WILL SIT AT A TABLE AS A
FAMILY MEMBER AND ON AN EQUAL
FOOTING WITH A G-20 COUNTRY,
THAT'S THE U.K., CANADA, OR A
COUNTRY LIKE INDIA WITH
1.3 BILLION PEOPLE.
SO WE ARE A FAMILY OF NATIONS
WHERE EVERY FAMILY MEMBER HAS AN
EQUAL SPACE AND EQUAL PLACE AT
THE TABLE.

Steve says WELL, YOU KNOW, I'M
GOING TO PUSH BACK ON THAT A
LITTLE BIT, BECAUSE AS THEY SAY
IN THE SENATE IN THE UNITED
STATES, YOU CAN BE THE SENATOR
FROM CALIFORNIA OR THE SENATOR
FROM RHODE ISLAND, AND
TECHNICALLY YOU BOTH HAVE ONE
VOTE, BUT SOMEBODY HAS A LOT
MORE SCHLEP THAN SOMEBODY ELSE.
IS THAT THE CASE IN THE
COMMONWEALTH?

Deodat says NO, I WOULD
SAY NO.
BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE
COMMONWEALTH, WE HAVE COUNTRIES
THAT ARE SMALL STATES, AND WHAT
HAPPENS IN OUR COMMONWEALTH
FAMILY OF NATIONS IS THAT ON THE
BIG ISSUES OF THE DAY, TAKE, FOR
EXAMPLE, THE COMMONWEALTH HAS
MET ON THE EVE, ONE WEEK BEFORE
COP 21 TOOK PLACE IN PARIS.
THE AGREEMENT AND THE CLIMATE
CHANGE STATEMENT MADE BY THE
COMMONWEALTH, WHICH IS
PROTECTING THE INTERESTS OF ALL
MEMBERS, ESPECIALLY SMALL AND
CLIMATE-VULNERABLE COUNTRIES,
THEY WERE SUPPORTED BY
COMMONWEALTH HEADS IN MALTA AND
TAKEN FORWARD AND AGREED TO AT
PARIS DURING COP 21.
THAT LANDMARK AGREEMENT MADE IN
PARIS AS WE KNOW AS COP 21, THE
COMMONWEALTH MADE AN IMMENSE
CONTRIBUTION AND WE WERE
DELIGHTED THAT PRIME MINISTER
TRUDEAU WAS ALSO AT THAT
COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT
MEETING.

Steve says LET ME ASK JAMES
SKINNER THE FOLLOW-UP QUESTION,
HOW POWERFUL, DO YOU THINK,
LOOKING AT IT FROM THE OUTSIDE,
THE COMMONWEALTH TRULY IS?

The caption changes to "James Skinner. Canzuk International."

James says THE COMMONWEALTH... I WOULDN'T SAY
POWERFUL... YOU COULD SAY
POWERFUL, IT'S MORE A
DEVELOPMENTAL ORGANIZATION THAT
PROMOTES ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL
DEVELOPMENT FOR THE COUNTRIES
WITHIN IT, ESPECIALLY FOR THE
DEVELOPING NATIONS WITHIN THE
52-MEMBER BLOCK.
SO IT CERTAINLY HAS ITS MERITS
IN THE WORLD.

Steve says STEPHEN, THE...
WELL, I DON'T THINK ANYBODY HAS
EVER BEEN THROWN OUT OF THE
COMMONWEALTH, BUT GAMBIA
DEFECTED IN 2013 BECAUSE THE
GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY CALLED IT
A NEO COLONIAL INSTITUTION.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT
CHARACTERIZATION?

The caption changes to "Stephen Rockel. University of Toronto."
Then, it changes again to "Exploring the shadows."

Stephen Rockel says I WOULD
DISAGREE WITH THAT.
THERE HAVE BEEN UPS AND DOWNS
ALONG THE WAY, OF COURSE, BUT
THE COMMONWEALTH IS VERY MUCH AN
INSTITUTION OF ITS MEMBERS, AND
ALTHOUGH THE UNITED KINGDOM OF
COURSE IS THE MOTHER OF THE 52
OR 53, THE MEMBERS ARE EQUAL, AS
DEODAT HAS SAID.
AND THE GREAT AND THE SMALL FROM
ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD ARE
TOGETHER AND DEVELOPING
COUNTRIES ARE SITTING SIDE BY
SIDE THE RICH COUNTRIES.

Steve says YOU THINK THERE IS A
SENSE OF EQUALITY AROUND THAT STABLE?

Stephen Rockel says I THINK
THERE IS.
AT CRUCIAL POINTS IN THE
COMMONWEALTH HISTORY, THE
SMALLER NATIONS HAVE ACTUALLY
HAD A VERY, VERY BIG INFLUENCE.
FOR EXAMPLE, AROUND THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT
IN 1965.
IT WAS SOME OF THE SMALLER
AFRICAN COUNTRIES HAD A VERY BIG
ROLE IN THAT.
FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE COMMONWEALTH
ROLE IN THE ANTIAPARTHEID
MOVEMENT.

Steve says FRANCINE McKENZIE,
LET ME FOLLOW UP WITH YOU ON
SOME OF THAT.
THERE IS OBVIOUSLY AMONGST
SOME... LET'S START WITH QUEEN
ELIZABETH II... A GREAT
NOSTALGIA AROUND THE
COMMONWEALTH.
HOWEVER, OTHERS WOULD HASTEN TO
ADD THERE WERE A LITANY OF
MISDEEDS DONE BY THE BRITISH
EMPIRE AND MAYBE THE
COMMONWEALTH AS WELL.
CARE TO MAKE A BIT OF A
CHECKLIST FOR US?

Francine says WELL, I
COULD SAY THAT... MAYBE NOT SO
MUCH A CHECKLIST.
I MEAN THE FACT OF THE BRITISH
EMPIRE IS ONE THAT WE STRIVE TO
UNDERSTAND, BUT CERTAINLY THERE
ARE LOTS OF INSTANCES OF
EXPLOITATION AND VIOLENCE AND
THE IMPERIAL ERA IS NOT ONE THAT
ANYONE IS EAGER TO RETURN TO.
AND I THINK IN SOME WAYS THE
COMMONWEALTH TODAY HAS DEFINED
ITSELF AS THE ANTITHESIS OF WHAT
THE EMPIRE USED TO BE.
FOR INSTANCE, IT FOCUSES ON THE
INTERESTS OF SMALL NATIONS, AND
IT'S DEFINITELY COMMITTED TO
THINGS LIKE DEMOCRACY AND PEACE
AND SOFT POWER ISSUES AS OPPOSED
TO BEING AN INSTRUMENT OF
BRITISH GREATNESS, WHICH IT ONCE
WAS.

Steve says DEODAT MAHARAJ, HOW
IS THE COMMONWEALTH NOW OWNING
UP TO THESE DARKER PARTS OF ITS
COLONIAL HISTORY?

Deodat says I LIKE TO
LOOK AT THE FUTURE AND I ALSO
LIKE TO LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE NOW.
I THINK YOU MADE A STATEMENT
EARLIER ABOUT THE STATE OF
COMMONWEALTH TRADE.
INTERCOMMONWEALTH TRADE WAS
AROUND 692 BILLION DOLLARS IN 2013.
WE EXPECT THAT INTERCOMMONWEALTH
TRADE WILL INCREASE TO
20 TRILLION.
AND IT WILL INCREASE A
PHENOMENAL 2.75 TRILLION UNITED
STATES DOLLARS.
SO THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY, THERE
IS A PIECE FOR EVERY SINGLE
MEMBER.
AND THE DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN
BIG AND SMALL COUNTRIES ARE NO
LONGER APPLICABLE, BECAUSE THE
GLOBAL ARCHITECTURE HAS CHANGED.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE COMMONWEALTH
COUNTRY OF NIGERIA BY 2050 WILL
HAVE 500 MILLION PEOPLE LIVING
IN IT, ITSELF BECOMING A
POWERHOUSE.
SO I THINK THERE IS A SPACE AND
A PLACE FOR EVERYONE IN THE
COMMONWEALTH AND I'M QUITE
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE OF
OUR COMMONWEALTH.

Steve says JAMES SKINNER, LET
ME GET YOU TO FOLLOW UP ON THAT
AND DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL, I
APPRECIATE YOUR POINT, BUT
CANADA AND NIGERIA MAY SIT AT
THE SAME TABLE AND THEY MAY BE
EQUALS AT THAT TABLE, BUT ONE
CLEARLY HAS A BETTER RECORD ON
HUMAN RIGHTS THAN THE OTHER, AND
I WONDER WHETHER COUNTRIES THAT
HAVE A SHODDIER RECORD, JAMES,
IN YOUR VIEW, ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
STILL OUGHT TO HAVE A PLACE AT
THAT TABLE?

James says IT'S AN
INTERESTING QUESTION.
I'M SURE YOU'LL GET DIFFERENT
ANSWERS FROM DIFFERENT PEOPLE
ABOUT THAT.
I'M NOT SO SURE ABOUT WHETHER
THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE A PLACE AT
THAT TABLE.
I THINK THEY SHOULD.
I THINK THE KEY ISSUE HERE IS TO
WORK WITH THESE COUNTRIES WHO
HAVE POOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES,
SUCH AS PAKISTAN AND NIGERIA,
AND ACTUALLY TRY AND STEER THEM
IN A DIRECTION WHEREBY THEY CAN
BECOME MORE FAVOURABLE TOWARDS
HUMAN RIGHTS AND START TO BECOME
MORE DEVELOPED NATIONS,
ECONOMICALLY AND SOCIALLY, BY
WORKING TOGETHER WITH THEM AS
OPPOSED TO SIMPLY SHUNNING THEM,
AND SAYING, "SORRY, YOU'RE NOT
GOOD ENOUGH.
YOU DON'T HAVE A PLACE AT THE
TABLE ANYMORE."
I THINK THAT'S THE WRONG
APPROACH.
THE BEST APPROACH WOULD BE TO
CARRY ON WHAT THE COMMONWEALTH
IS DOING RIGHT NOW, WHICH IS AN
EXCELLENT APPROACH, WHEREBY WE
WORK WITH THESE COUNTRIES AND
PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT AS AN EQUAL.

Steve says STEPHEN, WHAT'S YOUR
VIEW ON HOW THE COMMONWEALTH
OVERCOMES ITS HISTORY OF
EXPLOITIVE BEHAVIOUR,
PARTICULARLY ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT?

Stephen Rockel says THE PROBLEM
IS NOT SO MUCH THE COMMONWEALTH
ITSELF.
THERE ARE ISSUES RELATED TO THE
OLD IMPERIAL PAST WHICH CROP UP
EVERY NOW AND AGAIN.
AS AN HISTORIAN, A MAJOR STORY
FOR US HAS BEEN THE SECRECY OF
THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT IN HIDING
1.2 MILLION FILES RELATING TO
DECOLONIZATION.
KENYANS WERE TRYING TO GET
COMPENSATION FOR ABUSES OF THE
MAU-MAU WAR IN KENYA.
THROUGH THAT COURT ACTION IT
EMERGED THAT THERE ARE ACTUALLY
1.2 MILLION MISSING FILES WHICH
WERE KEPT OUT OF THE BRITISH
NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SO THERE ARE
A FEW REMNANTS OF THAT KIND.

Steve says DEODAT MAHARAJ, ARE
THERE EFFORTS BEING UNDERTAKEN
RIGHT NOW TO DEAL WITH THE
EXAMPLE THAT STEPHEN ROCKEL JUST MENTIONED?

Deodat says I'M NOT
AWARE OF ANY EFFORTS BEING MADE
WITHIN THE COMMONWEALTH TO LOOK
AT THE ISSUES WHICH WERE JUST
RAISED.
BUT WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE
COMMONWEALTH, I THINK ABOUT
RWANDA IN THE COMMONWEALTH, I
THINK ABOUT MOZAMBIQUE, I THINK
ABOUT.
NAMIBIA AND CAMEROON, NATIONS WOA
TIME OF CONSIDERABLE UNCERTAINTY
TO LEND STABILITY AND BE AN
EXEMPLARY IN HOW WE OPERATE IN
TERMS OF HOW A GLOBAL FAMILY OF
NATIONS SHOULD OPERATE FOR
MANKIND.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP
WITH PROFESSOR McKENZIE, I
THINK PEOPLE OF A CERTAIN AGE,
AND I HAPPEN TO BE ONE OF THOSE
AGE, REMEMBER 30 YEARS AGO BRIAN
MULRONEY OUR THEN PRIME MINISTER
USING THE COMMONWEALTH TO
FRANKLY LEAD THE WORLD IN A
FIGHT AGAINST APARTHEID.
CAN YOU REFRESH OUR MEMORY ON
HOW HE USED THAT INSTITUTION TO
LEAD THAT FIGHT?

The caption changes to "Canadian connections."

Francine says WELL,
THE LAST TIME I THINK REALLY
CANADA STOOD OUT IN A
COMMONWEALTH CONTEXT IN SUCH A
POWERFUL DIPLOMATIC WAY, IT WAS
THE EXAMPLE OF COMBATING
APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA, AND
MULRONEY WAS ABLE TO GATHER
SUPPORT AMONGST ALL KINDS OF
OTHER COMMONWEALTH MEMBERS
BASICALLY TO TAKE ISSUE WITH
PRIME MINISTER THATCHER'S
POSITION WHERE SHE DID NOT WANT
TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS AGAINST
SOUTH AFRICA.
AND MULRONEY WAS ABLE TO BUILD A
LARGE COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT...
WELL, IN FACT, THE COMMUNITY
SUPPORT EXISTED.
HE WAS A VERY EFFECTIVE
SPOKESPERSON FOR THAT SUPPORT.
HE ALSO HAD VERY CLOSE
CONNECTIONS TO ALL KINDS OF
PEOPLE IN SOUTH AFRICA WHO
WANTED TO OFFER RESISTANCE TO
THE APARTHEID REGIME IN SOUTH
AFRICA.
AND SO THERE WAS, FOR INSTANCE,
A COMMONWEALTH MEETING WHERE
PRIME MINISTER THATCHER WAS
LIVID WITH MULRONEY AND OTHERS,
SHE FELT SHE WAS GANGED UP ON.
SHE FELT THIS WAS A ASSOCIATION
SHE COULD TALK MORE INFORMALLY
AND NOT BE HELD TO ACCOUNT IN
THE WAY SHE WAS.
I DON'T THINK THE COMMONWEALTH
HAS OFTEN HAD CHANCES TO STAND
SO STRONGLY IN THE VANGUARD OF A
MORAL AND DIPLOMATIC ISSUE AS IT
DID WITH APARTHEID IN SOUTH
AFRICA.
BUT IN THAT INSTANCE, IT DID,
AND IT WAS A VERY EFFECTIVE
FORUM FOR CANADA TO MAKE ITS
POSITION CLEAR AND TO BUILD A
LARGER COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT.

Steve says THREE DECADES LATER,
HOW DO YOU THINK HISTORY REGARDS
MARGARET THATCHER'S DECISION AT THE TIME?

Francine says AS
SOMEONE WAS SAYING EARLIER,
THERE WILL BE ISSUES ABOUT
STATES ADOPTING STRATEGIES THAT
ARE REPUGNANT TO YOU.
DO YOU ISOLATE THEM OR GET AS
CLOSE AS POSSIBLE AND WORK WITH
THEM?
I HAPPEN TO THINK THE POSITION
THAT WAS TAKEN BY CANADA AND
OTHERS, IT CAN ALSO BE OPEN TO
CRITICISM, BUT I THINK IT WAS
EFFECTIVE IN HELPING TO BRING
ABOUT CHANGE THAT ULTIMATELY HAD
TO BE DECIDED WITHIN SOUTH
AFRICA.

Steve says JAMES SKINNER, WHAT
DO YOU THINK CANADA GETS OUT OF
BEING A MEMBER OF THE
COMMONWEALTH?

The caption changes to "James Skinner, @canzuk."

James says WELL, CANADA
IS OBVIOUSLY, IN MY BIASED
OPINION, ONE OF THE GREATEST
COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD.
WE HAVE AN EXCELLENT RECORD ON
HUMAN RIGHTS, DEVELOPMENT, AND
HUMAN RESOURCES AND ABLE TO
SHARE THAT KNOWLEDGE WITH MORE
DEVELOPING NATIONS WITHIN THE
COMMONWEALTH.
AS SUCH, IT ALLOWS CANADA TO SIT
AT ONE OF THE LARGEST
ORGANIZATIONS IN THE WORLD AND
HAVE A SEAT AT THAT TABLE, TO
SHARE THESE RESOURCES AND SHARE
THIS KNOWLEDGE AND ALSO GET MUCH
MORE OUT OF IT IN TERMS OF THE
KNOWLEDGE THAT'S SHARED WITH THEM.
SO I THINK CANADA GETS JUST AS
MANY BENEFITS OUT OF THE
COMMONWEALTH AS MUCH AS IT PUTS
INTO IT.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Podcasts."

Steve says DEODAT MAHARAJ, WHAT
ROLE DO YOU SEE CANADA PLAYING
IN THE ORGANIZATION THESE DAYS?

The caption changes to "Deodat Maharaj, @deodat_maharaj."

Deodat says CANADA
CONTINUES TO PLAY A VERY
IMPORTANT GLOBAL LEADERSHIP
ROLE, AND PARTICULARLY IN THE
COMMONWEALTH.
I THINK ON ISSUES ASSOCIATED
WITH WOMEN'S RIGHTS, HUMAN
RIGHTS, ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH
ADVANCING GENDER, ON THE ISSUE
OF TRADE, ON THE ISSUE OF
ENSURING THAT SMALL STATES HAVE
AN EQUAL SPACE AT THE TABLE, I
THINK CANADA CONTINUES TO PLAY
AN IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP ROLE AND
CANADA PROVIDES I THINK MUCH
NEEDED RESOURCES AS WELL TO
ADVANCE THE WORK OF THE
COMMONWEALTH IN THE CARIBBEAN,
IN THE PACIFIC, IN AFRICA, IN
ASIA AND ELSEWHERE.

Steve says JAMES, LET ME JUST
GET YOU TO FOLLOW UP ON THAT IN
THIS REGARD: OBVIOUSLY THE
UNITED STATES RIGHT NOW IS GOING
THROUGH ITS OWN UNIQUE TIME IN
ITS POLITICAL HISTORY, LET'S PUT
IT THAT WAY, AN "AMERICA FIRST."
AGENDA.
BRITAIN IS PURSUING A BREXIT
FROM EUROPE.
DO YOU THINK THIS PRESENTS AN
OPPORTUNITY FOR CANADA TO PLAY A
MORE ROBUST ROLE AT THE
COMMONWEALTH, AND IF SO, TO WHAT END?

The caption changes to "Renewed relevance?"

James says ABSOLUTELY.
I MEAN, OBVIOUSLY, LIKE WE SAY,
CANADA HAS GOT TERRIFIC ALLIES,
ESPECIALLY IN THE COUNTRIES THAT
MY ORGANIZATION, CANZUK
INTERNATIONAL WORKS WITH.
WHAT WE'RE ADVOCATING WITHIN
THESE COMMONWEALTH NATIONS IS
FOR CANADA TO CREATE CLOSER TIES
WITH THE U.K., AUSTRALIA, AND
NEW ZEALAND THROUGH FREE
MOVEMENT, FREE TRADE, AND ALSO
MUTUAL DEVELOPMENT IN TERMS OF
SECURITY AND ALSO FOREIGN
POLICY.
SO I FEEL... YOU KNOW, AS YOU
SAY, THE UNITED STATES IS GOING
THROUGH A UNIQUE POLITICAL TIME
AND OBVIOUSLY BREXIT IS
OCCURRING, BUT THESE ARE
ACTUALLY OPPORTUNITIES FOR
CANADA TO REACH OUT TO ITS
CLOSEST ALLIES AND CREATE
STRONGER BONDS WITH THEM AND
ACTUALLY CREATE A MORE PROMINENT
WORLD WITHIN THE... PROMINENT
ROLE WITHIN THE WORLD AND THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.

Steve says WHAT CAN CANADA DO
NOW, STEPHEN, GIVEN THIS MOMENT
OF HISTORY THROUGH THE COMMONWEALTH?

Stephen Rockel says WELL, I
THINK THE DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN
RIGHTS AGENDA IS, OF COURSE,
INCREDIBLY SIGNIFICANT ONE.
THAT NEVER GOES AWAY.
THAT'S AN ONGOING WORK IN
PROGRESS, EVEN HERE, I MUST SAY,
AND NEXT DOOR.
THESE ISSUES ARE IMPORTANT TO
ALL OF US.
YOU KNOW, CANADA USED TO HAVE A
ROLE IN THE WHOLE DECOLONIZATION
PROCESS AS WELL, WHICH IS
LARGELY FINISHED.
SO I THINK DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN
RIGHTS.
I THINK WOMEN'S ISSUES.
AT THE LAST COMMONWEALTH HEADS
OF GOVERNMENT MEETING IN MALTA
IN 2015, THERE WAS AN INNOVATION
TO HAVE A WOMEN'S FORUM AND A
YOUTH FORUM, AND I THINK THESE
WERE GREAT INNOVATIONS AND I
THINK GIVEN THE HUGE YOUTH
BULGE, IF YOU LIKE, IN THE
POPULATION OF MOST COMMONWEALTH
COUNTRIES, THESE ARE PROJECTS
FOR THE FUTURE.

Steve says MR. MAHARAJ, WHAT
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE CANADA DO
GOING FORWARD?

Deodat says IF I CAN
QUICKLY MAKE THE POINT THAT IT'S
19 percent MORE COST EFFECTIVE TO TREAT
WITHIN THE COMMONWEALTH THAN OUT
OF THE COMMONWEALTH.
SO I THINK THERE ARE MANY
OPPORTUNITIES FOR A COUNTRY LIKE
CANADA AND OTHERS BECAUSE ON THE
10TH OF MARCH, COMMONWEALTH
TRADE MINISTERS WILL BE MEETING
AND WE WOULD BE KEEN AND WE'RE
INTERESTED IN BOOSTING THIS
COMMONWEALTH TRADE ADVANTAGE
FROM 19 percent TO AROUND 30 TO 35 percent,
AND WE THINK CANADA CAN PLAY AN
IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP ROLE IN
HELPING THE COMMONWEALTH SUPPORT
SOME OF THE MOST VULNERABLE,
SMALLEST AND WEAKEST COUNTRIES,
SO WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE CANADA
PARTICIPATE IN THE COMMONWEALTH
FUND FOR TECHNICAL COOPERATION,
AND INDEED IN ALL OF OUR
ACTIVITIES.

Steve says AGAIN, MR. MAHARAJ,
I'M GOING TO PUSH BACK A LITTLE
BIT BECAUSE CANADA, EVEN AMONG
ITS OWN PROVINCES, DOESN'T HAVE
ANYTHING CLOSE TO FREE TRADE AND
THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF BARRIERS
THAT PROTECT DOMESTIC MARKETS
AGAINST OTHER DOMESTIC MARKETS
WITHIN THE COUNTRY, SO
THEREFORE, HOW DOES CANADA...
POOR CHOICE OF WORDS HERE, BUT
IT'S IN MY HEAD, HOW DOES CANADA
GET OFF TELLING ANYBODY ELSE HOW
TO IMPROVE THEIR TRADE RELATIONS?

Deodat says I CAN'T
COMMENT ON INTERNAL ISSUES
WITHIN CANADA, BUT WHAT I CAN
SAY, THOUGH, IS THERE ARE
IMMENSE OPPORTUNITIES FOR
CANADA, FOR THE CARIBBEAN, FOR
AFRICA, FOR COMMONWEALTH ASIAN
COUNTRIES AND INDEED THE U.K.
GOING FORWARD.
WE SHOULD ALL SEIZE AND TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES.

Steve says OKAY.
JAMES, LET ME BRING YOU IN ON
THIS ISSUE OF... I HOPE I'M
SAYING IT RIGHT... CANZUK
INTERNATIONAL, CANADA, NEW
ZEALAND, UNITED KINGDOM, THE
ACRONYM, OBVIOUSLY.
WHAT ARE YOU GUYS ADVOCATING FOR?

James says WHAT WE ADVOCATE.
YOU WERE CLOSE.
IT'S CANZUK INTERNATIONAL.
NOT A PROBLEM.
A LOT OF PEOPLE GET THAT WRONG.
WHAT WE'RE ADVOCATING IS FOR
CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND,
AND THE UNITED KINGDOM TO FORM
CLOSER ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND
DIPLOMATIC TIES.
OUR PRIMARY GOAL IS FOR FREE
MOVEMENT FOR CITIZENS BETWEEN
THESE FOUR COUNTRIES BASED ON
THE CURRENT FREE MOVEMENT
PROTOCOLS THAT CURRENTLY EXIST
BETWEEN AUSTRALIA AND NEW
ZEALAND UNDER THE TRANSTASMIN
TRAVEL AGREEMENT.
IT WOULD BE COMBINED FREE TRADE
FROM THESE FOUR COUNTRIES WOULD
BE 3.5 TRILLION AND WORK
THROUGH THE FIVE EYES
INTELLIGENCE ALLIANCE THAT
CURRENTLY EXISTS BETWEEN THESE
FOUR COUNTRIES AND THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA AND WITH THE
DEVELOPMENT OF FOREIGN POLICY AS WELL.

Steve says WHAT ARE THE
BARRIERS THAT ARE CURRENTLY IN
PLACE WHICH WOULD PREVENT THAT
WHICH YOU JUST DESCRIBED?

James says THE BARRIERS
THAT ARE CURRENTLY IN PLACE,
LIKE I SAY, OUR PRIMARY
OBJECTIVE IS FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT.
THE BARRIERS ARE ARDUOUS
IMMIGRATION CONTROLS BETWEEN THE
FOUR COUNTRIES.
WE GET THOUSANDS OF eMAILS
EVERY SINGLE WEEK, PRETTY MUCH,
FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE A SPOUSE,
SAY A CANADIAN WHO HAS AN
AUSTRALIAN SPOUSE AND THEY CAN'T
LIVE IN AUSTRALIA WITH THEIR
SPOUSE OR CHILDREN BECAUSE THE
IMMIGRATION CONTROLS ARE TOO
CRAZY.
I SEE IT MYSELF WHEN I GO BACK
TO LONDON EVERY 6 MONTHS FOR
BUSINESS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND
SO ON.
I FIND IT BIZARRE THAT CITIZENS
OF MEMBER E.U. COUNTRIES CAN GO
STRAIGHT THROUGH IN ONE SINGLE
FAST TRACK LINE BUT CITIZENS OF
CANADA, AUSTRALIA, AND NEW
ZEALAND HAVE TO QUEUE UP IN A
SEPARATE LINE, EVEN THOUGH THEY
SHARE THE SAME LANGUAGE, THE
SAME CULTURE AS US.
TO ME IT'S KIND OF BIZARRE.
WE SHARE FAR MORE WITH THESE
COUNTRIES THAN WE DO WITH THE
EUROPEAN UNION.
THERE ARE PLENTY OF BARRIERS IN
PLACE THAT CANZUK INTERNATIONAL
WANT TO BREAK DOWN.
WE'RE COMMITTED TO DOING SO.
HOPEFULLY GETTING THE MAJORITY
OF BARRIERS BROKEN BY 2020.

Steve says FRANCINE McKENZIE,
I WONDER IF YOU COULD SHARE WHAT
YOU THINK THE ODDS ARE OF JAMES
SKINNER SUCCEEDING AT THAT,
GIVEN WHAT WE'VE SEEN SOUTH OF
THE BORDER HERE, OBVIOUSLY, AN
ATTEMPT TO PUT LITERAL AND
FIGURATIVE WALLS UP AROUND THE
UNITED STATES, AND CERTAINLY IN
THE CASE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
AND OTHER PLACES IN THE EUROPEAN
UNION, A LOT LESS FASCINATION
WITH THE FREE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE
FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY TO
COUNTRY; WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Francine says WELL, A
LOT OF THESE IDEAS, IT'S
IMPORTANT TO NOTE, CALLING FOR
CLOSER COOPERATION, BE IT THE
MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE OR MORE
TRADE, THERE HAVE BEEN CALLS FOR
THESE KINDS OF... THIS
TIGHTENING OF ASSOCIATIONS
THROUGHOUT THE 20TH CENTURY, AND
THERE HAVE BEEN VARIOUS PLANS
PUT IN PLACE TO MOVE PEOPLE
AROUND AND TO BRING ABOUT FREE
TRADE AND FOR THE MOST PART
THEY'VE BEEN EITHER UNWORKABLE
BUREAUCRATICALLY OR ACTUALLY
ENGENDERED TREMENDOUS
OPPOSITION.
IF WE TALK ABOUT TRADE RATHER
THAN THE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE FOR
A MOMENT, IT'S IMPORTANT TO
REMEMBER THAT DESPITE MANY
ATTEMPTS TO CREATE MORE TRADE
WITHIN THE COMMONWEALTH, MANY OF
THESE COUNTRIES ARE ACTUALLY
COMPETITORS WITH ONE ANOTHER, SO
THERE WASN'T A COMPLEMENT THAT
MADE COMMONWEALTH FREE TRADE
ACTUALLY REALIZABLE OR IN THE
BEST INTERESTS OF THE
PARTICIPANTS.
AS FOR THE FREE MOVEMENT OF
PEOPLE, I CERTAINLY HOPE THAT
THE COMMONWEALTH, OR MOST
COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES WOULDN'T
GO THE WAY OF THE UNITED STATES
AT THE MOMENT, BUT THERE ARE
GOING TO BE ALL KINDS OF
BUREAUCRATIC AND ECONOMIC
CONSIDERATIONS THAT WILL
PROBABLY MAKE IT VERY, VERY
DIFFICULT TO WORK OUT.

Steve says MR. MAHARAJ, LET ME
PICK UP ON THE TRADE ANGLE THERE.
LITERALLY FOR DECADES IN CANADA
WE HAVE BEEN HEARING ABOUT
SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS TALK
ABOUT DOING TRADE BEYOND OUR
NEIGHBOUR TO THE SOUTH.
AND DESPITE EFFORTS TO INCREASE
TRADE AMONGST COMMONWEALTH
NATIONS, IT HASN'T HAPPENED IN
THE WAY THAT PEOPLE CHAMPIONING
THE IDEA WOULD LIKE IT TO.
THE QUESTION IS: IS THERE REALLY
ANYTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THAT?

Deodat says I THINK
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE TRENDS, THE
TRENDS ARE VERY POSITIVE.
AS WE SPEAK NOW,
INTERCOMMONWEALTH TRADE IS
AROUND 700 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS.
BY 2020, 1 TRILLION.
BY 2030, 2.75 TRILLION.
IT IS 19 percent MORE COST EFFECTIVE
NOW TO TRADE WITHIN THE
COMMONWEALTH THAN OUT OF THE
COMMONWEALTH.
SO THE DATA WOULD SUGGEST
OTHERWISE, THAT THE PROSPECTS
ARE GOOD AND THE IMMENSE
OPPORTUNITIES FOR TRADING WITHIN
THE COMMONWEALTH, AND WHEN THE
COMMONWEALTH TRADE MINISTERS
MEET ON THE 10TH OF MARCH HERE
IN LONDON, THAT'S WHAT THE
MINISTERS ARE GOING TO TALK
ABOUT, ABOUT HOW DO YOU FURTHER
BOOST THE COMMONWEALTH TRADE
ADVANTAGE FROM A 19 percent TO 30 percent.

Steve says I HEAR YOU.
LET ME FOLLOW UP.
THE AMERICAN BORDER FOR 80 percent OF
CANADIANS IS A TWO-HOUR DRIVE AWAY.
NIGERIA IS A LOT TRADE.
THINK OF TRADE SIMPLY AS A
CONSTRUCT WHERE YOU EXCHANGE
COMMODITIES TO MY MIND WOULDN'T
BE REFLECTING THE VERY
PROGRESSIVE AND DIFFERENT WORLD
TRADING ARCHITECTURE WE HAVE NOW.

Steve says STEPHEN, DO YOU
THINK THEY CAN MAKE SOME
PROGRESS ON THAT?

Stephen Rockel says YOU JUST
NEED TO LOOK FIRST AT THE
AMERICAN HIGH-TECH INDUSTRIES
HAVE MADE OVER TRUMP'S RECENT BAN.

Steve says SUSPENSION.

Stephen Rockel says WELL,
SUSPENSION, YES.
THEY WANT FREE... THEY WANT FREE
MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE AS WELL AS
ACCESS TO THE TECHNOLOGY AND SO
ON THAT ARE COMING OUT OF INDIA,
FOR EXAMPLE.
I THINK THERE'S GOING TO BE A
LOT MORE INTERACTION AND A LOT
MORE TRADE AND A LOT... FRANKLY,
MORE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE.
THAT'S INEVITABLE.
AMONGST NOT ONLY COMMONWEALTH
COUNTRIES BUT OF COURSE AMONGST
MANY OF THE ECONOMIC PLAYERS IN
THE WORLD.
IF I MAY JUST COMMENT VERY
BRIEFLY ON CANZUK.
I THINK PROBABLY ALL OF US AT
THE TABLE HERE WOULD LIKE TO SEE
SOME EASE OF MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE,
BUT THE CANZUK IDEA IS VERY
NARROW AND IT'S A MOVEMENT OF
PEOPLE FROM FOUR COUNTRIES, AND
FRANKLY, THERE ARE SOME
RESONANCES HERE THAT I THINK A
LOT OF COMMONWEALTH MEMBERS
WOULD BE SLIGHTLY CONCERNED ABOUT.

Steve says CAN I PUT THAT TO JAMES?
YOU ANTICIPATED MY NEXT QUESTION.
JAMES, THE FOUR COUNTRIES YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT, CANADA, BRITAIN,
NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, ARE
MAJORITY WHITE COUNTRIES AND
OTHER MEMBERS OF THE
COMMONWEALTH MIGHT WONDER, HEY,
HOW COME WE DON'T BELONG IN THAT CLUB?
WHAT'S THE RESPONSE TO THAT?

James says IT'S
CERTAINLY NOT BECAUSE THEY'RE
WHITE COUNTRIES.
I MEAN, IF WE WERE GOING TO GO
FOR A FULL CAUCASIAN UNION, WE
WOULD HAVE BROUGHT CYPRUS AND
MALTA INTO IT.
WE HAVEN'T.
YOU WOULD SAY THESE ARE MAJORITY
CHRISTIAN COUNTRIES AS WELL.
WE AREN'T WAGING WAR ON SIKHISM.
IF I CAN REEL THEM OFF, THEY
SHARE THE SAME HEAD OF STATE,
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, THE SAME
PARLIAMENTARY STYLE WESTMINSTER
SYSTEM, THE SAME RESPECT FOR
DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND THE
RULE OF LAW.
THEY HAVE GOOD GDP PER CAPITA
RATES, GOOD METHODS OF TACKLING
UNEMPLOYMENT, VERY GOOD METHODS
OF TACKLING SECURITY AND COUNTER
TERRORISM INITIATIVES.
THE LIST GOES ON AND ON AND ON
AS TO WHY THESE FOUR COUNTRIES
WOULD BE SO GOOD AT UNITING
UNDER FREE MOVEMENT, FREE TRADE,
AND FOREIGN POLICY.
THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO RACIAL
ISSUE HERE WHATSOEVER APART FROM
A COUPLE OF PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT
TO, YOU KNOW, THROW OUT THE RACE
CARD BECAUSE THEY KNOW IT DRAWS
ATTENTION WHEN THERE'S NO
HOLDING OR GROUNDS FOR IT WHATSOEVER.

Steve says DO YOU SEE IT AS
MERELY AS AN EASE OF TRAVEL
THING OR ARE YOU PREPARED TO GO
BEYOND IT WITH A DEEPER INTEGRATION?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda."

James says WE'RE
CERTAINLY NOT ADVOCATING THE
INTEGRATION WE'VE SEEN WITH THE
EUROPEAN UNION.
I JUST WANT TO MAKE THAT CLEAR.
WHAT THE EUROPEAN UNION HAS
DONE, IT STARTED OFF WITH
ECONOMIC INTEGRATION WITH THE
E.C.C. AND THAT'S WHY THE
MAJORITY OF THE BRITISH PUBLIC
VOTED INTO IT IN 1975.
FROM JUNE OF LAST YEAR, THE
MAJORITY VOTED OUT OF IT BECAUSE
THEY SAW IT MOVED FROM AN
ECONOMIC UNION TO MORE A
POLITICAL UNION, THE EUROPEAN
UNION ADVANCING ITS AGENDA
FOREVER CLOSER UNION AND THE
FEDERALIST STATE, WHICH PEOPLE
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM DID NOT
WANT, A LOT OF COUNTRIES OUTSIDE
OF THE EUROPEAN UNION DO NOT
WANT.
WHAT WE'RE SIMPLY ADVOCATING IS
FOR FREE MOVEMENT BETWEEN FOUR
INDEPENDENT SOVEREIGN COUNTRIES,
AND IT WILL REMAIN THAT WAY, TO
WORK TOGETHER TOWARDS FREE TRADE
AND FOREIGN POLICY FOR THE
BENEFIT OF THEIR SOCIETIES AND
ECONOMIES AS WELL.

The caption changes to "Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Steve says UNDERSTOOD.
I'M NOT SURE HOW OFTEN CANADIANS
OR PEOPLE HERE IN ONTARIO THINK
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH, BUT
WE'RE HAPPY THAT THEY HAVE FOR
THE LAST HALF HOUR, AND WE'RE
GRATEFUL ALL OF YOU WERE ABLE TO
HELP US DO THAT.
THANKS TO DEODAT MAHARAJ, THE
COMMONWEALTH DEPUTY SECRETARY
GENERAL ON THE LINE FROM LONDON,
ENGLAND; TO JAMES SKINNER FROM
VANCOUVER, THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE
OF CANZUK, WHICH I WILL
PRONOUNCE PROPERLY; FRANCINE
McKENZIE AT THAT OTHER LONDON,
LONDON, ONTARIO, PROFESSOR OF
HISTORY AT WESTERN UNIVERSITY
THERE; AND STEPHEN ROCKEL,
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN AFRICAN
HISTORY AND COLONIALISM AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.
GOOD FOR ALL OF YOU TO JOIN US
ON TVO TONIGHT.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: Commonwealth Redux?