Canada’s High Commissioner Mrs Janice Charette says CHOGM provides a setting to come together with friends from across the globe with eyes firmly focused on the future
Here at Canada House, as I’m sure at Commonwealth missions around London, we are eagerly anticipating welcoming our Heads of Government this spring.
For Canada, the biannual meeting of the 53 heads of government under the enduring leadership of Her Majesty The Queen provides a prime setting to come together with friends from across the globe with our eyes firmly on the future.
CHOGM is an opportunity to look forward as a collective. While the Commonwealth’s roots may have begun in historical connections, it is the promise of what we can achieve together for future generations under the banner of our shared values of human rights, respect for the rule of law and democracy that provides the real impetus – the spark – for this dynamic group.
Canada’s priorities for CHOGM, consistent with the themes for our presidency of the G7 this year, speak to the most pressing issues of the day.
Few now argue of the urgent need for the world to come together to fight climate change and build resilience for the future.
The protection of vulnerable ecosystems and the management of limited resources must influence our every decision – nowhere more so than in the protection of our oceans.
Surrounded by three majestic oceans and with 71,261 kilometres of mainland coastline, Canada enters these discussions as a leading custodian of a precious resource that is part of our natural heritage and a source of sustainable economic opportunity.
Through investment in clean technologies, sharing of best practices, education and training, we will build an economy fit for the future, one that ensures opportunity for all to both find and keep good jobs that equip them for the realities of a changing world for decades to come.
For Canada, this concept of future-proofing our economies includes the advancement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. It is not just about doing the right thing, it is about doing the smart thing for our prosperity.
When women and girls succeed, we all succeed. Gender equality – including LGBT rights – empowerment and inclusivity are woven throughout Canada’s approach to policy making.
In Canada, we know that our diversity is our strength. It is not a catchphrase or a slogan but very much an approach to increasing our impact as a nation. It is a key part of the dynamism that enables Canada to take its place as a leading, highly competitive modern economy.
Part of our collective challenge in the Commonwealth is to ensure that no economy is left behind and that we prepare future generations in our far-flung corners of the globe to take their place as leaders.
As inspirational young people from across the Commonwealth gather in London, we will glimpse a new era taking shape, one that will build upon the hard work of today to further strengthen our unique, coveted family of nations. Let us listen and learn from them all.