Peter MacKay, Baker McKenzie partner and former Canadian Foreign Affairs and National Defense Minister, addressed the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting at the House of Lords today highlighting Canada's strong links with both the UK and EU and what Canadians would like to see from Brexit.
"The UK withdrawal from the EU may be unwelcome to many - both in the UK and the EU - but it has and will occur. Both sides need to recognize this and do what needs to be done to mitigate the effect it will have on their economies, security and people.
But the Article 50 alarm clock is ticking. Once it goes off, neither party can press snooze, roll over and hope to awake as if from a bad dream.
A great deal of work needs to be done if both the UK and the EU are to continue to build on forty years of shared prosperity, stability, security and growth. Yet divisions do exist. But bridging divides is something Canadians seem to be quite good at and know a bit about.
So what would Canadians like to see from Brexit?
First, the continuation of tariff free cross border trade in goods between the UK and the EU. This will preserve established supply chains of which Canadian business and investments form an integral part on both sides of the channel.
Second, preserve the high level of cross border trade in wholesale financial services between the UK and the EU. This will maintain financial stability in the near term while creating the conditions for Canadian financial firms to assist in broadening and deepening the EU's own capital markets union.
Third, ensure mutual access to each others airspace, transportation links, energy markets, and telecommunication networks. Canadian pension funds have invested heavily in the infrastructure to support these sectors in the UK and in the EU. We would like to keep doing so but need stability in the regulatory environment.
Fourth, convert the rights of UK and EU citizens working and living across the EU to a permanent residency status akin to what Canada confers on those who arrive from third countries looking to build a better life. The citizens of the UK and the EU caught up in Brexit should not pay an undue price for the implications of the UK's decision to withdraw.
Fifth, make sure that historical grievances and internal political divisions do not undermine the prospect of mutual cooperation, economic stability and security once the UK formally withdraws from the EU."