Canada And UK To Share Office Space

Image: DrRandomFactor
Many believe that sharing embassies with Britain could change the way Canada is seen. Image: DrRandomFactor

Ambassadors are people who represent one country, in another one.

They are diplomats who represent their country at a high level. They are also important symbols of their country.

They typically work from offices known as embassies*.

Canada has hundreds of offices around the world in many different countries.

Recently, Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) signed an agreement to share some of their embassies.

The two countries have a “common history and shared values,” Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a press release. He said the new arrangement will help Canada save money on office space and resources. It will also allow Canada to have offices in countries where they don’t already have them.

“Canada will be sharing space, as we do with other trusted countries, to get maximum reach at minimal cost to taxpayers,” said Baird.

Baird’s UK counterpart agreed that the two countries share common interests. The most “pressing international issue on our common agenda” is the situation in Syria, said William Hague, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

He said the two countries want to work together to ensure aid can reach the people who need it in Syria, and to encourage the United Nations “take firm action” to get that country back on track.

Canada and the UK will share embassies in Haiti and Burma, according to the new agreement, with more countries to come.

Critics worry that sharing embassies with the UK will affect Canada’s independence in its foreign activities. They also want to make sure that French-language services will continue to be available at the new embassies.

Canada has shared diplomatic office space before, with Australia, in dozens of locations around the world.

*They may also work from consulates, high commissions or trade offices.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
This article lists some good things and some bad things (pros and cons) of sharing embassies with the UK. What are some other pros and some other cons you can think of?

Have you ever had to share a room, a desk, supplies or other belongings with anyone else? What were some of the pros and cons?

Reading Prompt:  Responding to and Evaluating Texts
Do you agree with Canada’s decision to share embassies with the United Kingdom? Why or why not. Use evidence from the article to support your views.

Make judgements and draw conclusions about ideas in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Grammar Feature: Synonyms
Embassy, consulate, high commission, trade office – these words describe similar types of offices in which ambassadors may work.

Write at least three synonyms for each of the words below. What level can you get to?

Level 1: awesome, terrible
Level 2: strong, journey
Level 3: problem, creative
Level 4: justice, respect