The House

With Brexit delivered, the U.K.'s top diplomat in Canada reflects on what it means for us

Brexit, the oft-delayed, much-debated British exit from the European Union, became a reality on Friday. But what does it really mean for allies such as Canada? The U.K.’s High Commissioner to Canada, Susan Le Jeune d'Allegeershecque, says one change is that the informal trade talks between Canada and her country can be taken to another level.

'We are both committed to free trade,' high commissioner tells The House

People celebrate Britain leaving the EU on Brexit day at Parliament Square in London, Britain on Friday. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)
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Brexit — the oft-delayed, much-debated project to pull the United Kingdom from the European Union — became a reality on Friday.

But what does it really mean for allies like Canada?

For starters, said U.K. High Commissioner to Canada Susan Le Jeune d'Allegeershecque, it means that informal trade talks between Canada and her country can now be taken to another level.

"We are both committed to free trade," she said Friday in an interview with The House. "The trade and economic relationship between us is really important, so there's a very strong sense that we need to ensure that healthy relationship can continue."

Le Jeune d'Allegeershecque said she believes Brexit will deepen ties between Canada and the U.K., noting British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been to Canada twice in the last six months.

"I had no bilateral visits from his predecessors during the first two years of my posting here," she told host Chris Hall. "(It) shows that there is a real political desire to re-engage."

The high commissioner also addressed suggestions that the Brexit movement is another sign of the growing power of populist movements around the globe, and concerns that it could fuel the separatist movement in Scotland, where most voters wanted to remain in the EU.

"I think there are tensions," she said, noting Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon is pushing for a second independence referendum.

"There will be some difficult discussions in the future, but I think [U.K. Prime Minister] Boris Johnson is very clear that one of his main tasks is bringing the country at large back together again after what has been a difficult period, for all of us."

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