Saturday , May 25 2024

CANZUK: A Heartfelt Cry Spanning Across 3 Continents

On the European continent, Britain has always been seen as the country – half in and half out of Europe. Perhaps this is because we are neighbouring a geographical block of 500 million people but share a first language with a worldwide block of 500 million people. The Euro-federalists mock as us for our “tiny island mentality just off the coast of Europe”. True, we are an island nation and in our literature, the English Channel is always over-emphasised in size, whereas the Atlantic conversely is often referred to as a mere “pond”. This of course doesn’t refer to the actual distance but is an emphasis of our cultural affinity including business practices towards other nations which share our mother tongue.

On the 23rd of June 2016, we the British public had our referendum on our membership of the European Union. In this highly contentious referendum, unsurprisingly, just over half of us voted to be out of the EU and just under half voted to be in the EU. For the “Remoaners”, who refuse to accept, the result of British Democracy and have been “Remoaning” the result for the last 2 years, it is worth quoting the numbers of the EU referendum out in full: 17,410,742 (52 %) opted to leave while 16,141,241 (48 %) opted to Remain and this gave Leave a 1,269,501 (4 %) edge over Remain. Here we define the term “Remoaners” as a collective term for high profile academics, politicians and media outlets who were ignorantly overconfident before the EU referendum and still to this day remain out of touch with the British general public. We distinguish the “Remoaners” from the proportion of the general Eurosceptic public who voted remain (many halfheartedly) at the ballot box and now accept the result of the referendum. Contrary to the lies peddled by the “Remoaners” the British Social Attitudes survey clearly show that the British General Public, generally views migrants in a more positive light, after having their EU referendum than beforehand. While the author of this article is not against, Freedom of movement between the United Kingdom and European Union per say, he highlight’s that it has been a highly controversial issue in the United Kingdom and has been widely debated over the last four years.

Let’s go on to analyse this in more detail. If we examine British sentiment towards two large political blocks, in terms solely regarding British Emigration, which we believe to be the ultimate metric of British sentiment. On the whole, in modern times, British expats would not voluntary move to a place, that they do not culturally and politically feel at home in. Firstly there is the EU26 and we deliberately exclude the Republic of Ireland from this group because it is regarded with a special status in the United Kingdom. The Irish are literally politically regarded as “Not Foreign” and we have a separate Common Travel Area which has existed for just shy of 100 years. The EU26 is a block of about 500 million and this block hosts only about 1.4 million British expats. The next political block, the USA is a block of about 350 million hosts about 0.7 million British expats. There is not a substantial difference between these two blocks 0.28 % versus 0.2 % Brits per host population. In this case the slight edge with the EU, may be explained merely by the fact that we have a free immigration mandated as a requirement of the EU block and not with the USA. It also shows that when push comes to shove, that we regard both blocks in more or less equal regard. When the EU and the USA have a trade war, as they seem to do these days, politically and culturally, we are right in the middle and do not particularly wish to take either side.

“Global Britain”

While “Remoaners” may have a limited outlook and see the World as Europe, the British do not confine themselves solely to Europe. Due to the collective soft power of the “English speaking nations” otherwise known as the “Anglosphere”, English has become the “Global Language”. While English has become the “Global language”, there is no single official language of the EU. This is mainly because the EU28 can never agree on anything. English has however stealthily unofficially become the most widely spoken second language amongst European youth and is taught at an ever-increasing younger age. This is because its usefulness is not exclusively confined to 1 or 2 small countries. In the UK only a subset of European Languages (French, Spanish or German) are taught to the youth and often to a poor standard. This has ultimately led to a one-way, language barrier and a severe underestimation of the political and cultural influence the UK has had on the EU by the British public. Due to language, at present the average European millennial feels more comfortable in the UK, than the average British millennial does in their perspective EU country and hence is likely the reasoning behind, substantial EU net immigration into the UK and why there is substantial net immigration into all the “Anglosphere” countries in general.

However, amongst the endless debate on the number of EU expats to the UK and British expats to the EU one glaringly obvious point has been left out, the topic of British Emigration and why a British Free Immigration policy should only be made by the EU, for the entire EU. Ditto with Free Trade. The EU’s tendency is to treat all EU28 members states as “a single block”, when it, is itself an “artificial block”. In this block, the different “countries” or as the Euro-federalist EU Commission likes to call them “member states” have vastly different interests and different relationships with other countries around the world. For the UK not being able to fully maintain the relationships it has with the other English speaking democracies due to its incorporation into this political block was a fundamental flaw, and the political divide between the centralised European Institution and the British people on this issue was one of the ultimate driving forces for Brexit. It is also, always why for the 40 years of membership, the UK was seen at the best, to be resistant to any new EU policy and at worst to be kicking and screaming at any mention of further federalisation. Every step towards the “EU Superstate” was seen as a step away from the rest of the “English Speaking World”. Incidentally with, the UK Leaving the EU, the problem ironically still continues and the Republic of Ireland’s relationship with the UK, due to their EU membership may now naturally follow a similar strain.

If we look at British emigration by continent, there are equivalent numbers of British expats in Asia Pacific as in Europe and just slightly less in North America. Looking at the most popular destinations for British expats we can see that in the EU26 countries about half our expats go to Spain. Spain is incidentally the only EU country which has more British expats than vice versa. If we break down immigration in terms of top countries for British expats and look at the EU26 at a block, we see that about two thirds of all British Emigration are outside what we are told is the “all-encompassing EU”. Excluding the Republic of Ireland, then British Emigration from non-EU:EU countries is about three quarters outside the EU26.

The CANZUK Grouping

However, we wish to highlight that there are three countries in particular, all outside the EU, which the British feel the highest degree of cultural and political affinity with and this is observed when we look at British Emigration. These are Canada, Australia and New Zealand and with the United Kingdom collectively make the beautiful acronym CANZUK. These are the three countries which are both culturally and politically the most similar to the United Kingdom. They are in simple terms our best friends and we regard the citizens in these countries as our kith and kin. Although it shouldn’t be necessary, in the modern day climate where a certain subset of society are actively trying to take offense and who immediately class CANZUK as some sort of white nationalist movement. I will make the case and point, that we extend this feeling of kinship to the multi-ethnic citizens of the CANZUK countries, who have successfully integrated and contribute into our societies even if they have never stepped foot into the UK, myself also being of mixed ethnicity. Canadian, Australian and New Zealand’s values greatly overlay with our own, in fact we could say our values are almost identical. These are the three countries who have shown the most excitement and enthusiasm, following the UK’s vote for Brexit.

In Australia alone, a country on the other side of the world there are about the same number of British expats as in the EU26. To put it in context the block of Canada, Australia and New Zealand have a combined population of about 70 million and host about 2.1 million British expats i.e. there are 3 % of Brits per host population in CANZ. In other words, normalising for the total population, the British favour the CANZ countries 12 fold over their EU neighbours and this is without a formal free immigration agreement, in place.

A YouGov poll titled “Freedom of Movement: How Many Brits were up for Living and Working in the EU Anyway?” asked a sample of the British public, “If you had the opportunity, would you or would you not want to live and/or work in any of the following countries?” Their poll included EU and non-EU countries, unsurprisingly the top two countries were Canada (67 %) and New Zealand (64 %). Australia wasn’t polled but one can infer similar results. The top EU countries weren’t even close, Sweden (52 %) and the Netherlands (51 %) meanwhile some other EU countries in contrast scored extremely poorly, Romania (19 %). The USA (50 %) was also preferred over most of the EU countries. Most of the countries that scored highly had a GDP/capita that was on par with the United Kingdom and thus reciprocal freedom of movement involved reciprocal opportunities. Countries that scored lower, usually had a substantially lower GDP/capita, and as a consequence were seen, to have limited reciprocal career opportunities. Countries unsurprisingly which were seen widely as political incompatible with British culture also scored particularly low.

YouGov also asked the British public “which Countries should we focus on for trade deals?” and it found that for those who voted Brexit in particular that the top countries were Australia, United States and Canada with Australia and Canada being substantially over-prioritised in terms of market size. YouGov did not take into account the cultural and political affinity the British feel for Canada and Australia, nor did it take into account the shared language. This feeling is not one-way, the Lowy Institute asked Australians to rate their feelings towards other countries on a scale between 0 and 100. The top three countries were New Zealand (86 %), Canada (84 %) and the United Kingdom (82 %), the next country was Japan (74 %). Australian’s then had equal favourability towards both the United States (67 %) and European Union (67 %). CANZUK International polled different regions of CANZUK on their opinion of freedom of movement across the four CANZUK nations. They found overwhelming support with Canada (76 %), Australia (73 %), New Zealand (82 %) and United Kingdom (68 %). Region by region basis, the region with lowest support, Quebec (63 %), still supports the motion.

Opponents of CANZUK always cited Quebecois as being uncomfortable in a larger predominantly English-speaking block however Quebec has strict language laws which already prevent it from being drowned out by the rest of English-speaking Canada and the idea carries popularity even within Quebec. Anecdotally, I am told by friends from Quebec that although they speak French as their first language, that they have picked up our sense of humour and thus feel a stronger connection to the other CANZUK countries.

Why do we not have a CANZUK Treaty?

We such close cultural affinity, mutual admiration and trust. The next question becomes obvious, why do we not have a CANZUK Treaty? The answer is we used to until we joined the EEC which morphed to become the much unloved political monster, the EU. Why did Brexit happen? Because our EU membership held back the potential of CANZUK and the British became disgruntled with their immigration policy – further restricting those from the other CANZUK nation’s year on and year out… and aggravating the issue further…

Now with Brexit, we have the chance to finally rectify our immigration policy and the first countries we should make a deal with are Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There are a number of “Remoaners” who see this as a post-imperial fantasy however day by day, the push towards CANZUK is becoming a reality. “Remoaners” claims are made null and invalid when one points out there is actually higher public support in the other three countries than the UK itself, which still has high support. It is rare for a political movement, especially one which involves such a contentious issue, such as “freedom of movement” to carry such wide spread support. When an average citizen of a CANZUK question is asked about it the reply is usually “it makes sense”. The “Advocate and Introduce Legislation Promoting the Free Movement of Citizens between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand” petition has reached in excess of 260,000 signatures. On the 24th of August in 2018, the Canadian Conservative Party held their Conservative Convention where their leading CANZUK Advocate, Erin O’Toole put forward a CANZUK Treaty as their “game-changing” policy and highlighted that the policy was particularly popular amongst the youth. We watched on in excitement in the UK, wishing our PM would show a fraction of the leadership of Erin O’Toole.

Foreign Affairs – C – 9 – 1349 CANZUK Treaty Implementation (NEW)

Subject to thorough security & health checks, CPC will work to realize these objectives among CANZUK countries:

  1. a) Free trade in goods/services
  2. b) Visa-free labour/leisure mobility for citizens, including retirement relocation
  3. c) Reciprocal healthcare agreement modeled on existing AU / NZ / UK bilaterals
  4. d) Increased consumer choice/protection for travel
  5. e) Security coordination

New Zealand Act also support CANZUK and have printed “New Zealand Act Will Pursue a free trade and free movement area between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (CANZUK)”. In Australia, the Australian Liberal Democrats have printed “Currently Australia has a Free Immigration with New Zealand. Likely countries for additional Free Immigration Agreements include Canada, Singapore, Japan, the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands”. The other countries out with CANZUK are generally seen as favourable within all the CANZUK countries. In the UK’s Budget 2018, the UK Government have very slowly begun to address, the British public’s concern with their Border Service:

4.37 Enhancing the UK border experience – In 2019, the government will introduce changes at the UK border to enhance the experience for business and leisure travellers to the UK. As part of this, citizens of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan will, by next summer, be able to use the e-passport gates at UK ports, significantly improving the flow of passengers at busy airports such as Heathrow. Businesses will be able to become customs trusted traders (including ‘Authorised Economic Operator’) in half the time it currently takes, as part of the UK’s aim to be at the cutting edge of global customs administration. HMRC will implement the improvements within 2 years.

And the Libertarian Party have printed “The Libertarian Party fully supports the CANZUK proposal, for a free trade zone including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom having shared legal and cultural heritage” on their manifesto.

Although the four CANZUK countries are geographically separated. Polling within the four countries show that the nations consistently feel a strong cultural and political affinity to each other; that they share with no other nations. During the EU Referendum, even the most ardent “Remoaner”, Nick Clegg former leader of the Liberal Democrats, steered clear and denied all claims about the push for an “EU Army” or “EU Defence Force”. This of course being the EU Permanent Structure Cooperation (PESCO) plan, announced almost as soon as the British had their EU referendum. This of course highlights the British sentiment towards the EU whereby the British portray a lack in support or trust, towards any further EU political integration often called “more Europe”. Those on the continent have long regarded the British as “Reluctant Europeans” and the Europe Chapter of the British Social Attitudes Survey showed that very few British felt strongly European with at least a quarter feeling “Not at All European”. Yet, on the other hand when MP Robert Seeley made a much bolder statement involving CANZUK: “We should integrate our armed forces much more. We (the British, Canadians and Australians) would be a formidable power. We would operate on both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of the Pacific. We would represent 130 million of the most affluent people in the world” there was absolutely no outrage. In fact, the general public have a far greater interest and understanding in the forces from the CANZUK countries with many Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders attending remembrance Sunday in London and in Australia as a testament to the number of British and Canadians that attend ANZAC day, the online form lists the nationalities in order: Australian, New Zealander, British, Canadian, American then by other country alphabetically. The armed forces across the CANZUK have a shared origin and to this day share many traditions with each other. The Australian, New Zealand and previously Canadian national flag had are improved British Naval Ensigns. The four CANZUK countries share a common language, both cultural and politically and even share a Monarch. At present it is possible for someone from CANZUK to enroll in the UK armed forces, even if they have never stepped foot in the UK. While our relationship with both the EU and USA is important, Britain’s true special relationship is within CANZUK. Those from CANZUK do not feel “foreign” when visiting each other’s countries and do not regard each other as “foreign” and never have, so why do our border services? There has been a huge fuss about our immigration policy and Blue Passports post Brexit. The “Remoaning” media and our government seem to fail to comprehend the simple point, that the British Public have been making – that we want our immigration policy to follow and best accommodate our emigration policy?

We want our border service to reinstate a free immigration agreement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, our closest family, our kith and kin. Once this is done, and only once this is done we will be happy with any deal the government can reach with our extended family the EU and USA.


CANZUK Facebook Group

Raw Data for the PI Charts (There may be newer estimates)

16 November 2017 YouGov: Freedom of movement: how many Brits were up for living and working in the EU anyway?

17 September 2017 YouGov: Which countries should we focus on for trade deals?

20 June 2018 Lowy Institute Poll

15 April 2018 CANZUK Institute: Latest Poll Shows Significant Public Support for CANZUK Freedom of Movement Advocate and introduce legislation promoting the free movement of citizens between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

24 August 2018 Conservative Convention – Immigration, Defence and Democratic Reform (1:04:00)

New Zealand ACT Manifesto

Australian Liberal Democrats

HM Treasury: Budget 2018

Libertarian Party of the United Kingdom

British Social Attitudes Survey: Europe


About Philip Yip

Dr Philip Yip is a Researcher at the University of Strathclyde in the field of Biophysics. Outside of research, he has taken an interest in British politics and has been a vocal advocate for the CANZUK movement and is an admin of the CANZUK Facebook Group (which the reader is welcome to join).

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  1. David Patte

    What flag do you have for Canada at the headline of your story? Its the Canadian Red Ensign that was replaced by the Maple Leaf nearly 55 years ago. You are 55 years out of date.

    BTW, i think CANZUK would be great, but most Canadians think it was a mistake for the UK to leave the EU.
    Don’t forget that most Canadians are of Scottish and Irish descent, not English.

    CANZUK would be wonderful, but I and many of my Canadian peers would probably prefer to see Canada join the EU with Scotland and a United Ireland. Much more interesting.

  2. Max Reed

    4 countrys new zealand australia uk and canada