Fostering Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogues

This article marks the 40th anniversary of formal relations between the EU and Canada and features an interview with Jeremy Kinsman by Ivan Watson. The interview was published in our local Saanich News, it was conducted after Ivan's internship with

 Sept 13, 2016 by Ivan Watson

" When a young Jeremy Kinsman joined the staff of the Canadian Mission to the European Economic Community in 1968 as its first political officer, the office conditions were less than ideal. “I don’t think most people knew we had a mission. It was just a start up mission and it was in the attic of the Canadian Embassy to Belgium.”

Working in cramped quarters, Kinsman notes that Canada’s ambassador to Belgium doubled as the ambassador to the European Community. The work was of a limited, technical nature as Canada’s trading relationship with the then six members of the European Community was relatively small. Canada’s most important economic relationship was with the American market. “We’d allowed our country to become what was called a branch plant economy of the United States,” notes Kinsman. “It made our vulnerability to sudden decision-making acute.” Reacting to a number of economic stresses, in 1971 U.S. President Richard Nixon unleashed chaos in the global economy by abandoning the gold standard and imposing an import surcharge. 

For Canadian officials, “It was a traumatic shock,” Kinsman said..." For more visit

Jeremy Kinsman is a former Canadian diplomat. He served as Minister in Washington, Ambassador in Moscow, Rome, and Brussels (EU) and as High Commissioner in London. Since 2006, he is Diplomat in Residence at Princeton University, Regent’s Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and Distinguished Visiting Diplomat at Ryerson University, Toronto.



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