Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant to attend Commonwealth Week in United Kingdom

News release

March 12, 2023 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced today that the Honourable Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will attend Commonwealth Week events in London, United Kingdom, from March 12 to 17, 2023.

On March 13, Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant will attend events to commemorate Commonwealth Day and to mark the 10th anniversary of the Commonwealth Charter, a landmark document that helps define the organization’s key values. This year’s Commonwealth theme, Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future, reflects the shared commitment of member countries to improve the lives and opportunities of all peoples of the Commonwealth for generations to come.

On March 14 and 15, Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant will attend the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) Meeting and the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting to discuss shared challenges and to advance Canadian foreign policy priorities. This is Canada’s first meeting for its 2022 to 2024 term as a member of CMAG, a forum in which selected Commonwealth foreign affairs ministers or their designates discuss violations of the organization’s values and recommend measures to restore democracy and constitutional rule.

Throughout his visit, Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant will take the opportunity to discuss with Commonwealth member countries issues of mutual interest and opportunities for action, including working with members to reform the Commonwealth into a more modern, transparent and effective organization and advancing common priorities, such as tackling climate change and promoting gender equality and 2SLGBTQI+ rights.


“Canada and other Commonwealth members share a strong and meaningful relationship and important priorities, such as the respect and promotion of human rights, gender equality and 2SLGBTQI+ rights and the crisis in Ukraine and its impact on global systems. I look forward to continuing our work on shared priorities to build a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future for our countries and all Commonwealth peoples.”

- Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • The modern Commonwealth is a values-based association of 56 countries, most with historic links to the United Kingdom, and home to more than 2.4 billion citizens over five continents.

  • This year is the 10th anniversary of the Commonwealth Charter, a landmark document which reaffirms the core principles and values of the organization, including democracy; human rights; international peace and security; and tolerance, respect, and understanding. Canada calls on all Commonwealth members to use this important anniversary to reflect on concrete actions they can take to put these principles into practice.  

  • The mandate of the Commonwealth is to serve the needs of its member countries and their citizens in political, economic and social development. The Commonwealth also provides a forum for deliberation, problem solving, consensus decision making and action on matters of importance to its membership.

  • Canada first joined the British Commonwealth as an independent state in 1931. The modern Commonwealth came into existence in 1949 with the London Declaration, and Canada has played an important role in its evolution. 

  •  Of the Commonwealth’s 56 countries, Canada is its second-largest funder. Canada contributed a total of $10.86 million to the organization in 2021 to 2022. Among Canada’s contributions is $7.8 million in funding over three years for the renewal of long-term institutional support for the Commonwealth of Learning, which is based in Burnaby, British Columbia, and focuses on open and distance learning, a model of particular benefit to women and girls.  

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Adrien Blanchard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

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