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Canada Temporarily Closes Embassy in Venezuela

Canada announced the closure of its embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. Canada had been supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido’s claim to the presidency after Nicolas Maduro’s re-election in May 2018 was condemned as illegitimate. Canadian diplomats were told their visas would not be renewed after expiring at the end of the month. “Therefore,” Foerign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “we are left with no choice but to temporarily suspend our operations at the Embassy of Canada to Venezuela, effective immediately.” On 9 June, Venezuela temporarily closed its consulates in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. It’s embassy in Ottawa remained open.

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Suez Crisis

The 1956 Suez Crisis was a military and political confrontation in Egypt that threatened to divide the United States and Great Britain, potentially harming the Western military alliance that had won the Second World WarLester B. Pearson, who later became prime minister of Canada, won a Nobel Peace Prize for using the world’s first, large-scale United Nations peacekeeping force to de-escalate the situation.

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John Humphrey

John Thomas Peters Humphrey, OC, lawyer, diplomat, scholar (born 30 April 1905 in Hampton, NB; died 14 Mar 1995 in Montreal, QC). John Humphrey was the director of the United Nations Human Rights Division from 1946 to 1966. He was instrumental in drafting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. He also taught law and briefly served as dean at McGill University. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974 and received the United Nations Prize for human rights advocacy in 1988.

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The Pig War

The “Pig War” of 1859 was a confrontation between the United States and Great Britain over the location of the international border in the San Juan Islands. The conflict began when an American settler killed a pig owned by an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company; it quickly grew to involve British warships and hundreds of troops on both sides. The root of the conflict was an earlier compromise between the two nations that resulted in American and British settlers sharing the disputed islands. Though called a war, it never actually degenerated into an armed conflict, and there were no human casualties. In late 1859, the two sides agreed to a joint military occupation of the islands; this lasted until 1872, when the San Juan Islands became part of US territory.

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Middle Power

In international relations, the term middle power refers to a state that wields less influence on the world stage than a superpower. As the term suggests, middle powers fall in the middle of the scale measuring a country’s international influence. Where superpowers have great influence over other countries, middle powers have moderate influence over international events. Canada was considered to be a middle power during the postwar period — from 1945 until about 1960. Though Canada was not as powerful or prominent as the United Kingdom or the United States during this time, it was an international player that influenced events through moral leadership, peacekeeping and conflict mediation.

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Canadian Foreign Relations

Throughout its history, Canada has taken a series of steps to develop from a British colony into an independent nation. Both the First and Second World War were turning points; Canada’s military sacrifices gave it the strength and confidence to demand its own voice on the world stage. In the postwar era, Canada maintained its role in both Western and global alliances. (See NATO; NORAD; GATT.) However, economics have shaped Canadian diplomacy to a remarkable extent. Because of the United States’ singular importance to Canadian security and trade, relations with the US have dominated Canada’s foreign policy since Confederation.