Canadian Envoy Warns Brexit Could Cause 'Generational' Economic Impact

By Blanchfield, Mike | The Canadian Press, June 19, 2016 | Go to article overview

Canadian Envoy Warns Brexit Could Cause 'Generational' Economic Impact


Blanchfield, Mike, The Canadian Press


Canadian envoy warns of bad Brexit impact

--

OTTAWA - Canada's top diplomat in Britain says it is time to take the vitriol out of the referendum campaign over leaving the European Union following the killing of a British parliamentarian this week.

Canadian High Commissioner Gordon Campbell says the British public needs to confront the fact that if they vote to leave the EU, it will disrupt not only their country, but the world at large, wreaking havoc on the global economy for a generation.

Campbell also warned that a British decision to leave -- known as a Brexit -- could stall the implementation of the Canada-EU free trade deal and imperil the jobs of thousands of Canadians working in hundreds of British companies.

Campbell's remarks echo those of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who have all spoken in favour of Britain remaining in the 28-country EU.

But in an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press, Campbell -- a former British Columbia premier -- warned of dire and unpredictable economic consequences of a Brexit, for Britain, Canada and the world.

"This is generational impact on the United Kingdom, Europe and the world's economies."

Campbell said the killing Thursday of British Labour MP Jo Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two, underscored the need for Britons to start treating the referendum as an important public policy question rather than an emotional question of national identity.

"The details of what happened to Jo Cox are still emerging, but I will say that I do hope that this true tragedy has led a lot of public figures here in the U.K. to think long and hard about the tone of the debate around the EU referendum," Campbell said.

"I think there is a consensus that the vitriol needs to stop and this needs to be less about personal, emotional attacks and more about the realities of what a vote to leave the European Union will mean for the British people and the world."

Police were trying to assess the motive of the man who fatally shot and stabbed Cox outside a library in her northern England riding, but her death ground the referendum campaign to a halt.

The suspended campaign appeared to spark a modest rebound in the London's FTSE and the British pound, leading some analysts to conclude Cox's death might be taking the wind out of the Brexit side. …

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