The bilateral relation between Bangladesh and Canada is traditionally friendly, and has grown over the last forty-three years. The political relations between the two countries date back to the time of the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country. The Canadian Government, people and media expressed support and sympathy for Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971. Canada was one of the first few countries that recognized Bangladesh immediately after the independence (14 February 1972). Eventually Bangladesh accredited its first High Commissioner to Canada in May 1972, and Canada reciprocated in September 1973. Since then there has been a steady development of relations between the two countries. The political relationship is, therefore, supportive and cooperative drawing upon shared links in the Commonwealth and various UN bodies.
Based upon shared values of democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law, the bilateral relations are focused on trade and investment, regional security, development cooperation, immigration and people to people contact. As a major development partner of Bangladesh, since its independence in 1971, Canada’s early development efforts involved reconstruction and rehabilitation, and then gradually moved into governance and rural development, especially in the field of agriculture, water management, primary education and health. Canada has always been appreciative of the firm commitment of Bangladesh to promote democracy and women empowerment. Canadian Government has also been engaged in socio-economic development in Bangladesh through various projects of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Bangladesh’s contribution to global peace, security and development as well as active role in the multilateral fora including UN, Commonwealth, NAM, OIC, SAARC, LDC group is much appreciated by the international community including Canada. Bangladesh and Canada are, therefore, cooperative in these common platforms by extending support to each other’s resolutions as well as candidatures. Bangladesh’s commitment to implement the provisions of the Ottawa Convention (Anti-Personal Land Mine Ban Treaty) and its support during the elaboration of the Statute for International Criminal Court as well as UN Security Council resolution on Women, Peace and Security have further cemented the political relations with Canada. Moreover, Canada deeply appreciates Bangladesh’s stance against terrorism.
Moreover, Bangladesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Saskatchewan which will contribute to the strengthening of the bilateral relations with the provincial government in the areas of cooperation in the fields of trade and commerce, food security, agricultural research, education, bio- and clean technologies, human resource development and employment.
People-to-people links between Canada and Bangladesh are noteworthy and steadily expanding. The Bangladeshi – Canadian community is estimated at over 100,000 who continue to make significant contributions to Canadian society and the multi-cultural fabric of Canada. The recently formed ‘Bangladesh-Canada Parliamentary Forum’ is expected to play a significant role in furthering the political relations as well as people to people contacts between Bangladesh and Canada.