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At Work Representing Canada Abroad

Through parliamentary diplomacy, Members of Parliament play an active role representing and promoting Canada on the international stage. From their participation at international conferences to their work promoting democracy as well as economic and social ties with developed and developing nations alike, Members help to advance Canada's interests.

The Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons also build parliamentary relationships with other countries by receiving courtesy calls from newly accredited ambassadors to Canada and keeping in regular contact with the diplomatic community in the capital.

The Speaker of the House of Commons held 48 such courtesy calls in 2007-2008.

Representing Canada's Interests and Sharing our Experience

Photo of participants at the XVth Canada-Mexico Interparliamentary Meeting

Group picture of participants in
the XVth Canada-Mexico Interparliamentary Meeting, held
in Mexico in February 2008.

Photo: © House of Commons

The Speaker and Members are regularly invited to visit other legislatures to discuss common issues, foster relationships and share knowledge and expertise. At the invitation of his counterpart presiding officers, Speaker Milliken led official delegations to the following countries during 2007-2008:

  • Trinidad and Tobago (April 2-5, 2007)
  • Germany (October 8-13, 2007)
  • Malaysia (November 1-9, 2007)
  • Peru (March 15-20, 2008).

In addition, the Speaker participated in the following parliamentary conferences:

  • G8 Speakers' Conference, Berlin and Potsdam, Germany (September 7-9, 2007)
  • 19th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers
    of the Commonwealth, London, United Kingdom
    (January 2-6, 2008)
  • Canadian Presiding Officers Conference, Quebec City (January 24-26, 2008)
  • XVth Canada-Mexico Interparliamentary Meeting, Mazatlán, Mexico (February 17-19, 2008).

Welcoming Foreign Parliamentarians and Dignitaries


Parliamentary Officers' Study Program

Outreach at the House of Commons extends to an interparliamentary and international level through the Parliamentary Officers' Study Program. This program affords an opportunity for senior parliamentary staff from foreign legislatures and Canadian jurisdictions to learn about the functioning of the Parliament of Canada and, in turn, to reflect on their own practices. Hosted by the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament, it provides participants the opportunity to observe, discuss and exchange views with senior Canadian parliamentary officials on the various procedural, administrative and research services provided to parliamentarians. Three such programs were held in 2007-2008, including one specifically for officials from the parliaments of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Participants in the session of the Parliamentary Officers' Study Program held in November 2007.

Standing from left to right:

Mr. Alistair Doherty
(United Kingdom - House of Commons)
Ms. Marie Thérèse Soya
(Cameroon - National Assembly)
Ms. Gloria Nakebu-Esiku
(East African Legislative Assembly)
Mr. Sambo Sin
(Cambodia - National Assembly)
Ms. Vuyokazi Hellen Mnana
(South Africa - National Council
of Provinces)
Mr. Jagdish Kumar
(India - Council of States)
Mr. Ganbat Bayasgalan
(Parliament of Mongolia)
Mr. Untung Djumadi
(Indonesia - House of Representatives)

Sitting from left to right:

Ms. Elizabeth Watson
(Parliament of Scotland)
Ms. Anca-Daniela Chesaru
(Romania - Chamber of Deputies)
Mr. Brahm Dutt
(India - House of the People)
Mr. Peter Milliken,
M.P., Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada
Mr. Galal Al-Halali
(Yemen - Consultative Council)
Mr. Manuel Mamadi Fati
(Guinea-Bissau -
National People's Assembly)

Photo: © House of Commons / chris diotte

Photo of participants at the session of the Parliamentary Officers' Study Program

In addition to their work abroad, the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons also serve as hosts to foreign parliamentarians and dignitaries visiting Canada. In 2007-2008, Parliament hosted the following official visits by foreign parliamentary speakers and delegations:

  • The Honourable David Hawker, M.P., Speaker of the House of Representatives of Australia, and a parliamentary delegation (April 14-21, 2007)
  • His Excellency Dr. Jaime José Matos da Gama, President
    of the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic, and a parliamentary delegation (April 30-May 4, 2007)
  • His Excellency Franco Marini, President of the Senate
    of the Italian Republic (September 4-7, 2007)
  • The Right Honourable the Baroness Hayman, Lord Speaker of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (September 24-28, 2007)
  • Her Excellency Jozefina Topalli, M.P., Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Albania, and a parliamentary delegation (October 14-20, 2007)
  • His Excellency Degefe Bula, Speaker of the House of the Federation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and a parliamentary delegation (October 15-21, 2007)
  • Her Excellency Katalin Szili, M.P., Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Hungary, and a parliamentary delegation (October 28-November 1, 2007)
  • His Excellency Wolfgang Erlitz, President of the Federal Council of the Republic of Austria, and a parliamentary delegation (November 25-30, 2007)
  • His Excellency Danzan Lundeejantsan, Chairman of
    the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia, and
    a parliamentary delegation (December 2-7, 2007)
  • His Excellency Dr. Norbert Lammert, President of the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) of the Federal Republic
    of Germany (January 30-February 5, 2008)
  • The Honourable Kathleen Casey, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island (February 12-13, 2008)
  • The Honourable Roger Fitzgerald, Speaker of the House
    of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador
    (February 12-13, 2008).

By visiting abroad and by serving as host to foreign visits, parliamentarians share ideas with their counterparts from around the world, exploring common concerns and finding lasting solutions to problems. Frequent topics of discussion include parliamentary democracy, international security, agriculture, immigration, trade and investment, the environment and international development.

The Parliament of Canada is also a member of various parliamentary associations. Each of these associations holds conferences, seminars and meetings. These events offer Canadian parliamentarians further opportunities to promote Canada's interests abroad, and to maintain bilateral and multilateral relationships with other countries.


Photo of the Centennial Flame

On January 1, 1967, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson launched Canada's 100th anniversary celebrations by lighting the Centennial Flame for the first time. Surrounded by the shields of Canada's provinces and territories, and joined by the water of the fountain, the Centennial Flame symbolizes our nation's unity from sea to sea.

An Act passed by Parliament in 1991 ensures that coins tossed into the Centennial Flame's fountain go to fund research by and about Canadians with disabilities.

Photo: © House of Commons / Bernard Thibodeau

Many issues of concern to Members of Parliament and their constituents transcend national and regional borders. Canadian parliamentarians must take into account the views and interests of other countries. This is especially true in a globalized world in which decisions of international organizations can have an effect on the daily lives of their constituents. Here are examples of activities undertaken by Members of Parliament in this regard:

  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) holds annual public events where participants from government, parliament, civil society, the business sector, academia and the media jointly reflect on the functioning of the multilateral trading system and analyze the institutional state of the WTO. As part of the 2007 program, a delegation participated in a panel on climate change, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
  • The Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas sent a delegation to the 37th Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States. The main theme, Energy for Sustainable Development, was of particular interest to the delegation and their attendance allowed members to improve their understanding of issues of hemispheric interest.
  • In meetings with United States governors and state legislators, members of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group advocated for measures that would be beneficial to Canadian business, such as the balanced implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
  • In 2007, Canadian NATO Parliamentary Assembly members worked with other delegates on examining issues such as the security repercussions of global warming, as well as the security ramifications related to the ability of certain nations to gain nuclear weapons. Canadian members were very active in debates on the subject of NATO's mission in Afghanistan.
Photo of His Excellency Viktor Zubkov, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation with Speaker Milliken

Visit in Canada of His Excellency Viktor Zubkov, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation with Speaker Milliken.

Photo: © House of Commons / Chris Diotte


The Library of Parliament originated in the legislative libraries of Upper and Lower Canada, which were created in the 1790s. The two libraries were amalgamated when Upper and Lower Canada were united in 1841.

Interparliamentary Groups

Interparliamentary groups strengthen relations between Canadian parliamentarians and their counterparts from other countries. These groups promote cooperation and understanding between nations. The Parliament of Canada is involved in official interparliamentary groups with Germany, Ireland, Israel and Italy. The activities of these groups are supported financially through the membership fees from individual parliamentarians.

Photo of His Excellency László Sólyom, President of the Republic of Hungary

On April 25, 2007, the Speakers of the Senate and of the House of Commons were honoured to welcome His Excellency László Sólyom, President of the Republic of Hungary.

Photo: © House of Commons / Chris Diotte


The Parliament of Canada belongs to five bilateral associations and seven multilateral associations.

Bilateral associations

  • Canada-China Legislative Association
  • Canada-France Interparliamentary Association
  • Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group
  • Canada-United Kingdom Inter-Parliamentary Association
  • Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group

Multilateral associations

  • Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association
  • Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association (including the delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly)
  • Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie
  • Inter-Parliamentary Union
  • NATO Parliamentary Association
  • Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas
  • Commonwealth Parliamentary Association