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Representing Canada

Although not part of the daily schedule of business, another responsibility of both Members and the House Administration is to represent our legislature, our country, our people and our system of parliamentary democracy internationally. The Speaker and Members welcome visitors to the House of Commons and participate in delegations and parliamentary conferences.

Welcoming International Visitors

The Speakers of both the Senate and the House of Commons build parliamentary relationships with other countries and maintain liaison with the diplomatic community by receiving courtesy calls from newly accredited ambassadors to Canada and those ending their stay here. Speaker Milliken received 45 such visits in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

During the last year, the Parliament of Canada also received two delegations of a more formal nature. In April 2009, the Honourable John Hogg, President of the Senate of Australia, led a parliamentary delegation to Parliament. In June 2009, His Excellency Luka Bebic, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia, led a delegation from his parliament to visit the House.

Canadian Official Visits

The Speaker of the House of Commons and other Members are regularly invited to visit other parliaments to discuss common issues and to foster relationships. During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the Speaker visited three legislatures. The first was the Québec National Assembly in April 2009. In May and September 2009, the Speaker led official delegations to Finland and Ukraine, respectively.

As well as leading delegations, Speaker Milliken himself represented the House of Commons at three notable conferences over the past year. These were the G8 Speakers' Conference in Italy in September 2009; the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth in India in January 2010; and the Canadian Presiding Officers Conference in Yukon in January 2010.

Hosting Conferences

Many issues of concern to Canadians transcend national borders. By participating in international meetings, parliamentarians are able to share ideas and their experiences with counterparts from around the world.

In 2009-2010, Canada hosted three such important meetings:

The Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group (IPG) held its 50th Annual Meeting in La Malbaie, Québec, in May 2009. There, delegates agreed to 10 resolutions on matters of importance to both nations, such as economic recovery and financial system stability, the shared border, the war against terror, and our countries' joint energy and environmental future. Recognizing that the group was celebrating its 50th anniversary, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama sent messages of congratulations, as did the Speaker of each Chamber in the Canadian Parliament, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and the majority and minority leaders of the U.S. Senate.

In November 2009, the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons hosted the 16th Canada-Mexico Interparliamentary Meeting (IPM) in Saint John, New Brunswick, and Ottawa. Since 1975, the IMP has been one of the key mechanisms for dialogue between the two national legislatures. While in Saint John, the Canadian and Mexican parliamentarians drew attention to existing and future regional economic linkages between our countries in areas such as port alliances, energy, agriculture and aquaculture, as well as other bilateral trade and investment interests. The IPM also included business sessions on the environment and clean energy; trade, investment and the economy; regional security; and international cooperation. More than 30 Mexican and Canadian parliamentarians took part in the IPM. They commented on the enormous success of the meeting, which concluded with a final statement making 15 points.

Some 100 participants from 21 countries of the Americas attended the Sixth Plenary Meeting of the Interparliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA) in September 2009 in Ottawa. Parliamentarians discussed and made recommendations on issues related to the economic and financial crisis, food security, international migrations and human rights, gender equality and the H1N1 influenza pandemic. A number of specialists in different fields presented their findings and shared their expertise during the working group sessions.

His Excellency José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), was the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony. Delegations from China and Russia also attended as observers for the first time.

 

Photo of 16th Canada-Mexico Interparliamentary Meeting

16th Canada-Mexico Interparliamentary Meeting (IPM)

Standing from left to right (top row): Diputado Jaime Álvarez Cisneros, Diputado Jorge Alberto Juraidini Rumilla, M.P. Paul Dewar & M.P. Bruce Hyer

Standing from left to right (middle row): Diputado Francisco Javier Salazar Sáenz, Diputado Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, Diputado Martin Garcia Aviles, Senator John Wallace, Diputado Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Senador Eloy Cantu Segovia, Senador Rosario Green Macias & Senador Silvano Aureoles Conejo

Sitting from left to right: Senador Adriana Gonzalez Carrillo, Ambassador Francisco Barrio, Senador Carlos Navarrete Ruiz, Speaker Noël A. Kinsella, Senator, Speaker Peter Milliken, M.P., Senador Luis Alberto Villareal García, Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen & Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette

 

Parliamentary Association

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

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

Interparliamentary Groups

The Parliament of Canada is involved in official interparliamentary groups with Germany, Ireland, Israel and Italy. These groups promote cooperation and understanding among nations and strengthen relations between Canadian parliamentarians and their counterparts in other parliaments. Membership fees from individual parliamentarians support the groups' activities.

 


Sharing Procedural Knowledge with Other Legislatures

Chair Occupants, parliamentarians and House Administration staff sometimes look to other legislatures for guidance on how to deal with procedural questions. To help foster the exchange of information among legislatures, the House Administration distributed copies of the book House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, to the provincial and territorial legislatures and to the parliaments with which Canada maintains ties. This includes many of the countries that participate in the interparliamentary groups and associations to which the Parliament of Canada belongs. Feedback from other parliaments has been uniformly positive.

The simultaneous release of both the printed and online versions of this book has made it easily accessible to all Internet users. To read it online, search for House of Commons Procedure and Practic, 2009.

 

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