What happens when you put representatives from 26 parliaments in a room over three days? They sign a declaration to build more inclusive societies through legislation and public policies that promote the integration of women, migrants, refugees and other marginalized groups.
That was the theme of the 15th ParlAmericas plenary assembly held in Victoria, B.C. last September. The international gathering brought together more than 100 parliamentarians and civil society representatives from Canada and across Latin America to discuss policies that promote inclusive economic, social and political conditions for sustainable development.
Senators spoke about Canada’s contribution of nearly $5 million to ParlAmericas to support multi-partisan women’s organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, and reaffirmed the importance of upholding gender equality. Some of the senators who attended the event — Senate Speaker George J. Furey and senators Mobina S.B. Jaffer, Rosa Galvez, Percy Downe, Dennis Dawson and Yuen Pau Woo — delivered speeches during the plenary assembly.
This is one example of how senators engage in what is called parliamentary diplomacy — where representatives from two or more parliaments participate in a dialogue on important international issues. This is done by conducting visits to foreign legislatures, by hosting foreign leaders and officials in Parliament and by engaging in committee studies on topics with international components.
Watch the video below for highlights of the three-day ParlAmericas meeting, in which some senators participated.
In November 2018, senators met with government representatives from across the Atlantic to discuss issues like security in the high North and safeguarding elections during the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 64th Annual Session in Halifax, N.S.
Over the four-day conference, senators introduced resolutions on promoting peace and stability in the Baltic states in a bid to send a message of unity in the face of threats from Russia, as well as resolutions emphasizing responsible management and cooperation among Arctic nations. The assembly adopted resolutions presented by senators Joseph A. Day and Jane Cordy at the end of the multi-lateral meetings. Senators Michael L. MacDonald, A. Raynell Andreychuk and Marilou McPhedran also participated in the event.
Watch highlights of the Senate’s contribution to the event below.
Want to learn more about how senators play a role in parliamentary diplomacy? Watch these videos.
HOW CANADIAN SENATORS SHAPED DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS IN TUNISIA
WHY PARLIAMENTARY DIPLOMACY IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF A SENATOR’S JOB
THE SENATE SPEAKER’S ROLE IN PARLIAMENTARY DIPLOMACY