CAFP Annual Meeting 2019
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CAFP Annual Meeting 2019
Attending the annual general meeting pf the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians (CAFP) has reaffirmed my conviction that establishing collaborative relationships with other organisations whose objectives are broadly aligned with our own to exchange information, experiences, ideas and working methods conducive to innovation and to enhance the effectiveness of our actions, as one of the best investments we can make to ensure our association maintains its dynamism and moves forward with cohesion into the global reality of the world we live in.
It also reaffirmed my conviction concerning the important role that associations such as ours can play in advancing towards a better world: the knowledge, leadership, commitment and experience of the majority of former parliamentarians is an extremely valuable resource that should not be wasted.
The CAFP strives to improve democracy in the world. Some of its members, such as its former president, Léo Duguay, are true experts in this field.
The various scheduled events, were an opportunity to meet and talk with former MPs and senators from various parties, and all of whom agreed that their active participation in the association enables them to continue serving their country.
I was extremely warmly welcomed, and everyone I met was united by their interest in current affairs in the EU: I was mainly asked about the results of the recent European elections, the future of Brexit, the EU’s relations with the Trump administration and the situation in Catalonia. The current CAFP President, Dorothy Dobbie, with whom I had dinner the night before, gave me the opportunity to address the meeting.
The CAFP enjoys strong institutional support from the House of Commons and the Senate. We discussed the most topical issues for Canada with both speakers: The problems with the USA concerning the ratification of NAFTA, the ongoing crisis with China following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei and daughter of its founder, on accusations of violating the sanctions against Iran, and the current situation in Quebec.
We also discussed the Arctic and indigenous communities, topics of particular interest for me. Canada is one of five countries with sovereignty over the Arctic, thus holding both the right to exploit its resources and the principal responsibility for maintaining its ecosystem. The Arctic represents 40% of Canada’s territory, and an integral part of Canada’s identity. It is home to 115 000 people, most of whom are indigenous and have difficulty accessing housing, education and health care, and, owing to living conditions in the region, in producing fresh food locally. The consequences of climate change in the Arctic are currently a source of both challenges and opportunities.
The indigenous population is growing four times more quickly than the rest of Canada’s population and indigenous languages are showing a strong resurgence.
The visit was extremely constructive and although some of their activities are very similar to ours – publishing the magazine Beyond the Hill, study visits, seminars, conferences, and regional meetings – I took a careful note of any elements that we could serve as a model for us too.
Lastly, a word of remembrance for a colleague and friend, Senator Pierre Nolin, with I worked for long hours in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, who died in 2015 as Speaker of the Senate. He was greatly appreciated by all.
Teresa Riera Madurell