(No. 386 - December 21, 2011 - 6:40 p.m. ET) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced the appointment of Senator Hugh Segal as Canada’s special envoy for Commonwealth renewal.
“Senator Segal made a tremendous contribution to the Eminent Persons Group, which, this past fall, recommended a series of important ways to modernize the Commonwealth,” Baird said. “Canada continues to press for those recommendations to be implemented. Senator Segal will advise me directly on progress and represent me and the Government of Canada in public outreach on Commonwealth renewal.”
“He is uniquely positioned to undertake this important work to ensure the continuing relevance of this legacy institution.”
The special envoy position is unpaid.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 countries that work together toward shared goals of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in its member states.
“Human rights, including the rights of women and religious minorities, as well as the de-criminalization of homosexuality in certain Commonwealth countries, will be a focus of our government, and Senator Segal will continue to be a strong voice for Canada in this regard,” said Baird.
Minister Baird has been an outspoken advocate in favour of urgently needed renewals to deliver on those goals.
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A biographical note follows.
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Hugh Segal (BA [Canadian History], University of Ottawa, 1972) joined the Canadian Senate in 2005, after four decades of public service that included being chief of staff to the Prime Minister of Canada, associate cabinet secretary for the Government of Ontario’s cabinet committees on Federal-Provincial Affairs and Policies and Priorities, legislative assistant to the leader of the federal Opposition, and president of the independent Institute for Research on Public Policy. The senator is a former chair of the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism. He is also a former chair and present member of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He headed a NATO parliamentary delegation to Washington, D.C., and was the 2004 chair (Calgary 2004) of the annual Canada-U.K. Colloquium.
A University of Ottawa graduate in history, Senator Segal is a senior fellow at the Queen’s University School of Policy Studies and Queen’s School of Business, and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. He is also and a member of the Working Group on National Security at Cranfield University’s Centre for Security Sector Management in the United Kingdom. He chaired the Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies and was the founding vice chair (research) of the Canadian International Council. Senator Segal sits on the Council of the International Institute for Democratic and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm and sat on the Council of the International Institute of for Strategic Studies in London. In 2010, he was appointed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General to the Eminent Persons Group, which completed its mandate in October 2011 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia.