Canadian Delegation to Visit Burma to Help Further Democratic Reforms

Protecting and Promoting Canada’s Interests and Values

February 15, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced that his Parliamentary Secretary, Deepak Obhrai, will lead a Canadian multi-party parliamentary delegation to Burma from February 16 to 22, 2013. The visit is the first half of a parliamentary exchange project between the two countries.

“When I visited Burma last March, I proposed this type of exchange so Canada could share with Burmese reform leaders our experiences and perspectives on good parliamentary practices,” said Baird. “There is very little parliamentary tradition in Burma, and if a functioning legislature and multi-party electoral system are to flourish, there's real value to this type of practical interaction.”

Canadian delegates will meet with Burmese parliamentarians and staff from all political parties, as well as government and civil society representatives. The 14 members of the delegation include members of Parliament, people with experience working at senior levels of Canadian political parties, procedural parliamentary staff, and a representative of the auditor general’s office, accompanied and assisted by experts from the Parliamentary Centre.

“Burma’s recent reform efforts have been swift and encouraging,” said Parliamentary Secretary Obhrai. “Sharing ideas on what works and what doesn’t in the Canadian context will help speed the process of getting the truly representative and democratic government that the Burmese people have long called for.”

A reciprocal visit, by a Burmese delegation to Canada, is scheduled to take place later this year.

Baird’s visit on March 8, 2012, was the first undertaken by a Canadian foreign minister.

Canada welcomes the positive developments in Burma over the past two years and encourages Burmese authorities to pursue further reforms. Canada will continue to work with its international and Burmese partners to promote freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in that country.

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A backgrounder listing the Canadian delegates follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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Backgrounder - Members of Delegation: Canadian Parliamentary Visit to Burma

Head of Delegation: Deepak Obhrai, MP (Calgary East) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Conservative Party of Canada

Stella Ambler, MP (Mississauga South), Conservative Party of Canada

Costas Menegakis, MP (Richmond Hill), Conservative Party of Canada

Wayne Marston, MP (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek), New Democratic Party of Canada

David Christopherson, MP (Hamilton Centre), New Democratic Party of Canada

John McKay, MP (Scarborough—Guildwood), Liberal Party of Canada

Anne McGrath, Managing Director, ENsight Canada Inc., and political adviser to the New Democratic Party of Canada

Bob Richardson, President, Devon Group, and political adviser to the Liberal Party of Canada

Pierre Rodrigue, Principal Clerk, Journals Branch, House of Commons

Till Heyde, Chamber Operations Clerk, Senate of Canada

Jocelyne Therrien, Senior Principal, Parliamentary and International Relations, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Jean-Paul Ruszkowski, President and CEO, Parliamentary Centre

Ivo Balinov, Director, Partnerships and Business Development, Parliamentary Centre

Yaroslav Baran, Senior Parliamentary Adviser, Earnscliffe Strategy Group, and political adviser to the Conservative Party of Canada

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