More than 200 guests registered for a special virtual 10th anniversary of the Carleton Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement’s orientations for diplomats. The registration list included 65 Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and chargés d’affaires and another 110 members of the diplomatic community.

Given Covid-19 protocols and need for social distancing, the Carleton Initiative organized a webinar that would be of interest to not just newly arrived but all members of the diplomatic community across the country.

The webinar began with David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, presenting a snapshot of Canadian opinion on the pandemic, politics and public confidence.  That set the stage for the Honourable Anthony Rota, Speaker of the House of Commons, and André Gagnon, Deputy Clerk, Procedure to discuss the workings of the hybrid virtual minority Parliament.

Maureen Boyd, Director of the Carleton Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement, moderated a panel discussion on domestic and foreign policy priorities with the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities (MP Ottawa Centre); the Honourable Michael Chong, Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs (MP Wellington-Halton Hills); and Heather McPherson, NDP Critic for International Development, Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs, and Deputy House Leader (MP Edmonton Strathcona).

Tom Cormier, CEO of the Parliamentary Centre, presented the Parliamentary Centre’s role in supporting democratic institutions around the world.  He was followed by Stewart Wheeler, Chief of Protocol, who outlined the fall plans for Global Affairs Canada.

The Chief Statistician, Anil Arora, provided a snapshot of Canadian society, economy and trade relationships entitled Canadian Strengths, Covid-19 Challenges and outlined the data resources available to diplomats.

Goldy Hyder, CEO of the Business Council of Canada, reflected on where the Canadian economy was headed, what worried business leaders and how diplomats could engage with Canadian business during the pandemic.

Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, moderated a panel with acclaimed journalists Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star political columnist and author, and and Jöel-Denis Bellavance, Ottawa Bureau Chief for La Presse. The panel discussed the possibilities of an early election, western separatism, domestic and foreign policy and trade.

Tobi Nussbaum, CEO, National Capital Commission, led the last session of the orientation, outlining the NCC’s role in planning and protecting the national capital region and of partnering with diplomatic missions.

Carleton President Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon opened the orientation and Dr. Brenda O’Neill, Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs, offered closing remarks emphasizing Carleton’s capital advantage and interest in working with the diplomatic community.

You may view the webinar here:

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