More than 140 diplomats and spouses registered for the 4th Annual Welcome to Ottawa Orientation at Carleton University that provided information to facilitate professional and social integration of newly arrived diplomats and their families. The orientation consisted of sessions on Canada’s parliamentary system; Canadian business and the private sector; the media and other sources of information and influence; and social and family Integration.
Paul Dewar, M.P., offered welcoming remarks in his role as Official Opposition Critic for International Affairs as well as a Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Centre. He was followed by Mauril Bélanger, M.P. for Ottawa-Vanier and director of the Parliamentary Centre. The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Andrew Scheer, talked about his role as Speaker and parliamentary diplomacy, including his relationships with the diplomatic community. Diplomats particularly praised the session on Canada’s parliamentary system presented by the Acting Clerk of the House of Commons, Marc Bosc.
The panel moderated by Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute with participants James Baxter, publisher of Ipolitics; Anne McGrath, national director of the NDP; and; and Jean-Paul Ruszkowski, CEO of the Parliamentary Centre offered practical advice on dealing with the media as well as their suggestions for good sources of information.
Bruce Lazenby, CEO of Invest Ottawa, delivered a presentation on the Canadian economy and investing in Canada in a panel moderated by Dr. Christopher Waddell, the Carty Chair in Business and Financial Journalism. Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Ailish Campbell, Vice-President of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives discussed how to engage with Canadian businesses.
His Excellency Frantz Liautaud, Ambassador of Haiti and former First
Vice-President of the Ottawa Diplomatic Association, spoke about the importance of social and family integration and the role that the Ottawa Diplomatic Association plays in the diplomatic community.
Dr. John Osborne, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences opened the orientation and Carleton President Dr. Roseann Runte offered closing remarks.
Following the sessions, there was a lunch and resource fair that featured government and private organizations that provide services to diplomats in areas such as education, tourism, culture, recreation, social clubs, publications, volunteering and children’s issues. Participants included the City of Ottawa and City of Gatineau, Library of Parliament, Parent Resource Centre, National Arts Centre, the Ottawa Diplomatic Association, Rideau Hall, Volunteer Ottawa, Canadian Federation of University Women, Embassy Magazine and others.
The orientation was presented by the Carleton Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement in association with the Ottawa Diplomatic Association and the Parliamentary Centre. It was free and open to newly arrived diplomats, diplomats who may have missed earlier orientation and spouses.
The program complements a November 25, 2014 session at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development organized to provide information on Canadian governance and structure and access points of government departments and agencies.