A record 175 newly arrived Ambassadors, High Commissioners, deputy heads of mission, military attaches and other members of the diplomatic community representing 60 countries registered for the 8th Annual Orientation for Newly Arrived Diplomats at Carleton University’s Richcraft Hall on Monday, September 24, 2018.

The orientation consisted of sessions on Canada’s parliamentary system; understanding public opinion trends; the media and other sources of information and influence; and social and family Integration.

The Clerk of the House of Commons, Charles Robert, opened the session on Understanding Canada’s Parliamentary System with a presentation on the House and Senate and parliamentary procedure, including how diplomats can follow proceedings and get further information. The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Geoff Regan, spoke about his role as Speaker and about parliamentary diplomacy, including his relationship with the diplomatic community.

Maureen Boyd, Director of the Carleton Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement, moderated a panel with the Honourable Andrew Leslie, M.P. for Orleans and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Honourable Erin O’Toole, M.P. for Durham and Conservative shadow cabinet minister for Foreign Affairs.

Mona Fortier, M.P. for Ottawa Vanier welcomed diplomats to Ottawa, noting that the majority of diplomatic residences were located in her riding.

Jane Rooney, Deputy Director (Heads of Mission and Outreach Programs), Diplomatic Corps Services from the Office of Protocol

informed diplomats of a complementary orientation at Global Affairs Canada to be held November 7, 2018 to provide information on Canadian governance and structure and access points of government departments and agencies.  She then introduced Her Excellency Janice Miller, High Commissioner of Jamaica and second vice-president of the Ottawa Diplomatic Association, who informed the new diplomats of the role that the Association plays in the diplomatic community and invited them to join.

Jean Paul Ruszkowski, CEO, Parliamentary Centre, explained the role of this Canadian, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that has worked with more than 70 developing countries over the last half century.

Nik Nanos, Chief Data Scientist, Nanos Research, gave a presentation on populism and polling trends and what diplomats should be watching leading up to the 2019 federal election.

The panel moderated by Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute with participants James Baxter, publisher of iPolitics; Catherine Cano, President and General Manager of CPAC, Cable Public Affairs Channel; and Kristen Shane, managing editor of The Hill Times offered thoughts on current public opinion and practical advice for dealing with parliamentarians, media, and lobbyists as well as their suggestions for good sources of information.

Greg Kenney, Executive Director, Official Residences for the National Capital Commission, explained the governance of the NCC and how diplomatic missions can play a role in the national capital region as well as the recreational, tourist and cultural activities available.

Dr. Karen Schwartz, Interim Associate Vice President, Research and International, opened the orientation and Carleton President Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon 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, the National Capital Commission, Rideau Hall, Library of Parliament, Volunteer Ottawa, Canadian Federation of University Women, CPAC, Ipolitics, the Hill Times 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.

Photo Gallery – Justin Tang

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