Dreeshen to represent Canada at Plenary Assembly of the Parlamericas
RED DEER - Earl Dreeshen, Member of Parliament for Red Deer will head a delegation of Canadian Parliamentarians participating in the 10th Plenary Assembly of the ParlAmericas, a network of national legislatures from North, Central, and South America as well as the Caribbean. The ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly will see legislators from member countries discuss issues of economic development and will elect its Board of Directors August 22-24 in San José, Costa Rica.
Dreeshen said that Canada's participation in the ParlAmericas promotes democratic dialogue and contributes to prosperity. "This year the main theme is economic development and our plenary sessions are going to be focusing on natural resource development and food security," said Dreeshen. "Canada obviously has a stake in these discussions and we welcome the opportunity for dialogue with other democratic countries," he added.
Dreeshen said that Canada's economy has benefited from its relationships formed in the ParlAmericas. "We have brought into force more Free Trade Agreements with Latin America than with the rest of the world combined," he stated. Most recently, Parliament passed Canada's Free Trade, Environment and Labour Cooperation Agreement with Panama which entered into force on April 1, 2013.
"At the bilateral levels, we have thirty-three Air Transport Agreements, eight Foreign Investment Protection Agreements and seven Free Trade Agreements with these member states. Our participation in multilateral discussions with these countries serves our domestic interests in terms of economic opportunity in the entire hemisphere," Dreeshen concluded.
Previously known as the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas, ParlAmericas is an organization composed of the national legislatures of 35 independent states of the Americas, representing North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America. The Board of Directors is elected by the Plenary Assembly each year.
ParlAmericas is currently presided over by Canadian Parliamentarian Randy Hoback, Member of Parliament for Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Mr. Hoback was elected Chair of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas in March 2010. Since February 2011, he has served as President of ParlAmericas at the hemispheric level.
The Canadian Section of ParlAmericas is constituted with its secretariat in Parliament's office of International and Inter-Parliamentary Affairs. Any member of the Senate or House of Commons of Canada is entitled to become a member of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas.
Funding for the Canadian Section of the ParlAmericas is derived from membership fees, grants, and gifts and bequests. Its federal grants are included in the Estimates of the Speaker of the Senate (30%) and Estimates of the Speaker of the House of Commons (70%).
The Canadian delegation includes:
Mr. Earl Dreeshen, M.P.,
Mr. Bev Shipley, M.P.,
M. François Pilon, Député,
Mme Lise St-Denis, Députée, and
Senator Michael MacDonald