Kuwaiti, Canadian MPs share common values – Canadian Senate Speaker


Kuwait : Canadian parliamentarians share many of the values of their Kuwaiti counterparts, which makes it easy to discuss issues of foreign policy regarding this part of the world, said Canadian Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella on Wednesday.

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Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of his visit to the country, the speaker said, “On a bilateral basis … we are anxious to be guided by (our Kuwaiti counterparts) with regard to foreign policy in this part of the world.”

He explained that in meetings with Kuwait’s Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, the Canadian delegation, which the speaker heads, was able to better grasp the “dynamic of the neighbourhood.”

Moreover, he reminded of his county’s “willing participation” in responding to the invasion of Kuwait by the Baathist regime in Iraq in 1990, adding that “we (Canada) wish to be proactive members of the UN on a multi-lateral basis.” In this regard, he noted that a “heated discussion” would be held at the Canadian parliament over the future participation of the country’s troops as part of NATO forces in Afghanistan, noting that 75 soldiers had been killed in that country to date.

“We have an obligation toward our NATO allies to combat terrorism in that area, but we must operate within the context of the reality in which we live and the resources available to us,” the speaker explained.

On Kuwaiti-Canadian relations, he said that parliamentary delegations from the two countries exchanged visits, which enhanced their legislative experiences, noting the parliamentary friendship committees.

At the cultural level, Kinsella said there would be an exchange of expositions of artefacts under the patronage of the Canadian chamber, with 2010 as the target. “Canada is a multi-cultural society with a significant community of Muslims, and we would like to host expositions from their mother countries, because this is a part of out cultural heritage too.”

As for economic cooperation, he said the delegation came with the message that Canada welcomed not only Kuwaiti investments, but also the exchange of ideas and expertise in the fields of research, medicine, and technology, as well as in the petroleum field.

Kinsella said the delegation was “impressed” with the clean systems that were installed in oil gathering centres in western Kuwait that the delegation visited, where a Canadian oil corporation was engaged in expansion works — yet another manifestation of cooperation between the two countries.

“There are many areas for cooperation, and we hope for more visits from the parliamentary, educational, health and technology communities … We would also like to see the number of Kuwaiti students in Canada double, and there are many Arabic-speaking Canadians who could come to study here,” he noted.

The Canadian speaker lauded the “level of discipline and civility” which he observed at yesterday’s parliamentary session in which the Kuwaiti education minister was interpolated. This, he said, “was not always as manifested” in other parliaments of the world.

He described the debate, as “healthy, “adding” politics is obviously not static here The Canadian delegation had arrived here on January 6 upon an invitation by National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Kharafi. The visit, aimed at expanding political dialogue between the two countries and strengthening relations, will be concluded tomorrow.

During their stay, the delegation members met with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, and other officials.

The delegation groups Senators James Cowan and Donald H. Oliver, as well as Senate Clerk and Clerk of the Parliament Paul C. Belisle.