Parliamentary Visit to Canada - February 2020
On a recent Parliamentary visit to Canada, on 17 to 20 February, the Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales, Elin Jones AM, Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones AM, and Assembly Commissioner Suzy Davies AM received a warm welcome from the country's two Parliaments in Ottawa and Quebec.
Meeting with Speakers and officials of the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa and the Quebec National Assembly provided an opportunity to draw comparisons and learn about the differences between the parliamentary systems of the two countries.
"We received a warm welcome on our visit to Cananda and we are very grateful to the two Parliaments and their officials who generously gave their time to meet and guide us around their beautiful buildings," said Elin Jones AM, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales.
“There are many similarities between our countries and our parliamentary systems; they also have two Parliaments and two official languages. But the visit was also an opportunity to discuss the challenges we share, and to strengthen their understanding of Wales and our Senedd. It’s essential that we look out and maintain friendships with other Parliaments around the world. We have already welcomed a number of official Canadian visits to our Senedd over the years, and we would welcome the opportunity to host more in the future.”
17-18 February 2020 - Parliament of Canada, Ottawa
An official tour of the Canadian Parliament included an opportunity to meet the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, Senator George J Furey and Speaker of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota MP.
Topics of discussion included comparing how the Parliaments work bilingually, the latest developments in the Brexit process, and there was particular interest in the constitutional developments introduced in the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act, namely the introduction of the new name Senedd Cymru and Welsh Parliament and the lowering of the voting age to 16 years.
Before the start of Prime Minister's Questions, with Justin Trudeau's, in the House of Commons, the Welsh visitors received applause as Speaker Anthony Rota MP introduced them to the Members.
There was also an interesting discussion on bilingualism, and Canada's multi-lingual position as a home to many native languages, in the company of Mr. Raymond Théberge, Commissioner for Official Languages of Canada.
Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, Anthony Rota MP
Meeting Speaker of the Senate of Canada, Senator George J Furey.
A social evening with the Ottawa Welsh Society
20 February - National Assembly of Quebec
One of the themes of the talks during the visit to Quebec was how the ways the Parliament is planning to modernise its way of working. It was interesting to hear that they are considering adopting an electronic voting method which has always been used within the Siambr of the National Assembly for Wales. They are also discussing introducing more family-friendly working hours.
There were also talks about the importance of citizen engagement, and the experiences of both countries with an interest in the work of the Welsh Youth Parliament.
They also met with President of the National Assembly, Mr Francois Paradis, and were warmly welcomed by all Members with a round of applause before the start of Plenary proceedings.
The Ddraig Goch flag flies above the Quebec Parliament
Meeting to discuss equality, and the challenges that remain, with members of the circle of women Members of the National Assembly