3-7 October, Ottawa and Montreal
During the first week of October 2016, the Forum of Federations facilitated a study visit of Argentine politicians with the organization Fundación Red de Acción Politica (RAP), a non-partisan organization established to promote the improvement of political leadership and governance structures, and the strengthening of democratic institutions in Argentina. This visit was coordinated and organized with the immense help of the Embassy of Canada in Argentina, whose representative Mr. Patrice Laquerre accompanied the delegation for the entirety of their visit.
The group was composed of national deputies, members of congress, as well as provincial and federal leaders and legislators. This visit constituted a whirlwind tour of various government departments, briefings by academics and NGOs, as well as meetings with Canadian parliamentarians, with the overarching objective of gaining greater insight into the Canadian federal system and governance experience, with specific focus on topics such as the management of natural resources, and improving government accountability, openness, and transparency.
The delegation spent three days in Ottawa, during which they had presentations from academics, in addition to government departments including Finance Canada, the Privy Council Office, Natural Resources Canada, and the Open Government team of Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. During these talks, a diverse range of speakers discussed topics from intergovernmental relations, transfer payments to the provinces, federal-provincial division of responsibilities, and increasing transparency among governments. Further, on Tuesday October 4, Argentine politicians had the opportunity to meet with their Canadian counter-parts during a visit to Parliament Hill, including a tour of the historic Centre Block, viewing of Question Period, and question and answer periods with various Members of Parliament including the Honourable Bob Nault, the Parliamentary Secretary for International Trade David Lametti, Anthony Rota, as well as Pablo Rodriguez. This visit was organized with the immense help of Member of Parliament Pablo Rodriguez and his office. The day was capped off with a dinner in the Parliamentary restaurant with a keynote address by Chief Government Whip, the Honourable Andrew Leslie, as well as remarks from several other MPs present at the dinner, including Julie Dzerowicz, Faycal El-Khoury, and Angelo Iacono.
On the Wednesday, following a set of presentations by civil servants and advocacy groups, the delegation had the opportunity to meet with the Senate Foreign Affairs and International Trade committee, chaired by the Honourable Senator Raynell Andreychuk, who herself had recently visited Argentina as a member of a Senate delegation.
The second half of the visit was held in Montreal, where the delegation was exposed to a provincial view on Canadian federalism. On Thursday, meetings were organized with academics from McGill University, l’Université de Montréal., and l’Université du Québec à Montréal as well as with the Secretariat of Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs to discuss Quebec’s provincial interactions with the Federal government. While on Friday, meetings with further civil servants and government officials took place, including Investissement Quebec, Montreal International, and the mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre.