During the final week of April 2017, the Forum of Federations facilitated and hosted a study visit of Ethiopian members of the House of Federation funded by the United Nations Development Programme.
The group was composed of regional speakers, state ministers, and many other senior members of the House of Federation, led by the Honourable Mohammed Reshid, Deputy Speaker of the House of Federation. This visit saw the delegation visiting various government departments, hearing briefings by academics and NGOs, as well as tours of some of Canada’s critical governance institutions, with the overall objective of gaining greater insight into the Canadian federal system, and intergovernmental relations and the resolution of disputes. Topics focused on items such as constitutional interpretation, and improving government accountability.
The delegation spent over a week in Ottawa, during which they had presentations from academics, in addition to government departments including Finance Canada, the Privy Council Office, Global Affairs Canada, and the Department of Justice. 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 accountability among governments.
Further, on Wednesday April 26th, the delegation had the opportunity to tour Parliament Hill, viewing the historic Centre Block. Later that day, they visited and received a tour of the Supreme Court of Canada, with a presentation from the Court’s Registrar, Mr. Roger Bilodeau. The day was capped off with a dinner at the Chateau Laurier with a keynote address by Parliamentary Secretary for International Affairs (Canada-US Relations), the Honourable Andrew Leslie, as well as remarks from other venerable guests such as Her Excellency Birtukan Ayano Dadi, the Ambassador of Ethiopia to Canada.
The final day of the study-visit programming ended with a visit to the Forum offices, with a presentation from Forum President Rupak Chattopadhyay and Senior Director Shawn Houlihan on the Forum’s many ongoing projects in East Africa.