On June 2, a high-level Myanmar delegation including government officials, military officials and leaders of the ethnic armed organizations arrived in Canada for a week long study tour of Canadian Federalism.
Hosted by the Forum of Federations, sponsored by Global Affairs Canada and supported by Inter Mediate, the delegation attended 14 study panels in Ottawa, Toronto and Quebec City touching on many subjects including: Canadian Unity and Diversity, Intergovernmental Relations, Fiscal Federalism, Minority Rights, Justice System, Aboriginal Communities within Canada, Social Policy, Civil-Military Relations and Policing.
Myanmar is in a historic transition to democracy and federalism after many years of centralized rule and civil war. A diverse society with multiple ethnic groups, the challenge before government and key stakeholders is to build an effective, inclusive and plural political system that represents all people of Myanmar.
The Government of Canada is supporting this transition through the work of the Forum of Federations. The Forum has been engaged in Myanmar since 2012 by organizing training programs on federalism for all stakeholders engaged in building a more inclusive country.
Sessions of high interest to the delegation included panels on Canadian diversity, Canada’s justice system, and Canada’s management of security and policing. So important are these subjects for Myanmar that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself joined the delegation at these sessions to learn from Canada’s experiences.
H.E. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor, Republic of the Union of Myanmar: “I am very pleased that members of our delegation want to learn more. This means that they have taken this program very seriously and they truly feel that they have profited from the sessions.”
Pado Saw Kwe Htoo Win, Vice Chairman, Karen National Union/Vice Chairman representing Ethnic Armed Organizations at the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee: “We have witnessed that in a federal system, for the benefit of the whole nation, different levels of government are simply undertaking collective responsibilities for the whole country and for each individual province based on the principle of self-rule and shared rule. I believe that with diligent, patient negotiation and compromise we will also be able to set up a working federal system in our country.
“Rupak Chattopadhyay, CEO, Forum of Federations: “Forum of Federations feels honored to support Myanmar’s transition to Federalism and democracy.”