OTTAWA- The Honourable Bryon Wilfert, Member of Parliament for Richmond Hill and member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on April 19 introduced a motion which was passed on the closure of an additional 19 Canadian missions abroad.
Mr. Wilfert’s motion is calling on senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade responsible for the decision to close the Canadian consulates in several Baltic, Asian and African countries to appear before the committee in order to examine the rational, the cost and the implications of such a decision.
This motion received support from the three opposition parities but was opposed by the Government.
“Closing missions in a world that is globalizing is a mistake, such an action would be a heavy blow for relations with these countries, which have remained close.” said Wilfert.
As the home to some 80,000 citizens of Baltic heritage, Canada enjoys close ties with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Canada should therefore further enhance its diplomatic presence in the region, rather then diminish it, in order to promote closer links with each of the Baltic States. General relations between Canada and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are strong, and interaction is on the rise. Canada recognizes that the Balkan countries are active and effective partners in NATO.
“I think the Government needs to come forth with a clear plan in terms of how to enhance diplomatic, economic and consular presence around the world. Our relationship with the Baltic region is strong, I fear that this decision will have a negative impact on our bilateral endeavors” added Mr. Wilfert.
On February 13, 2007 Wilfert introduced a motion regarding the decision to close the Canadian consulates in Milan, Italy; St. Petersburg, Russia; as well as Fukuoka and Osaka, Japan. This motion was supported by the three opposition parties and passed.
There is not a set date as of yet when the officials will appear before the Committee.
(Press release, office of Bryon Wilfert, MP)
Bryon Wilfert’s motion on consulate closures