In celebration on St. Andrews Day, I am pleased to share this exciting news;
The Canada-Scotland Friendship Group has been reconstituted on Parliament Hill.
Originally founded in 2011 and relaunched on October 27th, 2020, the group is a nonpartisan committee consisting of over 40 Members of Parliament and Senators, chaired by MP John Barlow (CPC), with executive committee members represented by MP John McKay (Lib), MP Marie-France Lalonde (Lib), MP Daniel Blaikie (NDP), MP Xavier Barsalou-Duval (Bloc), MP James Cumming (CPC), and Senator David Wells.
At the first meeting, members brought forward important topics of discussions for the group on which to focus. The topics include the upcoming election in Scotland, partnerships between Universities, agriculture, trade and economic partnerships as well as learning more about how Scottish Parliament functions.
“Canada and Scotland share a profound relationship joined together by family links, strong business and trade relationships as well as shared values, culture and history. Through meaningful work and discussions, the Canada-Scotland Friendship Group will embark on strengthening the bond between our proud countries. During challenging times, friends support one another. This could not be more true than it is today and is certainly symbolized through the reconstitution of the Canada-Scotland Friendship group in 2020. It underpins our deep and meaningful friendship between our two countries, and continued support during the most trying of times.”
– John Barlow, Member of Parliament for Foothills, Friendship Chair (2020)
“As a proud Canadian with strong Scottish roots, I am delighted that the Canada-Scotland (Parliamentary) Friendship Group will support our enduring friendship, shared cultural history and values, with a strong commitment to forging new relationships. I am looking forward to being part of this effort and welcome it as new beginnings of a wonderful opportunity that will allow Canadian and Scottish parliamentarians to work together”
– Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke North, inaugural Friendship Group Chair (2011)
“During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to be able to rely on long established international friendships. Scotland and Canada are proudly and inextricably linked. It is wonderful that 40 MPs and Senators from across Canada and the political spectrum, have come together to recognise the importance of re-establishing this partnership. Our enduring friendship through this Group allows both countries to look at our modern-day relationship and identify opportunities of mutual benefit, including how we build back better.”
– Mike Russell, Scottish Government External Affairs Minister
“The setting up this Group between our two parliaments is such good news. The friendships between our countries and our parliaments is real and deep. Indeed, when this Parliament was set up in 1999 we looked at how other legislatures across the world work so there is a little bit of Ottawa’s procedures and practices here in Edinburgh. I very much look forward to meeting with the Group members at the earliest opportunity.”
– Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament
At the end of the meeting, the friendship group reiterated the importance of further advancing the ties between Canada and Scotland, and strengthening our shared values though the work of this committee.