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New Canadian secretariat to open in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A new public advocacy and legislative secretariat will be established at the Canadian Embassy i...

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new public advocacy and legislative secretariat will be established at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, says PM Paul Martin.

The secretariat will further Canadian interests in the United States, announced Martin, during his visit to Washington last week.

“The Government has made very clear that we are committed to improving the management and coherence of our relations with the U.S.,” said the Prime Minister. Canadians are best served by a more sophisticated approach to Canada-U.S. relations, which recognizes and respects the valuable roles of legislators and representatives from various levels of government. The new secretariat will enhance Canada’s overall advocacy efforts in the United States, while supporting a single Canadian voice.”

Expected to be operational by the fall, the secretariat will work with provinces and territories and Parliamentarians to plan and support new outreach activities directed at members of the U.S. Congress – both on Capitol Hill and in their districts. It will allow for the co-location of provincial and territorial representatives at the Canadian Embassy in support of this mandate.

The secretariat will also assist travelling parliamentary committees, respond to requests by Members of Parliament and Senators, and plan and co-ordinate the delivery of more regular, non-partisan briefings.

The secretariat will also allow the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group (IPG) to have an expanded role, in order that its members may undertake more frequent advocacy activities in congressional districts, in addition to the annual IPG meeting. Furthermore, the two Vice-Chairs of the Cabinet Committee on Canada-U.S. Relations, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham and Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario) Joe Comuzzi, may also mandate initiatives to be carried out by the secretariat in support of the work of Parliamentarians.

Mr. Colin Robertson, currently Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles, will head the Secretariat and report to the Ambassador.

The secretariat will complement Canada’s Enhanced Representation Initiative across the U.S. New and existing consulates will work with the secretariat to employ the knowledge and enthusiasm of Canadian legislators across the diverse regions of the U.S. Provinces and territories have been invited to assign staff to any one of the consulates to add their expertise and influence to Canada’s message.

Canada has an embassy in Washington and 12 consulates general located throughout the continental United States (Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, and Seattle) as well as consulates in Houston, Raleigh, San Diego, and San Francisco and trade offices in San Jose/Silicon Valley and Princeton, New Jersey. By the fall of 2004, Canada will have opened additional consulates in Anchorage, Philadelphia, and Phoenix, bringing its representation in the United States to 22 offices.

Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Pierre Pettigrew and Scott Brison, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Canada U.S. Relations, will continue to work with provincial and parliamentary colleagues to enhance their participation in the projection of Canadian interests in the United States.

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