August 23 CCA Update

Dear CCA members and friends

Labour Day is almost here and the pace of activity will soon be picking up. I became President of the CCA on June 1st and am now in Toronto and working full time.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The first upcoming event I would like to mention is our Annual Gala, to be held September 20 at the Fairmont Royal York. We will be honouring Leonel Fernández, until last week President of the Dominican Republic, with our Statesman of the Year Award. Former Bank of Nova Scotia President, Chairman and CEO, Peter Godsoe, will receive the Lifetime Business Achievement Award. The Lifetime Public Service Achievement Award will go to Stephen Randall, Director of the Latin American Research Centre at the University of Calgary.

This will be an excellent event, as was last year’s honouring President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia. Please contact me at ccaharvey@yahoo.ca should you be interested in sponsorship opportunities.

Listín Diario, the DR´s newspaper of record, published last Friday an Op-Ed on why we believe President Fernández deserves the award. We underline his hemispheric contributions in mediating crises between Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela in 2008, Honduras in 2009 and in his response to the Haitian earthquake in 2010.

You can read the article (in Spanish) at http://www.listin.com.do/economia-y-negocios/2012/8/16/243846/El-Consejo-Canadiense-reconocera-a-Fernandez
and I reproduce an English translation at the end of this message.

Another big event in Toronto this fall will be the International Economic Forum of the Americas, Oct 2 and 3. Please stay tuned for details on a CCA-moderated panel concentrating on regional issues, as well as a special discount for CCA members who wish to attend the Forum.

RECENT ACTIVITIES

Several CCA Board Members met on August 2nd with Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs). We had a very open and productive discussion of regional issues, Canadan economic interests and Canadian cooperation in the security sector. The Minister has been in her role for a year now and is very aware of the nuances and complexities of such a diverse region.

We have engaged in outreach activity with the Latin American MBA Alumni Network, the Toronto Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Hispanic Business, among others. All are doing excellent work bringing Canada closer to the Americas.

REGIONAL ISSUES

I will soon begin regular commentary of regional political and economic events. I would like to concentrate on the very different perspectives that are brought to issues. Did Paraguay suffer a coup or not? (The OAS says “no,” Mercosur says”yes”). Is Rafael Correa offering asylum to Julian Assange to stand up for freedom of expression or to move into Chavez’ space as the top anti-American? Is Brazil proposing “Responsibility while Protecting” at the UN to strengthen or to undermine the cherished Canadian-advanced concept of “Responsibility to Protect?”

All interesting debates! The CCA intends to modestly contribute.

Many thanks to all for your continued interest and support. Merci. Gracias. Obrigado.

Michael Harvey
President
Canadian Council for the Americas

On August 16, Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna finished his third term as President of the Dominican Republic. The Canadian Council for the Americas (CCA) will honour this hemispheric leader with the “Statesman of the Year Award” at our Annual Gala, to be held September 20th in Toronto, Canada.

For more than fifty years, the CCA has been the main private sector link between Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. The CCA continues to play a key role strengthening commercial relations between Canada and the region through the hosting of business-to-business meetings and symposiums with key decision makers and leading analysts on critical political and economic issues in the Americas. Throughout its history, the CCA has received at its headquarters several Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Ministers, as well as economists, analysts and senior business executives.

We in the CCA consider that the President richly deserves this Canadian recognition for the leadership he has exercised over the course of his mandate.  Canadians have admired the important international role the President’s foreign policy efforts have given the Dominican Republic.

In 2008, President Fernández showed his strong mediation capacity when he facilitated dialogue between Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela after the Colombian bombing of a FARC guerrilla camp in Ecuador. As host of the Rio Group Summit, President Fernández was able to help defuse tensions between the Presidents of the three countries.

In 2009, the Hemisphere was again witness to the mediation skills of President Fernández when he negotiated the Agreement for National Reconstruction and the Strengthening of Democracy in Honduras. This Agreement ended four months of paralysis in Honduran national life in a way that was honourable for all parties.

Nor can we forget the immediate and generous response of President Fernández when neighbouring Haiti suffered the terrible earthquake of 2010. President Fernández responded with grace and led international efforts to help Haitians rebuild their country.

Canada and the Dominican Republic have a strong relationship in the political and economic spheres. The Pueblo Viejo mine, which has been referred to as the largest foreign investment in Dominican Republic, is a joint venture of two Canadian companies, Barrick Gold and Goldcorp. Another Canadian company, Scotiabank, is the oldest bank in the Dominican Republic. These investments are proof of the confidence Canadians have in the business climate in the Dominican Republic. In addition, over 750 000 Canadians visit the Dominican Republic every year!

We are honoured that President Fernández has agreed to accept our award and we hope that the people of the Dominican Republic will see this as recognition of the ties of friendship between our countries. We would welcome participation from the Dominican business community, and from Canadians with ties to the Dominican Republic. Please contact ccaharvey@yahoo.ca for details on how to participate.