April was a busy month for Latin America – and for the CCA.
The highlight of the month was the April 25 event in honour of Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, with the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. This was the first time that Canada’s Prime Minister had attended a CCA event, and we hope not the last.
At least 430 guests attended the reception, co-organized by the CCA and held at Toronto’s Royal York hotel. Among them: MP and Minister of State for the Americas Diane Ablonczy; MP Chris Alexander; Don Meredith, the Jamaican-born Senator; His Excellency Philip Buxo, High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago; several CCA board members, former CCA President Michael Harvey, and banking and energy executives.
Prime Minister Harper highlighted the significance of Trinidad as a trade and strategic partner and looked pleased to be there. As John Stackhouse, editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail who was also in attendance, noted in his Saturday column: “The crowd, made up largely of Trinidadians (numbering 100,000 in Canada) cheered loudly as Prime Minister Harper congratulated them and their ancestors on a decision to ‘escape the harshness of the Caribbean winter’.” Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar talked about her twin-island democratic nation as an attractive destination for oil and gas investment, and as a financial gateway to South America. Ken Frankel, chair of CCA’s board, gave an excellent address that was well received.
The CCA also helped to set up an editorial board at the Globe and Mail the following day for PM Persad-Bissessar. This meeting generated two news articles, an editorial and a mention in Mr. Stackhouse’s column: “Trinidad PM urges fresh effort in trade talks between Canada, Caricom,” and “Trinidad wants to buy Canadian aircraft to watch drug activity,” by Janet McFarland (April 26, 2013).
Take a look out our photo gallery from the event.
In CCA news, Ken and CCA President Marina Jimenez travelled to Ottawa April 2-3 and met with the ambassadors of Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Brazil, as well as with representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Latin America and Caribbean bureau, and from Foreign Minister John Baird’s office and Min. Ablonczy’s office. On April 17, Ken travelled to Mexico City to give the keynote speech, “Challenges to the Rule of Law and Reform Efforts”, at the Conference of the Consejo Empresarial de America Latina. Ken also contributed to the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor on Canada’s engagment in Latin America.
This week, Marina will be attending a conference on Press Freedom and Democracy in Latin America on May 2-3 in New York, organized by the Inter-American Dialogue.
Stay tuned for upcoming CCA events including a discussion on July 15 in Toronto with Julio Velarde, President of Peru’s Central Bank, organized in conjunction with the Peruvian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The esteemed economist will share the story behind the country’s tremendous and sustained growth.