Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Questions (43)

Seán Fleming


43. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when he last spoke with his Canadian counterpart; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22314/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government engages frequently with the Canadian Government and Canadian elected representatives on all aspects of the Canada-Ireland relationship and on other issues of mutual concern.

There have been strong and sustained Canadian-Irish bilateral contacts in recent years, including most recently a meeting last week between the Taoiseach and Prime Minister Trudeau, which took place en marge of a conference in Paris. I understand that the Taoiseach updated Prime Minister Trudeau on current Brexit and Northern Ireland developments and they spoke on other important issues, including the ratification of CETA.

Otherwise, Prime Minister Trudeau visited Ireland in July 2017 and there was a follow up visit by the Taoiseach to Canada not long after. 2018 saw several high level visits of Government Ministers to Canada and this has been maintained into 2019. St. Patrick’s Day 2019 saw Minister Bruton visit Toronto and Minister of State Cannon visit Calgary and Vancouver, where we have opened a new Consulate General in recent months. The Ministers launched the Government’s new strategy for Canada, which sets a high level of ambition on all aspects of the relationship, and a further expansion of our footprint, with a new Consulate in Toronto before 2025.

I had previously spoken by phone with my Canadian counterpart, Minister Freeland, in October 2017. I was also fortunate to visit Ottawa and Toronto earlier in that year in my previous Ministerial role, and saw first-hand the thriving Irish communities that exist there. I was warmly received by Minister McKenna, who has responsibility for Environment and Climate Change, and we discussed the excellent and close relationship that our two countries share.

I was also delighted to address the Ireland Canada Business Association conference last November to speak to the historic and continuing strong and collaborative relations we enjoy with Canada, and the potential of our bilateral relationship in the coming years. I look forward to travelling to Canada and engaging with the Canadian Government, as well as visiting Ireland’s Embassy in Ottawa and our new Consulate General in Vancouver, in the near future.