INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Ambassador's Initial Meetings with Parliament

Published: Fri 23 Oct 2009 07:07 PM
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DE RUEHOT #0814 2961937
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O R 231936Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0004
INFO ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS OTTAWA 000814
SENSITIVE
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CA
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S INITIAL MEETINGS WITH PARLIAMENT
1. (SBU) Summary. In separate meetings with the Speaker of the
Senate and the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group on Parliament
Hill on October 22, Ambassador underscored the close ties between
our two nations, welcomed more legislative exchanges, and responded
to concerns about "Buy America" provisions and the "thickening" of
the border since 911. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Speaker of the Senate Noel Kinsella hosted Ambassador
and PolMinCouns to a luncheon on October 22 in his private dining
room on Parliament Hill - the same room that Prime Minister Stephen
Harper had "borrowed" to give a luncheon for President Obama on
February 19. Speaker Kinsella warmly welcomed the Ambassador to
Canada and offered the full support and friendship of the Canadian
Senate. He expressed a strong hope that Vice President Biden
visit Ottawa and make an address to the full Senate, which would be
unprecedented. (He also held open the possibility of an eventual
address by the President to the combined Senate and House of
Commons.) The Speaker and the Ambassador discussed possibilities
for encouraging more educational exchanges, with the Speaker
expressing particular concern that only about 3 pct of Canadian
university students engaged in semesters abroad in any country. In
response to questions about "Buy America" provisions in U.S.
legislation, the Ambassador noted ongoing positive discussions
between USTR Kirk and International Trade Minister Day and their
staffs. He welcomed Canada's strong interest in environmental
issues, while noting that new U.S. legislation on energy and
climate change would likely not be in place before the upcoming
Copenhagen Summit.
3. (U) Subsequently, the Speaker introduced the Ambassador in the
Senate gallery during its daily session, with all of the Senators
present giving him a standing ovation of applause.
4. (SBU) The Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group (CUSIPG) - with
members from both the Senate and the House of Commons - separately
hosted a dinner in honor of the Ambassador on October 22. The two
co-chairs - Senator Jerahmiel Grafstein and MP Gord Brown - offered
their warm welcomes and strong hopes for a continued close
friendship and partnership between our two nations. Individual
members raised several examples of the "thickening" of the border
since 9/11 and the negative impact on trade and tourism. The
Ambassador underscored the importance of working collaboratively in
the common interest in improving efficiency and security on both
sides of the border. He responded to several expressions of
concern about "Buy America" provisions, while declining to describe
the nature of the ongoing discussions. The Ambassador urged the
members to introduce and pass improved legislation on intellectual
property rights protection. He highlighted the value of close
contacts between members of our two countries' legislatures, as
well as the CUSIPG's valuable outreach to state governors and
legislators.
JACOBSON
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