Conservative Party Pledges to Open Consular Office in Armenia

Toronto–Sept. 8, 2015–A re-elected Conservative government would strengthen ties with Armenia by opening trade and consular office in Yerevan, announced Minister of National Defense and Multiculturalism Hon. Jason Kenney at the Armenian Community Centre today. Some 150 Armenians in attendance welcomed the minister's announcement with rousing applause.

“The pledge to open a trade and consular office demonstrates the Conservative government’s ongoing commitment to strengthen commercial and social ties with Armenia," said Mr. Kenney and added: “Canada-Armenia trade is increasing rapidly and this new office will help spur even more growth. That’s good news for the economies of both of our countries.”

Toronto–Sept. 8, 2015–A re-elected Conservative government would strengthen ties with Armenia by opening trade and consular office in Yerevan, announced Minister of National Defense and Multiculturalism Hon. Jason Kenney at the Armenian Community Centre today. Some 150 Armenians in attendance welcomed the minister's announcement with rousing applause.

“The pledge to open a trade and consular office demonstrates the Conservative government’s ongoing commitment to strengthen commercial and social ties with Armenia," said Mr. Kenney and added: “Canada-Armenia trade is increasing rapidly and this new office will help spur even more growth. That’s good news for the economies of both of our countries.”

The minister pointed: “This past year, under the Harper Conservative Government, trade between Canada and Armenia totaled nearly $120 million, a 1,700 percent increase compared to 2005. Canadian imports from Armenia have tripled and Canadian exports to Armenia have increased 6,000 percent since 2005. A new trade office would further Canada’s growing trade ties with Armenia by supporting Canadian companies doing business in Armenia, supporting export development, providing and enhancing economic relations between both countries.” 

Mr. Kenney also touched upon the plight of Syrian Armenian and other religious minorities who are being persecuted and face ethnic cleansing at the hands of ISIS terrorists. He mentioned that in the last five years the Canadian Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, resettled over 25,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. He said that Canada is not trying to empty Christians from the Middle East and Mesopotamia but would try to help people who have fled the region by providing a safe haven for them in Canada.  

At the end of the gathering Mr. Kenney met 50 newly-arrived Syrian- and Iraqi- Armenian refugees. The refugees were settled in Canada through the Government's generous private refugee sponsorship program.

Vatche Demirdjian, president of Armenian Canadian Conservative Association, said he highly valued and appreciated the Conservative Party initiative in establishing a  trade and consular office in Yerevan. “This is a dream come true for the Canadian-Armenian community. We have waited for a long time for this positive decision. The Conservative Party, Prime Minister Harper, Minister Kenney and the Canadian Armenian community should be proud of this announcement,” he said. He congratulated the Canadian-Armenian community for "this great success." Demirdjian added: “So many of our community organizations, including the ACCA, have worked diligently to make this day become  a reality." He then appealed to Canadian-Armenians to return the favor to the Conservative Party and its candidates by voting and helping party candidates.  

 

2 comments
  1. The Office in Yerevan

    This office in Yerevan is desperately needed. A couple of years ago, I fell so ill in Yerevan that I had to be hospitalized. I had purchased enhanced medical travel insurance from a major Canadian bank before leaving home. They advertise that you can call them for assistance from anywhere in the world with the number they give you. You cannot. The hospital doctors tracked down a number to fax and then called them repeatedly on my behalf. The insurance company did absolutely nothing to assist me. I desperately wished for a consular office in Yerevan to contact. You have to contact Russia for help!

    The Conservative Party is the only one which has acknowledged this need. It is also the only party which has shown any interest in Armenia. That said, medical care in Yerevan is absolutely first-rate. The hospital was spotless, the service prompt, and very knowledgeable. They followed up by sending a doctor to the hotel several days to check on me – at no additional charge! "After all," the doctor said, "you are a guest in this country. We must take care of you."

  2. Good, But Falls Short

    The work undertaken by many Canadians, many of whom of Armenian origin to support sustainable socio-economic progress in Armenia is commendable. I appreciate very much the efforts of the Armenian Canadian Conservative Association on this, and on other topics.

    I am one of a small group of "Canadians Concerned For Armenia" who started a petition over a year ago to open a Canadian Embassy housed with a friendly country's embassy and appoint a "senior Canadian diplomat there". Our petition was kindly promoted by Keghart.com and can be viewed on change.org
    I should also note, to be fair, that the NDP just announced that if elected, they would also (as the Conservatives promised a few weeks ago) open a "Trade and Consular office" in Yerevan.

    While talk is cheap, these two parties (PC and NDP) have at least made that pledge. We have submitted our petition to the present government and have also approached the Liberal leader, but have not heard of their official position on this issue.

    As I said, I appreciate the Conservative and the NDP pledge before the coming elections, but I feel this is not what we should look for, for the following reasons:

    – "Trade and Consular office" would be staffed by locally-engaged staff only, no Canadians diplomatic staff (this is what we have in Erbil – Kurdistan region of Iraq now);

    – The office's mandate would be limited to consular issues (renewing passports of Canadians, helping Canadians arrested, etc) and trade-related issues (meaning helping Canadian companies enter the Armenian market, not the reverse).

    – The office would purposely exclude political relations, public affairs and development projects. No support for Armenian NGOs using a Canada Fund for local initiatives (this is a sort of $$$ aid budget); no development assistance.

    – Due to the presence of this office, it is likely that the Ambassador of Canada would visit Armenia even less frequently than he does now (since they think they don't need to as they have a presence on the ground). As a result, rather than strengthening Canada-Armenia relations, the opening of this office may weaken them.

    – While I think that this is better than nothing, I would argue that this will make it even more unlikely/difficult to get a proper embassy in the future. Some of us may prefer the "nothing".
     

Comments are closed.

You May Also Like
Read More

Պայքարի Վկայութիւններ

Մինաս Գոճայեան, Լոս Անճելըս,  15 Օգոստոս 2013 Ժողովրդավարութեան ու մարդասիրութեան ձայնը կարելի է ժամանակաւորապէս լռեցնել, բայց երբեք յաւիտենապէս:…
Read More
Read More

Սփիւռքահայ Գոնկրէս

Ռամկավար Մամուլ Յակոբ Մարտիրոսեան, Լոս Անճելըս, 28 Փետրուար 28, 2011 Սփիւռքահայութիւնը տարիներ շարունակ փորձած է ստեղծել սփիւռքահայութիւնը ներկայացնող…
Read More