February 2021 – CEO’s Update

February 2021 – CEO’s Update

2020 was a year like no other. Despite several challenges, exciting things are happening at the Parliamentary Centre, including the introduction of the infobrief to keep our friends informed.

We’ve been incredibly busy working on several important initiatives as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge us and our partners in profound ways. Our team continues to work from home, adapting to new ways of operating that often require more time and effort, all while balancing personal and family responsibilities. I am sure you can relate to this. 

Since I began my mandate, we have renewed our board, launched a new program in Ukraine, hired new staff members, and contributed to numerous dialogues about the critical importance of inclusive democracy. With our international partners, we’ve advocated for the need to #DefendDemocracy against threats that have been exacerbated by opportunistic governments and stressed the need to acknowledge the disproportionate effect this health crisis is having on women and marginalized groups. We’ve also repeatedly stressed the importance of enhanced democracy support to ensure democracy does not become a casualty of COVID-19. 

A number of new program proposals have also been developed including a program to support women’s political voice for pandemic responses in Ghana, Togo, and Ethiopia; to assist the new Transitional Legislative Council (TLC) in Sudan; and to expand our work to strengthen evidence-based research in sub-national parliaments in Myanmar. 

Since June, we have conducted over 100 interviews with key stakeholders to explore their perceptions of the Centre, the challenges facing democracy, Canada’s role in the democracy sector, and their advice on priority areas of engagement as part of our strategic plan. It has been a lot of work, but it has enabled us to renew existing relationships and develop new ones. We anticipate launching our new strategy in April. We are building on our past successes as we renew our organization and develop new areas of work. We will be a Canadian and world leader in inclusive governance. 

The deadly siege of the US Capitol on January 6 reminded us that we should never take democracy for granted.  We are confident that our US friends will continue to demonstrate resilience and address some shortcomings in the democratic process to restore citizens’ faith.  We are encouraged that the new Administration of President Biden plans to have an international summit of democracies within the next year.  We plan to be full participants in this important opportunity to gather with democracies to commit to facing increasing threats to democracy together and to continue providing support to individuals and institutions in countries striving to improve inclusive governance.

Warm regards,

Tom Cormier, CEO

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