Our Programs

EngageParlDiplo #2

EngageParlDiplo was established in 2011 to provide welcome orientation to newly elected MPs and diplomats and to provide policy panels to both communities. Formerly the Carleton Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement, this initiative is led by the Parliamentary Centre in partnership with Carleton University.



The World Refugee & Migration Council, together with the Embassy of Ukraine and the Parliamentary Centre’s EngageParlDiplo program, hosted a discussion with distinguished legal experts and parliamentarians on supporting the rebuilding of Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s brutal and unjustified aggression.

The discussion explored pressing questions surrounding the repurposing of frozen Russian assets to reconstruct Ukraine. These questions included:

  • How much will the reconstruction and recovery of Ukraine cost?
  • Why should Russian assets held abroad be confiscated and used for Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction costs?
  • What are the legal obstacles to confiscating privately held assets of sanctioned Russian oligarchs and the Russian state? How can these obstacles be overcome?
  • How much money are we talking about?
  • What are the broader financial implications of asset forfeiture?
  • What should the Canadian government do with the
  • Russian-held assets it may forfeit now, and are there useful models and precedents it should follow?
  • What role can legislatures play in creating a supportive legal environment?

The discussion took place on the eve of the international Ukraine Recovery Conference in London on June 21-22, 2023.


Welcoming the MP Class of 2021 and Recognizing the Anniversary of D-Day

On June 6, 2023, EngageParlDiplo and the British High Commission to Ottawa welcomed parliamentarians, foreign heads of mission and senior public servants to celebrate the Parliamentary Class of 2021 and recognize the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The UK High Commissioner, Susannah Gosko, hosted a buffet breakfast which allowed members from diverse backgrounds to connect and mingle. The breakfast was a follow-up event to our virtual orientation for newly elected Members of Parliament held in January 2022.

We were pleased to have Vice Admiral Angus Topshee, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy participate.  He underscored civilian oversight of the armed forces as the cornerstone of democracy. Remarks made by Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, Her Excellency Susannah Gosko, and Tom Cormier allowed attendees to reflect on the universal principles and values that bind us together, especially in an era of unprecedented threats to our democracies worldwide.


The Urban-Rural Divide

In an increasingly polarized world, many believe Canadians are becoming politically divided along urban-rural lines.
Has Canada become a tale of two solitudes? EngageParlDiplo wanted to test that perception with a data-driven evidence-based policy discussion. What are the differences? Where is the common ground? How to people self-identify in these categories?
We explored these questions and used statistics and research to drive a panel discussion on key issues that present challenges and opportunities to urban and rural Canadians alike.

What we discovered is some truth – and a lot of speculation – driving a wedge between these identities. Using science to bust some of the myths, we discovered the Urban-Rural nature of our country is really a tale of one Canada.

Good data informs positive outcomes. Good public policy and private sector support play an essential role in a healthy democracy.


Why urgent action is needed to protect a competitive free press that underpins our Democratic rights and freedoms

Tuesday, March 7th, from 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. ET

Rideau Committee Rooms, 1 Wellington St. (between the Chateau Laurier and Rideau Canal)

Sessions will include:

Invested in News; what data tell us about ownership & consumption in Canada

Social Media Signals

  • Erin Kelly, CEO of Ottawa based Advanced Symbolics, which is an AI-driven market research firm. The company created a proprietary Canadian software called ‘Poly’ that monitors social media and can narrowly define the demographics of engagement globally. Outcomes can identify the seeds of so-called conspiracy theories.

News, Technology and Lessons Learned

  • 1. Allan Thompson, Head of Carleton’s Journalism Program
  • 2. Heidi Legg


Democratic Institutions Under Threat: What We Must Do to Respond 

On Friday, May 5th, EngageParlDiplo, in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain and the House of Commons, organized a plenary session on Parliament Hill featuring Her Excellency Meritxell Batet Lamaña, Speaker of the Congress of Deputies of the Kingdom of Spain during an official visit to Canada from May 3 to May 6. Speaker Batet Lamaña talked about the global trend of erosion of trust in democratic institutions and what legislatures must do to reverse it. 

The Hon. Rob Oliphant, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, provided a thoughtful response. Chris d’Entremont, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons,  led the session on how we can strengthen our democratic institutions when they can be threatened to highlight the need for multiculturalism, gender equality, inclusion, pluralism, and the importance of democratic institutions. During the Q & A, audience members asked the panelists to delve deeper into the role of misinformation and disinformation in the erosion of trust and what types of regulatory responses may be effective. 

Approximately fifty guests attended the event. 

Ukraine’s Resistance at a Critical Point – December 6, 2022

On Tuesday, December 6, 2022, EngageParlDiplo hosted a panel discussion at the Rideau Club with two senior Ukrainian parliamentarians, opposition MP, former deputy prime minister and chair of the Verkhovna Rada Committee of Ukraine’s Integration into the European Union, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, and opposition MP and member of Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, Mariya Ionova. The event coincided with Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The war was at a critical point and Moscow used the destruction of infrastructure, attacks on civilians and human rights abuses to attempt to break the will of Ukrainian forces and citizens.

The Parliamentary Centre’s Vice-Chair, Yaroslav Baran, delivered opening remarks. The MPs participated in an armchair discussion moderated by Heather Bakken, President of World Press Freedom Canada, and was followed by a Q & A session.

The MPs provided an update on Ukraine at a time of Russia’s escalating attacks approaching winter, including the impact of Russia’s alleged war crimes against Ukrainian women and girls. This included perspectives on:

  • The way women and girls are affected by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine
  • The roles and needs of women in leadership positions
  • How Canadian support to Ukraine can be maintained and further adapted

Before the discussion, the MPs met with Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, Jacqueline O’Neill.

’12th Annual Day for Diplomats’ – November 3, 2022

On November 3, 2022, the first in-person orientation for newly arrived diplomats since the pandemic was held under the EngageParlDiplo initiative in partnership with Carleton University. Approximately 120 heads of mission, spouses and members of their diplomatic teams attended.

Some of the highlights included the Honourable Mona Fortier sharing her mandate at the Treasury Board with the audience, many of whom are also her constituents in Ottawa–Vanier.  Anita Vandenbeld, MP (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development) and Garnett Genuis, MP (Vice Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development), discussed how multiculturalism shapes foreign policy, ways to counter declining trust in democracy and why Parliament is most effective when the parties work together.  Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson welcomed diplomats with information about the capital city’s cultural and economic diversity, size and relevance.

House of Commons Speaker, the Hon. Anthony Rota, discussed his role and how diplomats can engage with and follow the work of parliament. President and CEO of Abacus Data, David Coletto, provided a snapshot of his latest public opinion survey and shifting political trends.  Maureen Boyd, Chair of the board of the Parliamentary Centre, the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Colin Robertson, Vice President and Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, discussed the effects of heightened global tensions on inflation and international trade. 

Heather Bakken, President of World Press Freedom Canada, led a discussion with Parliamentary bureau chief Bob Fife (Globe & Mail) and senior parliamentary reporter Catherine Cullen (CBC) and explored the challenges of reporting on parliament and government in an era of increasing disinformation and polarization.

Stewart Wheeler, Chief of Protocol from Global Affairs Canada, shared information about recent and upcoming events designed to enable embassies to identify and explore diplomatic and trade opportunities.  

The President of Carleton University, Benoit-Antoine Bacon, and Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs, Brenda O’Neill, welcomed diplomats to Carleton and highlighted the importance of the university as a world-class center of educational excellence and foreign policy studies.   

The resource fair that followed the event enabled diplomats to learn more about cultural and informational opportunities that can strengthen their work.

The diplomats and their families tell us they found immense value in the presentations and discussions and look forward to future events.  

’12th Annual Day for Diplomats’ | Orientation for Newly Arrived Diplomats and Resource Fair

Links to presentations from the event can be found here:

StatCan101: Good Data for Good Decision-Making, prepared for the ‘12th Annual Day for Diplomats’ by Statistics Canada.

The Current Canadian Political Opinion Environmentpresented by David Coletto, CEO and founding partner at Abacus Data

Parliamentary Centre:  Supporting Inclusive Democracy in Canada and Worldwide

What Foreign Diplomats Need to Know about Canada: Personal Reflections by Colin Robertson and Maureen Boyd

“110 Days of War in Ukraine: Prospects for peace amid mass devastation and Russian war crimes” – June 13, 2022

A dialogue for Canadian MPs, Senators and diplomats to Canada with two Ukrainian MPs on the latest in the war in Ukraine – from devastation of entire cities to human rights abuses and hopes for a credible peace process. We welcome:

Mr. Rustem Umerov, MP

Member of the Ukrainian delegation responsible for negotiations with Russia, Delegate of the Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People and adviser to the Leader of the Crimean Tatar People, Mustafa Dzhemilev

Ms. Yevheniia Kravchuk, MP

Deputy Head of President Zelensky’s Servant of the People political party, and Deputy Chair of the  Ukrainian Parliament’s Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy

This EngageParlDiplo event is a partnership with the Parliamentary Centre’s Parliamentary Accountability for the Security Sector in Ukraine (PASS Ukraine) program and in cooperations with the Agency for Legislative Initiatives (ALI). PASS is supported by Global Affairs Canada.

“Advancing Democracy and the Arts” – June 8, 2022

In partnership with the National Gallery of Canada, EngageParlDiplo welcomed Members of Parliament and diplomats to a special event at the National Gallery. Remarks offered by Sasha Suda, Director and CEO of the National Gallery and Tom Cormier, President and CEO of the Parliamentary Centre. Guests also had an opportunity to discover the Gallery’s exhibitions: Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons and General Idea. By invitation only.

’11th Annual Day for Diplomats’ – April 7, 2022

Over 5 dozen diplomats are anticipated for EngageParlDiplo’s 11th annual Day for Diplomats, including Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and chargés d’affaires and many other members of the diplomatic community. This unique seminar has brought together leaders of the diplomatic community with Canadian parliamentarians, thought, and business leaders for over a decade. It is designed to help the diplomatic community in Ottawa strengthen its engagement with the Parliament of Canada, government, business and civil society. Organized by EngageParlDiplo, this year’s events include panel discussions on Canadian public opinion trends, Canadian business trends, and engaging with Canadian business, and accessing information on expatriate communities, government policy and trade opportunities. Additionally, there will be a panel with current voices of Parliament along with a robust discussion on Parliament during times of crisis with journalists.

Watch full event

David Coletto Slide Deck – A Pandemic, Inflation, and The War in Ukraine

Jacques Fauteux – Good Data for Good Decision-Making

‘Your House, Your Time: Making it Count’ – January 18 & 19, 2022

Orientation for New MPs 

View the Full Event

(Registered Guests Only)

During our two day orientation, over two dozen of Canada’s newest MPs and Senators considered how to leverage their role in Parliament, how to serve as an ‘ambassador’ for Canada and how to support their constituents during tailored expert events. Attendees met with the Governor General, the Interim Clerk of the Privy Council, the Chief Justice of Canada, the Chief Statistician and many more.

This orientation complements the House of Commons procedural and administrative orientation and is supported by the House of Commons leadership and political parties.

Read the Press Release

See the Full Agenda

‘Election Primer for Diplomats, Politicos and Interested Observers’ – September 8, 2021

Thanks to the over 200+ participants who tuned it to catch our Election Primer for Diplomats, Politicos and Interested Observers! This inaugural event marks the beginning of EngageParlDiplo, an exciting new partnership with Carleton University’s Faculty of Public Affairs.

Missed the discussion? You can still watch it here: https://lnkd.in/epGdv6vi

Sincere thanks to our distinguished panel: David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, Susan Delacourt from the Toronto Star, Joel-Denis Bellavance from LaPresse, and Christopher Waddell, Professor Emeritus, School of Journalism and Communications at Carleton University, for their keen insights and reflections.

With questions from our moderator Maureen Boyd, Chair, Parliamentary Centre and others from the audience, our guests engaged in a thoughtful and wide-ranging discussion on the latest polling data, prospects for the shape of the post-election parliament, the impact of Covid-19 on the campaign, a heightening of political tension and polarization, and much more.

Click here to read about our launch

                     Credit – Supreme Court of Canada Selection