Minister Baird and MP Dechert consult Egyptian community in Mississauga
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today concluded his visit to Egypt, during which he met with Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Mohammed Ahmed El-Tayyib, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque. Prior to his departure Minister Baird was in Mississauga to consult with members of the Egyptian community along with Member of Parliament Bob Dechert.
“In preparation for his recent successful trip to the middle east, Minister Baird and I met with several prominent members of the Egyptian-Canadian community here in Mississauga to hear their views and learn from their experience,” said MP Dechert. “The frank and open dialogue was very helpful and appreciated by all participants.”
“Minister Baird continues to exemplify the type of frank and honest leadership that is required today in light of the plethora of issues arising on a daily basis throughout the world,” said Peter Saad Mississauga resident and participant in those consultations. “In particular, in our recent discussions, Minister Baird has exemplified a comprehensive and personal understanding of the issues in the Middle East and he brings the foresight and decisiveness necessary to address these issues head on.
“Canada believes that a moderate, democratic and prosperous Egypt will be key to the success of the region, especially at a time of growing regional and security challenges,” said Baird.
This is the second visit Minister Baird has made to Egypt within the last year, with the aim of advancing Canadian foreign policy interests and supporting social and economic development. It also provides the opportunity to again raise consular issues, particularly concerning the journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
“We have had good discussions with the government on this case, and we are working toward seeing a constructive resolution,” said Baird.
“We also recognize the important role played by Egypt as a seat of moderate Islamic scholarship and a centre of Eastern Christianity,” Baird said. “The protection of religious freedom is essential to maintaining that role.”
Baird reaffirmed Canada’s support for Egypt’s continued transition to democracy ahead of the legislative elections in March and announced several initiatives to encourage stability, security and economic growth. While in Luxor, he also announced support for economic growth and the economic empowerment of women and youth.