TORONTO – MARCH 6, 2012 – United Macedonian Diaspora representatives held meetings with the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and nine other Canadian parliamentarians between February 24-March 2, 2012, in Ottawa and in Toronto.
The Canadian MPs showed genuine enthusiasm for strengthening Canada-Macedonia bilateral relations, and the meetings with the MPs in Ottawa and Toronto were very productive, covering a wide range of issues – from deepening economic cooperation between Canada and Macedonia, to the ongoing problems of Macedonian human rights in northern Greece. However, in the lead up to the NATO Summit in Chicago, Canada’s ongoing support for Macedonia’s NATO membership topped the agenda.
“Macedonia has met every requirement for NATO membership, and it has contributed generously to NATO military and humanitarian missions, especially in Kosovo and Afghanistan,” said UMD Director of Canadian Operations Jim Daikos, “For more than 20 years, Macedonia compromised its sovereignty to make deep concessions, in a sincere effort to normalize relations with Greece, and join the Euro-Atlantic family. But, to this day, the Greek Government refuses to accept the reality that it is a multi-ethnic state, oppressing the Macedonian minority in northern Greece, and doing everything in its power to keep the Republic of Macedonia outside of NATO, on illegitimate grounds. A secure and stable Macedonia will benefit the entire region, and it is in Canada’s national interest.”
“When Athens vetoed Macedonia’s NATO membership in 2008, it clearly violated international law,” said UMD Director of PR and Communications Mark Branov, “But mere hours after the International Court of Justice ruled in December 2011, Secretary-General Rasmussen announced that NATO intended to ignore the ICJ ruling, and allow Greece to ignore its international obligations. As Canadians, we encourage our lawmakers to promote Canadian values in Chicago, namely, a firm commitment to peace and security, full recognition of ethnic identity and human rights, and respect for the rule of law.”
Meetings were held with Hon. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, (CON-Ottawa West-Nepean), Hon. Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Affairs (CON-Mississauga-Erindale), Hon. Ted Opitz (CON-Etobicoke Centre), Hon. Bernard Trottier (CON-Etobicoke Lakeshore), Hon. Alexandrine Latendresse (NDP-Louis-Saint-Laurent), Hon. Raymond Cote (NDP-Beauport-Limoilou), Hon. Marc Garneau, Liberal House Leader (LIB-Westmount-Ville-Marie), Hon. John McKay (LIB-Scarborough-Guildwood), Hon. Irwin Cotler (LIB-Mount Royal), and Hon. John McCallum (LIB-Markham-Unionville).
The Canadian-Macedonian community is estimated to number more than 250,000, and immigration to Canada began well over a century ago.
For more information about Macedonia and NATO, please see the National Post, “A Country Called Macedonia,” Nov. 29, 2011:
For more information about UMD’s efforts to promote Macedonia in NATO:
Mark Branov, Director of Public Relations and Communications,
United Macedonian Diaspora, 3555 St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M1K 1L6 Canada,
Direct Line: +1 647-741-1919; Toll Free: +1-800-863-9583×1; E-mail: [email protected] —————————————————————————————————
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