March 15 -- In early March, MP David Sweet participated in a panel discussion at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2012 Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
Invited as Chair of the Canada-Israel Inter-Parliamentary Group on Parliament Hill. MP Sweet joined the Honourable Stockwell Day, former Minister of International Trade and now a board member on The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Shimon Fogel, CEO of The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs in bringing a Canadian perspective to the conference. Their session was titled Northern Exposure: The Strengthening Israel-Canada Relationship.
Every year, about 12,000 people attend this annual conference which includes a full agenda of plenary sessions and breakouts – featuring members of the U.S. Congress, diplomats, academics and foreign policy experts. The AIPAC policy conferences are always influential in the shaping of policy on Israel and global affairs. However, 2012 was particularly significant for addresses by U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Canadian panel received a warm welcome from delegates. It was reflective of the stand that Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Foreign Minister John Baird and the Government of Canada have taken in defense of Canada and Israel’s mutual values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
MP Sweet spoke about the Canada-Israel Inter-Parliamentary Group and the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA). He elaborated on the findings and recommendations from the CPCCA’s Inquiry Panel report of July 2011 and also talked about some of the trade, innovation, arts, culture and education initiatives between Canada and Israel that have blossomed in the past few years.
The panel brought the Canadian vantage point to the conference – particularly at this critical time for peace and security in the Middle East.