Red Deer–Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen will be diving into discussions on everything from the impact of the Brexit vote to oil production to international crime while taking part in the 25th annual session of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe Parliamentary Association from July 1 to 5.
The session, to be held in Tbilisi in the Eastern European country of Georgia, will welcome policy experts, diplomats, representatives of international organizations, media and about 300 parliamentarians representing 57 legislatures.
Dreeshen said on Monday, while it will take time for legislative changes to occur as a result of the Brexit vote, Canada still has to pay attention.
“From the Canadian perspective, we have a great deal of work that we’ve done as far as free trade is concerned,” said Dreeshen, who will be one of three Canadian MPs and three senators attending the OSCE session.
He said other countries in the European Union may follow Britain’s lead to opt out of the EU.
“The discussion is out there in the public. That has to be fleshed out as well to see how serious they are.”
The OSCE is an international body set up as an East-West forum during the Cold War to prevent conflict and manage crises. It continues as a crucial warning system and has expanded to promote the internal stability of its member states by monitoring elections, encouraging the protection of human rights and freedom of the press, and more.
At the end of the session, a vote will be held on the Tbilisi Declaration containing pronouncements and policy recommendations addressing politics, economics, the environment, and human rights.
A total of 19 supplementary items that will also be discussed include the rights of refugees; reconsolidating European security as a common project; law enforcement co-ordination to prevent child sexual exploitation and trafficking by known sex offenders; fostering co-operation to protect drinking water which is considered a scarce resource adversely affected by climate action; and security challenges of migration.
Dreeshen said coming to a consensus on resolutions is helpful even if the OSCE has no power of enforcement.
“It doesn’t have the type of teeth that some people might think, but when it comes to government and parliamentarians you have to have a certain amount of diplomacy when you work through this. Usually the consensus you get is meaningful back home.”
He said it’s always important to let others know Canada’s position on issues and what is happening here, for example the high environmental standards in place for the country’s oil and gas industry.
“To often we sit back and let others define what we do. If no one is there to speak to it, the assumption is that everything that is being said is done in a knowledgeable fashion. That isn’t necessarily the case. They need to know what is actually taking place.”