The Macedonian Tendency: Macedonian Canadian MP Earning His Keep

Friday, June 17, 2005

Macedonian Canadian MP Earning His Keep

Canada initiates the Canada-Macedonia Interparliamentary Friendship Group:
June 8, 2005
Risto Stefov

Thanks to the tireless effort of our first Canadian-Macedonian Member of Parliament, the Honourable Lui Temelkovski, we now have a Canada-Macedonia Interparliamentary Friendship Group. This is indeed an accomplishment for the Macedonian community in Canada, which has been part of this country since the late 1800's.

The Canada-Macedonia Interparliamentary Friendship Group, made up strictly of members of the House of Commons, will function within the mandate of the Speakers of the House of Commons. It will operate with the support of the International and Interparliamentary Affairs Directorate in affiliation, from time to time, with selected groups of Macedonian parliamentarians.
The group's aim will be to strengthen and promote political, economic and cultural ties between Canada and Macedonia.

Establishing the Canada-Macedonia Interparliamentary Friendship Group has been Mr. Temelkovski's goal since his arrival in Ottawa in the fall of last year.

When the momentous occasion finally arrived, Mr. Temelkovski invited the Macedonian community to celebrate it with him.

Among Mr. Temelkovski's Macedonian guests were: the Macedonian Ambassador to Canada, Dr. Sashko Nasev, Dr. Lefter Mantse and Zvonko Mutsunski from Ottawa, the very Reverend Ilija Donev from the Macedonian Orthodox Church in Mississauga, Vlado and Vassa Grozdanovski the organizers of the trip, Mirche Vidinovski, Andre Shukovski, Louie Sekulovski, Alex Nitsis from the Canadian-Macedonian Historical Society and myself, Risto Stefov from Toronto.

Mr. Temelkovski used the occasion to also formally introduce Dr. Nasev, the Macedonian Ambassador, to the Canadian Parliamentarians in attendance.

The various functions which took place in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa on Wednesday June 8th, 2005, began late morning with our arrival from Toronto.

After a brief visit with Mr. Temelkovski in his 3rd floor office, in the east wing, we were escorted to the main building for a wine and cheese get-together with Senators and Members of Parliament.

Mr. Temelkovski used the occasion to formally introduce our Macedonian Ambassador who in turn addressed the gathering in both French and English.

We then had the opportunity to mingle with the dozen or so Parliamentarians who attended the function. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Bloc Quebecois M.P. Claude Bachand was interested in helping Macedonia join NATO.

Overall our meeting with the Senators and Members of Parliament was very positive and their interest in our issues exceeded expectations. It goes to show that Mr. Temelkovski has been hard at work making friends and promoting the Macedonian cause.

After the wine and cheese get-together we were escorted to the House of Commons visitor's gallery for question period, where we observed our Members of Parliament hard at work.

After question period we were taken to a meeting room where we witnessed the initiation of the Canadian-Macedonia Interpaliamentary Friendship Group. This was indeed a historic moment for Macedonia and the Macedonian people and we were proud to have been there.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Roger Valley, the MP from Kenora, who formalized the new organization and summarized, for the audience, the most important articles of its constitution. MP's and Senators, members of the new organization, introduced themselves and briefly talked about their interests in the Friendship Group. Afterwards we again had the opportunity to mingle and talk with the Parliamentarians.

After the meeting, Mr. Temelkovski personally took us on a tour of the Parliament Buildings. I particularly enjoyed viewing the building's architecture and visiting the peace tower and the Memorial Room.
Inside the Memorial Room, written on the marble wall, we found the words 'Macedonia'.

The Memorial Room pays tribute to the fallen Canadian soldiers who, over the years, gave their lives to protect us and keep us free. The word 'Macedonia' is in tribute of the Allied Canadians soldiers who in 1915 died, in Macedonia, fighting against the Central Powers.

At the conclusion of our tour, Mr. Temelkovski treated us to a buffet dinner, wine and further opportunities to meet and mingle with Senators and MP's.

Among Mr. Temelkovski's dinner guests was Mr. James Bissett, Former Ambassador to Yugoslavia and a friend to Macedonia.

After dinner we visited the office of the Macedonian Ambassador, which happened to be only a couple of blocks away from the Parliament Buildings.

It was a memorable experience for all of us.

On behalf of all his Macedonian guests, I would like to thank Mr. Lui Temelkovski, for awarding us the opportunity to be part of this momentous occasion.

I would also like to thank Loretta, Lui's wife for her hospitality and courtesy and Julie and Richard, Mr. Temelkovski's aides, for their assistance with the meetings and tour.

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