TORONTO—A re-elected Conservative government would strengthen ties with Armenia by opening a new trade office in Yerevan, Canada’s Minister of National Defense and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney announced at a town hall with the Armenian community at the Toronto Community Center, reported the Armenian National Committee of Canada.
“The pledge to open a trade and consular office demonstrates the Conservative government’s ongoing commitment to strengthening commercial and social ties with Armenia,” said Kenney. “Canada-Armenia trade is increasing rapidly and this new office will help spur even more growth. That’s good news for the economies of both of our countries.”
In the past year, trade between Canada and Armenia totaled nearly $120 million, a 1700% increase compared to 2005. Canadian imports from Armenia have tripled and Canadian exports to Armenia have increased 6000% since 2005. A new trade office would further Canada’s growing trade ties with Armenia by supporting Canadian companies doing business in Armenia, supporting export development, providing and enhancing economic relations between both countries. The consular services office would process temporary resident applications and assist with citizenship-related matters, further improving tourism ties. Currently, these matters are handled out of Moscow.
Minister Kenney also highlighted the special program to resettle vulnerable populations in Iraq and Syria, including Armenians, who do not feel safe in UN refugee camps. In 2009, the Canadian government created a special program to resettle hundreds of Armenian refugees from Iraq and Syria. Nanor Baliozian, a refugee from Syria who arrived in Toronto nine months ago, expressed her gratefulness: “Unless you have lived through it, you cannot appreciate how it feels to me that my children went to their first day of school without my worrying about their safety.”
The Canadian government recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2006, shortly after the Conservatives took office. In 2014, Minister Jason Kenney visited Armenia and met with President Serzh Sargsyan to discuss trade and investment. Minister Chris Alexander visited Armenia in 2015 to attend genocide centennial commemoration events. Minister Christian Paradis is scheduled to attend the La Francophonie meeting in Yerevan later this year.