On May 7th, 2015, President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines made a historic visit to Canada on a three-city tour that saw the signing of significant bilateral agreements that will encourage greater trade between Canada and the Philippines, increased security, and development opportunities aimed at reducing poverty in the Philippines.
President Aquino’s trip began with a red carpet welcome at Ottawa International Airport, where he was greeted by Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicolson, International Trade Minister Ed Fast, and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.
The president was then officially welcomed to Rideau Hall by His Excellency the Right Hon. David Johnson, the Governor General of Canada, and the Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism.
In the afternoon, Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed President Aquino to the House of Commons for a joint press conference where they announced key initiatives that will deepen the strong Canada-Philippines bilateral relations, including launching exploratory discussing towards a free trade agreement (FTA) and to work towards upgrading the existing Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). These initiatives will give Canadian businesses increased opportunities for growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, Christian Paradis, and his Filipino counterpart signed an important framework that outlines the commitments of both governments toward reducing poverty in Philippines.
President Aquino and the Filipino delegation were joined by Prime Minister Harper and many Parliamentarians and Senators, including Senator Tobias C. Enverga, Canada’s first Senator of Filipino descent, as they continued their visit to Toronto and Vancouver. President Aquino attended a community event at Roy Thomson Hall where he spoke to several thousand members of Canada’s 800,000 strong Filipino community. At this event, Prime Minister Harper announced that Philippines was the number one source country for immigrant to Canada in 2014.
“It was a pleasure to welcome President Aquino to Canada. During his highly productive visit we were pleased to announce several important bilateral initiatives in the areas of commerce, development and security that will benefit citizens in both countries. His visit also provided an opportunity to introduce the President to Canada’s hard working Filipino communities and highlight some of their major contributions to the fabric of our society,” said Prime Minister Harper.
Finally, Minister Kenney welcomed President Aquino to Vancouver, on behalf of the Government of Canada. On his arrival, President Aquino presented Minister Kenney with a gift of a favorite Filipino snack, Chicharrón. They then addressed a gathering of the Filipino community to close out this historic visit by highlighting the strong and growing friendship between Canada and the Philippines.
The Office of the Hon. Jason Kenney, PC, MP