Canada eager to stay connected with renewed energy in Kurdistan Region: MP

“There’s a lot of new exciting energy right now in the region, so we want to make sure that we’re connected with that energy here in Canada.”

OTTAWA (Kurdistan 24) – A Member of the Canadian Parliament says his country is excited about the renewed energy in the Kurdistan Region amid the formation of a new regional government.

Gord Johns, an MP for Courtenay-Alberni, spoke to Kurdistan 24 last week where he expressed his excitement about the positive relationship between Canada and the Kurdistan Region and said he hopes those constructive ties continue to grow.

Opportunity for Renewal

On the recent election of Nechirvan Barzani as the Kurdistan Region’s new President, and Masrour Barzani as Prime Minister-designate to form the new KRG cabinet, Johns underlined the real prospect for “renewal” and “progress.”

The Kurdistan Region should “tap into all of that youthful energy, that exciting energy about change,” he told Kurdistan 24. “It seems like an opportunity for renewal and opportunities for progress.”

“Canada would be an excellent partner in terms of working together on our cultural and economic ties and ways that we could best support each other.”

The Canadian MP pointed to his country’s strong economy and the rights and freedoms its people enjoy and said Kurdistan would benefit greatly by working with Ottawa to apply some of those best practices within the KRG.

“It’s very important to work with countries like Canada as you create more security and grow your economy and create more stability in that area,” Johns stated.

Global Security

The MP recalled Canada’s security ties with the Kurdistan Region, emphasizing the need for such relations to continue to ensure international security.

Canada’s partnership with Kurdistan is “important for global security,” Johns explained. “I think security in Kurdistan is important to global security, so the success of the president in the region in creating peace and security in that region is very important to everybody.”

Since the emergence of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Canada has provided training and support to the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces as they effectively defeated the terror group.

Aside from the military aspect, Johns said security in the Kurdistan Region should also extend to the economic and social infrastructure to ensure “people get the support they need.”

“Look at countries like Canada and our healthcare system, our policing system, our judiciary; [these] are all very important models that could be applied in an area like Kurdistan to give you the security that you need.”

Planned Visit to Kurdistan

Johns also serves as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds, an all-parties caucus dedicated to cultivating dialogue and forming stronger parliamentary ties with the KRG.

He told Kurdistan 24 the all-party group has plans to send a delegation to the Kurdistan Region in 2020.

“There is a lot of excitement,” the MP said, it would be “the first delegation from our group to Kurdistan to talk about our culture and our economic opportunities and ties and how we can best support the region and strengthen our ties that are always growing.”

“There’s a lot of new exciting energy right now in the region, so we want to make sure that we’re connected with that energy here in Canada,” Johns added, noting his government is thrilled at the opportunities to grow its relationship with the Kurdish people.

“Hopefully, we’ll meet the president when we’re over there with our all-party group when we get to Kurdistan!”