Lord Speaker addresses Canadian PM

14 June 2013

Closing Speech by the Lord Speaker
Address to Parliament by Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Thursday 13 June 2013
 

'Prime Minister,
Let me thank you for your address, on behalf of us all and particularly on behalf of the House of Lords. I am sure I speak for everyone assembled when I say that we very much appreciate your presence here today.

The historic ties between Canada and the United Kingdom, and between the Parliaments of Canada and the United Kingdom speak for themselves. And the common ground that we share in trade and investment, foreign policy and defence, and science and education bears testimony to a bond burnished by years of cooperation and mutual understanding.

It is of particular significance to me that both our Parliaments feature appointed upper chambers. Today, the Canadian Senate and the House of Lords face difficult questions of reform. The future of both chambers is an issue that often preoccupies commentators and politicians on either side of the Atlantic, and I know that this is a matter of particular interest to you. But as we discovered here recently, during debates on the draft House of Lords Reform Bill, there are no easy solutions. I shall be interested to watch developments in Canada closely, as I am sure you will be to watch developments here. Who knows, where one chamber goes, the other may follow.

But meanwhile, I am happy to say that the administrations of both chambers enjoy a highly productive working relationship (currently enriched by discussions over our crumbling Parliamentary buildings and how best to deal with them) and I myself can boast a close and fruitful friendship with Noël Kinsella, the Speaker of your Senate.

Prime Minister Harper, it has been an honour for us to welcome you to our Parliament. We set great store by our relationship with Canada and I hope that the rest of your visit to the UK and elsewhere in Europe will prove both valuable and constructive.'

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Image: House of Lords 2013/Photography by Roger Harris

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