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Visit of Representatives from the Federation Council of Russia

  

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, this week the Senate of Canada is honoured to receive as its guests the Secretary General of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Svinarev, and his two officials, Mr. Alexey Nesterenko and Ms. Elena Molochkova, who have come to Ottawa at the invitation of our Clerk. This delegation is seated in our official gallery and has been introduced by the Speaker.

The Federation Council of Russia is the upper house of their federal Parliament. Like the Senate of Canada, it is an appointed body and is meant to represent their country's regions. Each of the 83 federal regions of Russia sends two senators to the Council, bringing the size of the Council of the Federation to 166 members, which is about one and a half times the size of the Senate of Canada.

The Council is meant to complement the work of the lower house, the State Duma, which is popularly elected. It assists the Duma in the preparation of legislative proposals.

Committees form a key component of the structure of the Council and many of them seem to parallel the committees we have in Canada. For example, there is a committee on legal and judicial affairs, defence and security, international affairs, house rules and one on social policy and public health.

Given the great similarities between the Senate of Canada and the Federation Council, we hope the visit of the Secretary General will be mutually beneficial. In the course of their meetings with various Senate officials as well as honourable senators, a number of administrative matters will be discussed, including human resources management, financial procedures, legal and drafting assistance and the organization of the various directorates that report to the Clerk.

We wish Mr. Svinarev and his officials the greatest success in the services they provide to the Federation Council. If there is anything the Senate of Canada can do to assist him, I am sure our officials will be pleased to do so.