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Political cooperation


Political cooperation

The ties between Italy and Canada date back to the time of the Great Explorers (after the Vikings, Giovanni Caboto was the first European to set foot on the shores of Newfoundland, in 1497.) The large waves of Italian immigration to Canada that began during the second half of the 19th century further enriched these ties, which were strengthened by the significant role of the Canadian Armed Forces in the Italian Campaign during World War II (most particularly at the Battle of Ortona in December 1943.) In recent decades, the two countries continue to participate jointly in international operations such as the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and most recently as part of the coalition fighting Daesh.

A defining element of the bilateral relationship, which today includes a broad network of trade relations, industrial cooperation and important cooperation in science and academics is the presence of a large and dynamic Italian-Canadian community. Today over 131,000 Italian citizens make Canada their home, while 1.5 million Canadians (over 4% of the total population) identify themselves as being of Italian heritage. Within the framework of Canada’s multicultural model, Italian-Canadians are present in all sectors of society (politics, business, media, culture, and sports) and are an example for communities of recent immigrants.

In terms of foreign policy, the strength of the relations between Italy and Canada is is evident in their shared points of view and positions in most multilateral fora and international organizations. The two Governments consult regularly within the United Nations, NATO, the G7 and G20 and share similar positions on major international issues. Both are engaged in crisis areas and in the fight against international terrorism, in the fight against female genital mutilation and forced marriage, in the defence of fundamental human rights and religious freedom, in the protection of maternal, newborn and child health.

As of September 2012, following the suspension by Ottawa of relations with Tehran, Italy represents Canada’s interests in Iran.
Italy, which has a long tradition of scientific research in the Arctic, was very grateful for Canada’s support for the recognition of Italy’s Observer Status on the Arctic Council at the Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna (May 15, 2013.)

Finally, Italy, as a founding member state and one of the principal members of the European Union, was a committed and firm supporter of the negotiations between the EU and Canada for the “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement” (CETA) the signature of which was announced in Ottawa on September 14, 2014.