The Honourable George J. Furey, Q.C.
Speaker of the Senate
The Speaker of the Senate ranks fourth on Canada’s Order of Precedence following the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. As a representative of Canada’s Parliament, the Speaker plays an important role in parliamentary diplomacy.
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or nations. It usually refers to international diplomacy, the conduct of international relations through the intercession of professional diplomats with regard to issues such as peace-making, culture, economics, and trade. Diplomats are responsible for strengthening relations, representing their respective countries and furthering their national interests abroad.
The Speaker of the Senate practises diplomacy by welcoming foreign leaders and delegations to Parliament. He is involved in most state visits, fulfilling his ceremonial role by speaking at official events and by receiving visiting heads of state or heads of government in the Speaker's chambers. He also maintains a crucial personal link with diplomats and other foreign dignitaries, often meeting with them during courtesy calls in Ottawa.
The Speaker’s diplomatic role also extends beyond Parliament Hill; he is called upon to lead delegations representing Canada’s Parliament to foreign nations. Parliamentary exchanges are important avenues of diplomacy that help to maintain an open dialogue between Canada and its international partners. At home or abroad, the Speaker plays a vital role in furthering Canada’s interests and bolstering its reputation around the world.