The Saudi royal family and the government are working extremely hard for the development of the Kingdom, and Canada wishes to strengthen its relations with Saudi Arabia, said Dave Levac, member of the provincial parliament (MPP) and deputy minister of energy, Ontario, Canada, on his recent visit to the Kingdom.
“We want to have stronger ties with Saudi Arabia – a country that cares a lot for its people – just like Canada does,” said the minister, who was accompanied to the Kingdom by Khalil Ramal, MPP and assistant immigration minister, Ontario Canada. The visit, organized by the Canadian Dawa Association (CDA) in cooperation with the Forum for Social Studies, United Kingdom, sought to promote a better understanding of Saudi Arabia and enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
“The CDA has helped us in understanding how the people of Saudi Arabia – a country whose economy is booming – are interested in development, and I am pleased to be here and learn more about the Kingdom,” said Levac.
Describing their meeting with the Canadian Ambassador David Chatterson in Riyadh as “fruitful”, Ramal said “important issues, such as, Saudi-Canadian ties and implementation of an easier procedure for Saudis visiting Canada were discussed,” adding that “the Ambassador welcomed the visit and is looking forward to more economic, financial and cultural visits that would create opportunities of joint ventures between the two countries”.
“On our visit, we found that Saudi Arabia is not what it is portrayed in the media. We also met with a member of the Shoura Council, visited Abha and were hosted by Prince Faisal Bin Khaled, Governor of Asir province, where we interacted with the local people and had first-hand experience of Saudi culture,” Ramal said. “When we go back, we will explain to the community there that Saudi Arabia is totally different from what it is generally thought to be; it’s a very modern society,” he added.
The ministers also visited King Khaled University to explore opportunities in the education sector.
“Building a relationship first is an extremely important part of doing business, as it helps in respecting and understanding the other’s culture, and consequently, the business community. It is more than just a buying-selling partnership,” said Levac.
He said Canada is looking forward to bilateral relations that are of benefit to both Saudi Arabia and Canada. “Ontario is an extremely well-placed province in Canada and we seek to enhance our tourism industry,” he added. – SG