Canada–Kurdistan Region relations

Canada Kurdistan Region List of diplomatic missions of Canada
Canada-Kurdistan Region relations
Map indicating locations of Canada and Kurdistan Region


Kurdistan Region

Canada–Kurdistan Region relations are bilateral relations between Canada and the Kurdistan Region.[1] Canada has an embassy office in Erbil,[2] while the Kurdistan Region has no representation in Canada. Diplomatic relations are described as "close"[3] and a "Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds" group was formed in 2016 by MP Tom Kmiec.[4] Canada also had a military presence in Kurdistan Region by training the Peshmerga. This presence ended in 2017, but the Kurdish government has since asked Canada to resume the training.[5][6][7]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that Canada respected the Kurdish independence referendum in 2017 despite being unilateral.[8]

In July 2016, a controversy occurred regarding the Canadian military uniforms as they included the Flag of Kurdistan and could be interpreted as support for Iraq's disunity. Nevertheless, the Canadian Defense Chief Jonathan Vance decided to keep the keep the Kurdish flag patches.[9] Another such gesture was the hoisting of the Kurdish flag in Toronto on 16 March 2019 to commemorate the Halabja massacre in 1988.[10]

Regarding the oil sector, Six Canadian oil companies were granted license by Kurdistan Region to operate in the region [11]

Canadian visits to Kurdistan

In March 2015, a Canadian delegation led by Robert Nicholson visited Kurdistan to discuss strengthening relations and stated that: "We will continue our support and cooperation with the Kurdistan Region in this difficult time."[12] Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the region two months later in May where he met with the Kurdish President Masud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and visited the frontline with the so-called Islamic State.[13][14] In August and November 2015, Richard Fadden, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister visited Kurdistan as well to discuss bilateral relations.[15][16] In December 2015, Foreign Minister Harjit Sajjan visited Kurdistan as well having held talks with the Kurdish Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa,[17] while a Canadian military delegation led by Defence Chief Vance met with the Kurdish President in February 2016.[18]

See also


  1. ^ While Kurdistan Region refers to the autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan is a geographical term referring to the Kurdish area of Iraq
  2. ^ "Embassy Office of Canada". Department of Foreign Relations - Kurdistan Regional Government. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Kurdish independence vote leaves Canadian Forces in a bind - National |". Global news. 1 October 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Canada wants to build relationship with Kurds". Kurdistan24. 26 March 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  5. ^ "The Status of Western Military Aid to Kurdish Peshmerga Forces". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Canadian helicopters active in Iraq; SOF continue to support Peshmerga forces". Kurdistan24. 24 May 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Iraqi Kurds ask Canada for military training, equipment after being frozen out". 23 June 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Canada respects Kurdistan referendum process, won't get involved: PM". Kurdistan24. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Defence chief decides to keep Kurdish flag on Canadian uniforms in Iraq in an act of solidarity". National Post. 23 July 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Canada's Toronto to raise Kurdistan flag on anniversary of Halabja genocide". Kurdistan24. 2 March 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  11. ^ Initiative, Aleph Policy (27 September 2017). "Canadian Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds contracts with API". Aleph Policy Initiative. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Foreign Minister of Canada: We will continue our support and cooperation with the Kurdistan Region". Department of Foreign Relations. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Harper defends Kurdish fighters during surprise Iraq visit". The Globe and Mail. 2 May 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Canadian PM Harper makes first visit to Erbil". Rûdaw. 2 May 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Minister Mustafa receives National Security Advisor to Prime Minister of Canada". 30 August 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Richard Fadden: Canada will continue to support the Peshmerga". Kurdistan24. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan visits Iraq". CBC. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  18. ^ "President Barzani Meets with Canadian Military Delegation". Kurdistan Region Presidency. Retrieved 6 July 2019.