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Administrative Notices

Creation of Muslim Communities Working Group Operational Unit (FMCG)


David Mulroney, Assistant Deputy Minister, Bilateral Relations (RGM)


All employees at Headquarters, at missions and at regional offices




We are pleased to announce the creation of the Muslim Communities Working Group Operational Unit (FMCG).

Subsequent to a decision by Policy Committee and in response to a SCFAIT report, FAC created the Muslim Communities Working Group in summer 2005. The idea was to take a unique approach to an emerging cross-cutting issue for the Department and the government as a whole by bringing together officers from across the Department in a virtual working group, chaired by RAS/Lalani.

The group has had ever-increasing demands for operational work–producing speeches for MINA, writing briefing notes, providing general advice, organizing consultations, and managing emerging issues such as the recent Prophet Muhammad caricatures issue. The officers in the Working Group have provided incredible service, well beyond the normal call of duty, essentially putting in countless hours in addition to their already demanding job packages. I want to thank them sincerely for their contribution. It is clear, and even more so in the past month, that we cannot do the job with a volunteer fire department.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce that, following consultations with USS, the Muslim Communities Working Group will now have a full operational capability. The mandate and chairmanship remains the same. Arif Lalani will continue to Chair the Working Group and serve as the senior departmental officer on issues relating to Muslim communities.

The Muslim Communities Working Group will have clear operational capability and responsibility. Beginning immediately, it will have its own e-mail address - FMCG. Reporting to RGM through RSD/Blackwell, the FMCG will serve as a Branch and Department-wide resource and coordinating unit.

The FMCG mandate continues to be to: serve as a clearing house and focal point within the Department for issues concerning relations with the Muslim world; build the Department's policy capacity on this subject; and take the lead in providing timely, strategic advice on relations with the Muslim world, and the lead in creating a policy framework for our overall approach to this subject. As such, the FMCG should be consulted at headquarters and by posts on the broad range of issues affecting Canada's relations with Muslim communities, including public diplomacy efforts, and will take the lead in coordinating the Department's response to many of them. For this cross-cutting unit to work, it is essential that two-way consultation exist between it and the other units in the Department. Therefore, the FMCG will continue to engage with a network of officers throughout the department through regular meetings and as required on a day-to-day basis, and will look forward to early consultation by other units in the Department.

In addition, we will shortly be creating an Advisory Group that will serve to discuss strategic policy issues brought to it by the FMCG. The Advisory Group will be composed of senior officials from across the department and meet at least on a quarterly basis, to provide policy advice and guidance to the FMCG Chairperson.

In the coming weeks, the FMCG will be seeking to fill three full time positions - a Deputy Director, a Policy Officer, and an Operations and Public Diplomacy Officer. The evolution to operational capability is absolutely vital and begins to put us at par with other key partners. The UK, Netherlands, Germany, and others all have such a capability already well-established. Currently, the FMCG is ably staffed by Crystal Procyshen who serves as both a policy and operations officer, and who should be your first point of contact. Theressa de Haan is temporarily serving with the unit as the first point of contact for posts on relevant bilateral issues.

As the FMCG becomes more operational, you will be hearing more about its plans, the creation of an advisory group, and some of its immediate and longer-term activities.

This unit is a priority for the Deputy Minister and for me. I count on your active collaboration with the FMCG in the service of the Department's and the government's interests.


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