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  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Presentation of Credentials (Holy See, Vietnam, Kuwait, Peru)

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Presentation of Credentials
(Holy See, Vietnam, Kuwait, Peru)

Rideau Hall, Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I believe the ties that unite us beyond borders and beyond differences are so precious, and that they must be strengthened in the name of greater global solidarity.

That was the spirit in which I went on my third trip to Africa last week, to witness the efforts people are making to establish sustainable peace and good governance, and to finally put an end to the misery they have endured for so long.

Everywhere I went, from Senegal to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Rwanda and Cape Verde, I saw women and men facing the challenges before them with courage, conviction and dignity, and taking part in the renaissance happening all across the continent.

And I would like today’s ceremony to take place in this same spirit of cooperation and sharing.

Ambassador SyVuong Ha, one of Africa’s sons—Léopold Séghar Sendor—founded the Organisation internationale de la francophonie, in which both Vietnam and Canada take part.

Senghor hoped La Francophonie would be a fraternity based on mutual respect and dialogue between cultures.

And still today we are invited to take part in this dialogue as countries who share the French language, a dialogue Canada hopes will be open and friendly with Vietnam.

There are 250,000 Canadians of Vietnamese origin, and they form a dynamic community that is making significant contribution to our country’s development and building strong bridges between Vietnam and Canada.

Moreover, our countries already share a long tradition of cooperation.

Two years ago, we celebrated 35 years of diplomatic relations. In addition, we collaborate within important international forums, including La Francophonie, as I mentioned earlier.

The ties that unite us are becoming stronger every day, thanks to increasing trade and investments, thanks also to a promising partnership in terms of education, and the active presence of the Canadian International Development Agency, which  promotes sustainable and fair economic growth and is contributing to food security.

We were happy to learn that Vietnam is close to achieving the majority of its Millennium Development Goals, and we would like to congratulate all the efforts your country is making to ensure that living conditions improve for the entire Vietnamese population.

Welcome, Ambassador.

Archbishop Lopez Quintanta, the Holy See has an influential voice on the international stage in terms of spirituality, human rights, justice and peace.

It also plays a strong role in international diplomacy, especially within the United Nations, UNESCO, the World Health Organization, and more.

Canada is happy to be one of the Holy See’s partners in these important organizations.

We had the honour of hosting the Holy See’s 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City in June 2008, as that city was celebrating the 400th anniversary of its founding.

Last year, we celebrated 40 years of diplomatic relations, and there are a number of celebrations ahead in 2010.

For example, June 24 will mark the 400th anniversary of the baptism of Mi’kmaq chief Henri Membertou and 21 members of his family, considered to be the first baptismal ceremony performed in Canada, which took place in 1610.

Then, on October 17, the Holy Father will canonize an important figure in our history, Brother André, who was renowned for his generosity, devotion and gift of healing.

Archbishop, we are delighted to welcome you here are as the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada. I have wonderful memories of my meeting with His Holiness in 2006, during the official visit I made to Italy and the Vatican, when the Holy Father warmly welcomed me and my family.

We would also like to welcome you to Canada, Ambassador Al-Sammak.

Kuwait and Canada have an excellent relationship, as evidenced by the success of recent bilateral visits.

I believe your appointment will continue to strengthen the economic ties and cooperation we have already established in terms of health and education, and in the energy and construction industries.

Rich in oil resources, Kuwait is one of the six countries in the Gulf region who are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The Council is a key market for Canada, and we are pleased that a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement will soon be reached, as it will make our relations even easier.

Canada and Kuwait clearly share some of the same points of view and interests.

I would like to highlight, for example, the advances Kuwait has made in terms of gender equality—a value that is very important to Canada—especially the recognition, in 2005, of women’s right to vote and to be candidates in elections.

Ambassador Al-Sammak, I am told you played an essential role in strengthening relations between Kuwait and Latin American countries.

I am sure you will agree that Peru is an example of success in the Americas, especially in terms of security, democratic governance and prosperity, the three main focuses of Canada’s strategy in the Western hemisphere.

Ambassador Bellina, over the past ten years, Peru has indeed made courageous reforms to establish the rule of law, and these changes have resulted in greater stability and remarkable economic growth.

Peru has become Canada’s second largest trading partner in Latin America after Mexico, and our bilateral relations have become stronger on all levels.

The coming into force of a free trade agreement between Canada and Peru last fall, and Canada’s decision to make Peru one of the Canadian International Development Agency’s 20 countries of focus are just two examples.

On important issues like security and the respect of human rights, we are working together within a number of regional and multilateral forums.

Peru will also host the General Assembly of the Organization of American States in Lima, and we hope it will be an opportunity to strengthen our already productive cooperation, which is promising for our populations and for the entire continent.

In this regard, we are delighted by the key role that Peru plays in strengthening regional security, as evidenced by its commitment to Haiti, within MINUSTAH and Friends of Haiti, among others.

This expression of friendship towards those on the continent who are most in need, particularly at this especially difficult time for the people of Haiti, gives me hope for an America that shows even greater solidarity.

Excellencies, continuing our dialogue, strengthening our ties, working together to achieve common goals, increasing solidarity: this is what we should focus on throughout your mandate, strong in the friendship that binds us.

To friendship, then, and to bringing people closer together!