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  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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17th Meeting of the Gouverneurs des banques centrales des pays francophones

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17th Meeting of the Gouverneurs des banques centrales des pays francophones

Montreal, Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thank you, Mr. Carney, for your kind introduction.

It gives me great pleasure to greet the governors and delegates of the central banks of Francophone countries.

I am delighted to welcome you to Montreal for this dinner and this important conference. Welcome to Quebec and to Canada!

I would like to begin by talking about the hope I believe Canada represents.

As a young girl in my native Haiti, I watched my parents, my family and my friends battling the horrors of a ruthless dictatorship under the Duvalier regime.

The story of that little girl, who became the woman who is standing before you tonight, is a lesson in the freedom that Canadians hold so dear.

Much more recently, the unprecedented disaster that hit the country of my birth on January 12, 2010, reminded us of the real meaning of solidarity and taught us new lessons.

The assistance provided by the entire world—which did not remain indifferent to Haiti’s need—and the vitality and determination of the people of Haiti, to rise up from the ruins, to overcome their pain and loss, and to get down to the task of rebuilding their devastated capital and so many other communities, are also lessons in courage, strength and humanity in its finest form. These are lessons and messages of hope.

The generosity with which the people of Canada, all levels of government, institutions and the private sector all responded en masse to Haiti’s cries for help is also a message of hope.

Hope for a better world, which we are working on daily in each of our communities, through countless acts to overcome obstacles and fight the indifference that threatens to isolate us from one another.

The work you do in monetary policy and financial stability is helping to build a better world.

The time has come for solidarity, which includes respect, tolerance and sharing.

These are values that are also shared by member of the large international Francophonie family, of which Canada is an ardent defender and proud partner.

As a minority group, Canadian Francophones reaffirm on a daily basis the importance of preserving the cultural and linguistic diversity that enriches our human heritage.

During this meeting, you will consider world events that sometimes leave many of us perplexed.

The speed and convergence of our communication systems, the opening of new channels of trade and the complexity of the development of new markets have repercussions all around the world.

The economic recession that made the entire planet feel helpless in 2009 revealed not only the fundamental interconnectedness of the global economy, but also the pressing need to strengthen the bonds that unite us and to develop common approaches.

I believe this financial crisis also revealed the urgent need for a new ethic of sharing, as I said to the Executive Board of UNESCO in October 2009.

I am delighted to see here in this room that same willingness to share perspectives, knowledge and practices in order to improve the living conditions of as many people as possible.

The important work you have done today and will continue tomorrow is a celebration of the wealth of our diversity and our desire to contribute to the world and economy of tomorrow.

Through your work, you are raising hope by breaking down the barriers that separate us.

I congratulate you on your efforts and strongly encourage you to continue the work you have begun.

I am delighted with this model of collaboration you are establishing across the Francophonie community, and I hope it will become a source of inspiration to the entire world.

Thank you very much for so kindly inviting me to join you this evening.