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  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Canada Day at Expo 2010 Shanghai

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Canada Day at Expo 2010 Shanghai  

Shanghai, Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Today is a day of celebration.

Here, on this first of July 2010, in this spectacular, welcoming setting, we are celebrating Canada’s participation in Expo 2010 Shanghai. 

Allow me, then, to say loud and clear: Happy Canada Day!

Today we mark Canada’s 143rd anniversary.

I am here on this festive occasion to tell our Chinese friends just how much the relationship between Canada and the People’s Republic of China means to us.

I need only evoke the memory of Norman Bethune as a reminder of the solidarity between us.

But, as I told President Hu Jintao—whom I had the pleasure of welcoming a few days ago at Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s official residence in Canada’s capital—this year marks 40 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

Indeed, on October 13, 1970, Canada was one of the first Western democracies to establish ties with your great country, through diplomatic channels.

Today, Canada and the People’s Republic of China are excellent friends and strategic partners, in a variety of key sectors.

Our cooperation is exemplary, and we should nurture it and explore new avenues for exchanges and collaboration.

Let me assure you: the interest is there.  We in Canada are keen on strengthening and diversifying cooperation, opportunities for strategic partnership, and people-to-people exchanges and relations in a variety of sectors.

During my conversations with over 100 students at Fudan University and with Chinese and Canadian urban planners yesterday, I was struck by the extent to which the appetite for more extensive Sino-Canadian relations extends far beyond our respective governments.

But as I reminded stakeholders yesterday, our dialogue and exchanges must be reciprocal, for Canada has as much to offer, as it has to receive from the people of China.

Today, Canada has more than one million Canadians of Chinese origin, the largest non‑European community in the country, and Chinese is the third most spoken language after English and French, our two official languages.

This shows the scope and depth of our ties, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the vital contribution Canadians of Chinese origin have made in helping Canada, to cite the beautiful Chinese proverb, stand, “tall as the sky and firm as the ground.”

This gathering at Expo 2010 Shanghai, the largest ever organized, is an opportunity for us to reaffirm our shared existence in a world that we are keen to protect.

Just like this journey of friendship I am making as Governor General of Canada in the People’s Republic of China, a journey that will bring me to Guangzhou, to Chengdu, as a sign of solidarity with the victims of the terrible earthquake of 2008, and to Beijing.

Let me take the opportunity to express, on behalf of all Canadians, my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims who were buried under the terrible mudslide that has affected thousands of people in the Guizhou province. We are following this difficult time in China very closely and we are not indifferent to your suffering. Rest assured that we are with you in solidarity.

Moreover, the theme of Shanghai Expo, “Better City, Better Life” points to the urgent need for more extensive reflection, in a world in which most of humanity has become urbanized, according to a UN report.

In this, Expo 2010 offers us all a unique opportunity to ponder the unavoidable, “what is better for our cities?”; a question we must answer in order to see life triumph and to create more social harmony in our urban spaces.

Canada is honoured, dear friends, to be here with you as we ponder this key question of sustainable human development in our urban spaces, in the face of the explosive growth of our cities that began last century.

It is my understanding that, to date, nearly two million visitors have passed through the doors of the Canada Pavilion.

I would like to congratulate the organizers of this wonderful gathering in Shanghai, a city of superlatives, but also a city where—as I often say in Canada—everything is possible.

May the imagination that brought this site to life inspire us to build a better world, a world in which Canada and China will continue to be strong allies, strategic partners, and excellent friends.

Long live the friendship between Canada and the People’s Republic of China!

And—from Shanghai to the other side of the world—Happy Canada Day!