BLOG: The Enthusiasm of Algeria
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November 21, 2006
by Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean
Here I am on the soil of Africa. This emotionally charged journey begins in the heart of Algeria who is awakening after several difficult years – this decade of blood in which so many Algerians suffered. I am here to salute their courage and determination to promote the forces of life. They recognize and are relentless in telling us that they have never felt abandoned by Canada, even in difficult times when others had left, leaving them isolated more than ever from the rest of the world.
Today, Canada stands at Algeria’s sides, supporting her efforts to achieve national reconciliation and her determination to pull together the conditions necessary for stability. Algeria remains focused on the life forces that are essential to ensuring its full development and to paving the way towards prosperity for all.
In Algeria, the smiles, the gazes, the youth and the seniors all testify to this unrelenting perseverance. Their greetings are among the most enthusiastic I have ever encountered. I immediately recognized in them a rich people. Rich in culture. Rich in history. Women and men who are proud of their achievements and resolutely attached to the values of respect, tolerance, peace and dialogue.
What do they expect from us? That we accompany them in achieving their aspirations for a better life and that we remain with them in solidarity, as we have done during more than forty years of constructive relations with communities, associations, and citizens in need. They also welcome all opportunities for partnerships, cooperation and investments.
Canadian companies already participate in important infrastructure projects. I visited major work sites such as the electric power plant built by SNC-Lavalin at Cherchell. In addition, SNC-Lavalin built the Martyr’s Monument. I also opened the first Algerian-Canadian business forum that is assembling several hundred business people. Algeria has never ceased to stress the importance of transferring competencies and technological know how, as well as the training opportunities for youth who are the living forces of this country. The good news is also the announcement of a new air corridor, providing a regular aircraft service between Montreal and Algiers, starting in June 2007. Other good news: Algeria promises to be present at the festivities celebrating the 400th anniversary of Quebec in 2008.