Presentation of Letters of Credence (Costa Rica, Hellenic Republic, Colombia, China, Uzbekistan)
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Rideau Hall, Tuesday, November 23, 2010
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you, your spouses, your children and members of your embassies to Rideau Hall. Please know that you are always welcome here.
We all know that technology is making our world smaller each and every day. In homes and offices in every corner of the world, people are using technology to communicate, provide humanitarian assistance, develop governmental relations and conduct business transactions. In our computer-driven, digital age, geography no longer represents the same barriers it once did.
However, there is no substitute for personal, face-to-face relationships. Technological advances will never replace the kind of diplomacy our countries have used for decades to move critical issues forward.
Your presence in Canada will pay dividends in further developing the relationships between our countries. It will enable us to continue the dialogue that is desperately needed to address the challenges we are all facing in the 21st century. It will help us learn more from one another about domestic and international issues alike. And it will deepen the friendships we share with one another, as we seek to strengthen the cultural ties that increasingly bind our countries together.
Ambassador Delgado, I was pleased to learn of your commitment to education, and of your work at the University of Costa Rica. As a life-long student and educator, I am convinced that productive international relationships are enhanced by the learning networks that are promoted by universities around the world.
Canada and Costa Rica enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship. Our close ties are sustained by the many Canadians who visit Costa Rica every year for business and pleasure. In fact, one of my own daughters volunteered with Netcorps Canada International in Costa Rica for about eight months.
Canada values how our countries have worked together on many issues, including trade, investment, human rights and security.
Ambassador Anghelopoulos, welcome back to Canada. I am certain you have fond memories of the time you spent at the Greek Trade Commission office in Montreal. I trust you will continue to feel at home here, and enjoy many of the wonderful cultural traditions being upheld in our vibrant Greek–Canadian communities.
Canada is pleased that our bilateral relationship continues to thrive. The many treaties between our countries provide an effective framework for productive economic relations and cooperation. Our often complementary efforts within multilateral institutions are also noteworthy, as we work together to move economic, security and cultural issues forward.
Ambassador Forero, I commend you for your 30 years of public service in your native Colombia. I share your desire to serve, and hope to have the opportunity to benefit from the lessons you have no doubt learned over your career.
Canada deeply values our close relationship with Colombia. Together, we will continue working towards a more prosperous, democratic and secure hemisphere, and I believe our new Free Trade Agreement is an important step in this regard.
Our family has the greatest gift imaginable from Colombia—two marvellous little grand-daughters now aged 8 and 4 adopted from an orphanage in Cali, Colombia.
Ambassador Zhang, you are another wonderful example of a committed public servant. I am certain that Canada will benefit from your more than 30 years of distinguished service in China and around the world.
The relationship between Canada and China is unique. I am pleased that our countries will continue to work together on key issues related to governance, health, the environment, trade and investment. I am also excited to learn more about how our countries are cooperating in the fields of science and technology. I sincerely believe that scientific and technological innovation is vital to sustaining the health of our global community in the 21st century.
On a more personal note, I would like to share how proud and impressed I was when my two eldest daughters studied Mandarin for two years. Chinese languages remain the third most common languages spoken in Canada.
Ambassador Ilhomjon, you have an advantage over your colleagues; living in Washington D.C. will help you escape our long Ottawa winters! While we are still busy clearing snow and ice, you will already be enjoying cherry blossoms and green grass. Once the warmer weather finally reaches us here, I trust that you will visit Canada often to enjoy the beauty and diversity of our vast land.
I am delighted by the steps that Canada and Uzbekistan are taking to strengthen their ties. Canada looks forward to working with you and your government to explore new ways to foster closer cooperation in the years to come.
So, once again, welcome to Canada! I look forward to getting to know each of you better.
The ties you will establish during your postings will be rich indeed. They will help sustain the already strong and vibrant relationships Canada enjoys with your countries. And they will enhance our ability to work together to make our world safer, more sustainable, more prosperous and more united in the years to come.
Before I conclude, I would like to recognize Canada’s Chief of Protocol, Robert Peck. This is his last Credentials ceremony; all told, he has taken part in 27 of these ceremonies. Robert has contributed significantly to Canada’s foreign and diplomatic affairs. He is leaving to prepare for a future diplomatic posting. Please join me in thanking Robert for his exemplary service, and in wishing him well in his future endeavours as he represents Canada abroad.