The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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State Banquet hosted by Their Majesties The Yang di-Pertuan Agong and The Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, November 14, 2011


Thank you, Your Majesty, for this invitation to visit your wonderful country, and for your kind words of friendship. Canada and Malaysia share many ties, but the most important ones can be found in the company of people who believe in a smart and caring world.

I should mention that this is my first official State visit as governor general of Canada, and I am proud to continue this tradition. Governors general have been promoting goodwill between nations for many years, and I hope here in Malaysia, we are able to strengthen the dialogue between our two countries, as well as the exchange of ideas.

For a long while, we have shared a relationship based on partnerships between Canadian and Malaysian universities, businesses and people, who have been ambassadors of sorts for a kind of diplomacy of knowledge.

This type of collaboration is vital to any good foreign relationship.

For Canada, working with partners around the world—like we do with Malaysia in such international organizations as the Commonwealth, the United Nations, APEC and the World Trade Organization—is a way for us to grow our own society and to fulfil our responsibility as global citizens.

A State visit such as this is an opportunity not only to highlight our successes together, but also to discuss ways in which we can further build on our fruitful dialogue. I believe our two countries have a lot to learn from each other.

The history of our respective countries’ is one such lesson that I have already begun to learn, particularly with my visit to the Masjid Jamek Mosque. This wonderful place of worship has stood for more than a century, and I was fascinated to hear of its history, which is, in turn, so deeply rooted in the history of your country. 

I have also experienced your commitment to learning. I was fortunate to visit the University of Malaya and met with educators who know how valuable a quality education is. Later, I spoke with a group of people from Canada who shared with me their experience in Malaysia.

This type of exchange is what we need to ensure that we learn from one another and to grow our relationship.

I also met with business people who are dedicated to strengthening our ties. They know that we have more to gain by working together than we do by building businesses in isolation.

Everywhere I go, the sense of openness and friendship is prevalent, and I am so proud that our people are working together in a variety of areas to bring prosperity to Canada and Malaysia. I believe this will not be the last time that I see this type of partnership during my visit.

I am also looking forward to seeing the culture of innovation which you have fostered in your country.

The Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology is a fascinating initiative; innovation is the cornerstone of discovery, and I am a great advocate for the type of integrated and supportive approach to innovation that is shown by your government. I am excited to see what we can learn about your approach to innovation and how we might apply those lessons in Canada.

These exchanges of ideas and experiences, which are not limited by borders, enhance our relationship.

I have spoken today about the collaboration between our governments and our institutions, but it is the people-to-people links that we forge that provide for ongoing understanding between countries.

That is why I am so pleased that I have not come here alone. The delegation that travelled with me represents a wide swath of Canadian education, arts, government and business. I urge all of you, Malaysian and Canadian alike, to talk with one another and to be open to new ways of thinking and partnering.

Collaboration, after all, begins with two people having a conversation. Who knows what the result of that will be? When people ask, “Why do State visits matter?”, this is why.

One of my predecessors, Lord Byng, once said: “Be as big, with minds as large and souls as great as the land in which you live.” Let us all take this to heart.

We have been partners in the past and we are accomplishing so much today. Let us show the world that we are capable of so much more in the future.

I would like to raise my glass to our strong relationship, to keeping an open mind, and to the possibilities that come through collaboration and learning.