The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Presentation of Letters of Credence (Burkina Faso, Haiti, Afghanistan, Swaziland, Suriname)

Rideau Hall, Friday, March 30, 2012


It is such an honour to welcome foreign heads of mission to Canada. Diplomacy plays a key role in building the smarter, more caring world to which we aspire, and that is what brings us together today.

In the last 17 months as governor general, I have made five foreign visits on behalf of Canadians, with several more planned for the next month. During these visits, I often borrow the concept of diplomacy when speaking about the importance of collaboration, particularly in fostering learning and innovation.

I like to call this the diplomacy of knowledge, defined as our ability to work together and share our learning across disciplines and borders. When people achieve the right mixture of creativity, communication and co-operation, remarkable things can happen.

Of course, as representatives of your respective nations, you know the vital importance of working together. You know that positive international relations are built on trust, respect and sharing, and that these sentiments are earned and renewed, or eroded, on a daily basis.

Because you are so committed to diplomacy in all its forms, I am delighted to welcome you to Canada today.

Ambassador Kone, I am certain that your time in Canada will be an interesting chapter in your distinguished career. I look forward to learning more about your considerable public service experience in Burkina Faso. I wish you and your family the very best as you settle into your new home.

I am pleased to note this year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Burkina Faso. Our positive bilateral relations are reinforced by our shared membership in multilateral organizations such as La Francophonie. Canada also commends Burkina Faso on its important contribution to conflict resolution in Africa, and for its stabilization and peace-building work in Haiti and Darfur. I note that ECOWAS has named your President as a mediator in the present crisis affecting Mali.

Ambassador Liautaud, your considerable experience in developing links between Haitians and Canadians prior to this posting will provide you with a strong foundation for your time in Canada. I look forward to learning more about the ties you have built with Canadians, and of your impressive development work in Haiti. I wish you and your family a smooth transition to life in Canada.

The strong historical ties between Canada and Haiti are reinforced by the 120,000 people of Haitian origin who now call this country home. Canadians continue to stand in solidarity with Haitians following the earthquake of 2010, and our two nations are working together closely on reconstruction and development work in Haiti. I am also pleased to note our growing educational links, which can only serve to deepen our enduring friendship. And I am especially delighted that my predecessor, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, is serving as the UNESCO Special Envoy to Haiti.

Ambassador Karimi, I welcome you to Canada for this important posting. I am certain that your work in both the public and private sectors will serve you well during your time here. I particularly look forward to hearing more about your governance work in Afghanistan. I offer you my best wishes for an enjoyable stay in Canada.

The relationship between Canada and Afghanistan is of great importance to Afghans and Canadians alike. Canada is committed to working with Afghans and with international partners in support of good governance, stability and security in Afghanistan. I look forward to our continued dialogue and co-operation in support of a brighter future for all Afghans. I have visited your country twice in the past 16 months and I maintain a very lively interest in that brighter future.

High Commissioner Ntshangase, your work in government and the private sector will serve you well in your new role. I am also certain that your previous diplomatic experience in the United States will provide you with useful insights here in Canada. I hope that you will share them generously with all of us.

The ties between Canada and Swaziland date back to 1968, underpinned by our shared Commonwealth ties. Canada welcomes your country’s efforts to improve health, governance and the business climate in Swaziland. Let us strive to find new ways to work together to improve the well-being of our peoples.

Ambassador Mungra, your diplomatic posting in Canada comes in addition to your role as Suriname’s ambassador to the United States. Your considerable experience in government, economics and education will serve you well here. I look forward to sharing insights and wish you the very best in your new assignment.

The friendly relations between Canada and Suriname are well-established and poised to deepen. Canada is encouraged by the growth seen in Suriname, and we look forward to strengthening our ties with your country.

Allow me to close by congratulating each of you on your new postings, and once again wishing you the very best for your time in Canada. Thank you for being here to learn about our history, culture and values, and for sharing your country’s unique perspective.

Let us work together in a spirit of co-operation and collaboration toward a smarter, more caring world.

Thank you.