The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Official Arrival of His Excellency Mr. Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel

Rideau Hall, Monday, May 7, 2012


Welcome to Canada.

Israel and Canada have always had a close relationship, based on our similar values and our collaboration in many spheres, including education, trade, and science and technology.

But I think what truly brings us together are the vibrant people-to-people exchanges that we enjoy and the knowledge-sharing in which we engage—what I like to call the diplomacy of knowledge.

Canada’s Jewish population has contributed so much to our well-being, continuing a grand tradition of innovation, caring and multiculturalism that we value so highly.

In every area of our society and throughout our history, Jewish people have made extraordinary contributions: Mark Wainberg, HIV/AIDS researcher; “Bobbie” Fannie Rosenfeld, Olympic athlete; “Honest” Ed Mirvish, businessman and philanthropist; Mordecai Richler, world-renowned author; Barbara Frum, broadcaster.

There are also countless lesser-known, yet still meaningful, examples, such as Lance-Corporal Samuel Morris Gordon, who served with the Royal Canadian Engineers in the Second World War, one of the approximately 17 000 Jewish-Canadians who volunteered to help end what would later become known as the Holocaust.

Many of today’s 350 000 Canadians with Jewish origins are contributing to a smarter, more caring nation, one in which all Canadians live and work with the knowledge that peace is possible and prosperity within our reach.

Others are calling Israel home. In fact, approximately 20 000 Canadians now live in—or have made aliyah to—Israel. Many others, especially young people, are visiting Israel every year as part of their desire to connect more deeply with their heritage.

All of these Canadians are working alongside Israelis and, to one degree or another, are sharing knowledge between nations, learning and innovating together to benefit both our peoples.

We see this in business and in our post-secondary institutions. We see this in research and in resources. We share knowledge because we all know that to thrive in a globalized world—to succeed at national and international levels—we have to be willing to look beyond our borders for fresh ideas and new ways of thinking.

For decades, Israel has been providing the world with innovations that have improved our lives. I have no doubt that your country will continue to do so. With your visit, Mr. President, I hope that Canada and Israel will have even more opportunities to expand our ties.

Once again, welcome to our country. We are proud to count you as a friend and a willing participant in the diplomacy of knowledge.

Thank you.