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 (Turkey, India, Ukraine, Kosovo)

Rideau Hall, Thursday, December 13, 2012


I am pleased to welcome you to Rideau Hall for this presentation of credentials.

In addition to being the historic home of the people of Canada, Rideau Hall has been the home and workplace of every governor general since Confederation.

Earlier this month, however, my home and workplace was temporarily located abroad—in the Latin American countries of Mexico, Peru and Guatemala, to be precise.

I visited each of these countries in an official capacity as governor general, working to strengthen ties and increase collaboration in areas such as trade, education, innovation, security and justice.

In sum, I was on a diplomatic mission, not unlike your extended missions to Canada to represent your respective countries. It is such important work, particularly in the interconnected—and interdependent—world in which we live.

On behalf of all Canadians, I welcome you to Canada in the spirit of friendship and co-operation.

Ambassador Babali, I have no doubt your posting to Canada will be an interesting chapter in your diplomatic career. I also note your experience studying at Harvard University—of which I am an alumnus and former board chair—and I understand you have an active presence on Twitter—a medium that I have been taking advantage of as governor general. I look forward to speaking with you and to “following” your tweets!

The diplomatic relationship between Turkey and Canada dates back more than six decades. Our two countries are valued political, commercial and security partners, and I am pleased to see that our ties have been strengthening in recent years. Foreign Minister Davutoglu’s visit to Ottawa in September did much to reinforce our relations and to lay the foundation for our bright future together.  

High Commissioner Verma, congratulations on your appointment, and welcome back to Canada. I am certain that your impressive experience as a senior leader in India, as well as your visit to Canada last spring and your recent meetings with Prime Minister Harper, several ministers and the Clerk of Privy Council in India have prepared you well for this posting. I look forward to sharing insights and experiences, and I wish you the very best with your assignment.

India and Canada are fortunate to enjoy long-standing and positive relations built upon shared traditions of democracy and pluralism. Our country is greatly strengthened by an Indian diaspora of more than one million people. It is with great delight that I note the deepening of our ties in so many spheres, including infrastructure, energy and food security, science and technology, and, not least, education—a priority of mine as governor general.

Ambassador Prystaiko, I am pleased to welcome you back to Canada in your new capacity. No doubt your previous experience as political counsellor and chargé d’affaires here in Ottawa will be a great advantage, as will your familiarity with North American issues generally. Your keen interest in Canada is much appreciated and will, I trust, continue to expand through your role as ambassador.

Ever since Canada became the first Western nation to recognize Ukraine’s independence on December 2, 1991, our two countries have enjoyed close relations. In fact, our ties date back to the arrival of Ukrainian settlers in Canada in the 1890s, with the Ukrainian-Canadian community today numbering 1.2 million people. Canadians are committed to helping Ukrainians achieve a democratic, prosperous society, and we look forward to ongoing political and commercial engagement.

Ambassador Ismaili, on behalf of all Canadians, I am proud to welcome you as the Republic of Kosovo’s first-ever ambassador to Canada. I note with interest your background in information and communications technology and your efforts to support higher education in Kosovo. Both are spheres of particular interest to me as governor general, and I look forward to speaking with you on these and other issues of mutual interest to our two countries. I offer you and your family the very best as you continue to adjust to life in North America.

Ambassador, your arrival is a significant moment in the development of bilateral relations between Kosovo and Canada. Our two countries have great potential to further our ties, and Canadians support Kosovo’s evolution into a democratic, multi-ethnic state that respects human rights. Together, let us continue to work towards peace, political stability and economic progress in the Balkans.  

Allow me to close my remarks today by once again congratulating each of you on your new responsibilities as heads of mission. Thank you for coming here to learn about our country and to share your unique perspectives and insights with us.

Canada warmly welcomes you!