Friends of Canada Reception
Warsaw, Poland, Friday, October 24, 2014
Thank you for welcoming Sharon and me, as well as the entire Canadian delegation, so warmly to Poland. What a pleasure it is to meet with so many friends of Canada here in Warsaw.
We feel very much at home here in Poland. That should not be surprising given the 1 in 35 Canadians who cherish their Polish heritage.
Canada has benefitted enormously from the contributions of Polish-Canadians to our prosperity, society and culture.
And we have many Polish-Canadians who have distinguished themselves by their leadership. Canadians such as former chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk, now head of the Canadian Space Agency. And Canadians such as Thomas Anthony Brzustowski, former head of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, an Order of Canada recipient, an engineer and professor.
These ties are one reason why Canada was delighted to take part in the celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of freedom in Poland earlier this year.
In fact, over the years, Canadians and Poles have stood side by side on a number of occasions.
Canada is proud to have been the first country to ratify Poland’s accession to NATO. And we are pleased to continue our long history of military co-operation with our Polish allies, which carry on the traditions of our Second World War veterans who fought together for peace and freedom. We are especially proud of the contributions Canadian soldiers are currently making in Poland as part of the NATO Reassurance Measures.
Looking at our trade, which reached $1.7 billion last year, and is already up by 127% compared to the same period last year, we are working together in key sectors such as aerospace, transportation, mining, oil and gas, sustainable technologies, and information and communication technologies.
Beyond trade, we have a great deal in common. We are engaging in knowledge exchange through our government and institutions. We are working together on the global stage in a variety of multilateral fora. We are building a smarter, more caring world, one step at a time.
But there remains enormous untapped potential for a greater and more prosperous relationship with Poland, building on our already strong ties. This begins with all of you here with us today. You, who recognize how important it is for countries like ours to work together.
We are collaborative because we know that is the best way to achieve success domestically and internationally.
This desire to work together is at the heart of our relationship. It is a characteristic that I have observed in expatriate Canadian communities around the world, including right here in Poland.
Our expanding relationship is due to the dedication of people like you, and Polish-Canadians across our country.
This gathering is cause for celebration. Together, you are making real contributions to Canada and to Poland. For Canadians, communities like this are a great asset. You help to extend our range and to broaden our understanding.
The world has long embraced Canada and made us stronger, and today, Canadians are reaching out and forging new links with countries such as Poland, an important partner in the region.
Together, it is up to us to create the smarter, more caring world of which we dream. Let us strive to build fair, prosperous and inclusive societies in which equality of opportunity and excellence go hand in hand.
I thank you for your contributions to our enduring friendship.