The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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State Luncheon in Honour of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Rideau Hall, Wednesday, April 29, 2015


It’s an honour and a great pleasure for my wife, Sharon, and me to welcome Your Majesty to Rideau Hall and to Canada.

Of course, this isn’t your first visit to our country or to Rideau Hall.

The red oak that you and Queen Rania planted during your visit to Rideau Hall in 1999, near the sugar maple planted by your father, is living proof of that! What wonderful symbols these trees are of the enduring friendship that exists between our two nations.

Like the maple, like the oak, our roots run deep: for 50 years now, Canada and Jordan have enjoyed a close relationship.

This is truly reason to celebrate today among such distinguished guests.

The friendship between our two countries rests upon common interests and values, as well as strong people-to-people ties.

In fact, one of my daughters, Jenifer, learned Arabic and spent time volunteering in Jordan some years ago through an information and communications technology development program called NetCorps.

It was a wonderful experience for her, and a great example of our two countries working together for mutual benefit.

Over the years, Canada and Jordan have co-operated in so many ways.

On matters such as trade, education and skills development, landmine reduction, peacekeeping operations, the protection of civilians, and security, we have found common ground.

I know that innovation is an important part of your vision for Jordan’s future. It’s also a personal interest of mine and one of Canada’s ongoing priorities.

Your Majesty, let me say how greatly Canada values Jordan as a friend and leader in the Middle East.

I know that in terms of security, your country and region are facing some very difficult times.

Jordan’s commitment to finding peaceful solutions whenever possible is commendable. Your country is also providing safe haven for refugees in desperate need, and for this, Canada is very grateful.

In a speech to Jordanians earlier this year, you rallied citizens to stand firm and stay true to their values.

You did so by calling for unity and pride in all that Jordan has accomplished.

You spoke of tolerance and respect, of good citizenship and excellence.

You spoke of a bright future, civilized and progressive, in which “the sky is the only limit.”

Your Majesty, these values and these hopes are shared by Canadians. Canada is proud to call itself a friend and partner of Jordan.

Our two countries have achieved a great deal in the half-century since we established formal ties.

Together, we can achieve so much more.

Thank you for visiting Canada once again.