Presentation of Letters of Credence (Republic of El Salvador, Republic of Guatemala, Republic of Yemen, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan)
Rideau Hall, Monday, November 21, 2016
I’m delighted to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall. And, of course, to welcome you and your families to Canada!
All of you share a desire to engage with Canada on a variety of topics. And when we don’t see things eye to eye, we always find a way to work together for the benefit of all our peoples.
How do we do that? Through diplomacy and understanding.
And you will find such an open and willing partner in Canada.
Ambassador Palacios Bermúdez, you and I share a love of education. As a professor for many years, you helped shape young minds before finding other ways to serve your people; for example, as a voice for peace, and now as ambassador to Canada. I believe that your experience in Washington working with diverse groups will be a valuable asset as you navigate our multicultural society. And, of course, the nearly 160 000 Canadians of Salvadoran origin will be eager to engage with you!
For 55 years, El Salvador and Canada have been partners and friends. We are collaborating in areas such as security, human rights and economic opportunity. That is why I’m pleased to see that not only are we providing aid in anti-crime initiatives, but also our annual trade increased by more than 20 per cent in 2015. I look forward to further discussions on how we can continue to grow our relationship.
Ambassador Jiménez Licona, perhaps I shouldn’t say welcome to Canada, but rather welcome back to Canada! We are fortunate to have you here again in the role you so ably held for nearly seven years. And you return with several more successful postings under your belt. You are certainly well-travelled, and I’m confident you will use the wealth of your experience to create even closer ties between our nations.
Guatemala recently became Canada’s largest trading partner in the region, which only highlights the potential for further collaboration between our nations. I’m especially proud that we are working together to promote such areas as human rights, combatting climate change, empowering women and girls, and supporting indigenous and vulnerable people. It’s something that I saw first-hand when I visited your country in 2012. I hope that we can continue to work together to make this a fairer, more just world. I know that your familiarity with our country will help you to further our working relationship.
Ambassador Al-Sallal, I understand you are an avid fisherman and swimmer. You’ll find many beautiful places in Canada for both! This will also give you added incentive to travel widely throughout our country, all while deepening our ties. As well, your years of service in Yemen dealing with Canadian affairs give you a familiarity with our country that will no doubt be of great use.
Yemen and Canada have ties that are crucial during this time of flux in your country. We hope that stability can return shortly and that peace can be restored—particularly for those Yemeni citizens who are directly affected. Our country will continue to offer support in a variety of ways. Your presence in Ottawa will give our countries a great opportunity to find new ways of working together.
Ambassador Htut, you have an impressive background in public service to your country, first as a member of the military, followed by your time as a diplomat. In Canada, you’ll find not only a willing participant in discussions, but also a whole diplomatic community from around the world that I urge you and your family to take part in. And I’m sure you’re looking forward to experiencing some of Canada’s premiere golf courses! Though you may have to wait a few months to golf—at least until the upcoming colder weather relents.
The relationship between Canada and Myanmar has been growing rapidly. This is in no small part owing to our common commitment to democracy and human rights. We look forward to continuing our work to develop sustainable institutions and programs for all of your country’s citizens. I look forward to our discussions about the future of our two nations.
Ambassador Karokhail, it is a great pleasure to have you here in Canada. My very first visit abroad as governor general was to Afghanistan. There, one of the things I was impressed by was how women and girls are striving for a better life—an issue for which you have fought so hard. I also know that your connection to Canada runs deep, from partnering with the Canadian Embassy in Afghanistan as a parliamentarian, to the more personal connection of your son studying here.
Canada and Afghanistan are partners based on a shared dedication to security and stability, as well as to education, health and human rights. In this regard, Canada is pleased to be supporting initiatives in Afghanistan that promote economic opportunities—especially for women—and increasing access to schools. Though challenges remain, I am confident that our countries can work together to find solutions to some of the most troubling issues. Your presence here should provide a wonderful chance to move forward in our long and storied relationship.
To all of you, I hope that your time in Canada is both productive and enjoyable. Once again, welcome.