The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Presentation of Credentials

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Presentation of Credentials (Ireland, Honduras, Tanzania,
Serbia, Japan, Egypt, Sweden, Lesotho)

Rideau Hall, Thursday, September 23, 2010

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Rideau Hall today in a spirit of solidarity, and to wish you the warmest of welcomes to Canada.

I certainly don’t mind telling you that this ceremony is especially significant for me because it is the last one of this kind I will preside as Governor General of Canada, and because most of the world’s continents are represented today.

Like you, I believe diplomacy is a powerful tool for bringing people together and an indispensable means of achieving mutual understanding.

I also believe its importance is especially vital today, as humanity is called to work together closer than ever before to find common solutions to the issues that affect us all.

Over the last five years, I myself have practiced—with joy and conviction—a “diplomatie de proximité”, as we say in French, diplomacy at the human level, through which I have brought together people from all our societies to take part in meetings and discussions in the context of 40 missions abroad, in State, official and working visits, in every region of the world of which you are the proud representatives.

First in Africa, the continent of my ancestors, where I made ten visits.

Ambassador Aboul Magd, the Arab Republic of Egypt and Canada collaborate in a number of areas, and these partnerships have been strengthened by the vitality of the Egyptian-Canadian community.

Just two days ago, I had a very meaningful conversation with the President and Vice-Chancellor of York University in Toronto, Mamdouh Shoukri, who is of Egyptian origin.

We especially appreciate the important role Egypt is playing in the struggle for peace and stability in the Middle East. Please be assured that Canada will continue to support your efforts in this regard.

Excellency, welcome to Canada!

High Commissioner Massinda, Canada considers the United Republic of Tanzania a key partner in Africa. It is one of the countries in which the Canadian International Development Agency is focussing its efforts to reduce poverty, promote good governance and increase security.

We also appreciate your significant contribution to peacekeeping missions in the Sudan and to resolving conflicts in the Great Lakes regions, an area I visited last spring.

We also salute your commitment to granting Tanzanian nationality to over 160,000 refugees from the Republic of Burundi.

Welcome to Canada, Excellency!

High Commissioner, Dr. Tsepa, of the Kingdom of Lesotho, your understanding of the education community and your interest in food security are assets to your country and to the entire African continent.

Canada applauds your country’s efforts to strengthen its democratic foundations, to fight corruption and to develop its economy.

We were honoured in 2009 by visits to Canada by Prime Minister Mosisili and His Majesty King Letsie III, in recognition of the assistance Canadians have provided to the development of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Canada has been in partnership with European countries for a long time, and we share a history, friendships and close collaborations, both at the bilateral level and within multilateral organizations.

Welcome, Excellency!

Ambassador Bassett, of Ireland, I have been told that you are an experienced hiker with a keen interest in natural history; I am certain that Canada will exceed your expectations in this regard.

Cooperation between our two countries is very productive, from the sharing of best practices and trade expansion, to relations between parliamentarians; it is even reflected in Canada’s demographics, as over 4 million Canadians have Irish roots.

Ireland has one of the youngest populations in the euro zone, and I am especially delighted by the success of youth exchange programs between our countries.

I believe that young people—whom I made a priority during my mandate—are our greatest resource for improving the world.

Canada also wholeheartedly supports the Northern Ireland Peace Process you have begun, the results of which bode very well for the future.

Excellency, welcome to Canada!

Ambassador Tauriainen, the Kingdom of Sweden and Canada share an arctic geography and a steadfast democratic tradition. Our two countries are founding members of the Arctic Council and we both desire better circumpolar cooperation.

Canada also appreciates your support of our efforts to enter into a trade agreement with the member countries of the European community.

I had the great pleasure of welcoming His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf to Rideau Hall in 2006, as well as the delegation accompanying him. This visit helped strengthen the already very friendly ties between our peoples.

Welcome to Canada, Excellency!

Ambassador Veljic, of the Republic of Serbia, relations between our two countries have continued to progress in recent years. Canada is especially happy to salute the positive changes you have made in terms of democracy and the economy, as well as your commitment to join the European community and its institutions.

We are also pleased with your participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace. We hope the cooperation between our countries will continue to increase, strong in the friendship that has united our people for over a century.

Excellency, welcome to Canada!

I visited Central America last December, and observed the work that is being done on the ground to eradicate impunity and fight corruption.

I also witnessed the presence and strength of the native cultures that, as I like to say, represent—here in Canada and across the Western hemisphere—our deepest roots in the Americas.

Ambassador Cerrato Rodriguez, Canada is proud to support the Republic of Honduras, which has begun an essential and courageous national reconciliation project. It is an honour for us that a Canadian, Michael Kergin, was made an international member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Your country has implemented a promising national development plan that Canada will support, as the Republic of Honduras is one of the core countries we assist in partnership. We will also be watching the expansion of trade relations between our two countries.

Finally, I would like to address our neighbour on the Pacific side, Japan, the Emperor and Empress of which we had the immense honour and great pleasure of welcoming during an historic visit in July 2009.

Ambassador Ishikawa, the good relations between our countries are based not only on economic and interpersonal ties, but also on the values we share and our similar points of view, which we defend together within the UN, the G8, the G20 and APEC.

Our collaboration in terms of peace and security is effective, and we will continue to work together in favour of stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

And Canada will increase its efforts in the coming years to strengthen the already solid economic ties between our two countries.

Excellencies, please know that you are among friends here in Canada.

I encourage you to make the most of your time in Canada to get to know the people here, and begin a meaningful conversation with them on current issues or those that are important to you.

You will quickly come to appreciate the spirit of sharing and openness that characterizes the people of this country.

Because, although the partnerships we are creating today are promises of prosperity and development for our respective populations, we must not forget that they are also promises of hope for humanity as a whole.

To solidarity and to friendship!