Presentation of Letters of Credence (El Salvador, Philippines, Swiss Confederation, Timor-Leste, Mauritius, Montenegro)
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The Citadelle, Monday, September 19, 2011
My wife, Sharon, and I would like to welcome you to the Citadelle, to the City of Québec, and, most importantly, to Canada.
There is no doubt that we are living in an increasingly globalized world, one where the affairs of one country can affect the entire planet. We see that now more than ever as countries react to a variety of economic challenges as a result of our interconnected world.
But we must remain vigilant so that we don’t isolate ourselves, because no one, and no country, lives in a vacuum. Ken Dryden, a former Canadian parliamentarian, wrote in his book, Becoming Canada: “Today’s problems and today’s opportunities are too big to handle alone. Collaboration, co-operation, working together—this is where the world is going.”
And your presence in Canada is a wonderful way to continue the fine tradition of diplomacy that we so cherish.
Ambassador Granados, I very much look forward to hearing your views on education. I understand that you have spent many years at the University of El Salvador. As a former university president myself, I am always delighted to exchange ideas on how we can continue to promote and encourage learning in all its forms.
Your arrival in Canada comes as we mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the Republic of El Salvador. I hope that the next 50 years will be fruitful for both of our countries as we work towards a stronger and more prosperous hemisphere.
Ambassador Gatan, you truly understand the importance of service. For 28 years, you have been an important part of your country’s civil service; I applaud your dedication and what you have done. You have travelled the world to serve, and I am sure that you will find Canadians equally committed to working with you.
Canada and the Republic of the Philippines have worked closely to benefit both our peoples. The links we have forged—be they cultural, political or economic—are strengthened because of our co-operation on so many levels. I look forward to seeing the continuing evolution of our relations as you settle in this country.
Ambassador Lehner, I know that you are no stranger to Canada, having spent some of your childhood here. And so, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to the country you once called home. I hope that your time here is both enjoyable and productive.
I know that Canada and Switzerland share a wonderful relationship based on similar interests in a variety of fora. The large community of Canadians of Swiss origin has only made us closer and added to our rich cultural heritage. I am glad you are back in Canada to help strengthen this already solid base.
Ambassador Pinto, you know first-hand the value of freedom, and I am honoured to have you here as the very first representative accredited to Canada from the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. No doubt your time in Washington will help you acclimate to your new role here.
As a fledgling nation, your country faces unique challenges, and I am proud that we are working together to surmount them for the benefit of our peoples. I hope that this new phase in our relationship will only strengthen our burgeoning collaboration.
High Commissioner Soborun, your entire career has been based on your commitment to your country and to the international community. What you have accomplished has brought great benefit not only to your people, but also to those countries with which you have worked.
I look forward to seeing how we can come together to further the existing productive relationship between the Republic of Mauritius and Canada. Our common ties with such organizations as the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, and the United Nations only add to our growing partnership.
Ambassador Darmanović, your background in academia will no doubt be a great topic of discussion for both of us—as I said, I delight in speaking about education. And there is no better way to learn about this country than to go out and discover all of its splendour and human talent.
Canada is proud to work with Montenegro on a variety of issues, at home and on the world stage. As we work to strengthen our relationship through trade and through our involvement in various organizations, I know that our two countries will continue to promote ideals that are dear to both of us.
Let me close by congratulating all of you as you take up your new postings. Canada and your home countries are fortunate to be able to call upon your dedicated and professional services to the benefit of all.
Again, as Ken Dryden wrote: “To think about Canada, we need to think about the world.” To this I would add that we must think globally in order to be successful locally. You are proof that our countries value the relationships that are important to our modern society.
Once again, Sharon and I would like to wish all of you the very best in Canada.