The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Presentation of Letters of Credence (Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, Malawi)

Rideau Hall, Thursday, December 1, 2011


I am delighted to welcome you to Rideau Hall for this ceremony.

This building has been the official residence of every governor general since our country’s Confederation in 1867, and it is where conversations about Canada and the world take place.

One of my great privileges as governor general is to welcome foreign heads of mission to Canada. It is always an honour to take part in these occasions, because diplomacy plays a key role in building the smarter, more caring world to which we aspire.

Each of you has been chosen to represent the people of your respective nations, and to work with Canadians in search of common ground. It is an important public service—indeed, it always has been. You know that positive international relations are built on trust and respect, and that these sentiments are earned and renewed, or eroded, on a daily basis.

In this age of profound globalization, your dedication to dialogue and diplomacy is essential to our collective well-being. Thus it is with great hope and optimism that I greet you today.

Ambassador Kouamé, I am certain that your time in Canada will be an interesting chapter in your distinguished foreign service career. I understand that you were in Québec for the 2008 gathering of La Francophonie, and I look forward to talking with you more about your participation in this and other multilateral fora. I welcome you and your family to Canada.     

The relationship between Canada and Côte d’Ivoire dates back to 1962. Canadians are pleased to see improved stability in your country, as well as respect for the results of the recent democratic elections. Canada has worked closely with international partners and with your government to bring peace and prosperity to Côte d’Ivoire. 

Ambassador Kaljurand, your recent experience in Washington as ambassador to the United States and Mexico—our continental neighbours—will provide you with a strong foundation for your time in Canada.

Among other subjects, I hope that we can find the time to discuss some of your experiences in law. I wish you and your family the very best as you settle into your new home.

Canada is home to a large Estonian community, the members of which contribute so much to our cultural heritage. Our country was among the first to recognize the restoration of Estonia’s independence 20 years ago, and we are pleased to celebrate this milestone and the re-establishment of diplomatic ties.

Our co-operation in international fora such as NATO and the United Nations speaks to our continued good relations, and Canadians hope to strengthen and deepen our links in future. 

High Commissioner Matenje, you and I share a legal background. Having spent much of your career at the intersection of government and law—both at home and abroad—you will certainly find your time in Canada stimulating and full of new insight.

Canadians are rightly proud of their commitment to justice, democracy and the rule of law. I wish you and your family the very best as you settle into your new surroundings.

Canada is proud of its long-standing partnership with Malawi, and our two countries have worked together in the past on areas of common interest. Canadians are pleased to support maternal and child health and well-being in Malawi, and we look forward to partnering on other matters in the future.

We have also been following recent economic and political developments in your country. It is our hope that the Government of Malawi will continue to ensure that the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law are respected in your country.

Allow me to close by congratulating each of you on your new postings and wishing you the very best for your time in Canada. I look forward to getting to know each of you and to working together towards a fairer, more just and peaceful world.

Thank you.