Presentation of Letters of Credence (Korea, Venezuela, Angola, Paraguay, Senegal, Bhutan)
Rideau Hall, Monday, June 1st, 2015
It’s a pleasure to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall, home of the people of Canada.
During your tenures, all of you will contribute to our strong diplomatic community, while at the same time finding ways to bolster our ties.
Ambassador Jo, you are no stranger to this country, having served here in the early 90s. I think you’ll find while some things are the same—namely, the warmth of Canadians—much has changed in the past two decades. I hope you will take the opportunity to rediscover this nation.
Korea and Canada share a long history of friendly relations. Just two years ago we celebrated the Year of Korea in Canada and the Year of Canada in your country, marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries. I was fortunate to visit your country that year, learning about our commercial, educational, innovation and people-to-people ties. I was pleased to return the hospitality during your president’s visit to Canada last year. Today, let me reiterate my message to all Koreans: we are close partners, but we have so much more we can do together. I look forward to exploring that with you.
Ambassador Barrientos, you have served your country in many capacities, most prominently as a member of the Bolivarian National Armed Force. Here in Canada, you will find a proud military history. I hope that you will take this opportunity to engage with our men and women in uniform, including our veterans who have so many stories to share.
There are many areas in which Venezuela and Canada can further our co-operation. These include sectors such as agriculture and food, petroleum, sustainable technologies, information and communication technologies, and transportation. But it’s through our people—whether by working to increase our trade or by Venezuela’s participation in this summer’s Pan Am Games in Toronto—that the promise for collaboration lies. I look forward to increased communication and understanding, as well as stronger relations, between our nations and our peoples.
Ambassador Martins, during your career, you have had a wealth of experiences that have informed how you approach diplomacy. One of your previous experiences was working right here in Ottawa, on behalf of Angola. As I mentioned to Ambassador Jo, you will find yourself surrounded by familiar sights, but you will also find new ways to partner with Canada.
The ties between Angola and Canada have been growing steadily, spurred by increased trade and collaboration. Sectors such as infrastructure, aerospace, power, telecommunications and water have benefited from our people finding ways to work together. I believe there are even greater prospects for Canadians and Angolans to take advantage of new market opportunities. I hope that we can discuss ways to better inform both our peoples of the possibilities for investing in each other’s countries.
Ambassador Arriola, you have held numerous positions, both at home and abroad. The wealth of your knowledge, particularly in multilateral and regional affairs, will help you as you begin your posting in Canada.
I encourage you to discover what makes this country so special and to meet with its people. I think you’ll find many eager to engage with Paraguay in many different ways. Given your country’s focus on creating high quality universities, I hope that you’ll also visit our institutions, to learn about our how we learn, and to motivate students to come to Canada to study.
Our two countries enjoy close relations based on like-minded interests. We work together in organizations like the United Nations and the Organization of American States. And we are already partnering in diverse ways, including in areas such as security, transparency and public service. I hope that we will find even more avenues of partnerships in the future.
Ambassador Paye, as a career diplomat, you have travelled widely, including to Canada, and have accomplished so much on behalf of your nation. You have also been very active in La Francophonie, where our two countries work very closely together.
In fact, my predecessor, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, was recently chosen to succeed Senegal’s former president, Abdou Diouf, as that organization’s secretary general. Canada has appreciated Senegal’s support on behalf of Francophone communities around the world, and I invite you to explore how our country is promoting and protecting the French language and culture.
Senegal is a very important partner of Canada in the region. I’m pleased to see that in addition to a growing economic partnership, we are increasing our people-to-people connections. In particular, I’m delighted to note a 19 per cent increase in Senegalese students coming to Canada to study. Though modest in absolute number, this represents a great opportunity to further our diplomatic, business and cultural ties.
Ambassador Namgyel, I’m honoured that Canada will host the first female Bhutanese ambassador in your country’s history. What a wonderful way to promote the important role of women in Bhutan, in Canada and in diplomacy!
Bhutan and Canada have the potential to do so much more. Though our relations are modest, I hope that you will be able to increase our commercial opportunities within your country. In areas such as aviation, power and transport, we are ready to collaborate, exchange and do business. Indeed, we have a history of co-operation, dating back to Father Mackey, a Canadian Jesuit priest, who was invited to contribute in the 1960s to the modernization of Bhutan’s education system. I know that with your historic appointment, we have a chance to build on our existing history to the benefit of both our peoples.
To all of you, please accept my best wishes as you begin your postings here in Canada. Welcome!