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 (Panama, Sri Lanka, Malawi)

Rideau Hall, Thursday, September 10, 2015


Welcome, all of you, to Rideau Hall, and to Canada.

I’m so pleased to see you here. As heads of mission, you’re so important to the friendship that exists between Canada and the countries you represent.

Even in an age of instant, global communication, there’s no substitute for personal ties. Your presence reminds Canadians of all that we have in common with the people of Panama, Sri Lanka and Malawi.

We share a great deal, and I thank you for coming to Canada to learn about our country and teach us about yours.

Ambassador Arosemena, congratulations on your assignment as head of mission. You have made significant contributions to building Panama’s economy, and I am certain that your business and diplomatic experience will serve you well here. So will your growing interest in hockey! I wish you all the best, and encourage you and your family to explore Canada in all its great diversity.

Canada and Panama have diplomatic ties dating back more than half a century, and today we remain like-minded partners. I’d like to congratulate Panama on successfully hosting the Summit of the Americas last April, and I’d also like to thank and congratulate your country on its participation in the recent Pan American and Parapan American Games in Toronto. Canada looks forward to building on the cooperation that exists between our two countries in the months and years to come.

High Commissioner Jawad, welcome to Canada for this latest posting in your distinguished diplomatic career. Your knowledge of human rights issues, consular matters and economic affairs is highly valued in Canada. I also understand that your family is interested in learning about and participating in winter sports—you’re in the right place! I wish you all the very best as you get settled in Ottawa.

Dating back 60 years, Canada and Sri Lanka’s long-standing relationship stems from our shared Commonwealth heritage. It’s also anchored by our strong people-to-people ties: the Sri Lankan diaspora in Canada is estimated to number between 250,000 and 300,000 people. These relationships are a wonderful basis upon which to deepen our friendship and work together to build peace and prosperity in our respective countries. Canada looks forward to a bright future working with Sri Lanka.

High Commissioner Mhura, I’m very pleased to welcome you to Canada. Your long career in public service includes extensive experience in teaching and law, which are two areas of particular interest to me. As you surely know, both the legal and education fields in Canada are full of talented, dedicated individuals. I wish you the very best as you explore these and other spheres of interest in your new posting.

Canada and Malawi enjoy strong ties and ongoing collaboration through a number of agencies and initiatives. Our two countries are working together as trading and development partners, and in recent years have taken similar positions on a number of important United Nations and human rights issues. Canada looks forward to continued cooperation for the benefit of both of our peoples.

In closing, I once again welcome all of you to Canada.

I hope that, as you take on your new roles, this will be the beginning of new and greater partnerships between us.

Thank you.