Presentation of Letters of Credence (Peru, Ukraine, Kuwait)
Rideau Hall, Monday, December 14, 2015
It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Rideau Hall and to Canada.
As you know, Canada is a diverse country, home to hundreds of languages, cultures and backgrounds.
Canadians are also curious about the world, and we understand the importance of learning and of being global citizens.
So, I hope you find time during your time here to visit communities across the country, to introduce yourselves and to teach us about your respective countries.
Help us to understand your histories, your cultures, your societies. In doing so you will also learn about Canada; together we’ll all be the richer for it.
Ambassador López Bravo, you are no stranger to this country. You were here for many years in the early 1980s. And though some of what you encounter will certainly be familiar, there’s so much in the past 30 years that has changed. I invite you to rediscover Canada! And also to discover what hasn’t changed: our wish to further engage with Peru in trade, development and education, and many other spheres.
Canadian exports to Peru, for example, have doubled over the past 10 years. And, as of August 2014, our universities have three agreements signed with the Ministry of Energy and Mines to develop and built capacity in the energy sectors. These are just some of the examples of how we’re already working together.
In addition, your president’s State visit here in 2014 and my own to Peru in 2012 underscore the importance Canada places on our relationship. I hope you’ll take the time to rediscover Canada in your new role and to find more ways to further our deep and enduring bonds.
Ambassador Shevchenko, as a former journalist, you know the importance of free and open communication. In Canada, I know that you’ll find like-minded people who respect the freedom of speech and press that are the bedrock of our societies. I also understand this is your first posting abroad. I hope you’ll take advantage of being in Ottawa, surrounded by an experienced diplomatic corps, to acclimate to your new role.
Ukraine and Canada are close partners and friends, and we continue to offer development assistance on many different levels. We’re also looking at ways to increase our growing commercial relations. These are being strengthened through high-level visits between our countries and through the large Ukrainian-Canadian community in Canada. This community—over a million strong—is a powerful voice for unity and friendship between our nations. I know that they will be excited to welcome you here and to speak with you about the best way to expand on our existing ties.
Ambassador Al-Failakawi, as a career diplomat, you know the value of face-to-face dialogue. You also know that your being here is an opportunity for both our countries to enhance our already strong relationship. You’ve been to Canada before, but it would take several lifetimes to discover all that this country has to offer! You’ll find open, diverse and eager Canadians willing to discuss our strong relationship.
In fact, Kuwait and Canada are marking 50 years of diplomatic relations in 2015. My very first international visit as governor general was a State visit to Kuwait in February 2011. I still remember the fruitful discussions I had there. There is still such great potential for even greater collaboration in areas such as defence and trade. I look forward to discussing all of this with you.
Let me close by again saying how delighted I am that all of you are here. I hope Canada becomes a second home to you during your stay with us.