Presentation of Letters of Credence (Togolese Republic, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Ireland, Plurinational State of Bolivia, Republic of Latvia, Eastern Republic of Uruguay)
Rideau Hall, Tuesday, September 6, 2016
What a delight to welcome each of you to Rideau Hall and to Canada.
We have a long history of diplomacy in this country, from the treaties and alliances signed by European newcomers and Indigenous peoples to our present-day ties with the world.
At its best, diplomacy brings people together. It bridges differences. It builds on the strengths of nations, rather than dividing by weaknesses.
That’s the kind of diplomacy Canada seeks to engage in with the countries each of you represents—call it diplomacy for a smarter, more caring world.
Ambassador Nolaki, I warmly welcome you to Canada. I have no doubt that, in addition to your long service in Togo, your diplomatic experiences abroad and your extensive knowledge of the African Union will serve you well in your new role. Canada is in many ways a world away from Togo, but you are very welcome here, and I wish you all the best.
Canada and Togo enjoy friendly relations through numerous international institutions including, not least, the Francophonie. Our commercial relations are modest but growing, and I am also pleased to note a significant jump in the number of Togolese students in Canada—in 2015, the number reached 430, an increase of 150 percent over the previous year! This is cause for celebration, and I look forward to continued partnership between our two countries in education and other common priorities.
High Commissioner Rahman, allow me to begin by asking that you extend our condolences to the family of Nusrat Jahan, the daughter of your colleague at the High Commission who was tragically killed in a cycling accident last week in Ottawa.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this difficult time.
I welcome you to Canada as the representative of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
You have held numerous important diplomatic positions around the world, and I am certain you will help to strengthen the relationship between our two countries. I wish you well with your new assignment.
Canada and Bangladesh have enjoyed a warm relationship for more than four decades. The pillars of this deepening relationship are development cooperation, immigration, trade, investment and people-to-people ties. Let me share a few numbers.
Since 1972, Canada has provided more than $4 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh, and our commercial ties have grown dramatically in the past decade, from $600 million in 2005 to $2.4 billion in 2015. And, every day, a Bangladeshi community of more than 100 000 people is enriching Canada through its hard work and culture.
Ambassador Kelly, what a pleasure to welcome you back to Canada after your previous visit as a policy director at the Irish foreign ministry. You have had a varied and interesting career in both the public and private sectors, and this can only enhance your ability to excel as ambassador.
I would also like to welcome your wife and your two daughters to Canada. The wonderful winter season is just around the corner, and I wish you the very best as you settle in to your new home!
Canada highly values its relationship with Ireland. More than 4.5 million Canadians claim some Irish ancestry, making Irish the fourth-largest ethnic group in Canada. Our two countries collaborate closely through the United Nations and many other international forums, and we have robust trade and investment links. I’m also pleased to note our very active youth exchange through our shared working holiday program. This kind of exchange can only strengthen our collaboration into the future.
Ambassador Guzmán, congratulations on your new role as head of Mission. This is the latest chapter in your career in which you have served in both the public and private spheres. I understand you have also served as an associate professor of international relations and economics, which gives us something in common—I taught law for a number of years here in Canada. I look forward to hearing more about your experiences and insights, and I offer you, your wife and your three children a warm welcome to Canada.
Canada and Bolivia have a strong bilateral relationship centred on a number of common priorities. These include development, trade, resource management and indigenous issues. We have growing defence ties, and I am also pleased to note that Canada is a destination country for the Postgraduate Scholarship Programme launched by President Morales in 2014. Nearly 30 percent of this year’s candidates applied to Canadian universities, and I am very keen to make further progress in deepening our learning ties together.
Ambassador Eihenbaums, I’m pleased to welcome you to Canada as the representative of the Republic of Latvia. For many years, you have served your country in various diplomatic roles, and prior to that, you worked as a lecturer in history, political science and international affairs. I know this breadth of experience, as well as your proficiency in English, French, Russian, Dutch, Danish and of course Latvian serve you well in your line of work! I wish you great success in your new responsibilities.
This year is special, as it marks the 25th anniversary of Latvia’s restored independence. Canada is proud to have been the first G-7 country to recognize Latvian independence, and our bilateral relationship has remained strong over the years.
We are pleased to cooperate on defence issues through NATO and to be party to agreements on foreign investment, youth mobility and audio-visual co-production, to name a few. Canada is home to more than 28 000 Latvian-Canadians, and we look forward to many years of friendship to come.
Ambassador Vidal Delgado, what a pleasure it is to welcome you back to Canada after several previous visits, and to welcome back your wife, who lived in Ottawa in her youth. You have served in a range of capacities in your career to date, including, most recently, director general for political affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I wish you the very best with your new responsibilities and offer warm greetings to Canada to your family.
Canada and Uruguay have enjoyed diplomatic ties since 1951, and our two countries work together in many areas of common interest. These shared priorities include a commitment to multilateralism, open markets, good governance and human rights for LGBTI persons. Our bilateral trade totalled $175 million in 2015, and we look forward to strengthening collaboration in a range of other spheres including the environment, climate change, agriculture and science and technology.
To each of you: congratulations on your new roles and thank you for your commitment to working with Canada. You are very welcome here.
I look forward to seeing you again soon.