Presentation of Letters of Credence (Republic of Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Ghana)
Rideau Hall, Thursday, August 31, 2017
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I acknowledge that we are gathering today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
What a privilege to welcome you to Rideau Hall and to Canada today.
Diplomacy is of great importance in this complex, interconnected 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 you represent, and I thank you all for being here.
Ambassador Martinez Valinotti, it gives me great pleasure to extend greetings to you as the Republic of Paraguay’s representative to Canada. You are very familiar with this country, having studied aerial and space law at McGill University, an institution where I spent some wonderful years. Canada welcomes your appointment, and I wish you the very best during your time here.
Our two countries share a positive and multifaceted relationship, with a history of more than 56 years of diplomatic relations. We work together through organizations including the United Nations and the Organization of American States. We are partnering in diverse, innovative ways, and I look forward to Canada and Paraguay finding even more avenues of partnership and co-operation.
Ambassador Garabito, we are pleased to welcome you and your family back to Ottawa and to Canada, where you have already served your country admirably. You are most welcome here. The experience you have gained in recent years, combined with your already extensive knowledge of Canada, make you a wonderful choice as ambassador.
The diplomatic relationship between the Dominican Republic and Canada dates back to 1954. Ambassador, you have arrived at a moment in which Canada is keen to expand its relations with your country economically, socially and politically. We have much to gain through enhanced collaboration, and I look forward to your contributions as ambassador.
Ambassador Sparwasser, what a pleasure to welcome you back to Canada, a country with which you are very familiar! You have served your country for many years in a variety of roles, including diplomatic postings in Toronto and here in Ottawa. This gives you a wealth of experience upon which to draw in strengthening the important relationship between Germany and Canada. We have been honoured to host Chancellor Merkel and former president Joachim Gauck here at Rideau Hall, and I look forward to your contributions as ambassador.
Germany has been and continues to be a key partner for Canada in the European Union and globally. Our two countries work together in areas including combatting climate change, promoting global trade, and strengthening multilateral institutions. We also share best practices in welcoming refugees and celebrating the many benefits of inclusion and diversity. More than 3.2 million Canadians are of German heritage, and our country is eager to continue to work in close partnership and solidarity with Germany.
Ambassador Pranckevičius, you are a seasoned diplomat with a wide range of foreign service experience. This, and the fact you hail from the northern nation of Lithuania gives me confidence in your ability to adapt to Canada and to Canadian winters! You are well-positioned to advance the relationship between our two countries, and I wish you the very best in settling into your new home.
Canada and Lithuania enjoy close ties, which are enhanced by the some 49 000 Lithuanian-Canadians who are an important part of our national fabric. Our two countries share a broad range of foreign policy goals, including peace and security, human rights, and trade. As members of NATO, the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Canada and Lithuania will continue to work together for inclusive peace, prosperity and stability.
High Commissioner Otoo, please accept my congratulations on your appointment. I understand that you spent much of your career in the field of law. This gives us something in common, as I am a lawyer by profession, though most of my involvement came in teaching law and through public service. I look forward to your strong contribution to relations between Ghana and Canada. I wish you and your family all the best as you settle into your new home.
The Republic of Ghana has been and continues to be a key partner for Canada in Africa and globally. My wife, Sharon, and I have fond memories of our visit to Ghana in 2013. We met with members of the government and visited with educators, students, and farmers undertaking agricultural research with Canadian support. Canada is keen to expand its relations with Ghana, and I am confident in our countries’ shared ability to work together for mutual benefit.
To you all: congratulations once again on your new roles and thank you for your commitment to working with Canada. As you know, 2017 marks the 150th birthday of our country, so the time is right to begin new chapters in our respective bilateral relationships!
You are all very welcome here, so let us work together in a spirit of partnership and cooperation.