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November 30, 2009
The Governor General to Undertake State Visits to Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica
OTTAWA—At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and her husband, His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, will undertake State visits to the United States of Mexico, from December 6 to 9, the Republic of Guatemala, from December 9 to 12, and the Republic of Costa Rica, from December 12 to 15, 2009. The Minister of State Foreign Affairs (Americas), Peter Kent, will be a member of the official delegation, and there will be a delegation of Canadians working in a variety of fields, including governance, arts and culture, civic engagement and youth.
Their Excellencies are delighted to carry out these State visits which will give them the opportunity to reinforce the already rich relationships with Mexico, as well as Guatemala and Costa Rica, and to continue the collaboration on various important issues affecting all of the Americas.
“We are both friends and continental partners who believe wholeheartedly in the democratic values of justice and fairness, in the rule of law and respect for personal freedoms, working together to preserve the security, prosperity and competitiveness of North America in the current global context,” said the Governor General. “And it is precisely from a desire to highlight the close ties that bind us that my husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, our delegation and I will be going out to meet with the people and organizations that form the backbone of society.”
While in Mexico, the Governor General will give a speech before the Senate that will highlight the importance of the relationship between our two countries in the North American context. Her Excellency will also take part in a seminar on Canada-Mexico relations that will address joint security in North America, cultural diversity and economic competition. Mexican university students, members of the Mexican Congress and Canadian academics will all take part in this event. His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will also host an Art Matters forum. He will be accompanied by Canadian Delegates to the National University of Mexico (UNAM) for a discussion on arts, new media and cultural diversity.
In Guatemala, the Governor General will discuss the important issues of security and impunity with the government. She will also meet with representatives from non-governmental organizations, most of whom are women, members of civil society and Aboriginal leaders. Their Excellencies will also visit projects led by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to reduce poverty and increase job creation.
The activities scheduled for Costa Rica will highlight the diverse and solid relationship between our two countries, one that is anchored in the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement. The visit will be a continuation of the initial, bilateral political consultations with Canada that took place in Ottawa in May. During the visit, the Governor General will host a Youth Dialogue as part of her national and international initiative to inspire young people around the world to become catalysts of change and to connect them with decision-makers.
State visits by a governor general play an important role in Canada’s relations with other countries. They are the highest form of diplomatic contact, and they mark further developments in bilateral relations and exchanges among peoples.
The public can follow the State visits to Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica through the speeches, photos and videos available daily at www.gg.ca. Blogs written by Their Excellencies and the delegates will be posted on www.citizenvoices.gg.ca.
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Members of the media interested in accompanying the Governor General to cover the State visits to Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica are asked to contact the Rideau Hall Press Office as soon as possible.
Rideau Hall Press Office
Official spokesperson to the Governor General of Canada