Governor General welcomed new heads of mission to Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall

December 7, 2021

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Good day, bonjour, and welcome to Rideau Hall.

I would like to acknowledge that we stand on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people, who have lived on and cared for this part of the world for thousands of years.

We are two nights removed from the last night of Hanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. Ambassadors Cohen and Hoffman, I would like to wish you a belated happy holidays.

Hanukah is a time of family and friends, where stories are told, songs are sung and food is in abundance. And it is a time to light the menorah, to illuminate the darkness and bring hope to the world.

All of you, while in Canada, will bring your own hope. Hope for a brighter future and hope to further the already strong friendships between nations.

Welcome all of you!

High Commissioner Weraduwa, Canada and Sri Lanka have strong people-to-people ties. We are home to some 200 000 Canadians of Sri Lankan descent. In fact, Canada’s Sri Lankan Tamil population is thought to be the largest diaspora in the world outside of India.

We also have shared interests and commitments to freedom of expression, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Our bilateral partnership is based on participation in the Commonwealth and in multilateral forums. And we continue to find areas in which to co‑operate, including our growing economic relationship and our development assistance program. I hope you enjoy your time here in Canada.

Ambassador Martínez-Serrano, our countries are partners and allies, with a strong relationship based on common values, such as respect for human rights, democracy and the empowerment of women.

Canada and Spain are active members of NATO, committed to peace and security around the world. And we are equally proud of our diverse and inclusive societies.

We are dedicated to fighting climate change, as well as to promoting sustainability. This takes on increasing importance as the world sees more examples of climate devastation. Your time here will no doubt lead to fruitful conversations on how we can work together to save our planet.

Ambassador Hoffman, Canada and Israel have developed an exceptional relationship since your country’s founding in 1948. I know that the Jewish community in Canada is eager to engage with you as you assume this role.

Our close ties are based on mutual co-operation in a number of areas, including energy, peace and security, international aid and development, innovation, and the promotion of human rights.

The recent modernization of our trade agreement signals the importance of our ever-growing economic and investment opportunities, which benefit both our peoples. Welcome!

Ambassador Cohen, Canada and the United States enjoy a unique relationship. Our bonds have been forged by deep personal connections, shared geography, similar values, common interests, and multi-layered economic ties. We also share a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion. In particular, let us work together to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples in both our countries.

Global challenges require global solutions.

Our collaboration has never been more important as we address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of new variants of concern, as well as the increasing threat of climate change.

As we all work across borders, we should always keep in mind how much we can accomplish when we put aside what divides us and focus on our common humanity. I hope that, during your time in Canada, you will have the chance to travel widely and talk to Canadians, to learn from them and share your own experiences with them.

Congratulations to all of you on your new posting.

Let us collaborate in the spirit of partnership and co-operation towards a better tomorrow.

Thank you. Merci.