April 27, 2022
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Welcome all of you to your new roles, high commissioners and ambassadors from Barbados, Algeria, Indonesia, South Africa and Latvia.
It’s wonderful to see you in-person, at Rideau Hall, which sits on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people. I encourage all of you to visit Indigenous communities in Canada and to learn about their lived experiences.
I was born in Nunavik, in northern Quebec. I grew up learning the traditions of the Inuit from my parents and grandmother. We would fish, hunt and gather food. We travelled by boat and by dog team. I eagerly learned our legends and spoke our language, Inuktitut.
I carry the story of Inuit with me wherever I go. And as representatives of your homelands, you are doing the same. I urge you to share those stories with Canadians, just as they will share theirs with you.
I look forward to learning your stories myself.
High Commissioner Clarke, you’re no stranger to Canada, having worked and lived here many years ago. Yet, even though you’re already familiar with much of our country, there is always more to discover. Barbados and Canada have a close relationship based on shared history and values. I have no doubt you will continue to find new ways to strengthen our bonds.
Ambassador Bardad-Daidj, I’d like to welcome you to Canada.
I know you will be engaging with the large Algerian community in Quebec, but I also hope you will take the time to travel throughout the country to reinforce the relationship between our nations. Let’s work together to find new avenues for co-operation.
Ambassador Simanjuntak, I’m pleased that you have brought a wealth of international experience with you to Canada. Since we established diplomatic relations in 1952—and even before that—Indonesia has been an important partner in the region. We work together on a number of issues, including human rights, poverty reduction and good governance.
High Commissioner Shaik, welcome! I see that you share ties with another one of our presenting countries, having served as ambassador to Algeria for many years. South Africa and Canada share a long and rich history of close relations, and we are proud to work together in multilateral forums.
On another note, I wish you, High Commissioner, and all the people of South Africa the very best as you mark today’s Freedom Day.
Ambassador Ozoliņš, you are already familiar with the professionalism of members of the Canadian Armed Forces stationed in Latvia and serving alongside their Latvian counterparts. We’re proud to work with Latvia and NATO on security and stability in the region, an issue that is of increasing importance. I look forward to speaking with you on ways to enhance our already close relationship.
In your new roles, all of you will encounter a diverse society eager to engage further on priority issues that impact our societies, our countries and the world.
Open discussion and communication is such a vital aspect of our continued relationships. And we need diplomacy now more than ever.
We have seen in recent months the heartbreaking invasion of Ukraine, and the importance of countries uniting to face oppression and violence.
Another issue that demands our attention is climate change, and the health of our environment, which impacts our shores, our homes, our economies and our way of life.
How we address these crises will determine our future.
Our world is changing, but despite all the challenges,
I know there is hope. I know that we’re not going to give up.
There is a word in Inuktitut: ajuinnata. It means a promise, a vow to never give up. It means committing ourselves to action, no matter how daunting the cause may be.
Let us all commit ourselves to persevering against all odds and to working together for the good of our citizens and the world.
All of us here are part of the solution, and I’m grateful to you for your support, your efforts and your continued friendship.