Letters of Credence Ceremony

March 28, 2023

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I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered at Rideau Hall, which sits on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people who have lived on and cared for this land for thousands of years.

Welcome to your new roles, ambassadors from Oman, the Marshall Islands, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Colombia and Mexico.

You are all here to answer one, overarching question: how can we work together to make our countries, and this world, a better place?

We face challenges that are unprecedented in our collective history. Our response needs to be dialogue and diplomacy, but most importantly action.

A few weeks ago, many of your fellow heads of mission—all of them women—were here at Rideau Hall to talk about the rising tide of online misogyny and racism. As you may already know, women are facing increasing cases of vitriol and violence online, particularly through anonymous commenters. It is time, more than ever, for us to have open and frank conversations about what we can do to protect women and girls from being attacked and intimidated online.  Because what happens online may impact who among them chooses to be the next leaders of their generation.

On that International Women’s Day, we shared what we had seen and gone through, and discussed the way forward. The women in attendance talked about the need for allies, including men, to stand up for women everywhere. I count all of you, newly arrived to Canada, among our allies, and I invite you to join me in speaking out.

There is no issue too big if we work together to solve it. Online protection for women and girls is one example. Climate change is another.

Around the world, countries are already feeling the impact of a warming planet, increased climate disasters and the rise of ocean levels. It affects our economies, infrastructure and our very way of life.

This challenge requires a solution not from one country, but many. It requires people to work together across borders towards a common goal. We cannot afford to wait.

Lastly, we must be steadfast in pursuing peace and security. In Ukraine, it has been more than a year since the terrible Russian invasion began. The people of Ukraine, who have resisted and fought back, who have lost their lives, and whose lives have been upended, still need our support and aid.

To move all these global issues forward, we need you, your efforts and your openness. You have each come to Canada as a friend, representing the interests of your country.

I encourage you to learn about Canada and its diverse and rich people, especially our Indigenous peoples. Learn about our stories—the good and the bad—and discover the beauty of this land.

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 commit ourselves to persevering against all odds for the good of our citizens and the world.

We are all part of the solution, and I’m grateful to you for your support, your efforts and your continued friendship. I know that our bonds will only deepen in the coming years.

Welcome to Canada.

Thank you.