September 25, 2023
Check against delivery
I would like to begin by acknowledging that Rideau Hall sits on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe peoples. Land acknowledgements, are a way only to show respect to those who have been on this land since time immemorial. Small gestures like these can lead to greater understanding and respect between peoples, a lesson we can all take to heart, no matter where we come from.
Welcome to your new roles, ambassadors from Chad, Uruguay, Peru, the Slovak Republic and the Kyrgyz Republic.
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, and most importantly, action.
Climate change is one example. Around the world, countries are feeling the impact of a warming planet, increased climate disasters and the rise of ocean levels. This past summer, we saw the devastating impact of forest fires and flooding across Canada. The impacts are wide-ranging and are still being felt today. Not only do these natural disasters bring loss of property and of our natural spaces, but they also impact the quality of the environment across this country and across our borders.
Climate change affects our economies, infrastructure and our very way of life.
This challenge requires a solution not from one country, but many. It requires us to look past barriers of language or culture. It requires people to work together across borders towards a common good. We cannot afford to wait. Our differences are not so different when put in those terms.
We must also be steadfast in pursuing peace and security. The President of Ukraine was here just a few days ago, sharing with us his country’s experience in defending itself and fighting the Russian invasion. They still need our support and aid, and I was proud to share with him Canada’s support. Wherever I go in Canada, Canadians tell me how important it is for us to stand with the Ukrainian people.
Peace belongs in all places, and not just in Ukraine. All of us deserve a safe place to raise families, to build communities and to be who we are, free of judgement.
To move forward, we need all of 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 culturally 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.
All of us are 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.