October 13, 2023
Check against delivery
Before I begin, and in the presence of the Ambassador of Israel, I would like to say a few words about the events continuing to unfold in Israel and the region.
The gruesome terrorist attacks committed by Hamas on Israel shocked the world in their brutality. We are horrified by what we have witnessed.
Canada continues to monitor the latest developments and is greatly concerned for the mounting losses of innocent lives, as well as for those who have been kidnapped.
I extend our deepest condolences, on behalf of all Canadians, to the people of Israel, to the families of the victims, and to everyone impacted by this tragedy. Our country supports you and stands firmly with you during this time of crisis. We condemn any and all actions motivated by hate and discrimination. And we join with people around the world in hoping for a timely and enduring restoration of peace, security and safety.
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 to show respect to those who have been on this land since time immemorial. 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 Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Israel, and the high commissioners from Singapore and Seychelles.
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.
I’ve spoken about the importance of peace and security. Peace belongs in all places. All of us deserve a safe place to raise families, to build communities and to be who we are, free of judgement.
This is something that I spoke about last month, when the President of Ukraine came to Canada and shared with us his country’s experience in defending itself and fighting the Russian invasion. They still need our support and aid, and wherever I go in Canada, I hear from Canadians who tell me how important it is for us to continue to stand with the Ukrainian people.
To move forward with all of these global and urgent issues, 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 in the face of challenges. It means committing ourselves to action, no matter how daunting the cause may be.
I talked to President Zelenskyy about this word during his visit last month. He took its meaning to heart and shared it with the world. He, like his people, like all of us, are showing the meaning of perseverance, of ajuinnata.
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, and the countries you represent, for your support, your efforts and your continued friendship. I know that our bonds will only deepen in the coming years.
Welcome to Canada.