Luncheon in Honour of President Steinmeier at the Embassy of Germany

April 24, 2023

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

President Steinmeier and Mrs. Büdenbender, it’s such a pleasure to see you again, and to welcome you and your delegation to Canada.

The last time we met, it was two years ago, in Germany, during my first State visit as governor general. You offered us such a warm welcome during that visit, demonstrating how our two countries have so much that ties us together. Nurturing these ties is all the more crucial during times of change—it shows the resilience of our friendship and the benefits of co-operation which has grown over the years.

One moment of that visit in particular stood out to me. President Steinmeier, you inspired me when you spoke of coming to terms with the past, with the Holocaust. You and your country do not hide from it, and reconciling with the Jewish community in Germany and around the world has been a priority for you.

It is a healing process, one that we are going through in Canada as well.

In fact, Canada, too, is working to accept its past. For too long, we have neglected to listen to the full truth of our history with Indigenous peoples, particularly in residential schools. But like Germany, we have a desire to make amends and to move forward together.

I am delighted that you and the entire German delegation will learn more about Indigenous communities, particularly during the final leg of your Canadian journey in the Northwest Territories. It is vital for our countries and our planet that we listen to Indigenous knowledge and we witness what is happening in the North in particular. You will see first-hand the devastating effects of climate change on communities, on people and on their way of life. Our landscapes are telling us stories, and we can learn from them, and from each other, if we take the time to listen.

In Inuktitut, the language of Inuit communities and the language I grew up speaking, there is a word I would like to share: ajuinnata.

It is a word that means: “to never give up, to persevere no matter the odds, no matter the challenges we face.” It is the very resilience that is such an important part of your visit here in Canada—of our democracies, of our economies, of our communities and of our peoples.

I would like to thank you for visiting Canada, for Germany’s interest and participation in the Arctic, and for being a great partner and friend to Canada.

Let us all take this chance to strengthen our ties and to write a new chapter in our relationship.

Thank you.