February 7, 2023
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I have had the pleasure of visiting Finland many times in my professional life. Today, I’m delighted to be back as governor general of Canada to celebrate the links that bind our two countries.
Diplomatic visits are how countries demonstrate the importance and value of our relationships with the international community. Last November, we marked 75 years of our bilateral relationship, and I’m here to show unwavering support to Finland and the Arctic. I’m convinced that this visit will further enhance our already strong partnership.
I’m grateful to President Niinistö for the chance to exchange perspectives on a wide range of issues. Our long-standing friendship is based on strong people-to-people connections, shared values and, most importantly, trust. We trust each other to do what’s right, whether that is for climate change, for peace and security, for democracy, for human rights, for multilateralism or for the Arctic.
As an Inuk, raised in Canada’s Arctic, the Arctic is an issue I’m very familiar with, and I know that the close co-operation of Canada and Finland in this region benefits both our countries, and our citizens, including our Indigenous peoples. I know from experience that Finland is an essential partner to address the most pressing challenges, such as climate change.
I’m looking forward to discussions with people in Finland who are making a difference. I’m also eager to meet with young people, who are contributing to the conversations that will impact their future.
This is also a pivotal point in time of international unrest, as we will soon mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Canada is pleased to be an early supporter of Finland’s request to join NATO, which we believe will make this organization even stronger. We look forward to working alongside you as part of this important organization.
I often use the word ajuinnata, a concept that has great meaning for Inuit. It means persevering in the face of obstacles. It means to never give up. It’s not unlike a Finnish term, sisu, which means a strength of will and determination.
In the spirit of ajuinnata, and sisu, I encourage us to continue our commitment to work together on important global issues.
To act now, when it is most critical.
To inspire collaboration between Arctic and non-Arctic …nations; between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
To stand together in support of Ukraine. In support of peace.
And, to combat climate change at the source, treating both the symptoms and the disease.
I greatly look forward to continuing my State visit to Finland, Canada’s long-standing friend and partner.