Letters of Credence Ceremony

February 20, 2024

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I would like to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall, which 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 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, Greece, Algeria, Tunisia and Iraq.

You are all here in Canada 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 through 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. Heat records are being broken, as 2023 was officially the hottest year on record for our planet. This last year, we have also seen the devastating impacts in Canada, with increased forest fires and flooding across the country.

The impacts of these events are wide-ranging. 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 our borders.

Climate change affects our economies, our infrastructure and our very way of life.

Climate change is an example of a challenge that requires a solution not just from one country, but from all of us. 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.

There is also the issue of global 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.

We join with people around the world in hoping for a timely and enduring restoration of peace, security and safety.

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 to Canada last September. He took its meaning to heart and shared it with the world. He—like his people, like so many around the world—is demonstrating 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.

Thank you.