Presentation of Letters of Credence (Estonia, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Denmark)
Rideau Hall, Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Welcome to Rideau Hall, the home of the people of Canada.
As governor general of this great country, I have the honour of officially welcoming heads of mission and foreign representatives to Canada.
It is a privilege to carry out this task. Diplomacy is so important in our globalized world, where communications, if not distances, are crossed in an instant and the value of dialogue cannot be underestimated.
As biographer J. William Galbraith notes, one of my predecessors in this role, John Buchan, Canada’s 15th governor general, thought deeply about diplomacy and of the question of loyalties in a global context.
“We begin with a loyalty to little things,” Buchan once said, speaking of those childhood places we remember fondly, adding that as we grow older, “we should acquire also wider loyalties.” Galbraith goes on to explain that Buchan “cited as examples loyalty to the academic institution we attend, to the profession we choose, to the province in which we live, to the nation, and ultimately to our fellow human beings.”
As members of the diplomatic corps, you know what it means to have “wider loyalties,” and how important they are for our shared prosperity and well-being.
And that is why I am so pleased to welcome you to Canada, to help strengthen and improve the ties between our respective nations and peoples.
Ambassador Kalmet, I am delighted to welcome you to Canada as Estonia’s first ambassador to Canada, resident in Ottawa. Your considerable diplomatic experience will no doubt serve you well in this historic responsibility, as will your knowledge of both of Canada’s official languages. I wish you the very best as you work to establish this important position.
Your task will no doubt be made easier by the excellent relations that exist between Canada and Estonia. These ties were reinforced earlier this year with the visit to Canada of your president, His Excellency Toomas Hendrik Ilves. During the President’s stay at Rideau Hall, we had the opportunity to discuss the growing co-operation between our two countries in such spheres as education, culture, and information and communication technologies. I look forward to our continued collaboration in the months and years to come.
Ambassador Kole, it gives me great pleasure to extend greetings to you as ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. With this assignment, you are now part of a long history of Dutch presence in Ottawa, one that of course included members of your country’s royal family, who lived here during the Second World War. I am certain you will find Canadians today to be equally warm and welcoming.
I am also convinced that the already close ties between the Netherlands and Canada have great potential for improvement. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of attending King Willem-Alexander’s investiture in Amsterdam. During that visit, I met with a number of innovation and education leaders who are involved in some very exciting Dutch-Canadian collaborations. I am also pleased to lend my support to the upcoming innovation symposium being held by Canada’s embassy and the Netherlands-Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Amsterdam, in September.
Ambassador Abrahamsen, I understand that you have served in Afghanistan, the United States and Europe, and I look forward to speaking with you about your varied diplomatic experiences. I also hear that you are an avid marathoner, and trust you will find plenty of opportunities for running here in Ottawa, a city known for outdoor activities. I wish you the very best with your new responsibilities.
Denmark and Canada have long been trusted allies, sharing particular interests as parliamentary democracies and northern nations. Our two countries have worked well together in Afghanistan and North Africa, and we have frequently co-operated on Arctic issues. As you know, Canada is the current chair of the Arctic Council, and I am confident that we can take this opportunity to further our friendship and achieve shared goals.
Allow me to congratulate each of you once again on your new responsibilities and to welcome you and your respective families to Ottawa. As I mentioned earlier, Rideau Hall is the home of the people of Canada, and this country is your new home.
You are most welcome here, and I wish you the very best in your important work.