Presentation of Letters of Credence (Republic of India, People's Republic of China, Republic of Djibouti)
Rideau Hall, Thursday, March 2, 2017
I’d like to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall.
I’ve always been a big believer in face-to face diplomacy, which is such an important element of building and maintaining a close relationship. Just last week, I was in Sweden undertaking a State visit, where I was reminded of how important it is for nations to speak to each other and to collaborate when we can.
Each of you is here representing your country and your people. You will be searching for new opportunities to work together with Canadians, and you will, I hope, be sharing with us your heritage and informing Canadians about your respective societies and your histories.
High Commissioner Swarup, you have been around the world, representing your country with great conviction. In addition, you and your wife are ambassadors of Indian culture, bringing with you stories, art, photography and so much more. India has such a rich history, which I hope you have opportunities to share with Canadians during your time here.
This year marks 70 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries, since India’s independence in 1947. Since that time, our countries have built solid relations based on shared traditions of democracy and pluralism, as well as strong people-to-people ties. In 2014, I had the opportunity to visit India and was delighted to learn how we are working together in many spheres. Your country is the second-largest source of international students to Canada, underscoring our commitment to sharing knowledge across borders. I hope you will take this opportunity to discover what Canadians have to offer and how we can enhance our relationship.
Ambassador Lu, as a career diplomat, you know that constant dialogue is essential in today’s ever-changing world. Your experience abroad, as well as your service within China, will be invaluable as you take up your position in Canada. No doubt you will find many Canadians receptive to speaking with you about our ties, including the approximately 1.5 million Canadians of Chinese descent.
Canada and China have been partners for nearly 50 years, and our relationship continues to strengthen. China is not only Canada’s second-largest trading partner, but also a significant source for knowledge exchange. More than 120 000 Chinese students study in Canada each year—a third of our international student population—with more than 3 500 Canadians studying in China. I still have very fond memories of my visits there—more than a dozen over a period of almost 40 years—where I saw how you value learning.
As governor general, I was honoured to receive an honorary doctorate from Nanjing University, located in the very city in which you yourself were born! We have so much more potential for expanding our ties, and I look forward to speaking with you about that.
Ambassador Douale, your public service and diplomatic expertise will be a great asset as you discover Canada. Your dedication to safety and security, as well as to human rights, is greatly admired in the international community. Though you will not call Canada home, I hope that you take every opportunity to travel across this nation to learn about what makes this place so special, and what makes us ideal partners.
Though our relations are modest, Djibouti and Canada are working together in a number of ways to benefit our peoples economically and socially. Your country continues to be a partner for Canada in Africa on international security, as well as on humanitarian and migration issues. We have also collaborated in multilateral fora, most notably in La Francophonie. I have no doubt that business leaders in the Djibouti diaspora here in Canada will be eager to speak with you about furthering our relationship.
Let me welcome all of you once again to Canada. You have arrived during an auspicious year: the 150th anniversary of this great country. It will be a wonderful celebration, and I hope you take the opportunity to enjoy the festivities!