The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Presentation of Letters of Credence (Republic of Benin, United Mexican States, Republic of Georgia, French Republic, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan)

Rideau Hall, Thursday, June 22, 2017


I acknowledge that we are gathering today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

What a privilege to welcome you to Rideau Hall and to Canada today.

Diplomacy is of great importance in this complex, interconnected world. At its best, diplomacy brings people together. It bridges differences. It builds on the strengths of nations, rather than dividing by weaknesses.

That’s the kind of diplomacy Canada seeks to engage in with the countries you represent, and I thank you all for being here.

Ambassador Kiki, I understand this is your first posting abroad. You will no doubt find Canadians to be welcoming! I’m especially pleased to greet a fellow educator. I spent years as a professor and university administrator before becoming governor general. I look forward to speaking with you about your experiences and about how our countries can further promote education. This is especially important as universities in Benin and Canada share a number of partnerships, and more than 600 students from Benin currently study in Canada.

Benin and Canada have a growing relationship based on our collaboration in a number of fields. Our country is eager to engage further, not only in trade, but also in energy, agriculture and infrastructure. Your presence here will give us a number of opportunities to expand our already dynamic ties.

Ambassador Pérez-Jácome, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to Canada. You began your diplomatic career here, and we’re certainly glad that you have come full circle back to our nation! Your work, too, has given you diverse interests that also coincide with Canada’s, including trade and energy.

Canada and Mexico have close ties that have developed over the last 70 years of official bilateral relations. We are important trade and investment partners, and our people-to-people exchanges are strong and growing. I remember with great fondness my visit to Mexico in 2012 for the inauguration of your president, and I was pleased to reciprocate that hospitality during President Nieto’s State visit last year. Given that our relationship is essential for both our nations, I hope that we can work together even more closely in the years to come.

Ambassador Kavtaradze, before your arrival in Canada, your postings took you across Europe. No doubt you will find that experience useful as you begin your tenure here. I believe you’ll find Canadian society to be diverse, with communities whose origins are from around the world. Throughout your travels in Canada, you will find many examples of our willingness to work together with one another and across borders.

Georgia and Canada have a solid relationship built on people-to-people connections. We are in regular contact through senior officials and have common goals in a number of multilateral fora. Our two countries are also looking for ways to expand our partnerships, including in trade and investment. Your presence here will no doubt help to renew our relationship in significant ways. 

Ambassador Rispal, you have held numerous jobs in both the public service and the private sector, and you are a skilled career diplomat. We are delighted to have you here representing a country with which we have such close ties. You have visited Canada on a number of occasions, but being here as ambassador will undoubtedly give you the chance to discover even more about what makes this country special.

Canada and France have strong ties based on shared history and language, as well as through our people. More than 5 million Canadians claim a French ancestry. These close bonds translate to mutual support in a number of bilateral and multilateral fora. As well, there is so much potential to do more in areas of innovation, science and technology, education and youth mobility, and security. I hope you enjoy your time here!

Ambassador Alaadeen, I am pleased that you will be here to represent Jordan, an important friend of Canada. You have spent your career in diplomatic circles, which will no doubt benefit you greatly as you assume your new role. On a personal level, we both share a passion for law, and I am eager to speak with you about your education and background.

Canada and Jordan share a long-standing and close relationship based on common interests. We are co-operating on areas of security, defence, development and humanitarian issues, and are encouraging growth in trade and in our already robust educational ties. I was interested to discover first-hand the many ways we are partnering during my visit to Jordan last year, and Canada looks forward to finding new ways to collaborate with you.

Finally, I would like to congratulate all of you on your new roles. As you know, 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation in Canada, so your timing is very good!

Thank you for your commitment to working with Canadians in the spirit of partnership and co‑operation.