Presentation of Credentials (Republic of Kenya, Spain, Dominican Republic, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg)
Rideau Hall, Wednesday, May 6, 2009
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you, your families and delegations to Rideau Hall.
I have just recently returned from two State visits: one to Ukraine and the other to Norway.
What I saw and heard during that trip, which took me from the east to the north of the European continent, has convinced me more than ever of the need for enhanced co‑operation and greater solidarity between us, around the world.
From the economic crisis to climate change, from the resource crisis to issues of security and stability, the challenges we are all facing are such that they reach well beyond regional and national borders.
What these challenges bring to light is the need for us to work together to find common solutions to the problems that concern us all.
I believe that humanity has reached a turning point in its history and that we now have the opportunity to do things differently by adopting not only a more global approach, but a more collaborative approach as well.
Now more than ever before, we need to build on the ties and values that bind us to one another, rather than focus on the borders that separate us.
Ambassador Senninger, without a doubt, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a strong supporter of multilateralism since the Second World War, is a leader in this regard.
It is a founding member of a number of major European and international organizations, not least of which are the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and is strongly in favour of establishing transatlantic ties.
Your country is very actively involved in the dialogue between the member states of the European Union, playing a critical role.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is also a key partner for Canada in Europe. We appreciate this all the more given that today, at the EU-Canada Summit in Prague, discussions about a possible free-trade agreement between Canada and the EU are underway.
Moreover, our countries work together closely within various multilateral organizations, including, of course, the UN and NATO, but also the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and La Francophonie.
Ambassador Mirapeix Martinez, Spain is also a key player within the European Union, one with which Canada maintains relations that have grown stronger and more diverse over the years.
Our country is especially proud of the recent signing of an agreement on youth mobility. We are confident that this agreement will further strengthen the ties between us, particularly in the areas of trade, investment and tourism.
In addition, Canada is delighted by its constructive partnership with Spain in the areas of fisheries management and conservation, science and technology, culture and academic exchanges.
These are some of the critical issues that I had the pleasure of discussing with Her Excellency Maria Teresa Fernández de la Vega Sanz, First Vice-President of Spain, during the International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security held in Liberia last March.
The productive co-operation between our countries extends to Latin America, where Spain and Canada have a shared interest, being both major investors in that region.
Ambassador Ureña, as you know, the Americas are at the heart of Canada’s foreign policy.
Our country is pursuing a number of objectives, from freedom and respect for human rights to strengthening economies through trade and investment to establishing new security standards, particularly in the case of natural disasters.
Canada and the Dominican Republic certainly have a number of shared interests, including promoting peace, stability and prosperity in Haiti, as well as ensuring the development of the island as a whole.
We are so pleased to see that the Bilateral Mixed Commission between your country and Haiti has been re‑established, and we will be following its work with great interest.
We believe it is important to strengthen the bonds of solidarity between us and our sisters and brothers, not only in the Americas, but in the rest of the world as well, including Africa.
In this spirit, High Commissioner Nabukwesi, we are delighted that Canada and Kenya share a number of political and social objectives, including as part of the Commonwealth and the UN.
And it was with great pleasure that we welcomed the visit by your minister of Foreign Affairs in April. We see this as a promise of friendship and a sign of hope for the future.
Like the African continent itself, which I had the privilege of visiting in 2006, Kenya is rich in incredible diversity, be it geographic, natural or cultural.
It is also a country rich in the efforts of its people to ensure a better quality of life for all. These are efforts that Canada supports and encourages with hope and conviction.
Our country is thrilled that its ties with Kenya are getting stronger, and we intend to pursue this collaboration.
Rest assured, Excellencies, that Canada is looking forward to working with all of you, in a spirit of sharing and openness, to forge partnerships that will bring prosperity to our respective populations and to the entire world.
I have no doubt that each of you will inject new vigour into the trade, diplomatic, cultural and social relations between our countries.
On that note of friendship, I hope to see you again very soon and to hear your ideas for bringing our peoples together.
Thank you. To friendship and to solidarity!