I would like to welcome each of you to Rideau Hall, the home of the people of Canada.
Each of us in this room represents not only different countries, but also different languages, backgrounds and cultures. We may have many things in common with one another on a personal level, but in general, it is our diversity that brings us together.
It is that very same diversity that allows us to come together today in the spirit of friendship and of pluralism. Pluralism is key, as engaging with our diversity is how our societies are able to evolve, particularly in our globalized world. His Highness The Aga Khan makes the argument that embracing pluralism can bring us closer to peace, which is so important in this age. He states that we can embrace pluralism through “tolerance, openness and understanding towards other peoples’ cultures, values and faiths.”
As you take up your new role in this country, I hope that you will have the opportunity to engage not only with Canada, but also with each other to foster a wider appreciation of our diversity. Ambassador Garmendía, I hope that you and your family will enjoy your stay in Canada. As someone with international experience, you know the importance of diplomacy to expand ties and to create new opportunities. That is what you will be doing throughout your time here.
Cuba and Canada share many bonds, particularly as major commercial partners in the Caribbean. In addition, our people-to-people ties are strong, fostered both by trade and investment, and by our exchange of knowledge. I know that your presence here will enhance our relationship even further.
Ambassador Moreira da Cunha, you bring with you a wealth of experience from around the world. No doubt you will find Canada to be a willing partner in a wide variety of fields. I hope that you will also be able to experience much of our country, especially the large Portuguese community in Canada.
Our two countries share a long history, based on common values, including human rights and democratic principles. That translates into a close relationship, one that continues to grow and evolve. We have so much to offer each other, and I look forward to discussing with you ways in which we can work together.
Ambassador Cornado, you have extensive experience working and living in North America, including here in Canada. The diplomatic experience you bring with you is a great asset that will give both Canada and Italy the opportunity to expand on already close ties.
Our two countries share so many links, based on common values, deep economic and diplomatic ties, and a very large Italian-Canadian community. In addition, I am pleased to note our close academic relationship, which allows us not only to exchange knowledge, but also to learn about each other.
Ambassador Abi-Samra, I am delighted that you are joining us in Canada, as I feel there is much we can learn from each other. Already, our two countries have a very strong bond, particularly with over 165 000 Lebanese-Canadians living in this country. Our connections make for a natural dialogue between nations. Lebanon and Canada, in fact, have much potential for partnerships and growth. I am confident that you will create new opportunities in Canada that will be mutually beneficial to both our countries.
Ambassador Okuda, I am pleased to welcome you to Canada, especially since you and I share a legal background. Canadians are ready to show you what our country has to offer, and I encourage you to take advantage of your time here. See the country and experience our people!
Already, Canada and Japan have such strong people-to-people ties, considering the connections that are flourishing through cultural and academic exchanges. Our bilateral and multilateral co-operation is robust, and I am confident that they will continue to expand during your time as ambassador. Once again, I am delighted to provide all of you with a warm Canadian welcome as you assume your new roles.