Viet Nam News
On occasion of Canada Day on July 1, 2017, Ambassador Ping Kitnikone emphasises the nation’s diversity and its contribution to promoting human rights
This year is an important milestone, because we are celebrating 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. This major national anniversary is not just an opportunity for Canadians all across our country to celebrate; the world is invited to participate, celebrate and explore the best that Canada has to offer. The Government of Canada’s vision for the 150th anniversary of Confederation has four major themes: diversity and inclusiveness; the environment; youth; and reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
We have a long history of collaborating with global partners to promote peaceful pluralism to protect human rights, to promote gender equality and to continue to offer the world a premier destination to visit, study, work, invest and live.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that “Diversity is our strength” and indeed, we are very proud of our linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, as well as our rich history and heritage. It is thanks to this diversity, and not in spite of it, that the country is prospering. We are more committed than ever to support inclusion.
From the early years of the Confederation to today, immigrants have enriched our society and made Canada what it is today. A significant Vietnamese-Canadian community is part of our population and forms an important component of our bilateral relations with Việt Nam.
We are working steadily to build on this by welcoming an ever increasing number of Vietnamese students to study in Canada, and they are benefiting from our world-class education system, safe and clean cities, and open society.
We understand the importance of international education. It is at the very heart of our current and future prosperity. A highly skilled and educated workforce, combined with financial stability and low business costs, is vital for sustained growth and prosperity. As a trading nation, Canada’s prosperity is linked to economic opportunities beyond our borders. For more than 40 years, Canada has been Việt Nam’s partner. Over the past two years, Việt Nam has been Canada’s largest trading partner in ASEAN and this dynamic commercial relationship generated over CAD$5.5 billion (US$5.1 billion) in two-way trade in 2016.
This past year also saw increased high level exchanges, with visits by Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, Agricultural and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay, and most recently, our International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne to attend the APEC Trade Ministers meeting. We can expect more high-level visits through the year, all of which will add greater momentum for our bilateral relations.
We are committed to building our strong, long-standing relations with our Vietnamese partners and finding ways to deepen our ties. Some of these ties include Canada’s support to build capacity toward supporting the rights of individuals, including LGBTI and women’s rights.
The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives in Việt Nam has supported and will continue to support similar initiatives in Việt Nam. I have been inspired by the dedicated advocates for these issues in Việt Nam and am proud to share with the readers that Canada has supported projects ranging from efforts to stop violence against women to those that raise awareness of a woman’s legal right to have her name on land use rights certificates.
And that is just one aspect of how Canada has worked with Việt Nam to date. Altogether, we have contributed over CAD$1.3 billion towards Việt Nam’s development since 1990. Over the past year, we ramped up our development programming in areas of great importance to Việt Nam. For instance, this past year saw successful visits from both the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Conference Board of Canada to share information with Vietnamese exporters and government officials on the Canadian food safety system. We were also pleased to announce a CAD$15.3 million Safe Food for Growth project.
On another front, we are working on a CAD$15 million project to help Vietnamese small and medium size enterprises address climate change, and CAD$200 million is being channeled through the Asian Development Bank to catalyse private investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Asia-Pacific region.
These are just some of the ways Canada is working with Việt Nam and we look forward to expanding our collaboration, especially in empowering women and girls as a key element of sustainable development and economic growth. Women play a critical role in food production, income generation, community organization and other key activities.
So, to summarise, we look forward to building on already strong ties for the benefit of both peoples.
It has taken years of hard work for Canada to get to where it is today. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, it allows us to think about our past, reflect on all we have accomplished so far, and look to the future with optimism.
On July 1, 2017, as Canadians celebrate our past and re-affirm our commitment to international engagement, I would like to invite you to celebrate along with us. — VNS