Viet Nam News
Việt Nam News presents an article written by the Canadian Ambassador to Việt Nam, David Devine, to honour the National Day of Canada today.
I am so happy to be speaking to you on Canada’s 149th birthday. Just one more year until Canada’s 150th and already the preparations have begun! Canada Day gives Canadians at home and abroad the chance to take the time to celebrate their patriotic pride with their friends, family, and neighbours.
Today, Canadians believe in a tolerant, peaceful pluralism; in protecting rights; in gender equality; in internationalism; in a democratic society; and helping those in need both in Canada and abroad.
I am heartened to see how Canada and Việt Nam’s partnership has progressed during my three years here, and I am confident about the upward trajectory of our relationship moving forward.
I am pleased to tell you that Canada and Việt Nam’s bilateral trade continues to grow by leaps and bounds, totalling over C$4.7 billion in 2015. Việt Nam is now the number one trading partner for Canada in ASEAN. Canadian firms look favourably upon Việt Nam’s potential for investment, including its economic growth, natural resources, and competitive workforce. The steady growth of trade between our two countries is a strong indicator of good trade relations for years to come.
This past year again saw many important visits by Canadians to Việt Nam, proving that Việt Nam is an important bilateral partner to Canada, and that our relationship is growing continuously stronger. Notably, we enjoyed visits by our Deputy Ministers of Labour and of Foreign Affairs, and Canada’s new Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, who chose Việt Nam as her first overseas visit as Minister, and announced the US$18 million Strengthening the People’s Credit Fund Network project to help farmers expand their businesses and increase access to rural financing. The Minister also visited Hà Tĩnh province to meet with project partners and beneficiaries of an agricultural development project, and brought forward Global Fund projects related to TB and HIV/AIDS.
As for my own travels in Việt Nam, I have been fortunate to have the occasion to travel to several provinces and to meet with and learn more about the many diverse ethnic groups in Việt Nam, and how the Vietnamese Government is working toward changes that will support them in their interests more effectively. I was also proud to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Training Centre for Advanced Management in HCM City last October, a state-of-the-art facility that offers leadership and management training to Việt Nam’s future educational leaders.
This work, toward the protection and advancement of rights of individuals, such as LGBTI rights and women’s rights, is a key priority for Canada’s foreign policy and we have been happy to support initiatives here in Việt Nam which build capacity toward these. Canada firmly believes that gender equality is essential for sustainable development, social justice, peace and security – all necessary factors for a strong and prosperous society. Through our work and programming, the Embassy of Canada has been proud to support over the past decades local organisations and government in the implementation of projects promoting and supporting these important rights, and I have been inspired by the passionate advocates for these issues in Việt Nam.
The Embassy of Canada is pleased to support, every year, the Hanoi Run for Children which last December, together with the Canada-Vietnam Friendship Association, Hanoi Union of Friendship Association as well as 10,000 fellow residents of Hà Nội, raised over VNĐ1.5 billion to help disadvantaged sick kids in Việt Nam receive treatment for heart disease and cancer.
We have been fortunate to welcome many renowned Canadian artists and musicians to Vietnam through our active public diplomacy program. This year, we were honoured to have the opportunity to showcase the talents of the globally-accomplished Canadian violinist Ms. Véronique Mathieu in the concert ‘Canada and Việt Nam in Harmony’ as well as the highly acclaimed Slam poet David Dufour in the cultural exchange ‘le français, j’adore!’ to kick off the Month of the Francophonie in March.
We are proud of the development of strong relations between Canada and Việt Nam in the past years, and I am sure the coming year will be one of continued growth between the two countries. As Canadians here in Việt Nam, we have much to celebrate as Canadians and Vietnamese continue to work hard together for a better future for both our countries.
Happy Canada Day! Bonne fête du Canada!