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Canada Day 2017 Reception - Speech by the Consul General of Canada, Jeff Nankivell

Mr. C Y Leung, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region;

Mr. Song Ru’An, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China;



Bienvenue! J'ai l'honneur d'être ici ce soir, lors de cette occasion très spéciale pour le Canada et Hong Kong.

As this is my first Canada Day reception as Consul General, allow me to begin by thanking everyone who has made Alison and me feel so very welcome, and guided us in our new life in this sometimes bewildering place. For this we are deeply grateful:

  • to our unfailingly helpful, cheerful, patient, team at the Consulate General,
  • to diplomatic colleagues from many countries,
  • to our incomparable partners in the Hong Kong SAR government,
  • to the Canadian Chamber which is our key partner in so much of what we do,
  • and to the many community organisations, Canadian and other, that make Hong Kong such a vibrant place, thank you!    

2017 is a year with much to celebrate! It is Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation, and also the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Cet année, nous prendrons l’occasion de ces anniversaires à fin d’introduire le Canada de deux milles dix-sept.

What have we learned in 150 years?  In our 150th year, Canada has found for itself a distinctive voice in the world: one that is optimistic about the future; that embraces the opportunities of globalisation, rather than fearing its challenges.

  • It is grounded in a spirit of openness, of curiosity, and of adventure.
  • I hope you can sense it in the images around the room tonight, and in the role that Canada and Canadians are playing in the world in 2017.

In this anniversary year we have been re-introducing ourselves to the world. In Hong Kong & Macao, many of you have heard us talking – more than once – about three qualities of Canada: innovative, competitive and welcoming. Le Canada est innovateur, competitif et acceuillant.

Innovative  – with world-leading technology clusters in areas like artificial intelligence, fintech and cleantech;

competitive –

  • We have the lowest business taxes in the G7,
  • We are a country that is actively pursuing freer trade and investment, concluding a ground-breaking comprehensive economic agreement with the European Union, freer trade and investment with trans-pacific partners, and enhanced trade and investment relations with China. 

welcoming – of visitors, students and immigrants.


  • We have new measures to make it easier for companies setting up in Canada to attract the best talent from around the world.
  • Canadians are welcoming more refugees and doing our best to make real the values of inclusion, equality, and dignity for all. 

Now let’s talk about Canada and Hong Kong. I am just back from two weeks of talking about Hong Kong with Canadians from coast to coast. I can report the following:

  • Canadian companies are eager to find partners in Hong Kong, to expand their businesses into Asia;
  • Canadian cities and provinces are preparing ambitious investment projects in the world’s most welcoming, stable environment for foreign investors;
  • More than most people in the world, Canadians have a special place in their hearts, and minds, for Hong Kong. We have strong people-to-people ties – with over 300,000 Canadians living here, and a greater number of people of Hong Kong origin in Canada. We share the same legal and institutional traditions. So Canadians, more than most people, recognize and appreciate Hong Kong’s unique qualities and its unique place in the world.
  • In my conversations with a wide range of Canadians, I was struck by their understanding that Hong Kong is not just another city on this coastline, but a unique place in Asia, for its business environment, its culture, its food (!), and the integrity of its institutions under the rule of law. Canadians are supportive of the “one country two systems” framework. As the people of Hong Kong move beyond the twentieth year in its new journey, Canadians are with them and are following developments with great interest.

I am confident that these connections will continue to flourish in the years ahead.

Let’s circle back to the reason we’re here tonight – to celebrate our 150th anniversary.

What you may not know is that June 21st also marks National Aboriginal day in Canada. One of our Canada 150 themes is reconciliation with indigenous peoples. As Canadians, while we have much to celebrate in our history, we know we have also much work to do to make up for historic injustices; this is a journey with a long road ahead.


Tonight we are honoured by the presence in our midst of a genuine totem pole. It has been loaned by Wah Yan College Kowloon choir, who received it for placing first in a global choral competition in Powell River,  BC. It was carved by Greg Galligos of the Tla’amin Nation and was blessed by Tla’amin elder Betty Wilson in a solemn ceremony at the College this April. We thank the College for sharing it with us tonight.

And now I will take a few moments to thank our generous CANADA 150 Sponsors, whose support has made possible all you see around you.

They are:

CK Hutchison Group;

Royal Bank of Canada;

Scotiabank; and

Sun Life Financial

  • Also our three Gold Maple Sponsors:

Bank of Montreal;

Delia School of Canada; and

Sun Wah Group.

And, our 15 Red Maple Sponsors listed on the screen behind me.

A big thank you to our partners who are providing the Canadian culinary delights tonight:

  • BC Fine Foods for the fresh Canadian seafood;
  • Canada Beef International for the exceptional Canadian beef;
  • Global Fruits for the healthy Canadian ambrosia apples;
  • LF Asia for the delicous Canadian chocolates; and
  • Maple Q by My Cup of Tea for the nutritious Canadian maple syrup.

And give it up for mixologist Nat Trai-Prom’s signature “Canada 150” cocktail.

These are a few among a growing list of Canadian products on the market –which you can sample until July 9 at the Taste of Canada promotion in Lan Kwai Fong. Remember this: 加拿大飲品、食品 – 好飲、好食、好正!

I will also recognise Ms. Bernice Liu, the pride of Prince Rupert, BC, who flew in from Singapore to be with us – she is an outstanding Canada 150 ambassador in Hong Kong.

Mr Chief Executive, I’ll take this opportunity to thank you, your Cabinet colleagues, and our partners throughout the Hong Kong SAR Government, for the tremendous cooperation we enjoy in advancing the prosperity and well-being of Canada and Hong Kong.

May I invite you on to the stage to join me for a toast:

To the people of the People's Republic of China


The Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions.

Santé. Cheers! 乾杯!

It gives me great pleasure to invite the Chief Executive to deliver his remarks.


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