It is an honour to be Canada's 18th resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and to get the opportunity to further a relationship that dates back over 60 years as one of Canada's strongest Asia partnerships. Our countries have much more than history in common of course, beginning with our shared Commonwealth association but also encompassing pluralistic societies and vibrant parliamentary democracies. The Canadian presence in Sri Lanka is represented in many ways: through important cooperation and technical assistance activities under the Canadian International Development Agency and a busy visa programme that supports visits, temporary and permanent migration and exchanges in multiple sectors. With the end of active conflict in Sri Lanka, I fully expect to see significant growth in our trade relationship as well. In the coming months, we will be looking at various initiatives aimed at broadening and deepening our ties, including capitalizing on the talents and contacts of the many Sri Lankans who have studied in Canada and the members of the Sri Lankan diaspora in Canada, which is the largest in the world.
Throughout Canada's history, a strong commitment to peace and good governance and the value of diversity has brought us security and prosperity. These principles of justice and tolerance have been key in the creation of our multicultural society. At the international level, as a middle power, Canada has long been a champion of multilateralism. We are active participants in the United Nations General Assembly and have frequently won terms on the Security Council. Beyond the UN and the Commonwealth, Canada is also a leading member of the G-8, the G-20, the Francophonie, the OECD, the Organization of American States and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. We are long-standing members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and with Mexico and the US, we have formed the North America Free Trade Area, the world’s largest trading bloc. At the same time, as a nation that depends heavily on exports for employment and prosperity, we are strong proponents of efforts in the World Trade Organization and elsewhere to open markets.
We believe that the values reflected in our various international memberships and treaties make us a stronger partner for others. Sri Lanka and Canada may be on opposite sides of the world but there is no reason why our shared values should not bring us together. The dedicated women and men, Sri Lankan and Canadian, who make up the High Commission staff, are ready to do their part, as am I. I welcome you to this website and hope that you will find it a source of useful and interesting information about Canadian government policies and procedures, and a mode for forging stronger dialogue between our countries.
Please stay in touch!