Mission économique - Luncheon, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario

  • 07/11/2006
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(Texte uniquement disponible en anglais)

Your Honour,
Dear Lieutenant-Governor,

Your very warm welcome touches me deeply. We know that Belgium is very close to your heart, and we know that one Belgian in particular, your wife, has a very special place in your life. You also know our country very well as you were posted in Brussels three times, at NATO twice and to the EU just before taking up your present high office. But there is much more that brings us together. Ontario welcomed thousands of Belgian immigrants and still has key Belgian communities on its soil. Last time I was in Ontario I visited Delhi to meet them. In economic and commercial terms, Ontario is also a key partner for Belgium since it accounts for 40% of our bilateral trade with your country.

But I think there is an even more important bond between you and us : and here I am talking about your views on what it takes to build a society. Let me quote back to you what you said during your inauguration speech in 2002 : ?People coming to Canada to make it their home, learn to leave their ethnic, religious and ancient feuds behind them. And long before globalization became a dominant issue in world affairs, Canada, with Ontario in the lead, began the successful process of building a society based upon economic freedom, social justice, civil discourse and multiculturalism.?

Ces mots pleins de sagesse, Monsieur le Lieutenant Gouverneur, ne s?appliquent pas qu?au Canada. En Belgique et dans l?Europe toute entière, les mêmes défis se présentent à nous. Et les solutions que le Canada a trouvées pour y répondre peuvent et doivent nous inspirer. La Belgique est, elle aussi, une société multiculturelle où la justice sociale, une attitude ouverte, une tolérance active et la libre création de prospérité sont des éléments essentiels pour assurer l?avenir de notre modèle de société et le bonheur de nos enfants.

Ik ben ook bijzonder getroffen door uw initiatieven voor een betere opvoeding en vorming van jonge autochtonen, en door uw niet aflatende strijd tegen racisme. Als eerste Luitenant-Gouverneur van autochtone afkomst is U uitzonderlijk goed geplaatst om de aandacht te vestigen op deze delicate problemen.

Dear Lieutenant-Governor,
Our respect for your actions and our gratitude for your welcome are the same in all languages. Let me therefore thank you once again for your exceptional hospitality, and raise my glass to you, to your wife, to the Province of Ontario, and to the friendship and partnership between Ontario and Belgium.