Remarks by Minister Dion at a joint press conference with Vietnam's deputy prime minister
September 5, 2016 - Hanoi, Vietnam
Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.
Good morning, Sin Chaow!
It was an honour and a pleasure to meet Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister [Phạm Bình] Minh.
On behalf of Prime Minister Trudeau, I want to say how much the Government of Canada wants to strengthen the friendship between Canada and Vietnam. We share so many ties, including as members of la Francophonie.
Our government wants Canada to succeed in building an effective and meaningful relationship with ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], and at the core of this success must be Vietnam, a country with 90 million people, a rapidly expanding economy, a country with which we share common challenges—which I discussed with Deputy Prime Minister Minh—including the need for inclusive and sustainable growth, growing the middle class, peace and security in the region and around the world, and tackling climate change.
Our aim is to considerably strengthen our existing relationship. For example, although Vietnam is the largest source of students in Canada from Southeast Asia, these 5,000 Vietnamese students are only the beginning. We will work to bring more Vietnamese students to Canada and to send more young Canadians to Vietnam. It is certainly what Canada’s 220,000 Vietnamese-Canadians are asking us to do. Canada is so fortunate to have a strong Vietnamese community, which gives us the impetus to further deepen our ties. As the MP from Saint-Laurent, I myself have the privilege of having a Vietnamese-Canadian community in my riding and feel a responsibility to help rapprochement between our two countries.
This is why I am very pleased to announce today an investment of $15 million to support Vietnamese SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] in finding new innovative technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or to adapt to climate change. The Deputy Prime Minister and I are pleased to encourage both our governments to multiply this kind of cooperation. It is an example of what we can do for the economy, for the environment, for water management; there are so many issues where we may work together for the sake of our nations’ citizens.
We will also need to cooperate on good governance, the rule of law and human rights. Canada was very pleased to see the recent improvements here in Vietnam with respect to the rights of LGBTQI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex] people. Canadians hope this is a sign of a greater momentum to advance human rights for the benefit of all Vietnamese people. Let’s hope our two countries can continue to work cooperatively toward this objective.
Yes, Vietnam is an important and strategic partner for Canada and a priority market for trade and investment. But what I felt yesterday at the Temple of Literature [in Hanoi] went far beyond that. When I saw the hope in the eyes of your children, who are linked throughout the ages by the wise teachings of Chu Văn An, the great teacher of Vietnam, I felt how much Canadians have to learn from such a proud people with their rich history and culture. This is why, Deputy Prime Minister, I will work with Prime Minister Trudeau and my government colleagues to be sure that our fruitful meeting will have a meaningful follow-up.
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