Dearest friends, distinguished guests, I am honoured to be here today, with so many inspiring women and alongside so many of you who understand the importance of investing in women and of doing everything we must do to advance our rights.
We are all here tonight because we recognise the importance of the transatlantic relationship. Representing as I do the slightly smaller of your two partners from the other side of the Atlantic, let me acknowledge the outsized role the United States has played in creating and leading our transatlantic alliance. We all owe a great deal to our American friends, and speaking for Canada, let me say tonight, how grateful we are to our southern neighbour.
As you know, Canada has a special relationship with the people of the Caribbean region. It is based on our extensive people-to-people ties, our robust commercial relationship, our ongoing development cooperation and our shared constituency at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
As part of its broad commitment to peace and security, Canada is more dedicated to supporting peace operations than ever. Our goal is to think about how to innovate in the context of deployments and ensure that the missions truly bring about the peace these operations promised to these vulnerable communities.
Canada shares the global sense of outrage aroused by the findings of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar: the evidence of gross human rights violations and abuses committed in [Myanmar’s] Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states that would, if confirmed and proven, amount to grave crimes under international law.
I would like to welcome everyone to the city of Montréal for this meeting of women foreign ministers. I would like to begin by recognizing that we are on the traditional territory of the Kanien’keha:ka Nation and I would like to thank Elder Annie Konwaronhia:wi Deer, who we just heard, for welcoming us so beautifully and poetically here today. She said to me as we were getting ready to come in that a meeting of women leaders together must be very powerful. She was very keen to get us started and I think she did a wonderful job.
I would like to start by pointing out that we are on the ancestral territory of the Mohawk nations. I would also like to take a moment to note that, while we have talked about different situations around the world, we have also recognized and discussed our relationship with Indigenous communities in Canada, and particularly with Indigenous women. We acknowledged the milestone achieved yesterday in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as well as on criminal justice mechanisms.