Montreal, QC
November 23, 2015

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Thank you for asking me to join you today.

Mr. Aliu, ICAO Council President, Dr. Liu, Secretary General, distinguished guests, colleagues. First of all, I wish to welcome you to Canada and to Montreal, metropolis of international civil aviation and host of ICAO since 1947.

Canada is proud of this long and successful collaboration with this organization and its Contracting States. There is no doubt that, in the near seven decades since the International Civil Aviation Organization was founded, its initiatives have benefitted air transportation around the globe.

As Canada’s new Minister of Transport, I am proud to welcome you. As you may know, I have been Minister for less than a month. However, as the former President of the Canadian Space Agency, which is located just outside of Montreal, I am well acquainted with ICAO and its many achievements. As a Member of Parliament in this region, I am also familiar with this organization’s strong roots in the Montreal area.

I’m pleased to see that this relationship continues today and I know that Canada is honoured to be the host country for this event.

I want to congratulate ICAO for holding its first World Aviation Forum in Montreal. I also wish to congratulate both Dr. Aliu and Dr. Liu for their initiative in making it happen. And I wish to applaud ICAO as a whole for its “No Country Left Behind” initiative. Through it, this organization is working to encourage nations around the world to implement global standards and recommended practices in aviation.

The Government of Canada supports such efforts to increase safety, strengthen security and build the capacity of aviation systems around the world.

On a personal note, you may know that I was fortunate to be the first Canadian astronaut to travel into space. Seeing our planet from that vantage point has left me with a deep commitment to protecting it, in particular by addressing climate change, so I applaud ICAO’s commitment to increase the sustainability of international air transportation and reduce its impact on our environment. In particular, the work being done in this organization to develop standards for reducing carbon and particulate matter emissions is critical, as is the work to develop a global market-based measure for international civil aviation. I look forward to the agreement on these essential measures in 2016.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud of our contribution to the development of a safe, prosperous and environmentally responsible air sector, and of our partnership with various states. We are committed to work closely in order to achieve collectively ICAO’s strategic goals.

Thank you for being here today. I wish you all a great stay in Montreal and a productive forum.

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