Address by Minister of State Kent at Canada-Brazil Policy Conference: Canada and Brazil in the 21st Century

No. 2010/29 - Ottawa, Ontario - May 10, 2010

Check Against Delivery

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to thank [Brazil’s] Secretary General [of External Relations Antonio] Patriota for his keynote address, which was insightful, provocative and more than a little reassuring.

Your thoughtful overview and analysis was a fitting centrepiece for today’s conference. So, thank you.

As you know, ladies and gentlemen, fostering closer political and economic ties throughout the hemisphere has been a key priority for our government.

For although Canada is a Northern nation, we are first and foremost a country of the Americas, the offspring of the Old World and the New.

In our drive to strengthen relations with our hemispheric neighbours, we are soliciting input from the region’s finest academic, business and diplomatic minds.

At once strategic and responsive, the management of foreign affairs is a delicate balancing act. It is a process of steadily working toward long-term goals, while occasionally recalibrating to accommodate for new realities.

Accurate information and innovative ideas are the lifeblood of this all-important enterprise. So I would like to thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to today’s conference on Canada-Brazil relations.

As a fellow democratic state that has forged a cohesive society out of an ethnically diverse population, Brazil is a natural partner and ally for Canada in the Americas.

Our pasts are parallel, and our futures are intertwined.

But while we share a number of historical and cultural bonds—not to mention ever-converging interests on issues such as trade liberalization and international security—we have yet to realize the full potential of our relationship.

The expertise you shared with us today will help us do exactly that.

In the coming weeks, our government will assemble the information and ideas presented at this forum into a comprehensive document that will inform our approach moving forward.

We have established a solid foundation on which to build the Canada-Brazil relationship, including:

  • a number of successful visits [to Brazil] by senior government officials, including the Canadian ministers of foreign affairs and international trade;
  • the recently ratified framework agreement for cooperation in science, technology and innovation;
  • last month’s government-led business mission to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to explore new opportunities for Canadian companies;
  • new Canadian trade offices in Porto Alegre and Recife;
  • a new partnership to address shared health-care challenges, such as Aboriginal health and health services in remote areas; and
  • our ongoing cooperation in Haiti.

Building on such successes, I have no doubt Canada and Brazil will forge an even stronger and a more prosperous relationship.

But even as I thank you for your contributions, it goes without saying that the sharing of ideas does not stop at this meeting.

Today’s conference has forged some new relationships and strengthened existing ones, and we look forward to a continued exchange of ideas among participants from both inside and outside the Government of Canada.

I look forward to what promises to be a fascinating journey, and I’m delighted to have such good company along the way.

Thank you.