O Canada!

Friday, July 13, 2018

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Canadian High Commissioner Laurie J Peters invited members of the diplomatic corps, local executives and high-ranking officials, expatriates and colleagues to join her at her residence to celebrate Canada's 151st birthday on Monday, July 9.

This was the high commissioner's first Canada Day in Jamaica, as noted in her welcome address, and she acknowledged the invaluable support of sponsors and her “fantastic high commission team who made the event happen”. She spoke about Canada partnering with other nations to “build a more peaceful, secure and inclusive world” that including being the first G-20 country to introduce a gender chapter in the trade agreement with Chile in 2017; assisting Dominica by airlifting the JDF there to undertake recovery work on the Windward island; and Jamaica being the largest recipient of Canada's development funding in the English-speaking Caribbean.

In her address, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith noted: “Our relations are firmly rooted in strong bonds of friendship, culture and trade that predates our independence in 1962.” She continued, “Over these last 56 years since we started diplomatic relations Canada has consistently shown itself to be a true friend and partner of Jamaica.”

Guests were treated to a wide array of Canadian-inspired foods including maple-glazed bacon, shrimp marinated in Canadian whiskey and cookies in the shape of the maple leaf.

The music was also very fitting for the event. Besides the playlist that included songs from Canadian stars Joni Mitchell, Céline Dion and Michael Bublé, guests had an opportunity to experience the talent of the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica.

One of the evening's highlights was a goodwill gesture orchestrated by High Commissioner Peters with Mexican Ambassador Juan Jose Gonzalez Mijares and the chargé d' affaires to the United States Embassy, Kingston Eric Khant . “With World Cup fever, you may have missed the announcement about 2026 that will be co-hosted by the three amigos — Mexico, United States and Canada. I would like to invite my two amigos to join in a photo op to show that sports can trump all geopolitical and NAFTA uncertainties,” Peters said. Brilliant!

It has been 151 years since Canada's Confederation. And “at the heart of its character is a trait that welcomes the diversity of others' languages, cultures, and experiences”.

The evening was both a celebration of Canada's birthday and its strong diplomatic ties across the Caribbean and the world. Here are some highlights.


— Vaughn Gray

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