HONG KONG—The new Canadian Consular Office in Hong Kong was officially opened on Aug. 6, with an address by the Canadian Foreign Minister, Hon. J. Baird. He thanked everyone for attending, including the Canadian team and friends of Canada, and gave a particular welcome to the religious people present. He emphasised that religious freedom and promoting religious freedom is central to Canadian foreign policy “so that people of different religious faiths can live together in harmony”.
With an expression of his love for Hong Kong, he stated that it is one of his favorite places in the world. Hong Kong “is something that is incredibly special; it’s a great center of free enterprise, a great center for Canada in the Asia Pacific Region and we feel very close to the people of Hong Kong, and I have come to truly enjoy this part of the world”.
He explained that there is a very close relationship between Hong Kong and Canada, with many leading figures in Canada and a number of members of the Canadian Cabinet being people who were born in Hong Kong.
Mr Baird said that trade has increased significantly between Canada and Hong Kong in recent years. “It has become a great hub for trade, investment and commerce between Hong Kong and Canada.
“We have seen significant increases in aircraft, agriculture, equipment and it’s very exciting for us. Obviously, job creation and economic growth are big priorities for Canada, and Canadians really value the friendship and the partnership that we have with so many people here in Hong Kong.”
In conclusion, Mr Baird delivered a message on behalf of the Government of Canada and on behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
“I am very thrilled to be here on this exciting day in this beautiful office, with a great team that will hopefully take our relationship to the next level on an interest front, and just as importantly on the values front – religious freedom, human rights, rule of law; these are all important values for Canada and Canadians to continue to work on with the Government and people of Hong Kong.”