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November 21, 2011

MFA Press Statement: State Visit to Singapore by the Governor General of Canada David Johnston 19 - 22 November 2011

The Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, called on President Tony Tan Keng Yam after receiving a Ceremonial Welcome at the Istana on 21 November 2011, and was hosted by President Tan to a State Banquet in his honour later that evening. During their discussions, both leaders affirmed the warm and friendly ties between Singapore and Canada, and discussed areas where both countries could further strengthen cooperation, including education as well as research and innovation. The toast speech delivered by President Tan during the State Banquet is attached.


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also called on Governor General Johnston on 21 November 2011. During their meeting, both leaders exchanged views on international and regional developments, and discussed ways to deepen trade and investment links between both countries.

During his State Visit, Governor General Johnston delivered a keynote address at the National University of Singapore titled "Diplomacy of Knowledge: Education and Globalisation in the 21st Century". He also participated in roundtable discussions with various experts on innovation, and on community engagement.


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21 NOVEMBER 2011



Your Excellency Governor General David Johnston
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

I warmly welcome Your Excellency and the members of your delegation to Singapore. It is our honour to receive this first State Visit to Singapore from Canada.

Canada was one of the first countries with which Singapore established ties following our independence in 1965. This year marks the 46th year of diplomatic relations between our two countries. Although the world has changed greatly since then, the warm friendship between our two countries has endured and strengthened. Singapore and Canada cooperate across a range of issues, including education, defence, public health, science and technology.

We have sound economic relations. In 2009, Canada's total investments in Singapore amounted to $3.14 billion. There are over 100 Canadian companies with a business presence in Singapore and over 40 Singaporean companies with a similar presence in Canada. Our air forces train frequently in Exercise Maple Flag, a multilateral air combat exercise at Cold Lake, Alberta. The Singapore-Canada Third-Country Training Programme, launched in 1998, has to date also trained close to 1,400 individuals, from 15 Asian countries, in areas such as English language, finance, food safety, governance and trade negotiation.

The focus of your visit, "The Development of the Knowledge Economy", is very apt to describe the growing educational ties between our two countries. Our universities have signed Memorandums of Understanding with more than 20 Canadian tertiary institutions to formalise collaboration in areas such as staff and student exchanges, seminars and conferences, and research collaborations. Indeed, Your Excellency, who was then President of the University of Waterloo, personally participated in the signing of one such MOU between the National University of Singapore and the University of Waterloo in 2006. I understand from the Ministry of Education that these ties are set to increase with upcoming new collaboration between Singapore and the Canadian states of Ontario and Alberta, which are world renowned for their top performing education systems.

Singapore welcomes Canada's reinvigorated efforts to engage Asia and ASEAN. Your Excellency's decision to visit our region on your first State Visit as Governor-General sends a positive signal of Canada's interest and commitment to strengthen its ties with Southeast Asia. Indeed Canada was one of ASEAN's first Dialogue Partners, formalising its status in 1977. I was delighted to learn that Singapore will be the country coordinator for ASEAN-Canada relations in 2012, coinciding with the 35th anniversary celebrations of friendship and cooperation between ASEAN and Canada. Numerous cultural, academic and commercial events are in the pipeline to mark this important milestone.

Beyond our good bilateral ties and close relationship through ASEAN, Singapore and Canada have also worked closely together at various regional and international fora. We are both members of APEC, striving to forge ever closer economic and trade links in the Asia-Pacific region. In this regard we welcome Prime Minister Stephen Harper's formal declaration of interest, at the recent APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Honolulu, for Canada to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Trans-Pacific Partnership will anchor Canada's economic engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. The participation of Canada, Japan and Mexico in the TPP will also bring us closer to realising our goal of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. I am confident that your visit to our region will bind Canada and Southeast Asia together and further our shared objectives.

Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

May I invite you to rise and join me in a toast to:

• The good health and success of the Queen, and her representative in Canada His Excellency Governor-General David Johnston;

• The continued peace, progress and prosperity of the Canadian people; and

• The lasting friendship between Singapore and Canada.

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21 NOVEMBER 2011