Three years ago today I presented my credentials to the Governor General of Canada to become the 22nd United States Ambassador to Canada. The last three years have proven what I have said so many times: I have the best job in the United States Government.
Since I arrived I have traveled far and wide in Canada. I have literally dipped my toes into three oceans. I have seen cities and towns. Farms and prairies. Lakes and mountains.
I have had the privilege of meeting with so many of the Canadian people from every walk of life. Government officials and business leaders. Generals and head of NGO’s. Shop keepers and small business owners. Factory workers and farmers.
I’ve had Christmas dinner with soldiers in Afghanistan. Walked with wounded warriors. I have learned to cross country ski and curl. I have rooted for your sports teams – unless they are playing ours. I have eaten your food and drunk your wine. I’ve come to love Tim Bits.
While I always hesitate to say I have been everywhere and have met everyone, I can say that I have covered a lot of ground and met a lot of people. I do it to try to better understand Canada and the Canadian people. Because understanding your country and your people is – in my view – the most important thing I can do to make the most of my opportunity as United States Ambassador.
We have achieved much over the last three years:
- Building on what was already the largest trading relationship in the history of the world.
- Expanding the largest energy trading relationship while taking steps to preserve our planet.
- Creating a border where we do not have to choose between efficiency and security.
- Taking steps to harmonize our regulatory structures to enhance trade and competiveness.
- Working around the world to foster the values of freedom and individual rights that we share and cherish.
Those are just the highlights. There’s much more. And yet, we still have much to do. The good part of this job – and perhaps the bad – is that we will never be done. There are always problems to solve. There are always opportunities to seize.
So I look forward to continuing to travel this beautiful country. To continuing to work to improve what is already perhaps the strongest relationship in the world. To continuing to try to improve the lives of the American and the Canadian people.
In the meantime, on behalf of myself and my family, I want to thank you for welcoming us into your country and doing so with such warmth and grace.