Canada Day yesterday (the 155th anniversary of the British North America Act giving birth to the Canadian confederation) was celebrated early here last Tuesday with a reception in Teatro San Martín – perhaps to split the difference between Canada Day and La Fete de Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Québec’s biggest festival, on June 24. But the tone given by the new Canadian Ambassador Reid Sirrs to the reception went beyond bilingual to multicultural with a special tribute to the original indigenous population and a highly topical reference to the huge Ukrainian component in Canada’s ethnic mosaic (almost 1.5 million people).
Sirrs highlighted the bilateral relations and common values between the two countries in keeping with the event’s title: “Over 80 years of friendship” (it should be borne in mind that Canada did not gain full control of its foreign affairs until the Statute of Westminster in 1931). The common ground ranged from defence of human rights and gender equality to both countries participating in the Qatar World Cup at the end of the year. President Alberto Fernández and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently renewed their acquaintance at the G7 summit in Bavaria.
Sirrs took pride in Canada being the 10th biggest foreign investor in Argentina overall and the leading investor in the mining sector – both countries are “diversified economies rich in natural resources.” But he did not neglect cultural ties.
Ottawa’s envoy also slipped in his personal attachment to the country, hundreds of kilometres of which he had already walked, cycled or kayaked apart from other means of transport.
The tribute to Canada’s indigenous was mirrored locally by a Jujuy Coya artist singing and playing the national anthem with Jujuy Province Governor Gerardo Morales among the many guests of a reception regaled with wines from Niagara Falls and British Colombia.