Official speeches and statements - June 8, 2018
2. Canada - France-Canada statement (Ottawa - June 7, 2018)
Thank you very much, Prime Minister, cher Justin, thank you for the welcome we were given yesterday, our extremely fruitful and friendly discussions, right here and also in a more private capacity yesterday, and thank you for continuing to work together in the run-up to this G7 summit, which will be keeping us occupied into the weekend.
I’m accompanied by several ministers, parliamentarians and senior figures in government and the economic, academic and cultural worlds, and this shows the depth of the relationship a few weeks after the Prime Minister visited Paris, where he had the opportunity, among other things, to address the National Assembly on our bilateral relations and our common view of the world. And it’s a sign of everything we, France and Canada, have to say to each other and build together.
My first reason for coming to Canada is the G7 summit and the desire the Canadian Prime Minister and I have to meet and coordinate our positions before the meeting. Next year France will be taking over the G7 presidency /from Canada, in a period of great challenges, and I’d also like us to conduct our successive presidencies in a spirit of shared ambition and constructive continuity. In this framework it’s clear we’ll have to champion a strong collective framework, a strong multilateralism which we both very much want to see, whether it be on international security, trade, combating climate disruption, combating all forms of harassment or gender equality; these are battles the Canadian presidency has decided to take on, and France stands alongside it in conducting resolute action.
This G7 summit is important because our world is experiencing challenges on each of these issues which might have seemed unthinkable only a few years ago. Prime Minister Trudeau and I reviewed the major international crises and noted our similar views about the action to take in the major international forums where we work: the G7, the G20 in a few months’ time, NATO and the UN. We must continue along this path, encouraging exchanges of views at every level, whether it be about foreign policy, the fight against terrorism, defense cooperation or economic cooperation.
Our political dialogue is is in full swing, as the Prime Minister said earlier and as three recent events have demonstrated. A few months ago, Canada took the decision to engage in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, by sending helicopters and associated military personnel. That’s a strong and very positive commitment to our cooperation in the Sahel, which will strengthen our exchanges and our experience, because France is particularly engaged in the region, especially through Operation Barkhane. And I want to thank you, Prime Minister, for this commitment, which required a lot of political courage and whose full scale we appreciate. These defense partnerships will give rise to closeness and to even greater solidarity, to which we’re committed, between our armed forces, our strategic capabilities and our industries.
The second important point [is that], during the Canadian Prime Minister’s visit to Paris, we signed a bilateral partnership on the environment and the climate. This ambitious text provides for joint actions in the international bodies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transport, the organization of a Euro-Canadian seminar on carbon pricing, the coordination of our development policies in terms of the environment, and support for green finance and promoting sustainable development issues in trade policies at the WTO and OECD.
Finally, over these two days we’ve signed - as you’ve just recalled, Prime Minister - an action plan on coordinating our efforts in terms of development assistance, which will allow us greater coherence in our interventions and a larger number of active partnerships, and in particular more effective work, especially to encourage girls’ education, which is one of the issues I’ve been pushing for for several months, in particular in France’s involvement in the Global Partnership for Education, which you also wanted to be at the heart of your G7 presidency.
In the innovation sector, we have a long tradition of cooperation, from medical research to video games and new information technologies, and I’m especially delighted that, as we announced, we - all those involved - were able to agree so quickly on a major initiative that France and Canada intend to launch on artificial intelligence.
I think I can say we have two very strong [respective] ecosystems when it comes to artificial intelligence: ecosystems of researchers, entrepreneurs and financiers. And we have shared views and interests, a desire to speed up the innovation and creativity of AI-related change, but the same concern for the common good, for ethics, for protecting privacy and therefore for an artificial intelligence that develops while protecting everyone’s interests and our fundamental values. In this framework we wanted, through this declaration, to launch work to establish an independent, very high-level group comparable in fact to the IPCC, which has become the global benchmark in terms of the fight against global warming, and this will enable us to organize the debate and give a framework to technological and scientific changes in a credible and effective way, but above all while being sensitive to the democratic trust this progress requires.
This brings me to our economic relations, which are thriving. France’s annual trade with Canada amounts to €10 billion in goods and services, and all our major companies are established here. For their part, Canadian companies have put their faith in France, with 250 subsidiaries set up in our country which employ more than 28,000 people. In this respect, the trade agreement is an element in the progression which we’ve got to think out and support together, and it’s going to allow us to further develop this trade, which has already gone up 6% since last September. Parliamentarians and the government have made huge efforts over the past year to provide reassurance and remove doubts which existed in France at one point about what in plain French is called the CETA. On this I must say that the work done in partnership between our teams has been exemplary, that your commitment and what you said at the National Assembly a few weeks ago, cher Justin, are extremely clear and have allowed a great deal of progress to be made on this too, and that we’ve set up a monitoring system, which is also very scientific, objective, issuing important reports at the end of the summer, which, I think, is likely to remove all existing doubts. (...)
France and Canada are also going to make a further commitment to innovative entrepreneurship and research by developing structured cooperation within the France-Canada Research Fund, and this cooperation will focus on the crucial issues of our future: artificial and digital intelligence, bioscience and health, oceans and agrotechnology. And this will go hand in hand with the development of student mobility and scientific cooperation between our two countries.
Obviously I don’t want to forget the arts, a field in which our countries have forged so many ties across generations, and I’d like discussions to continue even more actively on cinema, song, heritage, performing arts, fashion and design. (...)
All these subjects demonstrate the vitality and depth of our bilateral ties and the determination, the joint commitment to global battles which we have today.
The nature of our relations has changed, they have deepened to a remarkable degree, and this is why we’ve decided to launch, as the Prime Minister has just said, a Franco-Canadian Council of Ministers, which, every two years, will energize and validate very thorough cooperation work between our two countries. (...)
France and Canada maintain a solid relationship founded on common values, which are liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the primacy of the rule of law. This relationship is based on strong ties between our peoples and cultures, the shared French language, and our ever closer and developed cooperation on economic, social and societal issues and in areas of defense, peace and security.
In a complex geopolitical context, marked by issues crucial to the future of the globe and international order, France and Canada are determined to work together to address them. Consequently, France and Canada have reaffirmed their commitment to building a safer, more peaceful world, to supporting an international order based on fair rules, and to promoting a transition to a low-carbon economy so that everyone may reap the benefits of environmentally sustainable growth.
To this end, France and Canada are committed to:
- Supporting strong, responsible and transparent multilateralism to face global challenges. Both countries have reiterated their full support for the United Nations and the Secretary-General of the United Nations in his efforts to make it stronger: France and Canada will support these efforts. Similarly, France and Canada will continue their dialogue, confirmed by the France-Canada Peacekeeping Roadmap adopted in October 2016.
- Working together to fight climate change. France and Canada will continue their joint work to guarantee an effective and operational implementation of the Paris Agreement, by uniting all stakeholders (civil society, governments and corporations).
- Promoting democratic values. With a strong shared attachment to these values, France and Canada have decided to promote and defend democracy both nationally and multilaterally. France and Canada support the organization of the Paris Peace Forum, which will be held in Paris in November 2018, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
- Promoting a free, open and rules-based trading system. By strengthening their economic and commercial ties through the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, France and Canada are also committed to promoting a vision of a global trade system based on an approach that is respectful of health and the environment, particularly under the World Trade Organization.
- Making gender equality a reality in all fields. Beyond their policies firmly committed to gender equality, France and Canada have undertaken to cooperate, as in the work under way in the Elsie Initiative, launched by Canada, to increase the meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping operations. In the continuation of their G7 presidencies (held by Canada this year and France in 2019), both countries have decided to maintain a special focus on gender equality. Finally, France and Canada will bilaterally organize a seminar for Canadian and French senior public officials dedicated to gender equality in public governance.
It is in this context of strengthened cooperation that visits have been made by the Prime Minister of Canada to France, in April 2018, and the President of the French Republic to Canada, in June 2018. These two visits made it possible to conclude:
- A Canada-France Climate and Environment Partnership;
- A Joint Declaration on Cultural Diversity and the Digital Space;
- A Canada-France Action Plan on International Assistance and Sustainable Development; and
- A Canada-France Statement on Artificial Intelligence.
In the area of defense, France and Canada have decided to hold a Franco-Canadian Defense Cooperation Council meeting, at ministerial level, by the end of 2018.
With a wish to expand bilateral ties and maintain this focus at the highest political level, France and Canada are committed to setting up a Franco-Canadian Council of Ministers, around the President of the French Republic and the Prime Minister of Canada. The Council of Ministers will meet every two years to report on this strengthened cooperation and to develop joint action.