On June 22, the opening ceremony of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Montreal was held in the Palais des congrès de Montréal. Addressing at the ceremony were Mr. Song Tao, Deputy Foreign Minister of China, Mr. Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Mr. Peter McGovern, Assistant Deputy Minister of International Trade of Canada, His Excellency Zhang Junsai, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Canada, Honorable Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec and His Worship Gérald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal. Also present at the event were over 400 representatives from the Canadian federal, provincial and municipal government, business communities, cultural organizations, overseas Chinese communities and Chinese students in Canada. The ceremony was hosted by Mme Zhao Jiangping, China's first Consul General to Montreal.
Mr. Song warmly congratulated on the opening of the Consul General in Montreal on behalf of the Chinese Government and spoke positively of the developments in China-Canada relationship.
Mr. Song said that the two countries have enjoyed all-dimensional, wide-ranging and multi-tiered relations since President Hu Jintao's visit to Canada in 2010. As two countries of major influence in the Asia Pacific, China and Canada have much to offer each other economically, the development of one country brings important opportunities to the other, and that closer exchanges and cooperation serve the fundamental interests of the two peoples.
Mr. Song also said that the establishment of the Chinese consulate general in Montreal is no doubt a vivid expression of the Chinese Government's attention to and expectation on China's relations with Quebec and New Brunswick and hoped that the Consulate General will serve as a new bridge for better understanding, friendship and cooperation between the Chinese and Canadian people.
Ambassador Zhang expressed his sincere appreciation for Canada's federal government, government and people of Quebec and Montreal and local Chinese communities for their generous support for the opening of the Consulate General.
Ambassador Zhang noted that Montreal is in many ways connected to China. The city is an important platform where Chinese and Canadian companies can exchange and cooperate. Montreal is home to around 120 thousand overseas Chinese and more than five thousand Chinese students are studying in universities such as McGill and Concordia.
Ambassador Zhang believed that the Consulate General in Montreal will work with China's consulate generals in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto to promote China-Canada relations; facilitate exchange and partnerships between Chinese and Canadian companies; safeguard Chinese citizens' rights and interests; and provide more convenience to overseas Chinese living in Canada.
In their remarks, Mr. Obhrai, Premier Charest and Mayor Tremblay offered their warmest congratulations on the inauguration of the Consulate General in Montreal on behalf of the federal and local government, saying that the event is a milestone in China-Canada bilateral ties and will facilitate the two sides' cooperation and mutual visits in commerce, trade, culture and education and advance the two sides' relationship into a new stage.
The remarks were followed by an unveiling ceremony for the Consulate General and commemorative envelopes issued by the China National Philatelic Corporation.
Based on the agreement reached by China and Canada in March 2010, the consular regions of the Chinese Consulate General in Montreal will cover Quebec and New Brunswick.
Prior to the opening ceremony, Ambassador Zhang joined Deputy Minister Song in meeting with Premier Charest.