President of Germany comes to Vancouver!

Steinmeier-Büdenbender Photo
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Vancouver, April 24, 2023 – The Honourable Federal President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, came to Canada from April 23 to 26, 2023. He was joined by Mrs. Elke Büdenbender, his wife, as well as Bettina Stark-Watzinger, the Federal Minister of Education and Research. During their visit, the President and Mrs. Büdenbender will visited Ottawa, ON on April 23 and 24th, will travel to Vancouver, BC on April 25th, and Yellowknife and Tuktoyaktuk, NWT on April 26th. The President will be joined by ministers, Members of Parliament and business leaders from the German Chamber of Commerce.

Westcoast German News could not attend this event, as we are not an accredited news outlet by the standards of Berlin. The German Canadian Business Association was also not invited to join in this event, even though it specifically mentions “Discussion with representatives of the German and Canadian business community.” So far, I have also not seen any mention of CETA, which is the “the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, a free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Canada. I am curious to hear what happens tomorrow.

The Prime Minister and the President will meet to further advance joint efforts to build the resilience of German and Canadian democracies, economies, and environment. With his trip to Ottawa, Vancouver and the Arctic, the Federal President is paying tribute to the close partnership between Canada and Germany, as well as the cooperation between two liberal democracies, which are tackling the challenges of our time together: from security policy and resilience to the energy transition and climate change.

The Federal President is accompanied by Bettina Stark-Watzinger, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, and a delegation composed of members of Parliament, as well as representatives of the business, academic and cultural communities. This is the Federal President’s first visit to Canada in his political career.

They plan to work together on common issues like climate change and clean energy resources, including secure access to clean hydrogen and critical minerals and strong policies like pollution pricing. The leaders will also highlight our strong trade ties, which are growing our economies and creating good, middle-class jobs in both countries, as well as the close ties between our peoples.

This visit will build on the progress made during last year’s visit from Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, to strengthen the close relationship between Canada and Germany in areas including advancing clean energy. At this critical time, when the world and our people are facing a series of challenges, ranging from a high cost of living to energy and food insecurity, our two countries remain united by our shared values. As like-minded friends and allies, they need to keep working closely together – now and into the future.

Germany has set an economy-wide emissions reduction target of at least 65% by 2030 and at least 88% by 2040, compared to 1990 levels. The country aims to reach climate neutrality by 2045 (five years earlier than the EU target) and achieve negative greenhouse gas emissions after 2050. The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act , which became law on June 29, 2021, enshrines in legislation Canada’s commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Act ensures transparency and accountability as the government works to deliver on its targets.

On 25 April, the Federal President will travel on to the port city of Vancouver on Canada’s West Coast to learn more about Canada’s Pacific orientation. To that end, he will join the Premier of British Columbia on a tour of the port and speak to representatives of the local business community. During a guided tour of a fuel cell manufacturer and a visit to see smart energy systems at the University of British Columbia, the focus will be on economic and technological cooperation between the two countries.

Tuesday, 25 April

  • 10.00 a.m. [CEST -9], Cellcentric Fuel Cell Canada
    Visit the fuel cell manufacturer
  • 1.00 p.m., delegation hotel
    Discussion with representatives of the German and Canadian business community
  • 2.00 p.m., harbour
    Boat tour of the harbour with David Eby, Premier of British Columbia
  • 4.30 p.m., University of British Columbia
    Tour of a pilot for smart energy systems and presentation of research projects by students from various faculties

In the afternoon, President Steinmeier and other members of the delegation will tour UBC’s Smart Hydrogen Energy District (SHED) – a soon-to-open hydrogen fuelling station that showcases integrated energy generation for smart cities. He will also speak to leading-edge researchers working on challenges relating to clean energy, digital manufacturing, quantum materials and smart energy storage.

Canada and Germany are close friends – united by our shared values and common interests like upholding democracy, defending human rights, fighting climate change, and making life better for people in our countries and beyond. I look forward to welcoming President Steinmeier to Canada to keep building on our close friendship and partnership.”

— The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Our countries, Germany and Canada, have so much in common. We are both dedicated to our shared values and convictions such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law. We share the goal of a fairer and more inclusive society in which everyone has the same opportunities, regardless of gender, background or faith. And we maintain very close, even very personal, political ties. Germany and Canada are united by a partnership that is more important than ever, especially in this time of war, crisis and upheaval. We always knew that we liked each other – now it seems that we also need each other in today’s world.

In Germany, we have a saying that the best is yet to come. I think that is the only logical explanation why your country, why Canada, is the only liberal democracy that I had never visited. I actually saved the best for last…”

Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier

PS. Photo is from the website of the Official Office of the Bundespräsident

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