Condoleezza Rice Remarks at the Museum of Industry
Remarks at the Museum of Industry
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Canada
September 12, 2006
SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you, Peter, very much for hosting me here and thank you for the warm and generous welcome. And thank all of you for the warm and generous welcome. I have had a wonderful brisk walk along the water. Seeing the wonderful people of Atlantic Canada has been a real joy. And Peter is right -- I do love the cool ocean breezes and did have my window open last night. That's something I can't do in Washington, D.C. and so thank you for having me here and allowing me to do that.
Now when Peter, your Foreign Minister and your MP, invited me here to Canada, he said that I had to come to Stellarton; that that was essential. I had to come to his riding. He said that his beautiful and the people are great and it will show you another side of Canada. He said that his constituents were wonderful. And standing here this morning, I have no reason to contradict him. This has been a lovely trip, Peter. Thank you very much for the warm welcome. I also last night had a chance to meet some of the members of Peter's family, including your father, your stepbrother and thank you very much for that. Family means a great deal to me and I know that it means a great deal to Peter and to the people in this room. Wherever you go and whatever you're doing, there's nothing like really strong and great family. They keep you grounded. They remind you of the things that you did when you were five years old and it's not easy then to lose sight of who you are. And so, Peter, thank you very much also for letting me share some time with your family.
Now, I want you to note that I'm delighted to be here. I want to thank the gathered dignitaries, of course, Peter, Your Honor, Minister MacIsaac, Minister Chrisholm, other distinguished guests. I did want to come to Canada to thank the good people of Canada for what they did for us on those difficult days. As I reflected a bit on the past, five years ago when the citizens of this great nation opened their homes and opened their hearts to tens of thousands of weary travelers on the morning of September 11th, it was a chance to reflect on friendship. It was a chance to reflect on compassion. It was a chance to reflect on what is the best in human nature.
Today, though here with you, I want to talk a little bit about our present and to look to our future -- for never has the historic alliance between our countries been better, and stronger, and more important. But perhaps never have the challenges been greater and the testing greater.
The heart of our alliance, of course, is our people. We're neighbors. We're friends. We're partners in the principles of liberty and equality and democracy. Most of all, quite literally, Canadians and Americans are often family. And like any family, our people and our governments don't always agree on every point of policy. We have our debates. We have our differences, but there are always going to be conversations among friends. There always are going to be conversations among friends who care for one another, who trust one another, and who respect one another. (Applause.) Though our alliance can be tested, it can never be bent. It can never be broken. Because ladies and gentlemen make no mistake: This is an alliance on the most solid of foundations, the foundation of values.
Because Canada and the United States stand together, our people are free to travel back and forth, to study in each other's universities, and to expand the largest, most dynamic economic relationship of any two countries in the entire world. Every year, my nation sends more trade to Canada over just one bridge in Detroit than we do in all of Japan. The thousands of miles that separate Canada and the United States constitute the most open and most secure borders in the entire world and we aim to keep it that way, both open and secure. (Applause.)
Because we stand together, we are meeting our highest responsibility, which is to secure the people and the prosperity of North America. We're building on our long tradition of cooperation through institutions like NORAD. Today, we're transforming our partnership to combat criminals, drug smugglers and terrorists, all of whom would exploit our freedom for malicious ends.
And of course, because we stand together, the world beyond our borders is growing more peaceful, more prosperous, and more just. This achievement has been the concerted effort of our past. In the two world wars of the last century, through the long struggle to defend liberty and defeat communism in Europe and in Asia, to the regional conflicts of the decade that followed, Canada and the United States have fought and stood together. We sacrificed for principles that are greater than ourselves. And we met the challenges of those earlier times. Now, ladies and gentlemen, we are summoned to meet the great challenges of our times as our ancestors met the challenges of their time.
These challenges are rooted in the interdependent character of our world today. More than ever before in human history, our people's safety depends today on the security of people everywhere. Our people's prosperity depends on extending those same opportunities to others. And of course, as President Bush has said, "the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of freedom in other lands."
We are now engaged in a great global struggle to determine what ideas will organize the 21st century. In this struggle, we are called to support the principles that enable democratic nations like ours and of others to flourish: freedom and tolerance, justice and dignity, the rule of law and the rights of man. To meet this challenge, Canada and the United States must -- and we are transforming our alliance -- making it global in scope, unlimited by geography, and defined by what we do together to support the ideals and institutions of democracy beyond our borders.
All around the world today, we are employing our alliance to serve great purposes. We are putting it to work in international institutions like the United Nations. We're helping to make it more effective and more principled. We are putting our alliance to work across the Americas, especially in Haiti. A little told story now of a people who having just had elections out of the most horrible chaos that perhaps now actually have a chance for a better future. And Canada and the United States were there together to help give the Haitian people that chance. We're going to help that young democracy to rebuild the country and to protect the rights of all of its people. We're working together through NATO in training the forces of Iraq, a country that is trying to learn the hard work of democracy, the hard work of putting democratic institutions to the service of solving conflicts between people rather than using violence and repression to do so. And of course with NATO, in perhaps its most stunning, extraordinary and challenging mission of its entire history, we are working together in Afghanistan.
I want to say a word about Afghanistan because it is ironic that I stand here to talk about September 11th, because September 11th, of course in many ways began in Afghanistan. It was the Taliban and their support for al-Qaida that allowed al-Qaida to flourish, to become the organization that it did, to plot and to plan and then to launch the attacks of September 11th. It was that safe haven that made al-Qaida the organization that it was on September 11th.
Now some five years later, we talk about a different Afghanistan. We talk about an Afghanistan in which there has been an election for a president and there has been an election for a parliament. We talk about an Afghanistan where the Taliban no longer holds the people of Afghanistan to a standard so brutal, so repressive that women were beaten in stadiums given to the Taliban by the international community to play soccer. We have an Afghanistan in which girls and boys can now go to school and have an education. (Applause.)
I want to say one word in particular about the education of girls. You know, I am, of course, a descendant of slaves in the United States. And one of the stories that we were all told time and time again is how slave masters wanted most to keep their slaves from learning to read. That was the key to keeping them slaves. And so my ancestors learned to read often by candlelight, hiding, learning nevertheless that that horizon of reading was so important to them and so important to their minds because in learning to read there was freedom, at least freedom of the mind if the body could not be free. When you think about --
When you think about a Taliban that wanted to be sure that women could not read and they could not be educated, think about that same motivation. That when people cannot expand their minds and they cannot be educated and they cannot read, they cannot be free. Women in Afghanistan today have a chance to be free.
Now, I know that it's very difficult going in Afghanistan. And I want today, before all of you, to thank Canada, the soldiers of Canada, the people of Canada, the families of the soldiers of Canada for the hard work that is being done on behalf of the people of Afghanistan. I know that you are sacrificing and fighting vigilantly. I know that the Taliban is a determined enemy. But as is always the case, when there are also determined friends of free people, liberty and justice and freedom will triumph. We owe it to the people of Afghanistan to help them finish the job. They come out of 25 years of civil war to now begin to build a fragile young democracy. And when you go to Afghanistan you see that they don't have much to work with. It's a difficult place and difficult terrain. But they are a spirited people and they are a determined people. And even if they have determined enemies, if they have determined friends too, they will succeed. Together, Canada, the United States, the countries of NATO will be those determined friends and the people of Afghanistan will succeed. And when they succeed, we will all be safer because no longer will Afghanistan ever again be a safe harbor for terror. It will be a fierce fighter as it is today in the war on terror.
So today, on behalf of President Bush and all the American people, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the people of Canada. I want to express our deepest sympathies to the families of Canada's fallen heroes. My nation mourns, too, for the loss of your loved ones and we keep you all in our thoughts and prayers. But I hope that it is some consolation that we know, in looking back at the actions of our ancestors, that nothing of value is ever won without sacrifice.
Ladies and gentlemen, our countries have learned one thing over the course of our many decades of shared history, lasting value comes from sacrifice and from continuing to pursue the principles on which our countries were built. The success that each of us enjoys today, and the great alliance that we have built, rests on the backs -- the sacrifices of many generations.
These challenges of the new century demand no less of us: no less courage, no less confidence in our principles, no less commitment to make them succeed. It's a tall order, but I know that we are equal to it -- for when Canada and the United States stand together, there is nothing that we cannot do. Thank you.
Released on September 12, 2006