July 1st is celebrated in both Ghana and Canada as National Days. For Ghana it is the celebration of the declaration of the country as a Republic, three years after the attainment of nationhood. It was the day when the Queen ceased to be the Head of State of Ghana. The country was then seen as having come of age, matured enough to chart its own course and destiny. For Canada July 1stis the celebration of nationhood, the birth ofthe Canadian Nation one hundred and thirty-six years ago. The Ghanaian-Canadian community therefore has rightly tagged July 1st as Ghana-Canada Day. The Ghanaian community in Canada especially in Toronto have actively participated in Canada Day celebrations over the past few years with a distinct Ghanaian touch.
The Ghanaian News will like to take this celebration and the spirit of the occasion further. The recognition of the day as significant to the two countries should help in strengthening the bond between them. Relations between Ghana and Canada reflect four decades of official contacts that began through its membership in the Commonwealth and the United Nations and overseas Canadian Development assistance. Officially Ghana receives the largest Canadian Aid program in Sub-Saharan Africa. Canada was also very instrumental and helpful in the organizing of the last elections, which was the first Ghana was able to change a democratically elected government through the ballot box. It was in recognition of Canada’s outstanding contributions to Ghana and its importance in the country’s development that the President of Ghana, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufour made an official visit to Canada in November 2001. President Kufour asked the Canadian government during his visit to continue to support Ghana’s efforts at sustaining democracy and development. We are happy to observe that the Canadian government has positively responded to this request from Ghana. It has already committed about five hundred million dollars to assist Ghana towards the development and sustainability of effective governance at the Locallevel.
There are a number of areas that Ghana and Canada can work on and develop structures that will be of mutual benefit to the two countries. There are a number of Canadian companies already involved in mining exploration in Ghana. These need to be encouraged and strengthened. Tourism and oil exploration are other areas that Ghana needs the assistance and the expertise of Canada. Ghana has a rich terrain of tourism importance, which needs to be explored. The Ghanaian government needs to do a lot of homework in developing tourism infrastructure and aggressively attract tourists from Canada. The Canadian government also needs to portray its good, gentle non-aggressive image in Africa. Ghana can be of assistance in that sector. Led by a “Gentle Giant”, Ghana’s approach to world and Regional politics is similar to that of Canada. And this should help strengthen our mutual relations.
We salute Ghana and Canada on this joyous occasion. And we wish to reiterate that the occasion should be used to strengthen cooperation and development for the mutual benefit of the two countries and their citizens. This should be in the field of education, mining, tourism, oil exploration and the support for democratic development and sustenance.