Thank you very much. I won't speak for very long, so there will be more opportunity for questions and answers, or responses sometimes.
I'm very pleased to be with you this morning at my first appearance before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs since my appointment last May. I'm very honoured to represent Canada around the world. I'm truly honoured to work every day to protect Canada's interests abroad and to promote Canada's values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. I'm proud of the principled approach that our government has taken to foreign affairs and pleased to say that I'm working with officials like the ones joining me today. We are contributing to a rising Canada that is confident and courageous and that is a compassionate actor on the world stage.
Our interests are more and more guided by the need to compete globally and to ensure Canadian prosperity. In many respects, foreign affairs is becoming an economic portfolio as well as a foreign affairs portfolio. That is why I have travelled to China, Indonesia, and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region. We've made building our relationships a key priority. We hope doing so will lead to prosperity here at home and in the region that is slated to produce half of all global GDP within a decade. Incredible opportunities exist there, and Canada must be there in a big way. Increasingly we are where the opportunities are and will be in the coming years: in Asia and Latin America.
That's not to say that we are turning our backs on our traditional allies and partners, far from it. In fact, I have been working with our traditional partners, deepening existing relationships and working with them to shape the global institutions that will lead us into the 21st century. Increasingly and proudly, Canada is working to hold institutions to account and isn't afraid to take important stands on major issues.
Regimes in Syria, Iran, and North Korea are all keenly aware that we will no longer sit idly by as previous governments did. We are also not afraid to stand up alone when necessary. Canada is pleased to have punched above its weight in the NATO-led mission to protect civilians in Libya, and in two visits to that country I have seen first-hand the result: sincere gratitude. We will continue to support the democratic transitions taking place in Libya and in many other countries in that region. Security threats provide a major challenge to prosperity in countries around the world, a condition we are working to address in Central and South America, in Africa, and in Central Asia.
Just as people cannot be prosperous if they're not safe and secure, people cannot have freedom when their basic human rights are at risk. Canada and Canadians know this well, and our government is taking strong actions to shine light on such situations and to be a voice for the voiceless. To that end, we are delivering on our commitment to establish an office of religious freedoms. I expect to have more to say about that in short order.
Mr. Chair, Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to create jobs and to secure Canada's economic recovery. They gave us a strong mandate to reign in government spending and to get value for the money people pay in taxes. They gave us a strong mandate to protect our interests and to promote our values. My department and I are committed to delivering strong fiscal management and nimble diplomacy while also creating opportunities, advancing prosperity, and delivering security for Canadians here and around the world.
I look forward to your comments and your questions.