Obama presidency is new page in history: Canada

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2009 06:49 hrs

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Toronto: Canadians, who had overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama during the US Presidential campaign, congratulated the first black American President on his inauguration, with the country's black Governor General Michaelle Jean calling it "a new page in the history of civilisations".

In her message, Canada's Haitian-born governor general wished the new President success and hoped his presidency would spread the message of hope beyond his country.

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She said the dream of Martin Luther King "helped to pave the way for an African American to take office in the White House today".

The Governor General said the inauguration of Barack Obama "is a historic moment that we are joyfully celebrating because although this event is taking place in the land of our partners, our neighbours and friends to the south, it is filled with symbolic meaning on a global scale".

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"A new page in the history of civilizations is being written before our very eyes, fulfilling the wishes of so many youths, women and men, from every background and every creed, to see our world become more just and more human," she added.

"In these times, when the most fragile among us are threatened by an uncertain economy, by the folly of war and the tension born of prejudice, let us all rejoice in the wave of hope that is filling our hearts.

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"It is the hope for a world where human beings will at last find their place at the centre of the systems they have created to make life the most wondrous of adventures," Jean said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Obama's oath a historic day for the US and the world and sent his "heartfelt" greetings to the new President.

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Symbolising the special relationship between the two neighbours, which share a 6,000 km land border and carry out $600 billion annual trade, Obama has chosen Canada as the country for his first visit abroad as a President.

"We are thrilled that Canada will soon welcome him here during his first official foreign visit," the Governor General said.

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