2017-02-17

H.M. Konungens tal vid galamiddag med anledning av statsbesök från Kanada, måndagen den 20 februari 2017

(Det talade ordet gäller)

Your Excellencies,
Dear Guests,

It is a great pleasure for the Queen and me to welcome you to Sweden and the Royal Palace.

Personally, I have a special bond with Canada and the Rideau Hall – your residence and office. My grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, was the daughter of one of your predecessors. Her father – my great grandfather – Prince Arthur of Connaught was Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916 and lived at Rideau Hall.

The Queen and I have many pleasant memories from our State visits to Canada in 1988 and 2006. And I have had the opportunity to visit your country on a number of other occasions. At the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, the Queen and I enjoyed the warm hospitality of British Columbia. As a great winter sports fan, I have to admit that several Swedish gold medals made the trip even more memorable…

Canada’s vast territory is one of magnificent beauty. For a Swede, it is easy to feel at home.

Our two countries have much in common:
We are both Arctic nations and mostly sparsely populated.
We are blessed with four seasons.

We understand and cherish the power of nature and its elements. And this profound respect for nature is translated into a shared concern for the environment: at home, as well as globally.

On a related note, I am pleased to know that the Governor-General and I both have a common interest in Scouting!

Our two societies share many common values. We realize that co-operation between people, and between countries, is important to find solutions to modern day challenges. We are strong democracies, relying on the rule of law. We are strong advocates for human rights, humanitarian principles and open societies.

We both acknowledge that diversity is a strength and an asset.

Over the years, many Swedes have crossed the Atlantic and made Canada their home. In the last census, over 340 000 Canadians claimed Swedish heritage.

One more recent group of Swedish immigrants are the Swedish hockey players in the North American Hockey league: successful sportsmen and excellent ambassadors for Sweden.

The business ties between our two nations are extensive and long-standing. Both our countries believe in free and fair trade. Many Swedish companies run successful operations in Canada, and in Sweden we find Canadian companies from Skåne in the South to Västerbotten in the very North.

Last year the EU and Canada signed CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. The agreement, which was approved last week by the European Parliament, provides an excellent platform for deepening our economic relationship, with new business opportunities for Swedish and Canadian companies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sweden’s and Canada's trade is often related to the effective and sustainable management of our common natural resources: water, forests and minerals. By investing in research and development, both countries have developed world-leading companies. Canada and Sweden are innovative societies, where education and research are seen as important means to meet the challenges of the future.

One of many examples of Canada’s prominent role in science is the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics: Dr McDonald, it is a great pleasure to have you here with us tonight.

Your Excellencies,

We are honoured that you have given priority to a visit to Sweden in a year when you are busy celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary of the Confederation. Our best wishes to you and your countrymen.

The Queen and I are very much looking forward to the days ahead, with visits here in Stockholm, Malmö, Lund and Gothenburg. We will do our very best to make sure that it will be a truly enriching and enjoyable State visit.

May I now propose a toast in honour of
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada,
your Excellencies, and the people of Canada.

Skål!