2006-10-24

H.M. Konungens tal vid inledningen av statsbesöket i Kanada, 24 oktober 2006

Your Excellency,
 
Thank you for your warm welcome. The Queen and I are very pleased to be back in Canada. It is eighteen years since we were here on our first State Visit as guests of Governor-General Jeanne Sauvé. We have many wonderful memories of that visit, and are therefore looking forward to spending some very busy days in your vast and magnificent country, with its diversity of natural beauty and cultural richness.
 
I have a very special bond with Rideau Hall. My paternal 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 here at Rideau Hall. It is a wonderful experience for me to be here, not only with you, but also surrounded by the trees that my great-grandfather has planted on this property. In a moment, I will be following his example by planting a new tree in this garden.  
 
There are many ties between Canada and Sweden. Both our countries are sparsely populated Northern nations. We are active participants in the increasingly dynamic Arctic cooperation. We are strong democracies, since long. In the UN and other international organisations we have worked for  - sometimes side by side - peace and freedom in the Middle East, Africa and the Western Balkans and now, most recently, in Afghanistan.

Sweden has been a member of the European Union for just over ten years. This membership, is also a benefit to our relations with Canada. Sweden hosted a EU-Canada summit in June 2001, and at the end of November this year, our neighbour country, Finland, will be hosting a similar meeting.
 
The Swedish business community enjoys long-standing and fruitful relations with Canada. Many Swedish companies operate here and a large number of Canadian companies have established themselves in Sweden. In connection with this State Visit, a Swedish business delegation has come to Canada to further expand trade and investment between our two countries. The basis for Swedish industry is, partly the same as here - raw materials from forests and mines. At the same time, both Canada and Sweden have, in recent decades, developed world-renowned companies in the field of telecommunications, biotechnology and medical products.

Over the years, a large number of Swedish people have made new homes in Canada. This was true during the great wave of European emigration in the 19th century and again in the 1920s and 1930s, when many Swedes moved westwards to break new ground. And today Canada is a new home country for many Swedes. Many Swedish students have the privilege of studying at your universities.
 
Your Excellency, I am convinced that this visit to Canada will bring our countries even closer together, and that the good relations we have long enjoyed will grow even deeper.
 
Thank you for your warm hospitality. The Queen and I are very much looking forward to the week ahead, which includes visits also to Montreal, Toronto and Quebec. We are quite sure that it will be a truly enriching and enjoyable experience.