Ladies and gentlemen,
The Queen and I are pleased to visit Quebec City for the very first time. We have been looking forward to getting to know one of North America´s oldest cities, so closely associated with the history of Canada.
I know that Quebec City will celebrate its four hundredth anniversary in 2008. There are many events scheduled throughout the year. I am sure that the anniversary arrangements, including the World Championships in ice-hockey, will attract much Swedish interest as well. We wish you great success with the preparations and the celebrations.
During my short stay in the province of Quebec, I have realised that there is an extensive network of contacts and cooperation between people here and in Sweden.
Swedish companies have successfully established themselves in Quebec. On Wednesday, I visited Ericsson, which has its largest facility for research and development outside of Sweden in Montreal, employing twelve hundred people. There is also advanced technological cooperation in the areas of aerospace- and nano-technology between Ångström Aerospace and Caneus in Montreal. Swedish-British pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca has a research unit in the same city. In addition, there is a successful subsidiary to Volvo Bus just outside Quebec - Nova Bus - which helps promote growth and employment in the region.
I do hope that our discussions today on the research icebreaker, attended by polar scientists from Canada and Sweden, will lead to more extensive cooperation in the area of polar research. What happens with the environment in the ecologically sensitive Artic region has become an ultimate question of survival for all of mankind. The International Polar Year will give Canada and Sweden the chance to continue to work together in this important area. It is a privilege for Sweden to be able to join the polar researchers, on the icebreaker through the North-West Passage, to see on first hand what is happening to our environment.
Next year it is three hundred years since the great Swedish botanist Carl von Linné was born in Sweden. This will be celebrated around the world. Linné himself was never in Canada, but one of his many disciples, Per Kalm, travelled extensively around in, what is now, Eastern Canada. This was in the middle of the eighteenth century and he documented the natural landscape, the animals and plants that he could see.
I hope that during next year researchers who follow the spirit of Linné, will be able to call attention, to the crucial importance of Linné's work for botanical science and modern life sciences for which Linné paved the ground.
Culture is important for harmony and satisfaction in life. The cooperation between Quebec City's great theatre personality Robert Lepage and Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, has contributed to cultural exchange between our two countries in an important way. I hope that the cultural relations between our institutions and cultural workers and their Canadian counterparts in Quebec will increase in a way that is of benefit to both countries.
I do hope that the contacts between Canada and Sweden, including the Province of Quebec, will grow and develop. Let me also wish you continued success in you office, to the benefit of the Province of Quebec . Thank you once again for your generous hospitality.