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Dinner Hosted by the Ambassador of Canada to the Kingdom of Norway

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Dinner Hosted by the Ambassador of Canada to the Kingdom of Norway

Oslo, Norway, Monday, April 27, 2009

My husband Jean-Daniel Lafond, the members of the Canadian delegation accompanying us and I are delighted to celebrate with you the deep friendship between Canada and Norway.

A State visit is a celebration. Canada and Norway have a lot in common and a lot to celebrate.

We are so like one another, from our northern identity and the wealth of our natural resources, to the enrichment of our cultures by our first peoples and our firm commitment to the values of active democracy.

This first opportunity to speak with you is especially important as we prepare to go out and meet with the people and organizations that form the backbone of Norwegian society.

Earlier this morning, we had a discussion with representatives from non-governmental organizations and found that civic engagement is at the heart of your society.

As someone who has made youth my priority as governor general of Canada, I am delighted to see how important it is for you to include youth in your definition of solidarity.

Because we are both Arctic countries, Canada is keenly interested in northern realities and how those realities are reflected here, in Norway.

Now is the time for us to learn about the many challenges facing both of our countries and to share our experiences and solutions.

Consider for example the development of natural resources, the threat of climate change to northern ecosystems, the well-being of isolated populations, and the preservation of traditional modes of expression.

So many challenges that have a circumpolar, if not global, scope.

We are eager to begin discovering your country, from its magnificent landscapes to the rich heritage of its Sami communities to its dynamic, ingenious and generous population.

May this visit to the Kingdom of Norway serve to strengthen the already strong ties between our countries and our peoples.