State Banquet Hosted by Their Majesties The King and Queen of the Kingdom of Sweden (Stockholm, Sweden)
Stockholm, Sweden, Monday, February 20, 2017
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Thank you for giving us such a warm reception to Sweden.
Sharon and I, and the members of our Canadian delegation, are delighted to be here among such great friends of Canada.
Today’s welcoming ceremony was impressive and humbling, and also indicative of how close our bonds have become.
Canadians and Swedes share so many ties and close relations. We have many similar values, which allow us to better understand each other and work together.
Let me highlight some of our ties and similarities:
- We are both committed to building innovative, inclusive, sustainable societies—which is also the theme of our visit.
- We share geographical parallels, being both coastal and Arctic nations.
- We work together on the Arctic Council to solve pressing issues.
- We are both constitutional monarchies with healthy parliamentary democracies.
- Both countries are home to indigenous peoples who make our countries richer.
- Two-way investment total over $5 billion and is responsible for about 19 000 jobs in Canada and about 13 000 jobs in Sweden
- Examples of investment include Swedish businesses Ericsson, Volvo and Sandvik and Canadian companies Bombardier, CGI and OpenText.
In recent years, Canadians Arthur McDonald and Alice Munro have received Nobel Prizes, in physics and literature respectively.
And, of course, we also share a passion for winter activities. The Embassy of Sweden in Canada was recently at our Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall to bring the game of bandy to Canadians.
And last but not least, we have a common interest in one particular sport: hockey!
Many of your fellow countrymen have found their way to Canadian teams, thrilling fans across our country.
Tomorrow, we will visit the Karolinska Institute to speak about health innovation. We will be joined by Mats Sundin, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of our most illustrious NHL teams, and who is now contributing to the Mats Sundin Fellowship in Developmental Health here in Sweden.
And, of course, Daniel Alfredsson, who was captain of the Ottawa Senators—another much admired NHL team—is with us here today. Daniel is especially beloved in Canada both for his on and off ice leadership.
As you well know, Daniel is Swedish‑born and recently became a Canadian citizen. What a wonderful example of an ambassador bringing our two countries closer together!
Of course, we do have our rivalries. Sweden’s men’s hockey team beat Canada for the gold medal in the 1994 Olympics, and Canada bested Sweden for the gold 20 years later.
I look forward to the tie-breaker, maybe in 2018!
The rest of the Canadian delegation—our Team Canada, if you will—is comprised of a diverse subsection of our population. They’re an impressive group, and they’re eager to meet with their counterparts in innovation, science, commerce and trade, among others.
We’re here to build on a strong foundation between Canada and Sweden, and to make it even stronger.
As we move through Sweden—including in Stockholm, Malmö, Lund and Gothenburg—we will be honoured to have Your Majesty with us throughout our visit. And we are delighted to have Her Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia accompany us during several stops. Your insights and your presence will be invaluable.
Already, we are practising what I like to call the diplomacy of knowledge across disciplines, from exchanging new ideas and techniques to forming partnerships across our higher institutions.
Together, we can chart a new, even more robust relationship, one based on our strong people-to-people ties and long-standing partnerships.
Thank you, once again, for inviting Sharon and me, and our team, to undertake this important State visit.
I would now like to raise a glass to our continued friendship and to our expanding relationship.