Remarks from the Governor General at the State Dinner at the Presidential Palace in Finland

February 7, 2023

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It’s a pleasure once again to be here in Finland, among northern friends. I’m honoured to be here as Canada’s governor general, on this important State visit to Finland.

Our countries have a wonderful diplomatic and historic relationship, built steadily and with purpose over the past 75 years.

We are connected as Arctic nations, but also in so many other ways.

Canada has a robust Finnish community who proudly celebrate their heritage, language and culture.

We also have formed links between Indigenous peoples in Canada and the Sámi people in Finland.

Ours are deep-rooted and common bonds which allow us to work together on many important global issues.

I have three important objectives while here:

First: to continue to strengthen our important bilateral ties.

Second: to highlight Canada’s strong support for European security, both as a transatlantic ally and historic partner.

And third: to reinforce our co-operation in the Arctic.

I have much experience with circumpolar issues in my previous professional life, and I have seen how the world’s thinking about the Arctic has evolved. It is essential that Indigenous Peoples and other Northerners, especially youth, have a central role in shaping and advancing international Arctic co-operation.

Because what happens in the Arctic affects us all.

We each have a responsibility to be leaders in sustainable development, Arctic governance, youth engagement, Indigenous knowledge and climate change. As Arctic nations, we have an obligation to create a stable and prosperous North.

I look forward to seeing how we can further develop our relationship over the next 75 years, to better connect our countries socially, scientifically, culturally and economically.

President Niinistö, thank you for welcoming me and Canada’s delegation so warmly. These next few days are filled with possibility.  I look forward to the people I will meet and the new bonds we will forge for both our societies—both here in Helsinki and in Rovaniemi.

Canada and Finland are steeped in northern beauty.  To be here in February in particular is to celebrate that which binds us at a time when the world may seem more disconnected than ever. It is especially during these times when we turn to our friends and nurture long-standing relationships.

Thank you.