First Minister Alex Salmond reaffirmed Scotland’s close links with Canada when he met with Gordon Campbell, the newly appointed High Commissioner, at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh today.
On his first official visit to Scotland, former British Columbia Premier Mr Campbell, who took up post in September, also met with External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop who oversees Scotland’s engagement with Canada.
In a statement Mr Salmond welcomed the High Commissioner and spoke of the importance of promoting a good trading relationship with the nation of Canada.
The First Minister said:
“I am delighted to meet with Mr Campbell and welcome him on his first official visit to Scotland. I believe that he is someone who understands the importance of job creation and economic growth and will be invaluable to help promote our relationship with a major trading partner.
“Today at this time of economic difficulties, our two nations are encountering similar challenges but we also have common strengths – world-class education systems, internationally-recognised research communities, highly skilled workforces, and thriving creative industries – which we should work together to continue to develop.
“This is an opportunity to reaffirm old relationships and also to make new ones.”
Mr Campbell spoke of the many ties Canada and Scotland shared and insisted both nations could benefit from a strengthened relationship, saying:
“This meeting is an opportunity to reinforce the political, commercial, cultural and academic ties that already exist between Canada and Scotland. Scots helped to build Canada, and Canadians have so much to offer to Scotland. I look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government to strengthen those bonds for our mutual benefit.”
The appointment of Mr Campbell as high commissioner to the UK comes after a lengthy political career, including nine years as Liberal premier of British Columbia – until his retirement this year – and three terms as mayor of Vancouver.
Earlier this year, a delegation from the Canadian High Commission also visited Scotland to strengthen business and economic ties.
There are an estimated 4.75 million Canadians with Scottish ancestry, almost as large as today’s Scottish population.
The promotion of Scotland in Canada is supported by the multi-agency team established in Toronto in February 2011, which represents the Scottish Government, Scottish Development International and VisitScotland and works to realise the full potential of closer economic, cultural, educational and Governmental links between Scotland and Canada.
Scottish Government’s key objectives in Canada are set out in The Scottish Government’s Plan for Engagement with Canada, published in November 2010.