Sask. hosts largest diplomatic visit ever

21 Oct 2014
Leader-Post
BRUCE JOHNSTONE bjohnstone@leaderpost.com
LEADER-POST
Sask. hosts largest diplomatic visit ever
Economic mission to boost trade
Senior diplomats representing more than 50 countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, descended on the province this week as part of the first-ever Economic Mission to Saskatchewan, organized by House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer and the federal and provincial governments.
“This is the first time the economic forum has been hosted in Saskatchewan,” Scheer told reporters on Monday, the first day of the diplomats’ five-day visit to the province. “It’s the largest gathering of ambassadors and heads of mission in Saskatchewan’s history.”
Scheer said the mission was timed to coincide with the opening of the fall legislative session and Speech from the Throne on Wednesday, but also includes visits to Mosaic Potash’s solution mine at Belle Plaine, Evraz Steel mill and Brandt Industries manufacturing plant in Regina, research facilities at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and SaskPower’s carbon capture and storage project at Boundary Dam power station in Estevan.
Scheer said the economic mission underscores the importance of having positive trade relations with the rest of the world, especially for an exporting province like Saskatchewan. “We’re an export province in an exporting country,” Scheer said.
Scheer said the mission will expose many ambassadors to the province for the first time and should help increase trade, investment and educational exchanges between the province and the 50 or so countries. “It’s very important that the ambassadors can … talk about the opportunities that exist here. They’ve been on the ground. They’ve visited the facilities. They’ve met with representatives of industry.”
Florence Chideya, ambassador of Zimbabwe since 2005 and dean of the diplomatic corps in Ottawa, said she would like to visit all the sites on the mission, but will concentrate on educational institutions, like the U of S.
“Our population is young and our population is hungry for knowledge, especially at (post-secondary) levels,” Chideya said. “Zimbabwe, in the continent of Africa, is No. 1 in terms of literacy — 97 per cent — and that will show you that our people want to move forward.”
While she shares concerns about the “brain drain” from Africa, Chideya said countries like Zimbabwe also benefit from the return of students from Canada, so there’s also a “brain gain.”
Veselko Grubiscic, Croatia’s ambassador to Canada and vice-dean of the European diplomatic corps in Ottawa, said Croatia, which is the newest member of the European Union, hopes to use the recently signed Canada-Europe trade agreement to increase trade and investment ties with Canada. “(CETA) is probably the most comprehensive trade agreement of all time and it’s going to be great for Canada and all the EU countries.”
Grubiscic, an engineer by training, said the CCS project in Estevan is the most interesting site for him, given Croatia’s reliance on coal-fired electricity generation.
“I never expected, when I was studying chemical engineering, that I’m going to see in Saskatchewan the top of innovative technology (in CCS in the world).”
The delegates will attend the official opening of the Legislative Assembly Wednesday and depart Regina on Thursday.

About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on October 21, 2014, in economic impact and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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