Sunday, 27 February 2011

CURRENT EVENTS ~ Saskatchewan Premier Visits Buckingham Palace

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall meets with Queen Elizabeth on
 February 25, 2011, in Buckingham Palace during a visit to London.
Photograph Courtesy Government of Saskatchewan, handout
It was Alisdair's turn to go to Grandpa and Grandma's house yesterday, so I took him to Cut Knife where we met Mum and Dad.  Isobel had been staying there since Sunday, so we swapped kids and came back home.

We had only delivered a couple newspapers before we left, so Isobel was sitting in the front of the car as I drove from house to house.  I held up the Star-Phoenix and showed her the picture that was plastered across the front page.  (See top of post).

"Do you recognize anyone in this picture?"  I asked her.

She thought for a moment and then asked, "Is it Grandma?"

I laughed and said, "No, it's the Queen!!"

"Oh," she said.  "It's hard to tell because they both have grey hair and almost the same hairstyle!

... So take a brief moment, to pay homage to Her Royal Highness, Queen Trudy the First .... or Grandma for short!!


The article that accompanied the photograph was as follows:

"REGINA - From the Royal family to foreign investors - they're all getting invitations to Saskatchewan.  In a telephone news conference from London, where he's on a trade promotion visit, Premier Brad Wall said Friday he used a brief meeting with Queen Elizabeth II to invite members of the Royal family to Saskatchewan next year for the 100th anniversary of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building - opened 99 years ago by the great-uncle of the Queen, the Duke of Connaught.

But the bulk of Wall's remarks dealt with meetings with senior executives and potential investors ranging from hedge funds to major Canadian and 'offshore' banks to an association of venture capitalists.

'This is a market we need to be engaged in because of the amount of capital that's here,' he said.

Wall said his meeting with Andrew Mackenzie, BHP Billiton's chief executive for nonferrous minerals - their first face-to-face-meeting since provincial resistance stopped the giant mining firm's offer to take over Saskatoon-based PotashCorp - was 'very, very good.'

'There's no hard feelings at all as a result of it,' said Wall, adding that BHP's continued work on a proposed potash mine at Jansen Lake in central Saskatchewan is proof of this.

'I'd characterize the relationship as very, very strong, notwithstanding what happened this fall.'  Wall said the takeover controversy paid an unexpected dividend by 'opening the door for us' to get Saskatchewan's story out to investors either unfamiliar with the province or puzzled at its decision to oppose the PotashCorp takeover.

Asked if Saskatchewan's image had been damaged by the controversy, Wall said, 'it really hasn't', adding some London investment exectives told him 'they weren't surprised' by the federal government's decision to turn down the BHP Billiton proposal.

The premier, for his part, said he was trying to get across the message that it is 'important for people to understand this is a very unique deal because of the size of the resource.'

'I think that message was received.'

Wall said no firm investment proposals came forward Friday, but added that, 'we didn't expect any'.  'Most of them were 'first contacts' that we made.  There was a lot of surprise when I mentioned all of the products that we make in a unique way.'

Wall said he was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Britain's Financial Times and Bloomberg financial news service, which reported Friday that Wall indicated a BHP Billiton offer for potash miner Mosaic would be unlikely to trigger a review like the PotashCorp one.

Wall said protocol forbids him from giving many details of his conversation with the Queen, but mentioned he presented a fused-glass work of art depicting the Saskatchewan Legislative Building from Sisters Stepping Stones and Glass Studio, a Regina studio run by sisters Janice Stefan and Debbie Wells, plus three children's books by Regina-raised singer-writer Connie Kaldor.

The premier, who is to return home Sunday, said he plans to accompany Saskatchewan business leaders on a trade promotion trip in March to India - 44 per cent of whose imports from Canada come from Saskatchewan.

'We need to be engaged in these places because it means jobs and investment back home in Saskatchewan.'

Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post"


Incidentally, Alisdair has toured the Legislative Building twice - once in the Summer of 2005 and again during the Summer of 2010, when his Scottish grandparents took him to Regina for a few days.  If you haven't been there yet, it is well worth the trip!  Don't forget to take along some bread to feed the Canada Geese in Wascana Park!

It is also an interesting coincidence that 'Andrew Mackenzie' was the name of Alisdair's Great-Grandfather on the Mackenzie side.  Of course Grandpa was 'promoted to glory' several years ago, and wasn't the gentlemen in the meeting with the Premier!

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