Prime Minister and Mrs. Harper, Ministers of the Crown, Distinguished guests, Boys and Girls, patient and energetic teachers who have brought you all here today and who no doubt will be testing you when you get back to school. So you have to be careful.
So if I may say so, I just wanted to begin by expressing my profound gratitude to you, Prime Minister, for your most kind words. I am so delighted to be back here in Manitoba and I need hardly say that my wife is very happy to be here for the first time and to be with such an enthusiastic audience!
So much has changed since my last visit to Manitoba in 1996 I fear well before most of the audience here were even born!
But what has most assuredly not changed is the vitality of this Province and the optimism for Canada's future, as reflected in the faces of these young, and dare I say, rather energetic Canadians!
Mais je peux vous assurer que ce qui n'a pas changé, c'est la vitalité de votre province et votre optimisme envers l'avenir du Canada, comme en témoignent les visages de ces jeunes Canadiens et Canadiennes, si j’ose dire, assez énergiques! It has been such a pleasure to meet and to see engaged in scientific endeavour of one sort or another so many dynamic young Canadians.
As the Prime Minister mentioned having myself flown fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft a very long time ago all I can tell you is that I had a very determined admiration and respect for those marvellous engineers who actually take these things apart and put them together usually after a pilot had broken it or done something awful to them.
And I particularly wanted to say to Ethan Enns, Avery Good and Ryan Petricig - I must say that to have had your experiment performed in space recently is I think a remarkable achievement since only one school at a time can actually get a space on it. So I hope they will be able to develop their skills and capabilities in the future.
Prime Minister, I have been so impressed to see Manitoba's aerospace sector working together with the Province's educational institutions to build interest among your bright young people in this important sector. If I may say so, this seems to me a remarkably good way to start to address the skills gap prevalent in so many industries. In my own small way, I have tried over many years to tackle this gap through my own charities and initiatives, and have often felt I was trying to push water up a hill. But today you have given me hope!
Prime Minister, the Canadian Government's gift to mark our visit will, I am sure, inspire many more young Canadians to learn about the great geography and history of this country as well as to seek out exciting opportunities in the fields of science and technology, just as all of you here today have been doing with such vigour and, if I may say so, not a little vigorous noise!
My wife and I are enormously grateful to you Prime Minister for such a generous gesture on our behalf.