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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praises ‘strong partner’ Scotland at Edinburgh University ceremony

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who has received an honorary degree. (Neil Hanna/University of Edinburgh/PA Wire)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who has received an honorary degree. (Neil Hanna/University of Edinburgh/PA Wire)

CANADIAN Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Scotland for being a “strong partner to us” as he received an honorary degree in Edinburgh.

Mr Trudeau was awarded the degree of Doctor honoris causa in recognition of his commitment to equality and diversity.

The politician attended the ceremony at the University of Edinburgh on Wednesday ahead of a meeting with the Queen.

He is visiting Scotland on his way to the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7 and 8.

Mr Trudeau is the second Canadian Prime Minister to receive an honorary degree from the university after Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1902, who he described as his “second favourite Canadian Prime Minister”.

Accepting the honour, he said: “From the people of Canada to the people of Scotland, thank you for being a strong partner to us in this new global era of so many challenges.”

He gave part of his speech in French and spoke of the links between the two countries.

Justin Trudeau (Neil Hanna/University of Edinburgh/PA Wire)
Justin Trudeau (Neil Hanna/University of Edinburgh/PA Wire)

He said: “Fifteen per cent of Canadians have Scottish roots, so Canadians, including me, have a strong link and affinity with Scots.”

He described the relationship between the two countries as “a relationship based on a shared past and culture, all the more so as we share a certain number of priorities and values”.

Mr Trudeau told graduates from the school of social and political science that things that are worth it are never easy as he urged them to be open to new challenges.

He said: “If it excites you a lot and scares you a little, then you should probably do it. Be bold, be brave, be open to the incredible opportunities in front of you.

“Class of 2017, we need you, the world needs you, so be the best version of yourselves and go make us all proud. Congratulations.”

On Tuesday, Mr Trudeau visited Ireland, accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and their young son Hadrien, where he met Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for the first time.

His office said his visit to Ireland and the UK will “serve to recognise the strong family ties, history and common purpose our countries share”.

He will have a private meeting with the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on Wednesday to “honour her importance to Canada’s history and to thank her for her continued dedication to Canada”, his office said.

The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, who was elected prime minister in 2015, said he is looking forward to his meeting with the monarch.

They met in London shortly after his election, but they also met when Mr Trudeau was a young boy and his father Pierre was Canada’s PM.