Scotland wants to recruit Scottish-Canadians to “Come Ye Back” not matter how ancient the link
I found the following article in today's issue of the National Post.
The paper featured a front-page picture of nine prominent Canadians
with Scottish connections, such as musicians Natalie McMaster,
Asheley McIssac, actress Neve Campbell, Prime Miniser Paul Martin, and deputy Conservative Party leader Peter McKay.
TOUR WILL TARGET SCOTS LIVING IN CANADA
By RANDY BOSWELL
Scotland's top politician will use a tour of Canada this month to
target millions of Canadians of Scottish ancestry with an invitation to
“return home” and reverse the centuries-old, westward flow of wealth
and talent across the North Atlantic.
The recruitment drive by Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell, not
yet officially announced but revealed in British news reports,
coincides with the inauguration of a Scottish investment office in
Toronto and an aggressive effort by the semi-autonomous state to end a
crippling brain drain and bolster its economic fortunes.
“Scotland is an ideal place to live, learn and work,” said Lorna Jack,
head of the Americas branch of Scottish Development International. “We
are bringing this message to interested parties and expats across North
America and beyond.”
The campaign, to “win back” Scottish expatriates, as well as Canadians
with more distant links to the “auld” country, includes an
Edinburgh-backed research project at B.C.'s Simon Fraser University,
which is compiling a detailed profile of this country’s
“It is not just about the locations and incomes of Scottish-Canadians,
but about the history and culture of the Scots in Canada,” Harry
McGrath, the Glasgow-born co-ordinator of Simon Fraser's Centre for
Scottish Studies, told CanWest News Service by e-mail. “It is part of a
general effort to link modern Scotland to, and inform it about, its
diaspora which, in my opinion, is long overdue.”
Part of McConnell's sales pitch in Canada, according to the Sunday
Herald, will be that Scotland is a dynamic modern nation and “no longer
a land of tartan, haggis and Braveheart.”
And The Sunday Times reported that famous Scots such as actor Sir Sean
Connery and singer Annie Lennox might be called upon to promote
investment and tourism among the children of Scotland's diaspora, all
part of the strategy to “lure descendants of Scottish- emigrants” back
home from Canada.
McGrath noted that before Britain devolved self-governing powers to
Scotland, “there was very little effort being made in this area and
when people left the country, as so many did, they were gone and
forgotten except by those closest to them.”
Last year, in a high-profile convocation address at Nova Scotia’s St.
Francis Xavier University, Scotland's top Catholic cleric, Keith
Patrick Cardinal O'Brien, made an impassioned plea to young
Scottish-Canadians to go back “to the home of your ancestors” –
presumably countering efforts by Nova Scotia to stanch its own brain
drain by convincing graduates to stay in the province.
More than four million Canadians claim some degree of Scottish ethnic
heritage. Canada – which traditionally counted the Scottish among its
four founding “races” along with the French, Irish and English – has a
history filled with influential Scots, including 18th-century explorer
Alexander Mackenzie, Confederation-era Prime Minister Sir John A.
Macdonald and telephone inventor, Alexander Graham Bell.
Among other places, McConnell is taking his “come home” message to the
University of Guelph, in the Ontario city founded by the 19th-century
Scottish industrialist John Galt.
On Oct. 28, McConnell is scheduled to visit the university’s collection
of Scottish archival material, the largest in the world outside of
Graeme Morton, the University of Guelph’s chair of Scottish Studies,
said McConnell's campaign to attract Canadian immigrants “puts the boot
on the other foot” after centuries of Scottish emigration to
Canada. But he said both Canada and Scotland would ultimately
gain from increased movement of workers between the two countries.
“I am sure” echoed McGrath, “that the young people going from here to
there will tell others about the place that they came from. I can only
see benefit for both countries in this kind of exchange.”