STELLARTON – The face of relations between the United States and Canada could be seen around Pictou County on Saturday as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, visited various parts of the area, thanks to an invite from Minister Peter MacKay.
One week after Prince Charles and Camilla brought crowds to the streets of Pictou, another dignitary toured the area as part of a larger trip across the country, stopping at various U.S. Consulates and meeting with political, business and cultural leaders as well as citizens.
Heyman said he’s realized that each city in the United States is very different, holding rich traditions and culture, and Canada is the same in that respect.
“What I expect to gain throughout these travels is just to get a better feeling and understanding of the broader country that you have here, which is so beautiful. And knowing that it’s the second largest land mass country in the world, I’m only, even after three weeks, not hardly even getting to most of the places we want to go to,” he said, adding that he’s already making plans for trips to Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, even though they weren’t on the itinerary this time around.
His tour of Pictou County began at the Museum of Industry, where museum director Debra McNabb and other employees told him about the area’s history in coal mining and steel making, how we fit into Nova Scotia’s railways, the area’s glass making past, as well as other exhibits.
“It’s good for them to understand Nova Scotia’s history which we can talk about a wide swath of that history in the exhibits that we have, so we appreciate the interest,” McNabb said, adding that officials like Heyman can spread the word about the museum.
She noted that MacKay has helped to bring many politicians to the area, and their guestbook of dignitaries is extensive, including visits from former Prime Minister Paul Martin and U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
Heyman, formerly working in investment banking, began his position in April.
Although the time it took for the U.S. Senate to confirm Heyman as the ambassador was extended, Heyman said it has turned out to be a gift.
“I spent so much time studying the bilateral relationship with the United States, meeting with all the heads of the U.S. government. Coming here now, what I was missing was the Canadian perspective,” he said.
He’s only been in the position for a few weeks, but he’s beginning to get that perspective, he said.
The first month of the job was a meet-and-greet in Ottawa with the employees of the U.S. Embassy, government leaders and the local community, while his three-week trip has been dedicated to the seven U.S. Consulates.
While in Pictou County with his wife, Vicki, he also visited New Glasgow Town Hall, the Pictou waterfront and DSME Trenton.
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