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“Tonight, here in Alberta and around the world, people of Scottish heritage and poetry lovers of every lineage will raise a toast to the life and works of Robert Burns.
“Scotland’s ‘ploughman poet’ was an author of great technique and prodigious intellect, who wowed the literary establishment and ordinary folk alike. He breathed new life into Scottish folk tradition, wrote stirring traditional ballads, romantic songs and pointed satires proclaiming his intolerance of injustice.
“From curling to bagpipes, the threads of Scottish culture are woven deeply into Alberta’s heritage. We owe a great deal of this province’s success to the people of Scottish heritage who have helped grow Alberta from the early days of its creation until now.
“The first premier of Alberta, Alexander Rutherford, was the son of Scottish immigrants. He gave us the foundation for our government, school system and infrastructure. Airdrie, Banff and Calgary are named after places in Scotland that immigrants left behind to build a new life here. We even have a provincial tartan that reflects our shared heritage – the beauty of our green forests, golden wheat, blue skies and pink roses.
“On this Burns Night, we join Albertans in celebrating the legacy of this legendary poet and all the elements of Scottish culture that have enriched our province and the rest of the world.
“Despite his short life, Burns had a zest for living that endures in his timeless works. To all seeking the light of his literary spirit in a traditional Burns supper on this January evening, we wish you sláinte mhath!”