Canada Day in Iowa: Connecting Leaders at the Capitol and Online

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Consul General Jamshed Merchant en route to Des Moines from Minneapolis, Iowa-Canada fact sheet in hand.
Guests were encouraged to join in the #CanadaInIA conversation on Twitter for a chance to win Team Canada Olympic mittens.
Representative Wolfe and Representative Miller share a smile with Consul General Merchant.

Did you know that Canada is Iowa’s top trading partner?

Or that Iowa’s oldest city, Dubuque, takes its name from French-Canadian fur trader Julien Dubuque?

From Julien Dubuque to current Iowa State Cyclones basketball star Melvin Ejim, Canadians have long had an important presence in Iowa. And in 2012, 30 percent of everything Iowa sold to the world went to Canada - more than the next three trading partners combined.

To celebrate this relationship, Iowa’s legislative leaders invited Canadian Consul General Jamshed Merchant and a delegation of legislators from the province of Saskatchewan to spend a day in Des Moines, Iowa’s state Capitol.

This year’s event helped build relationships and boost awareness of the important political and economic relationship that exists between Canada and Iowa.

Thanks to the hard work of Honorary Consul Mary Lawyer — herself a native Iowan — and the joint International Relations committee, both the House and Senate chambers of the Iowa legislature adopted resolutions celebrating the strong ties between Iowa and Canada.

Canadian Consul General Jamshed Merchant met with Iowa Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds, who are strong supporters of the economic, trade and energy relationship between Iowa and Canada, as well as with
the Iowa Economic Development Agency. 

The day concluded with a reception at Iowa’s World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. Legislators, business leaders and members of the media celebrated the Iowa-Canada relationship while a live Twitter wall brought the in-person and online discussions together.

Forging Relationships Online with #CanadaInIA

Through participation in the event on Twitter throughout the day, a wide array of people helped tell the story of the relationship that exists between Canada and Iowa.

The #CanadaInIA hashtag attracted more than 200 tweets from 73 different contributors - including the Governor and Lt. Governor - each bringing a unique and valuable perspective to the online discussion.

Canada will continue to use the hashtag to keep the conversation going and promote events in the future, keeping lines of communication open with interested people all around the continent.

Canadian and Iowans alike can re-live the day through tweets and photographs on Storify.