Transatlantic lessons for the Scottish Parliament


Scotland Week will once again be marked by the Scottish Parliament when a delegation visits New York, Québec City and Washington DC.Scotland Week

The delegation, led by the Presiding Officer, and comprising Johann Lamont MSP and Clare Haughey MSP, will take part in the annual Tartan Day parade alongside Grand Marshall KT Tunstall – the first female Grand Marshall in the parade’s 20 year history. The MSPs will join pipers, bands and dancers as they make their way down New York’s Sixth Avenue.

In addition to representing the Parliament at the parade, the delegation will be meeting bodies including UN Women and the New York City Mayor’s Office. They will discuss innovations including New York’s Smart City initiative, and women leadership in political participation.

The delegation will then move on to Québec where they will meet with the President, Members and officials of the National Assembly of Québec. They will discuss topics including parliamentary reform, how the Scottish Parliament responded to the sexual harassment allegations that came to the fore here last autumn in the wake of the #MeToo movement, external engagement and education.

Finally, in Washington DC, the delegation will meet with various think-tanks, the Office of the Mayor and the Congressional Budget Office. The focus of the discussions will be the work of the Scottish Parliament's ‘in-house think tank’, Scotland’s Futures Forum. The efforts being made by the Forum, attempting to address controversial policy issues, such as robotics and drugs policy, in a long-term, non-partisan way, will be informed by, and shared with US counterparts.

Speaking ahead of departure, Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh MSP, said:

“This trip is a chance to reaffirm the friendships and ties that have reached out across the Atlantic Ocean for many generations, and to make sure that they continue to exist for years to come.

“Scotland Week and Tartan Day are a chance for millions of people to mark their connections with Scotland. Our delegation will join them in celebrating those links not only on the streets of New York, but also in the corridors of power around North America.

“In addition to sharing what we do well, and where we are innovating, we are also going to be listening and looking to learn lessons from our opposite numbers wherever we can”.


Johann Lamont MSP is Convener of the Public Petitions Committee and Deputy Convener of the Education and Skills Committee. She is also a Member of the Presiding Officer’s Advisory Group on parliamentary reform.

Clare Haughey MSP is Convener of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, and Board Member of the Scotland’s Futures Forum.

This year, the Tartan Day Parade is to be led by KT Tunstall, the first woman to hold the role of Grand Marshall in the parade’s 20 year history.

Since last April, the Presiding Officer has welcomed the Speakers of British Colombia (Darryl Plecas), Ontario (Dave Levac), and interns from both the Canadian Federal and Québec Parliaments to Holyrood.

The Presiding Officer also gave evidence to the Canadian Senate Modernisation Committee, via videolink, following his visit to the Federal Parliament last April.

A full list of organisations the delegation is expected to meet is below:

  • UN Women
  • The New York Stock Exchange
  • Offices of New York City and Washington DC Mayors
  • Scottish Universities Alumni reception
  • Members and Officials of the Assemblée National du Québec (including the President of the National Assembly and Committee Chairs)
  • The US Department of Transportation
  • The International Labour Organisation
  • The Congressional Budget Office
  • The Bipartisan Policy Centre,
  • The National Democratic Institute,
  • The Future of Privacy Forum, and
  • The Millennium Project

Since 1998, Tartan Day has been recognised by the U.S. House of Representatives as an official celebration of the contribution of American-Scots to U.S. culture and life.

Scotland Week 2018 is a week long programme of events in Canada and New York, aiming to promote all things Scottish. Fifty million people across the world claim Scottish heritage - the majority being in America and Canada.

Further information about all the events in Scotland Week (external website) can be found online.

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