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News

Governor General's first official visit to Alberta to focus on military, youth and community involvement

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April 28, 2006

OTTAWA–Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, with their daughter Marie-Éden, will conduct their first regional visit to Alberta from May 4 to 6, 2006.  The visit will begin in Edmonton with stops in Millarville and Calgary.

Building dialogue and forging links with as many Albertans as possible, including the military and their spouses, school children and youth, as well as community volunteers, will be at the core of Their Excellencies’ visit to the province.  Activities will include a visit to the Military Family Resource Centre at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton, a round table on civic engagement with students, community leaders and faculty members at the Campus Saint-Jean of the University of Alberta, a visit to Millarville Community School and an interactive exchange with a cross-section of youth at Calgary City Hall.

“Alberta has long been seen as a mecca of opportunity, with hard-working and independently- minded people having come here for more than a century to make a better life for themselves and their families. I look forward to hearing about the concerns and aspirations of the women and men of Alberta.  Each and every one of them has valuable lessons to teach me and I will be listening,” said the Governor General.

This will be the seventh provincial visit for the Governor General since the beginning of her mandate. Governors general traditionally travel to every province and territory during their first year in office. Up to now, the Governor General has visited Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Nunavut.

During her visit, the public is invited to a welcoming ceremony at Edmonton City Hall where the Governor General will present the Caring Canadian Award to four Albertans.  The Award is presented to Canada’s ‘unsung heroes,’ those individuals and groups whose unpaid, voluntary contributions provide extraordinary help or care to people in the community. 

She will also present the Meritorious Service Medal to Olympian Beckie Scott at Edmonton City Hall. The Meritorious Service Medal recognizes people whose specific deeds or activities over a limited period of time have been performed in a highly professional manner, or according to a very high standard. Often innovative, these deeds or activities set an example for others to follow, improves the quality of life of a community and brings benefit or honour to Canada. 

Citations for the Caring Canadian Award recipients (Annex A) and the Meritorious Service Medal (Annex B) are attached.  For more information on these decorations or on the Governor General, please visit our Web site at www.gg.ca.  

A detailed itinerary of the Governor General’s visit to Alberta will be released prior to the visit. 

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Media information
Marilyne Guèvremont
Rideau Hall Press Office
(613) 998-7280

ANNEX A: Citations for the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award

Father William Allen Reynolds, St. Albert, Alberta
Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award

Father Reynolds was ordained to the priesthood in 1936 and has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to disadvantaged residents of his community. After serving with Scouts Canada for almost two decades, he co-founded the Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs of Edmonton. Over the next 40 years, he dedicated his spare time to the activities and management of the clubs, which would grow to influence and enrich the lives of 5 000 children and youth each year. A compassionate and gentle man, Father Reynolds continued after his retirement to celebrate mass, to administer pastoral care and to visit patients at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. 

Roseanne Sczebel and Walter Sczebel, Legal, Alberta
Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award

Roseanne and Walter Sczebel began to hold youth group meetings in 1964, responding to a need for leadership and motivation among local youth. Ten years later, a lodge was built and Teen Time now hosts camps and retreats that provide youth in need with a supportive environment in which they can develop skills such as horseback riding, canoeing and archery. The dedicated couple has also committed time and effort to Rotary Club initiatives such as the youth exchange program, as well as the Wagon Train fundraising ride whose proceeds support polio research. In addition, Mrs. Sczebel participates in various fundraising activities and volunteers her hairdressing services at the local long-term care facility. 

Dale William Smith, Edmonton, Alberta
Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award

A member of the Optimist Club for 21 years, Dale Smith has always honoured the motto “Friend of Youth”. He is the driving force behind the Octagon Club, a community service organization, and several other initiatives such as the Amnesty International Club, which inspire Paul Kane High School students to become better citizens and to make a difference in their community. Mr. Smith has also orchestrated fundraisers for the United Way and other charitable organizations, and he has helped immigrant families settle into their new surroundings. Constantly working behind the scenes and giving credit to the students for the clubs’ achievements, he is a source of inspiration to all who know him.

ANNEX B: Citation for the Meritorious Service medal (civil division)

Beckie Scott, M.S.M., Bend, Oregon, United States of America
Meritorious Service Medal (civil division)

A native of Vermillion, Alberta, Beckie Scott became the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.  An ardent advocate and spokesperson for drug-free sport, she led an anti-doping campaign in her sport in 2001, spearheading an athletes’ petition demanding the establishment of an independent drug-testing body for all World Cup and Olympic competitions. After it was discovered that the two athletes who had finished ahead of her in the five-kilometre race had tested positive for blood doping, both before the 2002 Olympics and after another race, the decision to upgrade Ms. Scott’s bronze medal to gold marked the ultimate victory in her battle against cheating in sport.