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  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony

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Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony

Rideau Hall, Friday, May 15, 2009

Welcome to this investiture ceremony, which gives us the opportunity to celebrate excellence in our society and to celebrate women and men whose talent, perseverance and vision are particularly noteworthy.

Those who have a passion, those who want to push the boundaries of what we know and explore every dimension of the world, those who are committed and have the desire and courage to push themselves to achieve their dreams, they have a priceless gift: the promise of a rich and full life.

The exceptional women and men we are honouring today have that gift.

A gift that is so precious, you decided not to bury it deep within.

You have shared it with others; you have allowed it to multiply for the greater good, and the results have been extraordinary.

Your lives have been punctuated with amazing achievements that have had a remarkable influence on your communities and our country.

For some of you, it was through your willingness to act and improve the lives of those around you, to create an institution or a far-reaching public policy, or through exceptional artistic performances.

For others, it was through your desire to forge the path, to make the unimaginable and the inconceivable possible, to find a way to take care of and heal people, or to defend the rights of the most vulnerable among us.

No matter how you did it, you should all celebrate and be proud of what you have accomplished, knowing that—because of your talent, vision and sometimes stubbornness—you have left your mark on this country and have made this world a better and more just place.

You have surpassed yourselves in virtually every area of human endeavour and you remind us that it is within our power to reach the loftiest goals.

That we must refuse to be discouraged by the enormity of the challenges we face and look squarely ahead.

That we must dare to push ourselves, our ideas, our dreams and our convictions to the limit.

That there is nothing worse than indifference and defeatism.

I strongly believe that our greatest strengths are the creativity, daring and persistence of women and men who choose to get involved when others might turn away; individuals who, like you, want nothing more than to have a hand in shaping humanity.

I would therefore like to express my deepest gratitude on behalf of all Canadians.

You share not only the wealth of your reflection and the benefits of your action, but the fervour of your passion.

You are priceless gifts to Canada.

You make our lives richer and fuller.

Thank you all very much.