The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Reception with Partners from the Ottawa Region

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Reception with Partners from the Ottawa Region

Rideau Hall, Monday, September 27, 2010

My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I are delighted, proud and touched to welcome you to Rideau Hall today to thank you very much for the support and friendship you have shown us over the past five years.

From the moment we first arrived at Rideau Hall, in 2005, we wanted to make this house a place where citizens’ voices would be heard, where the values of respect, excellence, and sharing that are so essential to us and to all Canadians would prevail.

I think I can say without any hesitation that we have succeeded in doing so, as we have organized over 400 events of all kinds here, from youth dialogues, to discussions on cultural issues, to conferences like the recent one on women and security, to ceremonies recognizing this country’s greatest talents, welcoming new members to the Order of Canada and at which ambassadors present their credentials.

Not to mention the 121 trips across Canada and the approximately 40 missions abroad . . . Driven each time by our  willingness to establish and fuel a productive dialogue with our fellow Canadians and people around the world in order to break down solitudes, encourage new ideas and create alliances.

An entire mandate, in fact, a mandate Jean-Daniel and I will always remember, one we could never have completed without your support or the spirit of solidarity you have shown us.

That is why, before we left Rideau Hall and our civic engagement took new shape, we wanted to tell you how grateful we are and to wish you all much success and happiness.

And one of the forms this engagement will take will be to continue the work we began over the past five years in the cultural community, and in favour of youth initiatives that work to fight exclusion through great imagination by using all forms of artistic expression as a means of transforming individuals and society as a whole. The Michaëlle Jean Foundation has been established to this end.

Jean-Daniel and I thank you all very much. Our dearest wish is that, in this place filled with our collective history and all the discussions that have taken place here since 2005, our message will continue to touch people and bring them together.