Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala
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Ottawa, Saturday, May 14, 2011
Good evening and welcome to the National Arts Centre. Tonight, we celebrate not only the laureates of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, but also the wealth of Canadian talent that we share with the world.
I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of my predecessors, dating back to the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, who supported the creation of these awards nearly two decades ago. His dream truly lives on, through artists across the country and through everyone who discovers the creative spark in themselves.
I hope that during my time as governor general, I can do justice to his memory, by supporting the arts in this and other ways.
I look out at this audience and I am proud. Proud that our country has the capacity to develop such artists; proud that we endeavour to support new artists in their quest for success; and proud that we have such a wonderful avenue to recognize their accomplishments.
Artists are some of the most public ambassadors we have. This country is a part of them and what they do; it helps define them as artists and helps them connect with a Canadian audience. In turn, we show our respect for what they do for our country, helping to characterize our national identity.
The men and women we celebrate tonight are no strangers to Canada or the world. They have not only achieved success in theatre, dance, television, film and music, to name a few, but are also philanthropists and volunteers for a number of worthy causes.
A smarter, more caring world is built when people look beyond themselves. This year’s laureates have immense talent, but more than that, they have immense hearts. They are inspirations to all Canadians and to all those who would follow in their footsteps.
And I cannot wait to see what these future artists will accomplish. Because, just as the laureates of the Performing Arts Awards have defined a generation of Canadian art, so too will these young artists speak to how Canadians perceive themselves.
To them I would say, be innovative in your work, be bold in your actions, be true to yourselves.
Tonight, we pay tribute to the very best for a lifetime of achievements and to look forward to what these amazing artists will no doubt still accomplish. I once again congratulate the laureates on this wonderful occasion.
On behalf of myself and my wife, Sharon, we hope that you will all enjoy the remainder of the evening.