Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony
Rideau Hall, Friday, May 25, 2012
My wife, Sharon, and I are delighted to welcome you to Rideau Hall. I often congratulate recipients on receiving an award, but today, I’d also like to congratulate you on what you have done to earn this induction into the Order of Canada.
You have come from across the country and from all disciplines. You are artists and innovators. You are entrepreneurs and philanthropists. But more than that, you are all stellar examples of what Canadians can accomplish, both at home and on the world stage.
Recently, an exhibit opened here in Ottawa, showcasing our national honours, the history of the Canadian Honours System and the people who have received awards, decorations and medals since 1967, the year the system and the Order of Canada were created.
It is my hope that over the next six months—coinciding with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Her Majesty The Queen—Canadians will take the opportunity to visit the exhibit and get to know how our country honours its citizens. Perhaps they will even be inspired to nominate deserving Canadians in their own communities.
I consider it a privilege to honour Canadians; in fact, it fills me with pride to do so. And so, I want every Canadian to know what I know—your stories.
Included in the displays are the stories of people just like you, people who have made extraordinary contributions to this country and to their communities.
Today, you join their venerable ranks, because of your hard work, your values, your ethics, your leadership and your belief.
And it is that belief—belief in yourself, belief in others, belief that anything is possible—that has brought you to this moment.
Of course, this does not mean the end of your careers or your contributions. There is so much still be accomplished, so much to improve in our country to make it smarter, more caring. And you are leading the way.
No matter the path you take to develop our nation—whether through science, arts or humanities, or through simple generosity—you are all poised to make an even greater impact on our future than you already have, through your actions certainly, but also through your stories.
Your stories are powerful. They can inspire and give hope. That is why, when you return home, you should not hesitate to share your stories. Because when you do so—with confidence and with pride—you are fulfilling one of the responsibilities of being a member of the Order of Canada: to encourage others to achieve their own greatness.
This especially holds true for young Canadians. We must pass the torch; we must illuminate others to ensure continuity of success.
The task before us is to make sure that we prepare the next generation—the Order of Canada recipients of the future—to take their places in society, to discover their own greatness and to contribute to our national identity in their own unique ways.
When we do so, we ensure that our children and our grandchildren have a bright future, that they have the opportunities we had to succeed, and that they can be proud of the Canada we have made.
All of you here—indeed, all of the Order of Canada recipients I have met—have been determined, in their own way, to leave a lasting legacy on their community, on the country and on the world.
I am proud to be here with you, to honour you. And Sharon and I promise that we will do our part in sharing your stories. Wherever we go, in Canada and abroad, we will be taking with us the stories of your contributions and your successes. We will share your stories of innovating and caring. We will tell Canadians why you have been inducted into the Order of Canada. We will use your achievements to encourage Canadians of all ages, and to inspire them to contribute to our nation.
Congratulations on your accomplishments and thank you for your dedication. I look forward to seeing how else you will build a smarter, more caring Canada.