Canada Day Celebration
Canada Day Celebration
Ottawa, Sunday, July 1st, 2012
Good afternoon, Canada!
My wife, Sharon, and I are delighted to be here for this celebration of our country.
I think it is fitting that we celebrate Canada’s birthday with performances by some of our most talented performers.
It is a little known fact that many of the founders of this country were great music lovers—and that even in the 1860s, Canadians loved a good party.
In the evening, after long hours spent negotiating the details of Confederation, the leaders of the day set their work aside—and they went dancing.
As one observer noted in 1864:
“The Cabinet Ministers—the leading ones especially—are the most inveterate dancers I have ever seen; they do not seem to miss a dance the live-long night.”
What a wonderful example for us to follow today!
All year long, Canadians work hard on behalf of their families, their communities and their country.
Having travelled across this country and visited thousands of Canadians in their communities, I know how hard you work.
I also know that, regardless of age or affiliation, all Canadians want to create a better future for this country. Each of us aspires to a smarter, more caring Canada, where everyone can succeed and contribute.
Today is an opportunity for us to come together as a nation, and to “dance the live-long night.”
As Canadians, we have so much to be thankful for. Despite our differences and the challenges we face, Canada is in so many ways the envy of the world.
Ours is a country that believes in peace, tolerance and diversity.
Across Canada today, we celebrate all that is good about our great country.
We share deep roots in this land, and we have been working together for centuries.
Two hundred years ago, in 1812, early Canadians came together in common cause to defend the country from American invasion.
Together, British and French-speaking soldiers, First Nations and Métis warriors, volunteer militias and freed slaves fought for the land that would later become Canada.
Their co-operation proved we could achieve more by working together.
It is true that our circumstances today have changed, but unity retains its power to make us stronger.
We have many reasons to be thankful this year, including Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
For six decades, The Queen has served our country with dignity and dedication.
As the human face of the Canadian Crown, Her Majesty is the safeguard of our rights and our freedoms as Canadians.
One of the many significant moments in which she has participated is the creation of the Canadian Honours System, including the Order of Canada.
On that note, I want to invite all Canadians and visitors to Ottawa to explore our new exhibit called From Far and Wide: Honouring Great Canadians, located just across from Parliament Hill.
As Canadians, we have much to celebrate and be thankful for.
Which leads me to conclude: it’s time to get back to the music!
Happy birthday, Canada!