Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony
Rideau Hall, Friday, September 28, 2012
I am delighted to welcome you to Rideau Hall today for this very special occasion.
One of the great privileges of being governor general is having the opportunity to recognize extraordinary Canadians for their contributions to our country.
For instance, just last week, I presented honours for bravery, for caring, for military valour and for police services in a unique ceremony at the Citadelle of Québec.
And during that ceremony, I borrowed a quote from Wilfrid Laurier, who once said:
“When my eyes close, I hope it will be on a united Canada, cherishing an abundant hope for the future.”
I want to zero in a little on the “abundant hope” that Laurier spoke of, because I know that each of you shares in this hope for Canada as well.
As members, officers and companions of the Order of Canada, you desire “a better country”—and your desire is fuelled by hope and optimism.
For Laurier, this sense of hope manifested itself in what he called the “sunny ways” of dialogue, patience, respect and compromise.
Of course, this is not to say Laurier lacked a strong vision for Canada—or the will and ability to fight for it. Rather, it simply means that those “sunny ways” were, to him, an essential ingredient of Canada’s success.
As Laurier biographer André Pratte puts it:
“If Canada still exists today, it is because there have always been Canadians who felt that Laurier was right, that compromise is not surrender or cowardice, but rather daring and courage.”
When I think of the accomplishments that have led to your membership in the Order of Canada, I recognize the same mixture of conviction and co-operation that has always been at the heart of this country’s success.
In such a wonderful variety of ways, you have made outstanding contributions to your communities, to our country and to the wider world.
You have done so by striking the right balance between your own personal vision and collaboration with others.
And, let it be said, you have succeeded through a great deal of good, old-fashioned, hard work.
Each of you understands that, ultimately, there is no individual success without shared success, and that we are better when we work together.
And that is why I am so delighted to invest you with this honour, and why I have such abundant hope for a smarter, more caring Canada.