Presentation of Diamond Jubilee Medals
Ottawa, Wednesday, October 31, 2012
It is a great pleasure to welcome all of you to this presentation of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals.
The year-long celebration of Her Majesty’s 60th anniversary as queen has been a chance to celebrate the very best of us. It has been a chance to rejoice in our common history, our dedication to service, and our commitment to building a smarter, more caring nation.
Throughout the year, I have been marking this occasion by presenting these medals to Canadians from across the country. And so many others are being honoured in their communities, each with a unique story to tell.
All of you here represent the diversity of this country and the spirit of ingenuity, giving, entrepreneurship, creativity, and so much more that has made this country great.
I have had the great honour of travelling this country from coast to coast to coast, and I can say with certainty that we are so fortunate to live in a country filled with wonder and hope for the future. That hope is embodied in all Canadians. And it is here with us in this very room.
One of the best aspects of being governor general is having the opportunity to be at presentations like this one. As many of you know, the Diamond Jubilee Medal is part of the Canadian Honours System. Consisting of many awards, decorations and honours, this system is not simply a way to recognize deserving individuals, but is also a way for us to honour our Sovereign.
That is why this space, this exhibit, is so important. Here, we tell your stories; here, we show our history. And it is here—in every single honour—that we can find the representation of Her Majesty’s dedicated service to the people of Canada.
At her coronation, Her Majesty The Queen pledged herself to our service and said that she “shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
From the very beginning, The Queen understood that service to others is an important aspect of our humanity; that we can do so much together to work for the good of all.
Time and again, she has proven worthy of the trust we place in her as queen. And in you, we place our gratitude, as you are creating better opportunities and a brighter future for this nation.
Among other things, this medal can and should encourage us to have a discussion. What do we want our country to be? What are the values that we hold dear? How will we strengthen our society so that veterans, Aboriginal people, children, families, students, volunteers, artists and so many others thrive? As we approach 2017 and our 150th anniversary of Confederation, it is vital that ask ourselves these types of questions.
We agree on so much and disagree as well, as is only human. But as we look past the individual differences that separate us, we see a Diamond Jubilee community forming. And like all communities, it is strengthened by our myriad points of view and our passion for a better world.
Her Majesty has served us so well these last 60 years by focusing on that which unites us. As you receive this medal, let us all renew our dedication to working together, to finding common ground and to looking at the core of what it means to be Canadian.
Congratulations to all of you on joining this community. I know that you will continue to build the smart and caring nation that we all know Canada to be.