The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Her Excellency Sharon Johnston - Presentation of the Because Mothers Matter Award for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Canada

Rideau Hall, Tuesday, June 14, 2016


It is always a pleasure to welcome friends to Rideau Hall. This house belongs to you just as much as it belongs to the incumbents who live here.

Having HIPPY Canada in the big house is particularly touching because this is the second round of “Because Mothers Matter” to be awarded to three exceptional individuals.

In an age where women still struggle to be participants in the main affairs of life, we are here to recognize an essential truth that mothers really do matter. Whether you are a recently arrived mother from a faraway country or up in space like Julie Payette, the basic truth is that even thousands of miles away she still had to communicate with her family.

Recently, I spoke with a former minister of Immigration and he cited HIPPY as an excellent vehicle for integrating immigrant families into our country in a culturally effective way.

In a conversation with a recent immigrant, a father summed up the admiration he had once his wife began to contribute to the family income after becoming a HIPPY mom. Her self-reliance earned respect. This is an especially important dynamic in a family in which women might be marginalized.

HIPPY has also been an active participant in early learning opportunities in Aboriginal communities. The Chief of the Musqueam people spoke very positively about HIPPY working with his community on Vancouver Island during a visit four years ago.

Fast-forward to 2016. An article in last week’s Globe and Mail stated Indigenous issues in Canada have been prominent in the news over the past few years. The article suggests the Idle No More movement, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and the new government’s initiation of a public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women have each helped to bring mainstream attention to long-standing concerns of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. “Have public attitudes also shifted?” the article asks.

To answer this, the Globe used an Environics Institute survey that found out nine in ten non-Aboriginal Canadians support the TRC’s  recommendation that funding to Indigenous schools be increased to ensure that students have equal access to educational opportunities.

Canadians today overwhelmingly believe that education is the key to sustained economic well-being. HIPPY is an evidence-based organization that understands the fundamental importance of equality of education and can be critical in realizing this national goal.

Congratulations to the recipients of this year’s “Because Mothers Matter” award.