Presentation of Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division)
Rideau Hall, Thursday, June 23, 2016
I would like to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall. What a wonderful way to celebrate exceptional Canadians!
This is a special decoration, as it honours a specific activity or deed.
The Meritorious Service Cross and the Meritorious Service Medal give us a chance to highlight what you’ve done to improve our communities and our country.
In some cases, you have enriched the lives of those in need through volunteerism and philanthropy.
In others, you have helped people by promoting education or the arts or sport, or through research.
And in still other cases, what you have done has saved lives.
Every one of you has made this country better.
Who here is familiar with the “butterfly effect”?
In essence, the butterfly effect, a term coined by mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz, describes the impact the smallest of variables have on weather patterns.
A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, for instance, and that influences whether a tornado forms in Texas.
You are the butterflies.
Your deeds are like those flapping wings, but instead of influencing natural phenomena, you have an impact on the people around you.
Your contributions have become something bigger than yourselves, something that changes the world around us.
But more than that, you have helped to inspire others to find ways to give back.
You inspire us to find our passions, to show compassion, to make this a smarter, more caring world.
Too often, we forget the essential goodness of people, how people care for and help each other every day through countless acts of kindness.
This ceremony, your recognition, is one way for us to remember that. By shining a light on all the good that you’re doing, we’re telling Canadians across the country:
You can do great things.
You can create change.
You can be the change that we need.
All of you, in one way or another, have answered the call to service. In doing so, you have given all of us hope that Canada—which turns 150 years old in 2017—will continue to be a caring, compassionate country in the years to come.
For that, you have my gratitude.
Congratulations on receiving this honour.