Presentation of Canadian Honours (Moncton, New Brunswick)
Moncton, New Brunswick, Monday, June 12, 2017
I acknowledge that the Province of New Brunswick comprises part of the traditional territories of the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy.
Welcome, all of you, to this special presentation of Canadian honours.
We’re so pleased to be with you in Moncton, and to have the opportunity to recognize some truly deserving individuals.
Together, the honours we’re presenting today celebrate a wide range of accomplishments, all with at least two things in common.
One, they recognize caring.
And two, they recognize excellence.
Those two attributes are shared by every one of the honours recipients in the room.
You come from right across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Ontario, but despite the geographical distances that may separate your home communities, you all have these qualities in common.
And isn’t that the essence of Canada?
As my predecessor John Buchan once quipped, “Canada is a biggish job,” and it’s only thanks to the tireless efforts of people like you that this country is able to work so well.
This is not to say Canada doesn’t face challenges. We have no cause for complacency. But the gains we have made, and the sense of compassion and of citizenship that so broadly exists, are all because of people like you.
What, specifically, do we celebrate today?
The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes unsung heroes who dedicate so much of their time and energy to others.
So today, we salute your selflessness.
The Meritorious Service Decorations, both Military and Civil Divisions, recognize specific, outstanding deeds that bring great credit to our armed forces and to Canada.
Today, we salute your dedication, your excellence, the gifts you have given us.
The Decorations for Bravery honour those who risk their lives, who defy the instinct of self-preservation in order to save or help another person in danger.
Today, we salute your extraordinarily courageous and selfless acts.
The Order of Merit of the Police Forces exists to honour leadership and exceptional service for the sake of our safety and for the well-being of our communities.
Today, we salute your courage, your sense of duty and public service.
Together, we are humbled by all of you, who give back and who act so effectively. And in fact, you were nominated for these awards by your fellow community members and your colleagues and peers who know you best.
What greater honour exists than to be recognized by one’s community, one’s country?
These honours are to say thank you, and they are also intended to encourage others to follow your lead. With this presentation, you now have a chance to inspire others as role models and exemplars of caring and excellence.
I’m so pleased to present these honours to you in this, Confederation’s 150th anniversary year. You of all people know how good this country is, and also how much work we have to do to make it more fair and just for all.
I thank you all for answering the call to service, and I thank your families and loved ones for supporting you.
Together, you are making a real difference.
Congratulations. I wish you the very best.
This brings to a close our presentation of honours today, and what a moving and powerful ceremony it has been.
I was so inspired to meet each of you, our recipients, and to have this opportunity to thank you in person for your efforts.
I’m also delighted to have presented these honours in the presence of your loved ones and so many others who care about building a better Canada.
To all of you, my thanks for your support for these remarkable individuals.
Our country and our communities would not be the smart and caring places they are without you.
Thank you also to all who have helped make today’s ceremony possible and to all of you for being here.
And congratulations once again to our deserving recipients.