The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Closing of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference

Ottawa, Ontario, Friday, June 16, 2017


I acknowledge that we are gathering today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin peoples.

What a journey you’ve been on!

You’ve seen this country as few have, and I know you have gained unique perspectives and insights as to what concerns Canadians and where we’re headed together.

This country is so vast, its people so diverse, there is always something new to learn from it. As leaders, one of your most important tasks is to recognize how much you don’t know, and how much we all have to learn about each other and teach each other.

That’s one of the reasons we have gathered back here and why you present your findings—to share our experiences and lessons learned.

I was certainly glad to hear from you!

And now, I look forward to seeing how you will incorporate what you have learned in your daily lives and work.

Following the closing of this conference, you will all head home, back to your communities where you’re dearly missed and where you have done such important work already.

When you return, I encourage you to look at your communities with fresh eyes. You may see the problems and potential solutions in a new light, perhaps one that you hadn’t considered before. You will take another step in your leadership journey.

This is a time of great challenge in our country and around the world, but it’s also a time of great opportunity.

Let the spirit of the 150th anniversary of Confederation be one of reflection, renewal and hope:

Reflect upon where we’ve been, where we’ve gone wrong and where we’ve succeeded;

renew those values that have served us well;

and build hope by deepening our commitment to fairness, diversity and inclusiveness, to building a stronger, smarter, more caring nation. 

And let us also work to build trust. Trust among ourselves, in others, in our communities and institutions. Not blind trust, but rather trust that rests upon a solid foundation. Help us renew and strengthen that foundation.

Finally, I’d like to encourage you to be mentors to leaders in your communities, particularly young leaders, to pass on what you have learned during this conference. Inspire people to do better and to lead with both conviction and compassion.

Thank you for taking the time to be a part of this leadership experience.

And thank you as well to the organizers. Every time I have hosted this conference, it has gotten bigger, better and more relevant to the needs of Canadian leaders.

To all of you, whose leadership makes a difference, I hope you seize this moment, because this is your time to make a difference.

Thank you.